Planet Fitness

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Planet Fitness
Traded as NYSEPLNT
Industry Health club
Founded 1992; 25 years ago (1992)
Founder Michael Grondahl
Marc Grondahl
Number of locations
over 1,400
Key people
Chris Rondeau (CEO)

PFIP LLC (doing business as Planet Fitness) is an American franchisor and operator of fitness centers based in Hampton, New Hampshire.[1] The company reports that it has more than 1,400 clubs,[2] making it one of the largest fitness club franchises by number of members and locations. It markets itself as a "Judgement Free Zone" that caters to novice and casual gym users and is reported to be the nation’s fastest growing fitness center franchise.[3]


A Planet Fitness location in Revere, Massachusetts in November 2012
Planet Fitness locations in the United States

Planet Fitness was founded in 1992, in Dover, New Hampshire, when Michael and Marc Grondahl acquired a financially struggling gym and dramatically reduced prices to compete against better-known brands.[4] This low-cost business model focuses on the needs of occasional or first-time health club members, rather than more experienced members.[3]

In 1993, the Grondahl brothers hired Chris Rondeau, Planet Fitness’ current CEO, to work the front desk. Rondeau and the Grondahls recognized that 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 model.[5] Planet Fitness then became known as the "Judgement Free Zone," aimed more at the average user than the bodybuilder type of fitness enthusiast.[6]

In 2003, Planet Fitness opened its first franchised location in Florida, with Eric Dore and Shane McGuiness.[6]

In February 2016, the franchise was added to the Franchise Times' "Fast and Serious" list of top franchises (#1),[5] and in its 2016 ranking of franchises, Forbes magazine ranked Planet Fitness #4.[7] It ranked in the top 50 of Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500 in 2017.[8]

In the fall of 2013, TSG Consumer Partners LLC became an equity partner in the Planet Fitness franchise.[9] Michael Grondahl, co-founder of Planet Fitness stepped down as CEO, and was succeeded by Chris Rondeau.[10][11]


The company reports that as of 2017, there are 58 corporate-owned gyms, the rest independently owned and operated.[12][5]

The club's two membership levels are $10 and $21.99 per month: the $10 per month level includes access to cardio and strength equipment, unlimited group fitness instruction and pizza and bagels once a month; the $21.99 per month (“Black Card”) level allows members to bring one guest per day at no charge, access to all Planet Fitness locations, and access to extra amenities, such as tanning booths and massage chairs.[13][8]

In December 2014, Planet Fitness opened its first international location in Toronto, Canada. The second Toronto location opened in early 2015.[14][15] In October 2015 the company opened their second international location in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.[16]

With the addition of a Planet Fitness outlet in Casper, WY,[17] as of August 2017, Planet Fitness had over 1,400 locations with an estimated 10 million members across 49 states, the District of Columbia, the Dominican Republic, and Canada.[2][12] In 2016, over 90% of Planet Fitness locations were opened by existing franchise owners.[18]


In October 2011, Planet Fitness reached an agreement with NBC to sponsor the network's reality show, The Biggest Loser beginning with the 2012 season.[19] The contestants on the show worked out on Planet Fitness equipment and then at Planet Fitness gyms near their homes, working with Planet Fitness instructors.[19]

In March 2013, Planet Fitness partnered with 50 Cent to sell his energy drink "Street King" [20]

Since December 2014, Planet Fitness has been the official fitness sponsor of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on ABC.[21]

In March 2016, Planet Fitness partnered with STOMP Out Bullying,[22] a national organization dedicated to bullying prevention, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to launch the company’s national philanthropic initiative, The Judgement Free Generation.[23] Also in 2016, the company donated more than $1 million to the program.[24][25][26] Planet Fitness has also provided mini "Judgement Free Zone" gyms to Boys & Girls Clubs in Manchester, NH[27] and Pasadena, CA.[28]


In October 2011, an Albuquerque Planet Fitness refused to let Tarainia McDaniel wear her religious head covering while working out.[29] 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.[30] The suit was settled for a confidential amount. Planet Fitness changed its policies nationwide, and allows headcoverings.[31]

In March 2015 a Michigan woman had her membership at Planet Fitness revoked after complaining to management that a male person was using the women's locker room at her local gym. The woman said she felt her "safety was being violated" by the presence of a person with "the opposite parts" in a women's locker room. She later sued the company for revoking her membership, 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.[32] The suit was dismissed in January 2016, with the judge finding that Planet Fitness' policy alone wasn't sufficient to create a hostile environment.[33]


