Normally, I defend Planet Fitness, but this is total bullshit.
Too fit for Planet Fitness? Woman says staff said her 'toned body' intimidated others
By John Mariani
A California woman quit Planet Fitness 15 minutes into her first workout after staff members told her that her that her "toned body" was intimidating other members and to cover up her midriff-revealing outfit.
Tiffany Austin displays the outfit she was asked to cover up by a Planet Fitness staff member in Richmond, Calif.
Tiffany Austin told KTVU.com that she joined the gym Monday in the Oakland suburb of Richmond, Calif., to get back into shape after a car accident.
Wearing a pink halter top and capri pants, she hopped onto a treadmill. She soon noticed other members staring at her, she said. Then a staff member approached and, according to Austin, told her:
"Excuse me we've had some complaints you're intimidating people with your toned body. So can you put on a shirt?"
She agreed to put on a Planet Fitness T-shirt, but while waiting for the first staff member to bring it, another staffer approached to talk to her about her body.
Fed up and feeling harassed and intimidated herself, Austin said she sought the manager, asked for her money back and left.
Planet Fitness advertises a "Judgement Free Zone" philosophy which, according to its website, "means members can relax, get in shape, and have fun without being subjected to the hard-core, look-at-me attitude that exists in too many gyms." It discourages obnoxious gym behavior such as loud weight-dropping by sounding a "lunk alarm." Its gyms offer few frills but memberships cost as little as $10 a month. Five million people have joined its gyms in every state except Montana, Wyoming and Hawaii.
The dress code at its gyms are at the discretion of the manager and staff, Planet Fitness spokesperson Mcall Gosselin told KTVU. But it would not conform with company policy if Richmond staff criticized Austin for being toned and fit, Gosselin said.
Derek Van Reheenen, director of the Athletic Studies Center at the nearby University of California at Berkeley, said he thought that, generally, "what Planet Fitness is doing is a positive thing."
"They obviously need to iron out some of these issues," Van Reheenen told KTVU. "But sport in the U.S. is by nature is discriminatory, too. It is selective and it is elite."
Planet Fitness' policies have come into question in other incidents.
In a lawsuit filed recently in New Mexico, Tarainia McDaniel says she was barred from entering an Albuquerque-area Planet Fitness while wearing a head scarf essential to her Muslim faith, ABQJournal.com reported Thursday. The gym's lawyer said the head covering violated its dress code and that staff members didn't know it was for religious purposes.
In 2006, Yahoo.com noted, Albert Argibay was removed by police from a Planet Fitness in Wappingers Falls for breaking the gym's rule against grunting.
Argibay told The New York Times he had 500 pounds of weights on his shoulders and was breathing heavily. The gym's manager said Argibay was expelled because he became abusive when she confronted him.
Do you think Austin should have been ordered to cover up?