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A Planet Fitness location in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan in April 2010.
|Industry||Exercising, Health Clubs|
Number of locations
Planet Fitness is an American franchise of fitness centers based in Newington, New Hampshire. Each gym features exercise equipment and fitness instructors to assist its members. It markets itself as a "Judgement Free Zone" that caters to novice and casual gym users. Planet Fitness opened its 500th location on December 27, 2012.
The fitness club was founded in 1992, when Michael Grondahl acquired a financially struggling gym and dramatically reduced prices to compete against better-known brands. This low-cost business model focuses on the needs of occasional or first-time health club members, rather than more experienced members.
There are 53 corporate-owned gyms, with the rest being independently owned and operated. The franchise is concentrated mostly in the Northeast, but has expanded into a nationwide franchise. The Franchise has been added to the Inc. 500 list.
In 2011, the co-founding Grondahl brothers were still leading the company, along with Chris Rondeau, who started out as the CFO (chief financial officer). More specifically, as the company continued to grow, the roles underwent some changes. Currently, Michael Grondahl serves as a board member, Chris Rondeau serves as CEO, and Mark Grondahl serves as CFO.
In the Fall of 2013, the Planet Fitness franchise gained a new partnership with TSG Consumer Partners LLC. This partnership was negotiated and completed in just 30 days with the help of Richard Moore, who is currently the general counsel and chief administration officer for Planet Fitness.
Planet Fitness currently has 958 locations with an estimated 6 million members across 48 states in the U.S.
As of January 2012, it is the national gym sponsor of NBC's reality show, The Biggest Loser. The contestants on the show will work out on Planet Fitness equipment while at The Biggest Loser Ranch in Calabasas, California, and then at Planet Fitness gyms near their homes, working with Planet Fitness fitness instructors.
In March of 2013, Planet Fitness partnered with 50 Cent to sell his energy drink "Street King" 
Critics have questioned Planet Fitness' legitimacy as a gym on the basis of the intensity of equipment and classes offered. There is also demand for child care. Others claim that Planet Fitness' practice of giving out free food throughout the month is inconsistent with their position as a fitness source.
In October 2011, an Albuquerque Planet Fitness refused to let a Tarainia McDaniel wear her religious head covering while working out. Despite signing a two-year contract with the gym, she was turned away and was told the head covering didn't meet the company’s dress code. The woman sued under the New Mexico Human Rights Act and the Unfair Practices Act, asserting that Planet Fitness illegally based the decision to deny her access upon her religion and race (she is African American.) The suit further claimed the gym had no legitimate or non-pretextual reason to deny her entry. Planet Fitness denied all violations stating that the Muslim woman failed to participate in good faith and that the company has legitimate business reasons for its practice as well as measures to prevent discrimination.
In March of 2014 at a Planet Fitness club in Richmond, California, a woman was told that her spaghetti strap tank top violated the gym's dress code. She decided to get her money back and cancel her membership. Critics assert that this event is at odds with the gym self-description as a “Judgement Free Zone.” McCall Gosselin, Planet Fitness spokesperson, said that criticizing Austin for being toned, “…is not in line with the Planet Fitness policy whatsoever.”
In March of 2015 a Michigan woman had her membership at Planet Fitness revoked after complaining to management that a transgender woman was using the men's locker room at her local facility. The woman said she felt her "safety was being violated" by the presence of a person with "the opposite parts" in a woman's locker room. She later went on to sue Planet Fitness citing violations of her rights to freedom of speech, denial of terms of contract, and denial of access to and use of a public facility.
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- Carol Kuruvilla (March 22, 2014). "Planet Fitness kicked Muslim woman out for wearing head scarf: lawsuit". Daily News (New York). Retrieved March 13, 2015.
- "Planet Fitness faces suit over Muslim head covering". Fox News. 20 March 2015.
- Charlene Sakoda (19 March 2014). "Gym tells woman to cover up because her toned body 'intimidated' others". Yahoo News. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Ben Axleson (March 26, 2015). "Woman sues Planet Fitness after gym bans her for complaint about transgender woman". syracuse.com.
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