  1. ^ Sullivan, Max (November 10, 2016). "Planet Fitness headquarters moving to Hampton". Seacoast GateHouse Media. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Sheetz, Michael (August 10, 2017). "Planet Fitness stock near record high, real estate 'gains' without 'retail pains'". Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Schlossberg, Mallory (December 12, 2015). "The fastest-growing gym in America has $10 memberships and gives out free pizza, bagels, and candy". Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  4. ^ Morrel, Katie (June 13, 2013). "Marc Grondahl of Planet Fitness: How a Lean Business Model Became a Franchise Heavyweight". Open Forum. American Express. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c EWEN, Beth; KAISER, Tom; UPTON, Nicholas; WEINGARTNER, Nancy (February 23, 2016). "Fast and Serious: FT ranks the smartest-growing brands". Franchise Times. 
  6. ^ a b Taylor, Kate (July 25, 2014). "Franchise Players: We Were Planet Fitness's First Franchisees. Now, We Own 22 Locations". Entrepreneur Media. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  7. ^ Feldman, Amy (June 22, 2016). "Ranking America's Best And Worst Franchises: Which Are The Best Investments?". Forbes Media. 
  8. ^ a b "2017 Top Franchises from Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 List". Entrepreneur Media. 
  9. ^ Lawrence, Kelli (August 15, 2013). "A World Of Their Own". Profile Magazine. Retrieved 2014-06-08. 
  10. ^ "Planet Fitness Has New Investor; Promotes Rondeau To CEO". TSG Consumer Partners. January 17, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Former Radio Shack CFO Fills Planet Fitness Hole". News Corp. July 26, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Form 10-K Planet Fitness Inc". United States Security and Exchange Commission. December 31, 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  13. ^ Tom, Lauren (December 24, 2015). "17 January Gym Discounts That Are Too Cheap to Pass Up". Hearst Corp. 
  14. ^ "American gym powerhouse chooses Brampton for first suburban Canadian location". 
  15. ^ Tucker, Rebecca (January 22, 2015). "Cheap 'n' cheerful chinups: Canada welcomes Planet Fitness, the $10 gym for those bad at gym". Postmedia Network Inc. 
  16. ^ Stromgren, Eric (October 15, 2015). "Planet Fitness Continues International Expansion in Dominican Republic". Club Industry Magazine, Penton Business Media. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  17. ^ Wyoming Secretary of State's Office (April 17, 2017). "Planet Fitness Casper, Inc". Wyoming Secretary of State. Wyoming State Government. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  18. ^ Rick, Munarriz (April 6, 2017). "10 Million Reasons to Get Pumped About Planet Fitness". Fox Business. News Corp. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  19. ^ a b Goldman, Stuart (October 11, 2011). "Planet Fitness to Sponsor 'The Biggest Loser'". Penton Media. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  20. ^ "50 Cent and Joan Rivers Kick It At The Gym [PHOTOS". The Urban Daily. 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2014-06-08. 
  21. ^ Olenski, Steve (December 22, 2016). "Planet Fitness To Launch New Global Campaign On New Year's Eve". Forbes Media. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  22. ^ STOMP Out Bullying
  23. ^ Share, Susan (March 11, 2016). "The Judgement Free Zone: Judgement Free Generation Video Contest". Boys and Girls Clubs of America. 
  24. ^ Friedman, John (November 9, 2016). "Planet Fitness 'Judgment Free Zones' a Model of Inclusion". Huffington Post., Inc. 
  25. ^ Cameron, Courtney (January 2017). "Planet Fitness Anti-Bullying Initiative $1M Success". Athletic Business LLC. 
  26. ^ "Planet Fitness Anti-Bullying Initiative $1M Success". The Parkersburg News & Sentinel. January 8, 2017. 
  27. ^ Feely, Paul (September 9, 2016). "Planet Fitness debuts fitness room for kids at Boys and Girls Club in Manchester". New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  28. ^ Pasadena Now, Staff Reports (November 13, 2016). "Planet Fitness Opens Judgement Free Gym at Pasadena Boys and Girls Club". Pasadena Now. PASADENA NOW. LLC. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  29. ^ Carol Kuruvilla (March 22, 2014). "Planet Fitness kicked Muslim woman out for wearing head scarf: lawsuit". Daily News. New York. Retrieved March 13, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Planet Fitness faces suit over Muslim head covering". Fox News. 20 March 2015. 
  31. ^ "Whatever happened to …? Catching up with 2014's top stories". Albuquerque Journal. 1 January 2015. 
  32. ^ Ben Axleson (March 26, 2015). "Woman sues Planet Fitness after gym bans her for complaint about transgender woman". 
  33. ^ Andrew Keller (January 12, 2016). "Court dismisses suit against Planet Fitness transgender locker room policy". CNN. 

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