Lost in planet scroll

December 14, 2015 § 12 Comments

Cracked pelvis ehab and recovery have their benefits: Lower grocery bills. Less laundry (waaaaay less laundry). Zero monthly bike equipment expenses. And of course, fewer showers. Waaaaaay fewer showers.

But the downside is extra time. People evolved having to scrounge and scrape from dawn to dusk. They don’t do well at all with extra time. This is why they invented war and writing and art and television and Facebag and the Twitter, to kill all that extra time.

The excess hours have caused me to sink into the cesspool of planet scroll, where I scroll down the Twitter endlessly. That’s where I came across Planet Fitness and Shushanik Gabrielyan. Planet Fitness is a gym that caters to first-time and (very) occasional gym users.

It discourages gym rats, squat racks, grunting, and it only has up to 80 pounds of free weights. Everything is done in a nurturing “judgment free zone.” No one is made to feel inadequate or intimidated by some ripped fitness freak who is curling a Smart car.

In case the workout experience tires you out, once a month Planet Fitness offers free pizzas and bagels. And free Tootsie Rolls 24/7 at the counter. It’s hard to say whether they’re successful, but they have over 1,000 franchises and are publicly listed.

Shushanik Gabrielyan is a young woman who graduated from high school and is now suing the Glendale Unified School District. As a member of the school’s water polo squad, she was subjected to workouts in which her coach Casey Sripramong conducted drills that were “extremely intense and egregiously inappropriate,” and that even left her “pushed to the point of exhaustion.”

With regard to Planet Fitness, gym rats hate the place. “Worst gym ever.””It’s not a gym.” Etc.

With regard to Shushanik, comments generally hover in the region of disbelief. Suing a coach because her workouts hurt and made you sore? Really? I mean, really really?

And the answer is really, yes. But the bigger question is whether or not Shushanik and Planet Pizza herald the onslaught of the zombie apocalypse, and if they do, how in the world are we going to battle it with nothing but pizza-and-bagel gorging candy-asses armed with Tootsie Rolls, and the occasional whiny “athlete” who’s upset because she had to sweat?

Alas, if it were only limited to gyms and water polo squads! But it’s not. Competitive cycling is awash with Shushaniks–from thin-skinned juniors who can’t handle losing to glass-ego masters who foment a revolution because they’ll have to (Gasp!) compete against 35-year-olds instead of 40-year-olds.

This begs the question, “Is there anything wrong with being a cupcake?” Of course not, just as long as you understand that the purpose of cupcakes is to be eaten.

And then there’s the bigger picture. Planet Pizza claims that its business model ($10 monthly membership) accommodates people who need a gym to help them get ready to go to a gym, but that’s utter bullshit. Planet Pizza’s clientele are like every other gym’s clientele: They sign up and don’t go.

However, unlike CrossFit and SoulCycle and all the other ridiculously named, mirrored meat markets, at $10/month it’s easy to maintain your membership at Planet Pizza without actually going, almost like having a $2.99 blog subscription that you never actually read.

This is one reason Planet Pizza hasn’t raised its rates since 1999. The other reason is that when you discourage actual “gym rats,” i.e. “people who use what they’ve paid for,” you eliminate the gym members who wear shit out.

Running a gym requires continual equipment maintenance and replacement if you have a contingent of heavy users, and the stuff isn’t cheap. It’s much easier to stretch the life out of a treadmill that’s never used, cf. your Lemond indoor trainer gathering dust in the garage, and the lifespan of the equipment affects every gym’s bottom line. Problem is, excluding heavy users to focus on members who never come gives the lie to Planet Pizza’s marketing ploy. They don’t exist to help the uninitiated get fit, they exploit suckers. Which is kind of the same thing.

