by Rocco Castellano

Have you ever heard the saying, “You ain’t doing something right if someone’s not hating you”? Well, confirmation is coming in every day, especially concerning Planet Fitness and it’s Lunk Alarm. Several weeks back, a couple of people wrote in, thinking they could bitch about how I railed on Planet Fitness, which might change my thinking. Uhhh, No. Their thought process was so incoherent it made me want to put this column out that week, but patience is a virtue, or so I’m told.

Just a quick recap for the brain-dead and fitness-ignorant; Tootsie Rolls, no matter how much you love them, shouldn’t be served up at a fitness facility like clams on a half shell at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. Deliver Pizza to your home, not your gym. And if you are intimidated by a heavyweight, stay the f**k out of my way, let me lift, and you probably won’t get hurt. 

So, you all know about my first day at Planet Fitness. But what you didn’t know is that I went back. Yes, you guessed it. I’m a glutton for entertaining punishment, and I like the color purple (or maybe just the movie, but I am a glutton for amusing punishment).

Everyone who works out at a real gym or in their garages knows about the Planet Fitness Lunk Alarm. 

If you don’t, how does living under that rock feel? 

The Lunk Alarm is an indicator that wussies use to point out the people they wish they could be. Or, at least, that’s how I see it. 

So let me tell you about my experience with the Lunk Alarm, and remember, this is only Day 2 of a brand new membership. With my belly filled with yummy, chocolatey Tootsie Rolls, I decided to get a workout in. 

On Day 1, I was interrupted by the manager while doing a 315-pound squat, so I did some chest flies and “grunted” a little and decided it was a good time to leave. 

I left the Metallica at home this time and tried hard to play by the rules. I forced myself to listen to the bubble gum pop shit flowing tirelessly out of the sound system and promised myself I wouldn’t grunt, breathe too hard or make any noise that could intimidate the average wuss. 

F**k, I tried. 

I have never had so much anxiety trying to get a workout in. My back was the body part of choice for this day, and maybe some arms; what harm could that do? I always hate asking that question because the answer always seems to involve police and new wrist jewelry.

Then, I found out very early that “Barbell” rows are a no-no. 

I added some weight, again, a few plates on one end of the barbell and stuck the other end up the manager’s ass, I mean, in the closest corner I could find, and began doing One Arm Rows. Today I was greeted by a very blonde, slightly overweight “personal trainer” who advised me that I couldn’t do “that” exercise because it wasn’t part of the “exercise repertoire” at Planet Fitness. 

I’m not making this shit up. 

Exercise repertoire. In all my life, 45 years in fitness, I know all the most brutal trainers in the world, and I have never heard any of them say “exercise repertoire.” I have a little vomit in my mouth writing this. No, really. What, are we at the symphony or the ballet? “Hi, I’m Victoria today, we will begin your exercise repertoire with six plies and 12 pirouettes.” Should I be wearing a leotard?

I glossed over the “slightly” overweight personal trainer in that exchange because it was as comical as the visual sounds—basically, a fat person teaching a fat person to exercise. Yep, just like two Buicks fighting for a parking space. Life imitating shitty art. 

So, I put my weights away because I like to lead by example using gym etiquette; I always hated when lazy idiots would never put their weights back in my gyms. I went over to the “lat” pull-down and banged out about 25 front pull-downs (because performing behind-the-head pull-downs will damage your rotator cuff, and I like my rotator cuffs’ cute little muscles that keep your shoulder joint together).

I finished up my sets and escaped without incident. 

Planet Fitness and I had a severe parting of ways. But my time without incident would be short-lived. And here, my friends is where it all fell apart. I don’t know if you know what a “low row” is, but to keep it simple, it’s a cable connected to a weight stack where you hold two handles and sit on the floor. You stretch all the way forward and pull the weight toward yourself, keeping your back perpendicular to the floor and bending at the elbows. It’s easier to show you than write it. 

I’m sitting on the floor, pulling a cable to my chest with two handles. At the time I did this, the stack was only 220 pounds. It may be more now, but I was pulling the whole rack for almost 20 reps. I say almost because that f**king tap on the shoulder came again, this time in full pull. So, I decided to drop all 220lbs. Off went the Lunk Alarm, and I was escorted out.

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