Thursday, March 20, 2014

Woman gets busted at Planet Fitness for being too buff...

Yesterday, I read a story about Tiffany Austin,  a young woman in Richmond, California who had joined her local Planet Fitness branch as a means of recovering after a car accident.  I had never heard of Planet Fitness before I read this story, but apparently it's a gym that focuses on not "judging" others.  It has a dress code that is supposed to prevent people from showing off and intimidating less fit members.  Members are not allowed to grunt, drop weights, or show too much skin.

It seems Austin was wearing a spaghetti strap top that showed off her midriff and a couple of people complained that her "toned body" was intimidating them.  She was approached by a staff member who advised her to cover up.  But while she was waiting for a t-shirt, another staff member approached her and asked her to cover up.

Austin decided to cancel her membership, and I really can't blame her…  She said she felt harassed and intimidated.  The article I link to has pictures of Austin and while I think she has a cute figure, I wouldn't call it "intimidating".  Moreover, while I get that the gym wants members to feel comfortable when they exercise, one could argue that their "Judgement Free Zone" didn't quite work for Tiffany Austin, who was made to feel uncomfortable for wearing an outfit that most people would find perfectly acceptable in a gym.

Planet Fitness offers cheap memberships that start at just $10 a month.  Besides the policy about not showing off one's athletic prowess, the gym also has a "lunk alarm", which consists of a siren and flashing lights that go off when someone exhibits "lunk" behavior.  Lunk behavior is defined as "grunting, judging, or dropping weights".  I think the lunk alarm would be enough to keep me away from that place.

Planet Fitness also offers monthly pizza nights and bagel breakfasts, which I guess help keep people coming back for more workouts.  While Planet Fitness has stated that the way Austin was treated was not in line with their policy, they stand by the dress code and "no judgement" policy.  On an added note, Planet Fitness spells judgement like the Brits…   If you want to read an interesting discussion of "judgment" vs. "judgement", click the link!

I posted about this on Facebook and got quite a few interesting comments.  Everybody seemed to think this incident was perfectly ridiculous.

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