Worse, this type of behavior, once accepted and entrenched, makes it unexceptional when an athlete sues a school district for making them uncomfortable and sore. I shudder to think who Gabrielyan is going to sue the first time she has marathon sex. The promise of “all gain, no pain” and the cynical sale of gym memberships-cum-pizza ties in perfectly with people like Gabrielyan who are outraged that progress requires discomfort, discipline, and, yes, nut-crunching misery. Donut Ride, anyone?

Of course there’s an easy solution to all of this: Quit scrolling.



For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog. But it will never, ever, ever make you fit. Guaranteed. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

§ 12 Responses to Lost in planet scroll

  • dangerstu says:

    I could get all whiney and says it’s part of the culture where everyone goes home with a medal blah blah blah

    But on a semi serious note, though I never had an issue with planet pizza, I do wonder if I could sue the young lady for her idiocy, in the name of all that is good with the world and to prevent the aforementioned apocalypse

    • fsethd says:

      I think the zombies have read the complaint filed by her attorney and they’ve already launched.

  • Matt Smith says:


    When I decided, last year, that cycling wasn’t getting me ripped for summertime, I just happened to see that Planet Fitness was opening in Lomita. I went there and signed up for $10 a month and thought, “Yes! Cheap! Right off the freeway!” And so I started to lift 3 days a week after school. And it was good.

    The problem: everyone in Harbor City, Lomita and South Torrance also thought $10 a month was a good price, and the place was FLOODED with humans. Tootsie rolls wrappers and pizza sauce were everywhere. Lines for the stair master were endless. The place only has 1 complete set of free weights. So, not only do they cater to people who will not go to the gym, but if you actively try to use their facilities, you realize that there is neither enough space nor enough equipment to accommodate.

    A regular gym user will eventually find the regular faces (i.e. I went M-W-F at 5 pm), but with PF, new people were signing up every day. It felt as if every day I was there, so were 50 other first time users, all of us battling to get those free weights.

    Canceled in 3 months and eventually landed Kettlebells South Bay.

    The free pizza? It’s real!!! And people lined up for that shit minutes ahead of time. What a place!!

  • Tamar T. says:

    My first thought is Garbrielyan is pre-Law somewhere and trying to get points. Second is that I didn’t realize Glendale has a mandatory water polo membership policy which discouraged free will and prohibited dropping out of the program. Third is give that coach a raise.

    • fsethd says:

      Yes, the mandatory water polo membership policy is one of the toughest in the nation. Four years of required water polo, and frankly, lots of kids simply don’t make it and don’t graduate as a result.

  • Carlos says:

    “I shudder to think who Gabrielyan is going to sue the first time she has marathon sex.”
    I like your irreverent style but this? Not so much.

    • fsethd says:

      The line between humor and offense is hard to see, easily crossed, and shifts with the time, the reader, and the topic. Sorry …

      • channel_zero says:

        You broke the Internet. I’ve been offended. My mandatory viewing of pvcycling has caused me harm. See you in court!!! As soon as you can make it to the bench unaided.

        Do you “belong to a gym?” Oh yes! We won’t talk about the fact it’s more of an equipment showroom where precious little work is done.

        I think what’s missing is snacks on demand at planet pizza. Chips and Guacamole only $9.99 delivered right to your eliptical. How about a milk shake with a little coffee in it delivered to you while you wait in line for the bench press machine? ONLY $6.49

        Planet pizza IS America 2015. Believe!!!!

        • fsethd says:

          Hey, quit offending me. It’s not my fault that you clicked the mandatory viewing button. Oh, wait, maybe it is …

          Now, onto your Planet Pizza & Chips & Guac idea. It’s a winner! Must add beer, too. Hey, wait, I think they may already have a gym like this and I used to hang out there all the time.

          It was called a “bar” I think.

      • Greg d says:

        …”Sorry…”; irreverent
        Nice work. The guests here don’t know about the content?
        That’s it, you’ve pushed me past the tipping point. My subscription is in. Keep up the irreverent good work!!

What’s this?

You are currently reading Lost in planet scroll at Cycling in the South Bay.


%d bloggers like this: