Planet Fitness Caters to Workout Neophytes 

Jan 23, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

If you enjoy working out without “gymtimidation,” then Planet Fitness might be the place for you.

On Jan. 16, the franchise opened a new location in Barnegat Township, in the Barnegat 67 development on Lighthouse Drive, near West Bay Avenue and the Garden State Parkway exit. Its motto is that people can workout in a judgment-free zone.

“We specialize in general fitness, for both cardio and weight training,” said John Ridgway, general manager of the Barnegat gym. “We cater more to the first-time exerciser, or people who may not have a lot of experience.”

If you’re a power lifter who likes to slam the weights or a bodybuilder preening around in a sleeveless shirt, Planet Fitness says to find another gym.

“That’s why we have a lunk alarm,” said Ridgway. “It goes off when someone grunts too loudly or drops a heavy weight on the floor.”

The first floor features a wide variety of cardio workout equipment – treadmills, stair mills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes and more.

“We have about 60 pieces of equipment, so people shouldn’t have to wait to get on the one they want to work out on,” said Ridgway.

The lower level features several sections of weight-training machines, along with free weights and dumbbells.

“We have a 30-minute circuit training system for a full body workout,” said Ridgway.

Both levels feature the franchise’s signature purple and yellow color theme.

Planet Fitness was founded in 1992 in Dover, N.H., when brothers Michael and Marc Grondahl acquired a financially struggling gym and dramatically reduced prices to compete against better-known facilities. The low-cost business model focused on the needs of occasional or first-time health club members, rather than more-experienced members. The owners recognized there was a greater opportunity to serve a much larger segment of the population if they changed the gym environment, both in attitude and format, by creating a non-intimidating, low-cost product. That model has remained consistent in all of its 1,500 gyms in the United States.

The Barnegat franchise offers numerous fitness training sessions during the week as well as various memberships.

The gym is open around the clock Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Telephone is 609-549-6474.

— Eric Englund

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