Planet Fitness: A judgment-free zone

Providing the area with an alternative to traditional gyms, Planet Fitness, 1020 Commerce Park Drive, offers a relaxed atmosphere to workout for everyone from those experienced in fitness to individuals just starting out.

“Here we operate off of the principal that it doesn’t matter what stage you’re in,” said Holly Young, club manager of the local gym. “No matter what, you belong here.”

Young explained that the gym employs about 15 individuals, all of whom are more than happy to help or instruct members on exercising tips. As she explained, they want to educate members if they need it.

“(Members) feel at east when they’re here,” she said. “They don’t feel stupid to ask questions or if they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s really just about making sure everyone feels comfortable.”

The gym, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offers a 100 pieces of cardio equipment, free weights and weight-lifting machines. But the space is about to expand as a renovation project is underway.

It also offers tanning beds, hydro-massage beds and massage chairs. As Young explained, Planet Fitness is about more than sweating off the pounds.

“It’s not just about losing weight but about wellness,” she said.

The project to add about 4,200 square feet to the complex, which opened in December 2008, is expected to be completed by October, Young said. The extra space will allow for a renovation of locker rooms, a stretching and flexibility area and the possibility of adding more cardio machines.

“It’s a big deal. People are excited,” Young said of the project.

While some criticize the gym for not being a “real gym,” Young said they are an affordable alternative to other gyms. With many having a preconceived idea of what a gym is, it sometimes scares people from joining one because they are intimidated. This is not the case at Planet Fitness, Young said. Memberships can be had for $20 or less and since its opening has had 20,000 people through its doors.

Young said members like the low cost of membership, the cleanliness and the availability of the gym.

“You get off at 11 p.m., what gym are you going to?” Young said on the convenience of the gym’s hours.

And no matter how fit a members is, Young said there is no judging at Planet Fitness.

“The big thing is we’re a judgment-free zone,” she said.