Four Months at Planet Fitness and Going Strong

I joined Planet Fitness at the beginning of September, and I’ve lost 10-15 pounds and gained muscle doing elliptical and their “30-Minute Workout” circuit. The 30-Minute Workout is perfect for people like me who don’t want to make a ton of decisions, aren’t really sure what exercises they want to be doing, and who sometimes just don’t want to talk to anyone.

Here’s how the 30-minute workout works. There are twenty stations. Half are weight machines, half are step exercises. You do them in order, alternating between a step exercise and a weight machine. When the light turns green, exercise. When it turns red, wipe off whatever you just used, take a few sips of water, and move to the next station. Repeat for 30 minutes, and you’re done. The hard mental work–“what should I do next?”–is done for you, the red light-green light system keeps you moving and motivated, the fact that there’s a clear beginning and a clear ending makes it easy to keep going when you want to give up (which, honestly, I’ve done more than once).

I try to do elliptical and the circuit workout on alternating days. The circuit workout is a great time to listen to a podcast or new music, and the hour on the elliptical is a great time to catch up on The Walking Dead or whatever else I’m watching. Did you know Gary Becker’s lectures on human capital are available on YouTube? Some of my other YouTube favorites are The Veritas Forum and the BioLogos Foundation, and it seems like there’s always a lecture I’d like to watch, like this one from Jon Haidt:

I’ll usually spend ten minutes on one of the hydromassage beds after my workout. It’s a great way to rest and decompress–I’m feeling relaxed just thinking about it–and I’ll usually listen to a podcast or something while I’m laying there.

I haven’t taken advantage of this yet, but as a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously they have pizza on the first Monday of every month and bagels and coffee on (I think) the second Tuesday of every month. They bill themselves as the judgement-free zone, and the recognition that it’s OK to indulge periodically. There’s a bucket of Tootsie Rolls at the checkout counter, and it occurs to me that this might actually be something that increases the quality of people’s workouts: I know I feel a burst of momentum by saying “no” to Tootsie Rolls on my way in and out. Maybe that little win helps create the bigger win that is a good workout.

I was a member at LifeTime Fitness a few years ago, but I ultimately quit going because it was inconveniently located relative to where I lived and worked, because all the classes and such I wanted to take were offered at times that didn’t work well for me, and because I thought “I’ll just work out at Samford” (which I didn’t). Planet Fitness has worked very well for my personality, my schedule, and my goals. The fact that it’s right down the street from Samford helps a lot, too.

I have and recommend the black card membership, which is $20 a month plus an annual fee of something like $50. It gets you access to the hydromassage beds (worth $20 a month by themselves), you can bring a guest, and you can also use any other Planet Fitness location.

Happy exercising. By the end of 2017, I hope to have continued the progress I’ve made in the last third of 2016.

Have a complimentary day pass to Planet Fitness.

About the Author: artcarden


  1. Reply Art Carden

    Coda: I was in Chicago for the American Economic Association meeting recently, and there was a Planet Fitness across the street from my hotel. Being able to go across the street to do the 30-minute circuit workout made it a better weekend than it otherwise would have been, especially as conferences tend to be places where I eat way too much. This past weekend was no exception.

    • Reply artcarden

      I’ve fallen off the wagon, but your comment makes me think about how I really need to get back on.

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