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Orlando Sentinel Names Planet Fitness Best Fitness Facility During 2016 Competition

For Orlando residents, there are many places to choose from if you want to better your body. The affordable price and friendly environment, however, has landed Planet Fitness® at the top of the list.

This year, Planet Fitness reigned as the Best Fitness Facility, according to the Orlando Sentinel’s Best Bets competition.

“It’s an honor to be named the best fitness facility within the Orlando area. The recognition means a lot to us, especially because nominations and voting for this award were made by readers in the community,” said Eric Dore, franchisee with Sunshine Fitness Management. “As a result, this relays to our entire team that central Florida residents are pleased with Planet Fitness, and it motivates us to continue to improve and evolve in an effort to provide raving fans service to the community.”


Planet Fitness has been named the 2016 Best Fitness Facility, according to the Orlando Sentinel’s Best Bets competition.

The competition, which is in its 10th year, publishes readers’ favorite picks for local businesses in categories such as dining and restaurants, shopping, home and services, wellness and personal style, and recreation and entertainment.

Other finalist in this year’s competition for Best Fitness Center were LA Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness.

Dore said being the best doesn’t come easily. “Within six months of us moving into the central Florida market, LA Fitness and Lifestyles Family Fitness joined us as we all battled for market share. Lifestyles was eventually taken over by LA, and shortly following that, 24 Hour Fitness and Youfit began entering the market,” said Dore. “Recently, we have seen the likes of Retro Fitness and a 24 Hour Fitness expansion plan shaking up the market even more, but Planet Fitness has prevailed by remaining true to our brand and to our members.”

Dore believes it is the inclusive environment that truly sets Planet Fitness apart from other locations, but it certainly isn’t the only factor affecting the success of Sunshine Fitness Management’s locations.

“We have tremendous resources at our fingertips in the franchise system, a great team that works hard every day to help improve the quality of people’s lives, members that are like family and a revolutionary business model, all of which we feel play a major role in us being named the best fitness center,” said Dore. “Our members trust our brand and us to provide a safe, clean atmosphere for them to focus on their personal fitness goals.”

bestbet1“Our team is very proud of this award. It is a direct reflection of the exceptional and consistent performance by our team to run excellent clubs and stay true to the Judgement Free Zone® concept,” added Shane McGuiness, partner at Sunshine Fitness Management. “It is even more gratifying to be recognized by our members as the Best Bet amid competitors such as LA Fitness, Retro Fitness and Youfit. We need to continue to solidify our brand as the best choice for our communities, and this is a nice indication that we are accomplishing that objective.”

Sunshine Fitness Management currently owns and operates 28 clubs in three states, with hopes of opening two more before the end of the year.


Sunshine Fitness Management Installs Two Buddy Benches in Central Florida to Foster Judgement Free Generation

With Planet Fitness® being known for its Judgement Free Zone®, it was no surprise when the company, in conjunction with STOMP Out Bullying™, launched a $1.3 million commitment to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in March to create the Judgement Free Generation™.

Franchisees Eric Dore and Shane McGuiness wanted to get involved in the community and help foster the Judgement Free Generation, so when Marketing Manager Anthony Roberts Jr. recommended implementing the buddy bench concept, the duo was on board.

Buddy benches can be found throughout the world and are designed to give children a place to go when they feel lonely. The idea is that if children see someone sitting on a buddy bench, they could go sit and talk to them or invite them to play.

“We believe that the buddy bench concept aligns perfectly with Planet Fitness’ anti-bullying initiative. It brings the Judgement Free Generation that’s exhibited in our clubs into the Boys & Girls Clubs locations where the bench is present,” said Dore. “It reinforces anti-bullying and pro-kindness and hopes to provide a place for inclusion, friendship and fun for these youth and young adults.”

Sunshine Fitness Management installed two buddy benches – one at the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Universal Orlando Foundation Branch and another at the Tupperware Brands branch in Kissimmee – to help foster friendships and prevent bullying.

Sunshine Fitness Management installed two buddy benches – one at the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Universal Orlando Foundation Branch and another at the Tupperware Brands branch in Kissimmee – to help foster friendships and prevent bullying.

Sunshine Fitness Management, which owns and manages 28 units, installed two buddy benches in early August just in time for the new school year. One is located at the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Universal Orlando Foundation branch, and the other is at the organization’s Tupperware Brands branch in Kissimmee.

“We chose these locations because we took a look at the two largest clubs in the area and decided those were the clubs that would have the largest impact on as many people as possible,” said Dore. “A playground can be a great or lonely place for a kid. With the bench being a permanent fixture at the Boys & Girls Clubs, we hope that it’s a constant reminder for youth to be kind to one another.”

