Hi all, I'm from Singapore and I'm following this Planet Fitness Fiasco here with great interest. There are Planet Fitness gyms in Singapore but I'm not a member, neither do I know if there are ridiculous lunk alarms here or not but here's a great link that I found on the net. Its a great read. Enjoy!
November 20, 2006, 5:00 pm
Grunting Bodybuilder Might Flex His Legal Muscles
Posted by Peter Lattman
A health club in upstate New York kicked out one of its members because he violated one of its rules: He was grunting.
Saturday?s New York Times ran a front-page story on the kerfuffle. Albert Argibay, a state correction?s officer, apparently exacerbated the situation by continuing to pump iron after gym worker told him to stop lifting; police officers were called and he was escorted from the gym. The Planet Fitness gym in Wappingers Falls cancelled his membership.
No grunting? Planet Fitness is a national chain with a bunch of rules ? no bandannas, no jeans, no weight-banging ? intended to make ?novice exercisers? feel comfortable. It also apparently has some fun with the restrictions: When rule-breakers are spotted, a siren sounds with flashing blue lights. It?s called the ?lunk alarm?; the club defines a lunk as ?one who grunts, drops weights, or judges.?
What?s the legal angle? Argibay says he might sue the gym, alleging defamation (he told the Times his colleagues call him and make grunting noises and he fears prison inmates will lose respect for him). His lawyer, Jason Stern, a serious bodybuilder himself, has created boycottplanetfitness.com, a Web site that includes a list titled ?Top Ten Reasons to Join Planet Witless.? Among the entries: ?No. 10. Free Twinkie Tuesdays!?
I work out in a health club that has some very serious lifters who grunt.
Generally speaking, they flock together and don?t pay much attention to non-serious lifters, not to mention the Stairmaster crowd (which simply doesn?t exist to them). If you?re lifting 500 lbs, you?re not going to be around anyone struggling with 75 lbs.
And we non-serious health club patrons pretty much ignore the serious lifters.
Which is to say, in my gym everybody seems to get along just fine. Every gym I?ve been over the last few decades operates pretty much the same way.
So I don?t get what this club in upstate NY is doing trying to make ?novice exercisers? more comfortable by banning grunters. Or harrassing the serious lifters with a ?lunk alarm.?
There?s something creepy about a health club that treats its customers as though everyone?s still in junior high.
No way would I join a club like that.
Comment by Auto - November 20, 2006
Women don?t join gyms where they are not comfortable. That?s why there are gyms that cater to women specifically (Lucille Roberts, Curves, etc).
And grunters make women uncomfortable.
Comment by Mr. LL - November 20, 2006
When I first read about this incident, I immediately assumed the lunk was someone like a guy at my former club (actually a Y). His grunting, albeit while handling very heavy weights, could be heard over the music and over the hum of the aerobic equipment. He appeared to want everyone?s attention, and distracted all. I now understand that that was probably not the situation now at issue. The NY club should just own up to its marketing decision and help the serious lifters to find another club. Maybe a name change to Planet Wimp is in order, too.
Comment by Grunt Man - November 20,
If a gym has free weights or machines that induce the same type of workout as using free weights and the user -doesn?t-grunt even a little while using this equipment they are NOT working out in my experience. Any gym owner or trainer in a gym knows that grunting is almost always required when doing some weight lifting exercise routines to perform the routine correctly and avoid injury. Maybe the Planet Fitness gym is enforcing upon its patrons incorrect execution of some weight lifting exercise routines thereby resulting in possible injury to them. The license or certification of the Planet Fitness gym should be reviewed.
Comment by gymdog - November
To Auto, Grunt Man and gymdog:
Do your gyms yhave a sections where only woman can work out? many gyms do? Its because women don?t like to listen to men grunt?and for the most part, women don?t grunt (loudly) when they work out.
Comment by Anonymous - November 20, 2006 at 2:29 pm
?The NY club should just own up to its marketing decision and help the serious lifters to find another club.?
Huh? How could they do any more to make their marketing decisions perfectly clear. And, where does a club get a duty to help those who aren?t in its marketing targets to find an alternative?
It would be one thing if there were only one or two places to work out in the world, but the only thing keeping me from walking into the side of a health club in this town is the fact that there?s a Starbucks in the way. If you don?t like the policies of Club A, go to Club B!
Equally, whether any of us agree that the choices made by this club are physiologically sound are not is irrelevant?The club has a right to sell its services to whom it wants so long as its discrimination does not touch on the legally protected classes. Last I looked, people who grunt are not in a protected class.
Comment by Michael - November 20, 2006 at 2:52 pm
My current gym (6,000 members overall) welcomes women and they consitute approximately 40% of those on the free weight and resistance machine level, including quite a few in the 40-60 age range (including my size 4 wife). Modest grunting exists, but is minimally audible and in no event a nuisance. As for my earlier suggestion that Planet Wimp assist real iron pumpers in getting into a new club, Michael, I was thinking of initiation fees and longer term memberships. People who grunt may well have been induced to join on assurances of minimal enforcement of rules and a written warning before being kicked out for an infraction. A civil rights analysis of this situation is, of course, shallow and silly.
