My True Fitness Passion

I sparked a little bit of a debate with this Instagram post when we were away over Memorial Day weekend.

Planet Fitness Workout

First thing’s first, I’m not here to badmouth what Planet Fitness and other big box gyms are doing. In fact, I’ve belonged to Planet Fitness and other “regular” gyms for the majority of my adult life. I’m fully aware that moving your body and getting stronger can be done in many different ways and in many different environments. There’s very rarely one tool for the job!

Not One Tool to Get Stronger

In fact, there are some great things about gyms like Planet Fitness including cheap membership rates, convenient locations, long hours and lots of space (usually).

The location we visited on our vacation over Memorial day did not have any barbells or kettlebells. There was no pull-up bar (except for an assisted pull-up machine) and there was just a small area with dumbells. What it did have was 2 separate sections filled with Nautilus machines (which no one was really using), rows and rows of treadmills and other cardio machines, and plenty of tanning beds.

Being Too Tan Looks Orange

We paid our $20 drop-in fee (seems a little steep considering our drop-in fee for our awesome adult group classes is just $20 at Skill of Strength!) and headed to the free weight area.

I laughed to myself at the sign for the lunk alarm, but figured it was just a joke. However, after posting the photo above on Instagram, one of my followers said that she actually set off the lunk alarm at 6 months pregnant when deadlifting. Awesome.

Who knew the lunk alarm was real? I didn’t.

Other observations:

  • There were people tanning between sets of arm exercises.
  • I saw very strange couple come in just to tan and sit in the massage chairs.
  • Most men were engaging in excessive amounts of “curls for the girls.”
  • Most women were walking on treadmills or watching TV from a stationary bike or elliptical.

Most of you already know that bicep curls, tanning sessions, slow walks on the treadmill and HGTV aren’t the best ways to obtain your dream body and a perfect blood profile. Can you get in the best shape of your life while training at a regular box gym with limited equipment? Sure. Is it the most efficient (and fun)? In my opinion, no. In fact, I’d argue that setting up a home gym with a few kettlebells and a pull-up bar and utilizing the great outdoors would be a better option.

Outside Workout on Vacation with a Kettlebell

I apologize for judging in the judgement-free zone and I hope none of this came across as conceited, but this trip to Planet Fitness really reminded me that I have found my true fitness passion(s). I’m sad that I wasted so much time on cardio machines and other fancy equipment in the past, but I’m happy that I have learned so much about how to train my body properly over the last 5+ years.

Moms Working Out Alone as Me Time

Looking back at all those forced hour-long runs outside and even longer cardio sessions at the gym, I’m thankful that I enjoy my training now. I set goals and work at achieving them. I get excited about my training sessions. I set strength goals instead of worrying about a number on the scale.

I’m glad to call Skill of Strength, our gym in Chelmsford MA, my second home. We lift heavy things (and drop them;)). We do a lot of pull-ups. We swing and snatch kettlebells. We push heavy sleds. We sprint. We jump rope. We don’t need expensive equipment or fancy TV’s to get strong and have fun.

Do you belong to a gym you love? Why? What do you love about it?


  1. Sorry – FINALLY getting around to reading this. I am very happy to say I have found my gym, thankfully from you. Although I know I would love SOS just as much :) I still love my running, but KB’s may be numer 1 now.
    Kelly @ Cupcake Kelly’s recently posted..WIAW: A Birthday Dinner!

  2. I found your site as I was looking at all the different “strength” blogs on a Google search.

    Everything you said is nothing but absolute TRUTH. I have been in the iron game for a very long time and the best thing I ever did was move my training to my garage. There was a point in time when weight training meant hard work, straining, sweating, yelling, even cussing, chalk, etc. Now it’s supposed to be easy, and comfortable while people do it. It makes me sick.

    Unfortunately this is a direct reflection of our society as a whole. Everybody wants everything, nobody wants to work for anything.

    I like your site and what you do. I will continue to follow and read.
    Matt recently posted..Thursday Push Day 6/6/13

  3. Love this post! YOU GET Fitness! I work out at GPP fitness and it truly changed my life. I used to be a cardio queen and now I’d rather run outside and lift heavy crap. AND drop it:)
    candice@hungrymotherrunner recently posted..Happy National Running Day + a GIVEAWAY!

  4. I find the whole tanning thing SO BIZARRE!! And ummm – what is a lunk alarm?

    I workout in a place that has limited workout equipment and I think it’s a rare place where people will bring their OWN stuff to workout! The group instructors will also bring their own equipment in. Someday they will actually BUY it for us, but for now I guess the free childcare helps :)

    I may be up in MA in August and if I am I HAVE to come take one of your classes (my family lives in Peabody/Danvers/Topsfield – so not TOO far from you!), even if it kicks my ass!
    Michelle recently posted..Bestowed Box – Review and Giveaway!

  5. Kristin Parker says:

    I’ve never been to a Planet Fitness, but have heard about the lunk alarm, and like you thought it was a joke. I’m amazed it truly exists! I think you happened to go to what was probably a very small and under-stocked Planet Fitness. I go to Best Fitness and it’s only $10/month. I LOVE it for when I want to work out on my own. They have battle ropes, platforms for box jumps, bosus, yoga balls, an entire rack of KBs, pull-up bars, med balls, TRX, lots of barbells, as well as the the usual cardio and nautilus machines. I can get really creative there, but that’s because I’ve trained and know what I can do with the equipment. I do appreciate having access to the larger equipment like leg press and the cable machines. We have limited space at home to the point where I’m debating right now if I even want to buy a yoga ball so I can save myself the embarrassment of doing headstand core work with one at Best Fitness. That would get some looks for sure.

    That said, I also appreciate the things we do at SOS. I LOVE the sleds and the rowing machines and I love getting some KB work in too. It’s fun to workout with others who are really motivated and listen to good music (that we choose!). And then sometimes there’s even dodgeball. :)

    • HA…this is exactly why I pointed out that you can absolutely get fit at this type of gym and it’s a great place for certain people!! We all know you are one strong mama and you kill it no matter where you train – whether it’s at SOS, another gym or in your living room!
      Amanda Perry recently posted..What’s Beautiful: Turkish Get Ups

  6. I love your passion and happiness in this post!! The gym is the most boring place on earth to me too, traditional ones anyway. any place you have to go that you need to go tanning or watch tv at the same time to keep your mind off what you are doing and why you are there is pointless (yes, I dreadmill in the winter, but only because I am a wuss hehe, and I’d miss running all winter far too much otherwise!), your workouts should be enjoyable and dare I say, fun, too. :)
    jobo recently posted..On moving: the details.

  7. I think it’s so amazing when people can find a career that they are truly passionate about. I love how excited you are about what you do and that makes you GREAT at it! :)
    Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) recently posted..What a Toddler Eats: Before & After

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