There they go again. Or so it appears, on the surface.
Last week, Planet Fitness revoked a woman's membership for using her cell phone while working out. The Boston Herald story quickly spread over social media and other news outlets.
If Planet Fitness kicking a member out for violating one of its policies sounds familiar, it should. Planet Fitness made a name for itself a few years ago when it banned a member for violating its "no grunting" policy. While that story made its way to The New York Times and identified Planet Fitness with its unique "judgment free" brand, the recent report about cell phone use could apply to any club.
The woman reportedly took a call from her doctor's office on her cell phone while working out on an elliptical machine at a Planet Fitness in Dedham, MA. She claims the club's general manager threatened her and violated the club's own "no gymtimidation" policy. Management claims the woman was "rude and dismissive" and had previously violated the no cell phone use policy.
McCall Gosselin, spokeswoman for Planet Fitness, Newington, NH, said in an emailed statement that it is corporate policy that cell phone use is only permitted in the lobby of the club.
"Use of cell phones on the gym floor or while using equipment is dangerous for individual members and distracting to others," Gosselin said.
I have to agree with Planet Fitness on this one. Member safety comes first, neck-and-neck with the company trying to save its own neck by lessening the threat of potential lawsuits should an accident occur involving a member on a cell phone. Although it was not spelled out in the company statement, the Herald reported that Planet Fitness has 10 signs restricting the use of cell phones throughout the club.
Back when Planet Fitness first made headlines, it was a brash, up-and-coming company looking to separate itself from the pack. Today, Planet Fitness is more streamlined, especially after its partnership with private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. Planet Fitness also is the national brand partner of NBC's "The Biggest Loser," giving the company national exposure to millions on a weekly basis.
Lunk alarms? Judgment-free zones? Those are quirky Planet Fitness staples. Not allowing cell phone use on the gym floor? That's just common sense.