The first franchise location opened in Cambridge, Minnesota later that year.[8] They chose the site because of the lack of other fitness clubs in the immediate area and a population large enough to support a fitness club. Shortly after, two more locations were opened by former Southview Athletic Club employees in Duluth and Albert Lea, Minnesota. Runyon, Mortensen and Klinger sold 29 franchises before they opened their own corporate-owned location in Bemidji, Minnesota.[7]
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] As early as March 2015, the "Judgement Free Zone" policy has been expanded to allow trans women to use the women's locker room. The policy states that "members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity."[7]
The day I walked into Planet Fitness I weighed 315 pounds. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and I wanted to do something about it. Joining Planet Fitness may have saved my life. Since the first day I walked into Planet Fitness and started doing a workout program, I’ve lost 50lbs and have dropped several clothes sizes! I feel great. Everyone who sees me now tells me how good I look. All I can say to Planet Fitness is thank you for a great place to work out!
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