If getting physically fit in 2023 is one of your goals, there is a good reason to entice you to join Planet Fitness, which just opened a brand-new facility on Dec. 15 in the Tigard Triangle. The new location offers one of Oregon’s first two “Wellness Pods,” which resemble a space capsule and give the occupant a multi-sensory experience. (Users choose scenery to watch along with sound, an aroma and a heat level in the bed.)
But being Planet Fitness, there is a lot more going on than just the Wellness Pod. Garret Scheckla, the area manager for Planet Fitness and the manager of the new Tigard Triangle location, is happy to give tours and explain all the amenities and options.
“What I love about Planet Fitness is that anyone can walk in and feel comfortable,” he said. “We want to make our facility fun, easy, inviting and welcoming to use. If you come in the door, we will make it a good experience.”
On a recent tour led by Scheckla and Merrill Richmond, marketing director for Planet Fitness, they pointed out the 26 large TV screens that show different channels visible from all the cardio equipment, and all users have to do is bring their own earbuds and plug in to the channel they want to watch. “We have a tremendous amount of equipment,” Scheckla said. “No matter what you want to do, there is equipment that you can use in different positions for all the different muscle groups.”
He pointed out equipment designed to strengthen the upper body where the seat can be removed, and a wheelchair-user can roll their wheelchair into its place.
Pictures and instructions are on the various pieces of equipment to show how to use them, and as an added bonus, Richmond pointed out QR codes on them and showed how taking a photo of one with his phone leads to videos showing different ways to use the equipment.
Off to one side is a huge functional training space with free weights, pull-up bars, yoga mats and large open areas to stretch. There are also resistance bands and diagrams on the floor showing you how to do different exercises along with before and after positions.
Next to this space is an open circle with 20 pieces of equipment – 10 for cardio and 10 for strength-training – that are set up in the popular Curves format; high on the wall are red and green lights which alternate going on and off. “Green means go, and red means rest, and you can get a full-body workout in 30 minutes,” Scheckla said.
He added, “We offer fitness training from basic to premium. Members have access to a fitness trainer, and people can do classes with our trainer Jake Monday through Friday. Planet Fitness believes in providing structure and guidance, which includes how to use the equipment and feel comfortable using it. It is truly in our nature.”
Cleanliness is a top priority throughout the facility, and the equipment and spacious men’s and women’s locker rooms are continuously cleaned.
Members pay $10 per month for all these amenities, but if they upgrade to the Black Card Spa level for $24.99 per month, they have access to all 2,300 Planet Fitness locations, including the nearby Tigard/King City facility, plus guest privileges, tanning beds and booths, hydro-massages, massage chairs, the Total Body Enhancement system, which is touted to help with collagen development, scar tissue reduction and wrinkle control, and the aforementioned Wellness Pod. If members have a Medicare Advantage plan, their insurer may pay their membership dues.
Richmond pulled up the Planet Fitness app on his phone that includes a crowd meter that shows how busy your club is currently and what the forecast is for the rest of the day and the week. The app also has exercises and workouts that can be followed whether you are in the club or not.
“We are glad to have two facilities in Tigard now,” said Richmond, noting that the franchisee moved its headquarters to the Tigard Triangle in April.
The corporate office was very busy in mid-December as it opened a Planet Fitness in Milwaukie, which also features a Wellness Pod, within a few days of opening the Tigard Triangle facility.
“Our franchise is one of three in Oregon, and these two new clubs are the 14th and 15th in our franchise,” Richmond said. “The health club business is all about people becoming their best self. We are not a gym – that is a different model. Our motto is, ‘Be your own hero,’ and our goal is to provide a judgment-free and respectful zone.
“A friend told me that the most important aspect of being fit is to maintain your freedom and independence to enjoy life as you get older. We offer lots of options, such as low-impact exercises so you don’t beat up your joints. Some of our equipment can be used seated if stability is an issue. We can’t make it any easier. We’re in your neighborhood. Part of our model is to be in places where you go anyway.”
According to Richmond, the clubs serve clients from 18 to 80-something, and Planet Fitness offers a high school summer program, where students between 14 and 18 can use clubs for free between May 15 and Aug. 30. “Planet Fitness had 3 ½ million students take advantage of the program last summer,” he said.
Planet Fitness was founded in 1992 in Dover, N.H., by brothers Michael and Marc Grondahl and featured heavy free-weights, juice bars, group exercise classes and more, but it only attracted 15 to 20 percent of the population. In 1993, the Grondahl brothers hired Chris Rondeau, who became the Planet Fitness CEO, to work the front desk, and together the three of them decided to change the gym environment to one that attracted the other 80 to 85 percent of the population. There are more than 16 million Planet Fitness members in the U.S.
The new Tigard Triangle facility, which like the others is open and staffed 24/7 Monday through Friday and from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends, is located at 7255 S.W. Dartmouth St.; for more information, visit www.planetfitness.com or call 503-746-6489.