PARKERSBURG - The people behind the new Planet Fitness gym in Parkersburg want to take away the fear and uncertainty people have about going to a gym and working out.
The gym in the Gihon Shopping Center opened Nov. 17 and has been pretty busy ever since, said co-owner Sharon Lomasney.
''Planet Fitness provides a unique atmosphere,'' she said. ''Everybody feels comfortable, accepted and respected.
Photos by Brett Dunlap
The interior of the new Planet Fitness gym at the Gihon Shopping Center. The gym has a variety of exercise programs and equipment available. The organizers also wanted people to feel comfortable about coming to a gym to work out.
''We are a gym for the general public. We don't cater to the bodybuilders, the all ready fit. Most of our members are first-time gym users.''
Many first-time gym users might have initial fears about coming to a gym, thinking they should already be fit before they try to work out in a gym.
"We want you to feel comfortable," Lomasney said. "We create that atmosphere so you do feel comfortable."
Planet Fitness has 500 locations nationwide. The Parkersburg gym is the first in West Virginia.
"We liked the West Virginia area," Lomasney said. "It is very similar to the Hudson Valley in New York where we started."
"The terrain was very similar and the demographics were very similar to what we had done in New York."
They came and toured the state and decided on Parkersburg for the place where they wanted to start in West Virginia. They have hopes to eventually expand further into the state.
The gym provides more than 140 pieces of cardio equipment, stretching equipment, circuit training, strength training and more. They also offer circuit training where people can work out with a series of numbered machines timed with a green/red light.
People can work out for 12 minutes on one machine and change to another and work their way around.
People are able to work with a trainer.
''Planet Fitness has over 1,000 slots a month,'' Lomasney said of fitness training classes where people can design their own program or work on a specific area like the chest, back, abs, arms, legs and shoulders.
''You can work with a trainer each and every time you come,'' Lomasney added. ''We help that person who doesn't know what they are doing in a gym.
''We take away that factor of fear.''
Planet Fitness has two membership options, a $10 a month option and a $19.95 a month Black Card option.
''Both of them are with a dollar down,'' Lomasney said. ''None of them have a commitment and can be canceled at any time.''
The $10 membership gives someone access to the gym and the classes.
The $19.95 Black Card membership also includes free unlimited tanning, haircuts at their styling salon, red light therapy, massage chairs and a hydro-massage bed.
Red light therapy is a new concept which helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as helps in getting rid of scaring and the appearance of cellulite, Lomasney said.
''It is all really reasonable,'' she said. ''The gym is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We never close, except for Christmas.
''We try to take the negative out of people not having the time or trying to go when a gym could be closed. We try to make it easy for people to go.''
Many exercise machines are fitted with 19-inch TV's as well as remote controls, headphones and iPod hookups so people can have something to enjoy while they work out.
Planet Fitness employs around 25 people at its Parkersburg location.
''We are very excited to be in West Virginia,'' Lomasney said. ''This has been really good. The town has been very helpful.''
''Foodland and Ollies have been great neighbors. All of the people we have met have just been so nice. When you go into a new area, you just don't know what it is going to be like.''
Planet Fitness strives to maintain a clean and friendly environment.
They have implemented the lunk alarm to help maintain it.
''It is a siren,'' Lomasney said. ''If you are being loud, dropping weights or being disrespectful to others, we lunk you.
''We warn you that is not ok at Planet Fitness. It is our way of keeping our atmosphere comfortable, accepting and respectful.''
Signs are also posted around the gym with sayings "No Egos" and "You Belong."
''It is to let everyone know we are here for the general public,'' Lomasney said.