Why Would a Gym Disrespect a Bodybuilder?

If you watch The Biggest Loser you’ve no doubt seen the commercials for Planet Fitness. What I cannot understand is why a gym would ever disrespect a bodybuilder. It honestly makes very little sense to me. If I owned a gym I’d practically beg bodybuilders to come in and represent me. People join gyms so that they can look like these guys. Why show them such disrespect?

Planet Fitness has some funny commercials (see below), but their theme is the same. They do not want big bodybuilders as part of their gym. They prefer to make fun of bodybuilders. Their most famous commercial has a bodybuilder type saying “I pick things up and put them down” over and over again until he is chased out of the back of the gym. However, the message is very clear–they don’t want bodybuilders at their gym. They seem to take the stance that bodybuilders are stupid.

Check out this super funny commercial for Planet Fitness featuring IFBB Pro Jerome Ferguson:

I love this commercial because, to me, this is Jerome poking fun right back at Planet Fitness. He is obviously in better shape than the guy watching him from behind. He looks awesome!

If you have a fitness center horror story tell me about it in the comments below.

Yes, Planet Fitness is the same gym that doesn’t allow grunting during workouts. They have so many rules to follow that it will make your head spin.

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  • http://sometimesiveg.com/ Miriam

    As a member of a planet fitness gym, there are plenty of body builder types going to the gym.  I think the idea behind the marketing is that everyday people don’t want to feel intimidated going to the gym assuming that they will look weak compared to others.  Honestly, when I was a rower in college, I had a hard time using the free weights.  A lot of the guys reacted aggressively to a girl trying to use the area.  It was so intimidating in fact that I had friends from the football team come with me as spotters and to make sure I would get to use the equipment I wanted to use.

    Their advertising strategy seems to be aimed at the people who aren’t currently working out and not the actual gym buffs.  Actually my favorite planet fitness employee is a big time body builder and he tells me that he goes to a different gym because he likes it better.

  • http://fitnessexpose.com Michael Mahony

    Miriam, thank you very much for your comment.. I am glad to hear that some bodybuilders do, in fact, train at Planet Fitness. However, this IS the gym chain that has strict rules against grunting while training (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/18/nyregion/18grunt.html). That fact coupled with the satire in their commercials leads me to believe that bodybuilders are being disrespected by this gym. On another note, it is sad that you had to go to such lengths to use gym equipment while in college. I have no idea how long ago this was, but I sure hope that doesn’t still happen today. I personally think women who train hard are a welcome addition to any gym.

  • Miriam @ Sometimes i veg

    I graduated in 2006 so it wasn’t that long ago. I think it was the college boy attitude. The gym was set up with two weight areas, one with light free weights and machines, the other was a full free weight and bars area. So women usually stuck to the light area.

    I do agree that Planet Fitness disrespects body builders as a marketing strategy. By saying they are looking for members wanting only a base level of fitness they are trying to attract the couch potatoes who don’t want to be he worst looking people at the gym.

    On a side note another member walked up to me at the gym the other day and said “You were on the elliptical when I got here, now I’m showered and ready to leave and you just got on the bike? How do you do it?” So most of the members are not dedicated gym goers.

  • http://fitnessexpose.com Michael Mahony

    Miriam, hello again! Isn’t i do remember that at one point in time, gyms would have two weight areas. I had no idea it was to discriminate against women. Thank you so much for sharing that story. I know at the gym I train they had some trouble at first attracting women because they use the term “hardcore training facility” to describe themselves. However, by making sure the women that DID come in felt right at home, they have changed that dramatically.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5TXDWRLKWZSZWZ2HLZRSLLP2IA Jim

    You honestly think people want to look like bodybuilders?  Ewww, no way.  Planet Fitness is about keeping fit, not looking gross like a bodybuilder.

  • http://fitnessexpose.com Michael Mahony

    Jim, thanks for your comment. While you are entitled to your opinion, bodybuilders do not look gross. In fact, have a look at the cover of any Men’s Fitness magazine. Those guys are bodybuilders as well, they just don’t get as big. The size you get to is not important, what is important is that bodybuilders shouldn’t be dissed by a major gym chain. Remember, Planet Fitness is also the place where grunting is not allowed. Thus, I guess powerlifters are discouraged there as well?

  • http://michaeljmahony.org Michael Mahony, ISSA CPT

    Hi Jim,

    Most people want to look lean and muscular which IS how bodybuilders look. Planet Fitness is about keeping fit? I respectfully disagree based upon the fact they serve pizza to their members. What gym that is worried about keeping people fit would do that?