Julia Sanders

United Fitness Partners’ Club Manager Helps Member Make Leap in Fitness Journey

During September 2023, United Fitness Partners held two fitness programs to challenge their members. One was to complete a 5K or 10K on a treadmill and have the fastest completion time within that level. The second fitness challenge was the completion of all 21 landmarks on the Stairmaster. Both challenges had to be completed within a 30-day period, and the challenges were offered every other month. There were sign-up sheets available, and the staff communicated with members about the incentive to earn a free month of membership by completing either one of the challenges.

A Planet Fitness® member at UFP’s Hot Springs, Arkansas, location, Israel Pike, decided to try the 5K challenge, despite never running a 5K previously. He had recently quit smoking and was inspired to get into better shape, so this challenge was a springboard for his fitness journey. After a lot of hard work, Pike completed the 5K challenge in a 30-minute period. Once he reached this accomplishment, he had a significant increase in check-ins at the club and came to the gym with more determination and purpose than before.

However, in October, the Hot Springs’ Club Manager Rodney Handy talked to Israel after not seeing him for a while. Unfortunately, Pike had battled shingles and experienced serious health problems that set him back. Despite this, he asked if there were any other club challenges as he wanted to continue his health journey. At the time, the club manager realized that Pike didn’t have any running shoes and was wearing “Chuck’s” basketball shoes.

In November, Pike completed the stairclimber challenge but was unable to afford running shoes. Handy connected with Mizuno Golf and was able to order Pike a premium pair of Mizuno running shoes.

When Pike received the running shoes, he was incredibly thankful. “It felt good. Knowing that others were rooting for me made me want to show them and myself I could complete the challenge. I felt now I had to prove to them I could do it,” he explained.

Since joining Planet Fitness in March 2022, Pike has felt welcomed and encouraged by everyone in the club, spurring him on in his fitness journey. “I love that everyone here is rooting for me. I had other members coming up to me telling me, ‘I can do it,’” he shared. “These were people who I would least expect to say anything. The people and the environment are so welcoming and encouraging.”

OKTA Holdings Laces Up to Celebrate Member’s Running Achievements  

Planet Fitness® is constantly changing people’s lives for the better by helping members lead healthier lives. At the age of 42, an economics professor at Linfield University, Randy Grant, decided to embark on a transformative health journey by joining OKTA Holdings’ club in McMinnville, Oregon. He has since lost over 80 pounds. Not only that, but he became a runner and completed marathons in every U.S. state.

To celebrate this amazing achievement, OKTA Holdings, which has 13 clubs in Vancouver, Washington, and Oregon, worked on a sponsorship project with the “Race to Space” in McMinnville in May. Grant will be joining the start line of the race alongside other runners. This race is a cherished tradition in the town, and the franchise group is excited to be a part of it. The franchise group is designing custom running shirts for the race participants and will provide all the race volunteers with custom T-shirts. OKTA Holdings is also hard at work curating a selection of unique swag items to make the race day even more memorable for everyone.

This summer, Grant is running a 1,000-mile race along the coast of England called Run Britannia, a challenging feat across multiple days and multiple countries.

He attributes his fitness transformation to Planet Fitness. “Planet Fitness has made a world of difference to my running adventures. Hours on the stair stepper strengthen my cardio and hill climbing. The 30-minute workout helps with the supporting systems. I’ve visited over a dozen Planet Fitness locations around the country while running a marathon in every state. They’ve been a great place for a post-race shower and massage, or a light workout when the weather is nasty,” said Grant.

Ohana Growth Partners’ Employee Shows Resilience and Determination

On Sept. 13, 2010, Saeed Sharif’s life completely changed. While working as a crew chief with an armored truck company, he was shot in the face. The injury led to the loss of his right eye. After the tragedy, Sharif did not work for about two years while he healed from the physical and mental trauma.

When he decided to get back into the workforce, he looked for a night job that would allow him to take his son to and from school. Sharif’s search led him to Ohana Growth Partners’ Planet Fitness® Ellicott City, Maryland, location as an overnight service desk employee. While working at PF® at night, he was able to be there for his son during the day.

“Working nights gave me the freedom to take my son to and from school, also to be involved with field trips as well. When he was in middle school, I got the opportunity to get back into coaching football at Laurel High School. The football field is where my heart is. I love passing on my knowledge to young men not only on the field but off it as well,” said Sharif.

In 2022, Sharif decided he needed to make a change in his fitness journey because he had gained weight and wanted to make sure he was healthy for his son. He started working out at Planet Fitness and watching what he was eating at the beginning of 2022. Now, he has lost close to 100 pounds and recently undertook the 75 Hard Challenge. His next goal is to get down to 225 pounds. He has found the benefits of exercise to be never-ending, as he now has much more energy and focus and can be fully present as a parent. He has been recognized for his hard work and perseverance at Planet Fitness and was promoted to general manager in September 2022.

“I can’t tell you how proud of Saeed I am as his manager. From seeing him almost seven years ago and where he is now – what a positive change! I have seen him be able to share his story with members to encourage them, and he can relate with some of the struggles they have. I truly value him as a person, a manager and an inspiration to those he comes in contact with,” said Brian Hoffman, regional manager with Ohana Growth Partners.

Saeed Sharif didn’t let a horrible event change his life forever. Instead, he worked hard at Planet Fitness and works to be there for his son every day.