Comment by Grunt Man Redux - November 20, 2006 at 3:45 pm
I have worked at planet fitness before. The environment is non indimidating and someone grunting throwing up intense amount of weight is the complete opposite of what is supposed to happen. There is a contract he signed that included the no grunting clause. I do not what, if anything he is going to get from this lawsuit.
Comment by mike - November 20, 2006 at 5:37 pm
For the relevant legal principles, please see my planned flatulence class action against all Americans in the Global Warming section of this blog.
I think we can just cross out ?flatulence? and put in ?grunting?, and of course, it is a smaller base of defendants. But otherwise, I think it?s plain to see that the same logic applies!
Don?t grunt or emit gasses in this man?s country!
02-21-2007, 12:03 PM #1
More Anti Planet Fitness sentiments!!
02-21-2007, 12:04 PM #2
Comment by Please see my soon to be pending Flatulence Law Suit under "Global Warming" in this Blog - November 20, 2006 at 7:00 pm
Dear Anonymous Lady Gym-goer,
As any good lawyer knows, contracts don?t even count when it comes to the opportunity for good tort law suit. Let?s just cut to the chase on this one. We all know that the anti-grunting rule was a trap set by women in that club?s rules. But why stop with just that male transgression?
My thought is that all women should just form a class right now and sue all men for everthing they are and do, and just finish us off in one go.
I mean, let?s face it. Men smell worse. They are more hairy than women. They are louder. They emit more methane. They eat more food. They take up more space. They leave the toilet seat up. The list goes on and on, and I really feel that you women should be properly compensated right now! How in the world have you survived with our disgusting (male)gender on your planet for so long? It?s ungodly how you have had to put up with us, and completely unfair, and you really do deserve some compensation. Male grunting behavior is the least of what you?ve suffered from us guys!
Oh, and by the way, all we men are planning a class action against all women who have ever given birth to a male. Why? Because you could have killed us in the womb rather than let us be born and then torture us over our male qualities and make us suffer with all of your complaints against us ? the pain and suffering you inflict on us!
It?s YOUR fault we are alive.
We didn?t get a choice, and now we don?t have a chance! We need to be compensated for our pain at being men in a world where we are clearly a ?defective product? compared to the well established product standard of women! So we?re going to sue!
PAY US NOW!
Grunt, Grunt, GRUNT!!!
Comment by Dear Anonymous Lady Gym-goer - November 20, 2006 at 7:16 pm
Planet Fitness is, in my view, engaging in gender descrimination via the use of transparent code words.
?novice exerciser? = female
?Lunk? = large/strong male
?Lung Alarm? = company sanctioned device to humiliate large/strong males
Using code words to facilitate descrimination is nothing new.
This club?s member testimonials page:
lists the names of some members.
I count 20 female first names, and 3 male first names.
That?s also a way to use code to say: men, you?re not really welcome here.
You disgusting LUNKS!
Guys, I say we sue this male-bashing enterprise and put them under. Pound them into the floor. Make them beg for mercy. Let them hear the grunts of our tort lawyers as the slam our massive pleadings onto the counsel table in our forthcoming lawsuit!
Lunks for Justice Unite!
Comment by Gender Code Words Abound in Planet Fitness Site - November 20, 2006 at 7:55 pm
A couple of you need to talk to your therapists about some issues?
Comment by Anonymous - November 21, 2006 at 9:27 am
The point of the last few posts of prior to your own is that our entire society, including health clubs, their guests, and most of all LAWYERS, have gotten to the point where they don?t see how ridiculous their own excessively legalistic view of the world has become. These posts make the point that if one wishes to spend a few seconds looking at ANYTHING or ANYONE through the legalistic lense, everything in the universe is a potential lawsuit.
It is disgusting. But through lawyers? hallucinating eyes, everyone needs to be sued. It?s the only way to set things right!
We have a country of completely coddled babies in adult bodies whose idea of a bad day is having to hear a sound unpleasant to their ears, or God forbid, being ?criticized?. And their idea of aggression is to threaten, or occasionally even embark on that most naive and ill-advised of all unique Americanisms: a lawsuit.
Which means of course, having to hire one or more of the most coddled and insulated profession on the planet: American lawyers.
I?m thinking about the condition of Rome before the fall of the Roman Empire, what about you?
Comment by Not Issues, An Excessively Legalistic Society Run Amok - November 21, 2006 at 10:23 am
I?m thinking of Timothy McVeigh in early April.
Comment by Anonymous - November 21, 2006 at 10:44 am
Wow- as a Planet Fitness member, I am a bit surprised by the firestorm this story has created. The policies against grunting, etc., are plastered all over the gym, and the initial contract. Any serious weight lifter would be aware from the beginning of the no-grunting policy. If such a policy truly is a serious threat to physical integrity, why on Earth would anyone who is at risk choose to join? The majority of the men in my gym seem to comply with all of the policies with relative ease. The bottom line is that serious weight-lifters are on notice from the moment they walk in the door that thier macho crap will not be tolerated. More importantly, they have several alternatives. What is the problem here?
