Planet Fitness opens during summer to teens

Jason Aquino, Staff Writer

For some teens, summer vacation poses an extended period of lethargy that consists of binge watching Netflix, compulsive eating and playing Fortnite religiously. But for those seeking an active summer routine, Planet Fitness welcomed high school teens ages 15 through 18 to work out for free at any of its more than 1,800 locations throughout the United States and Canada all summer long.

“We [wanted] to give teens across the United States the chance to stay active when school is out — a time when they may not otherwise have access to organized fitness or athletic programs, which is why we’re [offering] a safe space to exercise for free and spend time with their friends all summer long,” Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau said in a press release.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends kids ages 6 to 17 strive to get a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day — whether it be strength training, basketball, running on a treadmill or taking a dance class. With the Planet Fitness Teen Summer Challenge, teens between the ages of 15 to 18 had the chance to do all of those activities for free.

“I thought it was a great opportunity for us teens because the majority of us wasted our summer indoors,” junior Chris Lara said. “Also, it helped high school athletes stay in shape for next year’s season.”

Due to the popularity of the program, students from several local high schools participated.

“I saw kids from Bear Creek, Saint Mary’s, Stagg, McNair, and Chavez training in the location I worked at,” trainer senior Andrew Blackston said.

Additionally, all teens who signed up were automatically entered into Planet Fitness’s Scholarship Sweepstakes. By the end of summer, 51 teens across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. will be randomly selected to receive $500, and one teen will receive a $5,000 grand prize. Teens also had the chance to win prizes on Planet Fitness’s Twitter and Instagram pages throughout the summer, such as Planet Fitness apparel, movie tickets and wireless headphones.

“I think having competition over social media [pushed] teens harder to work out because social media is part of our daily lives and is something we use every day,” junior Julius Sylvester said.

“I actually enjoyed the time [at Planet Fitness] because I would see a lot of Bear Creek students there,” senior Niko Brown said. “It added some competitiveness too.”

For some, the opportunity led to them continuing their fitness regime even after summer vacation came to an end.

“I was [the most] physically active that I’ve ever been,” senior Jeremy Del Rosario said. “It started off as tagging along with my friends for fun, but then I noticed myself getting addicted [to the gym] the whole summer.”

Due to the success of this year’s summer program this year, Planet Fitness plans to make the challenge an annual event.