I’m a huge fan of the Biggest Loser and only started watching this season. I find it truly inspiring to see these folks seriously dedicate themselves to lasting change and following them through their journey. During the show I was introduced to a new type of gym serving as a significant sponsor of the show.
Among the prizes for each contestant on the show or via their online program, is a gym membership with this sponsor, called Planet Fitness. While viewing multiple episodes during the 2013 season, this commercial, certainly got my attention, and this one is even better (I’m sure you’ve all seen it, but it was new to me; let’s not forget my under-a-rock residential status). So I did some follow-up because as a bodybuilder the concept intrigued me, and as I’ve mentioned before, I appreciate good advertising.
Upon initial inspection, it looks to be a very positive and environment where anyone can walk in, work out and feel comfortable, and all for just $10 per month. Fabulous, I think, until I get to their ironic Judgement Free Zone® whereby they introduce you to the Lunk.
According to the Urban Dictionary, Lunk is a word made up by Planet Fitness used to describe one who grunts, drops weights, and judges. At Planet Fitness there is a Lunk Alarm that will go off if they believe you to be a Lunk. Reading from an actual Lunk Alarm sign posted in a Planet Fitness facility, a Lunk is exemplified by “Ricky” who is wearing a body building tank top and drinking out of a gallon water jug. Hmm me thinks I resemble Ricky. I wear tank tops frequently, grunt on occasion, and have been known to tote around that huge receptacle of water to avoid multiple trips to the fountain. Oh, and does grimacing count? I tend to be a grimacer.
Yes, I’m digging a little here, and I know to whom they are generally referring. The problem, though, is that the definition itself is an act of judgement, which is pretty hypocritical. The longer I work out at my gym, the more people I get to know. Soccer moms and retired guys are my main cohorts on a weekday morning at 8:30am. However, I’ve met former and current competitive bodybuilders, military officers, women who squat twice their bodyweight and other presumed Lunk-types who frequent this time slot as well.
That old phrase never judge a book by its cover applies here because although we lift heavy weight and look in the mirror a lot, we are people too. We have goals and dreams and challenges just like everyone else. Judging us by the clothes we wear and the type of water jug we carry is just as wrong as judging those who only do cardio or eat junk food.
I try to be a friendly and positive force wherever I go, and yes there are the obvious, idiotic apples who have spoiled the bodybuilding bunch. But that’s true with any group of people from librarians to circus performers. Not everyone is kind, courteous and approachable; I’ve met some pretty pissy clowns in my day. I was once like many beginners in the gym – nervous, embarrassed and intimidated. Because I’ve seen both sides I try my best to not judge anyone for any reason. If you’ve arrived at the gym, then you certainly should be commended, regardless of what you’re doing (except slamming weights around, which is really obnoxious).
Upon researching this topic, I found a slew of sensationalized controversy on both sides of the Lunk coin. Planet Fitness is a relatively new gym, with limited locations at this time, but I sincerely hope I get the opportunity to experience the true vibe there, possibly set off the Lunk Alarm (and even get some free pizza, bagels and candy).
Now, since we’ve CRUSHED that topic, you’ll have to excuse me. Gotta oil up.
Have you been to Planet Fitness? Are you a Lunk like me?