Comment by Anonymous - November 21, 2006 at 11:07 am
Can I file a suit saying I don?t like the grunting of female tennis players when they serve? Shouldn?t tey sound a ?unk alarm? at Wimbledon? Geez, talk about a bunch of people with too much time on their hands and no real problems in life! Ladies, if you really don?t like guys in your gym, go join a Curves. Men, if you don?t want to be harassed by women who don?t think you are hot while grunting, there is Muscle Beach, California. Cant the rest of us regular folks all just get along. Me, I?m ready for another round of 12 ounce curls.
Comment by KDM - November 21, 2006 at 11:49 am
This controversy is fascinating. I?m a female gym-goer and can say with confidence that I?d be pretty outraged to be referred to as a ?lunk? were I some jacked guy who did a lot of weight-lifting. Sure, the grunting can get out of hand and can be tedious, but are people really so fragile that they feel intimidated by it? Also, I?d appreciate not being lumped in with female gym-goers with sensibilities so delicate that they can?t bear to be in the same room as a guy who makes noise while he exercises.
I understand that being in a gym requires everybody to be cognizant and considerate of their fellow gym-goers. However, the ninny-ish tone of some of the other gym-goers is pretty grating. There also seems to be some weird class thing going on that I can?t quite put my finger on - I can?t shake the image of some bespectacled nerd finally getting his revenge on the ?lunk? football player who was mean to him in high school.
With all this said, any legal ramifications seem far-fetched.
Comment by Samantha T - November 21, 2006 at 11:53 am
Dear Anonymous at 10:44am,
Didn?t Mr. McVeigh?s therapist prescribe a large dose of electroshock therapy (ECT)for him? Seemed to cure him, so I think he?s all set now.
How about you anonymous?
Are your therapeutic needs being fully met?
When I think of someone who rather unimaginatively, and anonymously, sticks little 1-line ?needle? comments into others, while not focussing on the group discussion at all, one diagnostic possibility which springs to mind is ?sadism?.
But you really should ask your therapist. Maybe they can get to a little ECT program going?
Comment by Dear Anonymous - November 21, 2006 at 1:47 pm
Great blog! As the attorney for Mr. Argibay, let me just say this: I have received several profanity-laced emails and IMs from AOL members. As many of you know, use of offensive language is a violation of the AOL Terms of Service. Were AOL to cancel each person?s AOL account, I don?t think they would see it as such a simple, ?Hey you agreed to a contract and you violated the rules.? That being said, isn?t the next logical step for Planet Witless to ban sweating? It would prevent people from spending too much time using the cardio equipment, discourage hard workouts, and keep the staff from having to clean the machines. Would that be okay too?
Comment by Jason Stern - November 22, 2006 at 6:59 pm
?If such a policy truly is a serious threat to physical integrity, why on Earth would anyone who is at risk choose to join? ?
Many of us have little choice, and the change from a bodybuilding gym to ?Planet Fitness? style was pushed on us where I live.
My gym was owned by a pro bodybuilder and promoter, and stood basically alone in my area of choices of good gyms. The sell out to Planet Fitness gave us little choice, if we wished to continue a gym type program at all. The Lunk-Alert is now being installed in our gym, after 8 months, and many existing members are concerned about what will happen, and where will go if we are ?Judged? unfitting to stay at the gym, of which many have spent as many as 15 years at.
Comment by rjc - November 22, 2006 at 7:02 pm
Happy to see you?re on the case for Mr. Argibay, Jason. I hope you?re checking the NYS Human Rights law and considering whether to add a claim for Argibay thereunder? under 296(2)(a) of that law, it?s illegal for a place of public accommodation or amusement (planet fitness, anyone?) to discriminate on the basis of sex ?or that the patronage or custom thereat ? is unwelcome,
objectionable or not acceptable, desired or solicited.?
It should be beyond cavil that grunters are almost exclusively male in the gym. The gym has a sign banning a male muscular person. The design of the policy (I think it?s been admitted publicly) is to make women feel welcome. That?s a disparate impact claim for sex discrimination. Planet Fitness may be able to rebut by showing a legitimate business need for the no-grunt policy to some degree, but a 100% ban on any sort of noise seems irrational and ultimately indefensible. You go get ?em?
Comment by Jason, are you doing your job? - November 22, 2006 at 8:11 pm
02-21-2007, 12:08 PM #3
02-21-2007, 12:12 PM #4
02-21-2007, 12:15 PM #5
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How loud a grunt sets off the alarm?
Part of me thinks its a good idea because there is occasionally some jackass making way to much noise - not grunting, but almost yelling - or slamming their barbells together every time they press them over their head. I have no problem with those kinds of people being thrown out. they don't intimidate, they annoy. In my experience, these are not big serious lifters, but guys who THINK they are big serious lifters.
I kind of hiss when I exhale and am pushing heavy weight (or what is heavy for me, anyway). Would that set off the alarm?
I agree with the capitalism posts, they should be able to do what they want; but that doesn't mean we can't critisize a stupid rule.█♣█
02-21-2007, 12:39 PM #9
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02-21-2007, 01:53 PM #11