Every body is different, literally. The human body comes in many forms. I could attempt to list them all in this post but, there isn’t enough listing in the world… With that being said, The whole world is not trying to lose weight, the whole world is not obese despite what statistics report, and everyone’s weight is not a major issue or source of unhappiness in their lives. How on earth did we get to thinking like that? Anywho, I notice that these days, people are just trying to get in better shape, regardless of their weight or appearance. With Obamacare being what it is, people are taking to natural routes to stay healthy. Vegaism, Wholistic living, and working out are all realistic options that people are gravitating towards. People care about their quality of life and will do nearly anything to preserve it especially if it is cost-effective. Planet Fitness is a new rapidly growing gym-chain that offers a basic gym  membership for only $10.00 a month. Because of Planet Fitness, anyone can get a membership. One thing that they promote is no “Gymtimidation” at their facilities. However, If you are dressed a certain way, you will be reprimanded by the staff, humiliated, and/kicked out. How is this okay?

First of all, What in the world is Gymtimidation? I’ll tell you, it’s a big word used to describe being insecure with your body while in a gym setting. I am not a small girl. I am not fat neither, but just because I am not a size two, does not mean that I am so insecure that I can’t workout in the room with another woman that is pretty or smaller than me and happens to show her midriff.  What kind of mess is that? Who cares…So is Planet Fitness saying that people who aren’t skinny or have cut muscles insecure? I am not understanding.

I have heard of cases of Planet Fitness kicking members out of their facilities because of how they are dressed. Is it that serious? Yes, a ten dollar gym membership is awesome but under some policies of this company, I am forced to ask: Is it really worth it to patronize this establishment if they are singling people out based upon how they are dressed? More recently in March of 2014,  a Muslim woman filed a lawsuit against the chain for discriminating against her headdress (read full story here).  What is really going on? It’s almost like, they set up a gym, make it affordable for everyone to use  but don’t really want anyone to use it based on their business practices. They also have a “No Lunk: policy as well which is beyond moronic. Most people bring headphones to the gym. Those who don’t, normally don’t care about someone grunting. Get real. I thought LA Fitness was something but Planet Fitness is looking more and more like the Fort Knox of all gym franchises with these policies.

The other day, I couldn’t help but notice a status come across my timeline on Facebook about a horrendous experience at the Planet Fitness in Jonesboro, Georgia.  It was maddening to read and completely unnecessary. The staff at this particular location harassed  Miss D’ Mahogany Brown to no end simply because of how she was dressed. She held her own, remained respectful, and completed her workout despite staff members singling her out and making her feel uncomfortable. It was this experience that has cost the chain her membership and motivated this article.

Read the personal testimony of one of Atlanta’s Hottestest underground singer/songwriters, D’ Mahogany Brown experience at the Planet Fitness in Jonesboro, Georgia. in her own words:

Anti-Intimidation??? I Smell B.S.

When you think of fitness, a lot of things come to mind: A sense of overcoming mental and physical challenges, time of self-improvement, a place to unwind after a stressful day. That should be the main focus of ALL fitness facilities. Unfortunately for myself and a few other individuals, this was not our experience at Planet Fitness, an up-and-coming gym whose policy is “We at Planet Fitness are here to provide a unique environment in which anyone – and we mean anyone – can be comfortable. A diverse, Judgement Free Zone® where a lasting, active lifestyle can be built.” (www.planetfitness.com/About). Side-eye. NOT my experience.

It was a regular Monday evening (March 31, 2014), and after sitting down at a desk all day, I decided to put my $10 a month membership to good use and blow off the day’s steam at the Planet Fitness gym in Jonesboro, GA. I had on my attire that I normally wear; a cute sports-bra and basketball shorts.  Not even 1 minute from stepping my foot into the gym, I was told at check-in by a staff member that I would need to cover up my mid-section with a longer shirt if I wanted to work out.  When I politely questioned why, I was told that according to the ” bass-ackwards”  policy, that the gym has a ‘no-intimidation’ policy, and that my attire and fit frame may intimidate some members that are heavier and trying to get in shape. I was taken aback by what I was told by this staff member. The policy quite frankly, is very faulty and discriminatory in and of itself because members that are already fit but who are still trying to maintain their health and physiques are being intimidated by staff and poor policy for looking a certain way.

10171671_10101230864774345_4340617091030862927_n

But wait….. there’s more!!! After I told the staff member of the policy and how ridiculous it was, I proceeded to do my leg workout WITHOUT covering my six-pack up. After a few sets of my leg workout, I was approached by another staff member and told the same thing again…. “Cover up, members are intimidated”, blah blah BLAH (at this point, all I’m hearing is the Muppets song playing over and over again while I nod and smile to those empty words). I stated once again I have an issue with a gym that does not allow its member to wear something as simple as a sports bra to work out in. After being reprimanded by staff member #2, I blow it off and continue on with my workout. Twenty minutes later I am approached by not one, but TWO more staff for a third time and was given the ultimatum of covering up with a shapeless Planet Fitness t-shirt, or simply leave, as members were complaining that ‘my toned physique was too intimidating’. 

planett fitness

The last time I checked, just like fear, love or any other emotion, the feeling intimidation is a personal CHOICE. It is not mine, nor anyone else’s issue if others feel intimidated by how a person looks or carries themselves. As human beings, I believe that regardless of background or who a person is, we must run our own race (blinders on) and not allow any person or circumstance to make us feel inadequate. We are not in control of other’s feeling or reactions, just our own. That being said, I spoke my mind to the staff about where I stood and what I thought about the policy (all with abs still out, haha) and held my ground. After realizing it wasn’t worth the fight, I finished my workout with no other issues, at least for that evening. Until there are some changes with the policy, I will not be returning to any Planet Fitness. Anyone, regardless of what their build is (big, small, thin, muscular, ect) should be able to exercise and better themselves in a facility that does not discriminate against ANYONE regardless of attire that the individuals choose to wear.

I don’t know how much I will accomplish with writing this article. Maybe it will garner some attention that will force Planet Fitness to change some of their policies, maybe it won’t. At the end of the day, I am proud that I took a stance for an issue that I feel needs to be changed, and hopefully this article will inspire others to do the same.

— D’ Mahogany Brown

America is built on Capitalism. We all know this.  In America, we will try to make a buck in nearly every way because we are able to do so in this country. We will even play on people’s insecurities for a come up. The Gymtimidation thing is just that. You are catering to someone’s insecurities. Some people actually do get intimidated of the gym because of what some people look like. I think that Planet Fitness should have marketed themselves as being a facility open to everyone regardless of how they look or what level they are at in their fitness journey. It’s like they did the opposite with this policy. We should have been seeing a marketing campaign done about how people of all walks of life and fitness levels come there all for the same reason: Good Health. Planet Fitness is supposed to be that establishment that offers that. Not the establishment that will single you out because you may grunt or show a midriff. That is insane. I feel that the people of Planet Fitness in Jonesboro, Georgia owes Miss D’Mahogany Brown an apology. Furthermore, Planet Fitness needs to rethink it’s marketing strategies and abolish these rules.