Dore said that as the relationship between Sunshine Fitness Management and the local Boys & Girls Clubs continues to grow, more buddy benches will be implemented. In addition to installing the benches, Sunshine Fitness Management’s involvement includes hosting school supplies drives, sponsoring field days where employees volunteer at local clubs, and trainers offering fitness classes at clubs.

“Once the benches were installed, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida and Planet Fitness conducted four workshops to help teach middle and high school children about bullying prevention, and we reached more than 500 students,” exclaimed Dore. “The workshops were designed to help the youth and young adults identify what bullying is and what they can do to help ‘stomp out’ bullying, as well as what the buddy bench is and how to use it. They went over really well, and we’re really pleased with working with our local Boys & Girls Clubs on this project.”


Planet Fitness Growth Partners’ Maryville Location Wins Reader’s Choice Award for Best Gym

Blount County, Tennessee, has spoken, and they are saying that the Maryville Planet Fitness® club is their favorite place to stay fit. The location is heralded as the best gym in the area, according to The Daily Times’ 2016 Reader’s Choice competition.

The team members and staff at the PF location are especially thrilled about the win since the club has only been open for roughly eight months, and the area boasts two major fitness competitors. “This is really a great accomplishment in such a short amount of time, and we are excited to see what the future holds for our Maryville location,” said Chris Cavolo, principal at Planet Fitness Growth Partners. “There are myriad factors that came into play, and it is the optimal combination of these factors that can be attributed to the success of the Maryville location. Maryville’s preference with the readers of The Daily Times is a combination of incredible staff, a remarkable location, an exceptional member base and being active within the community.”

Cavolo notes that much of the success is related to the staff and members caring about one another and promoting a friendly atmosphere, which is what Planet Fitness is all about. “The Maryville staff genuinely cares about the gym and the members, and this shows in all their interactions with the members,” he said.

“Our members have grown to be more than that. They have become like family,” echoed team member Lezlie Bauler. “So many members check in on my life, and I check in on them. If a member is going to be out for a bit, they let me know so I don’t worry.”

Firefighter Climbs 110 Flights of Stairs at Planet Fitness Location to Honor Fallen Firefighters of 9/11

On Sept. 11, Jason Harding visited a local Planet Fitness to pay tribute to fallen first responders by climbing 110 flights of stairs in full gear.

On Sept. 11, Jason Harding visited a local Planet Fitness to pay tribute to fallen first responders by climbing 110 flights of stairs in full gear.

On Sept. 11, 2001, a series of terror attacks claimed the lives of 2,996 people and wounded over 6,000. That death toll included 343 firefighters. Since that day, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has sponsored stair climbs across the nation to commemorate and show support for the fallen first responders.

Jason Harding has participated in one of the annual stair climbs for the past four years, but when his work schedule prevented him from attending a stair climb in Knoxville, Tennessee, this year, he still found a way to show his support.

Before going into work on Sept. 11, Harding went to the nearest 24-hour fitness center and asked the front desk personnel if he could climb 110 flights of stairs in full gear to honor the fallen firefighters.

The Planet Fitness® in Maryville, Tennessee, obliged, and both members and staff were moved by Harding’s actions. Team member Lezlie Bauler, photographed Harding in action and posted the image to social media. By the end of the day the story had gone viral and has now been shared over 150,000 times.

“Many stated my act brought them to tears, but little do they know, their support did the same for me,” said Harding in a released statement. “I want to thank everyone that shared and commented in response to this post. It is proof that, although we seem divided as a country at times, we unite at the most crucial times.”

Harding was not previously a member of Planet Fitness, but Planet Fitness Growth Partners, which owns 46 clubs in Maryland, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., Florida and Washington, was so inspired it provided Harding and his wife a one-year, complimentary Black Card membership.

Everyone involved received overwhelming positive feedback with members expressing gratitude toward Harding and the Maryville PF staff.

“This humble act of honor and respect inspired so many. We are grateful to Jason Harding and to our team member, Lezlie Bauler, for going about this the right way and asking permission to take a photo and share with others,” said Chris Cavolo, principal at Planet Fitness Growth Partners. “There is such a bigger message and purpose here; we are just grateful to have been a part of it. God bless America and all the brave first responders.”

PF Michigan Group, LLC’s Planet Fitness Warriors Win Rally for Redford Challenge

The Planet Fitness Warriors gave a child waiting at a bus stop a toy for the Create Your Own challenge.

The Planet Fitness Warriors gave a child waiting at a bus stop a toy for the Create Your Own challenge.

On Aug. 13, Planet Fitness® employees took to the streets of Redford, Michigan, to shower the city with good deeds.

The four-person team, called the Planet Fitness Warriors, was participating in an event, Rally for Redford, coordinated by the Redford Jaycees. The first-time event was inspired by the Jaycees’ Pay it Forward campaign and encouraged teams to complete a series of good deeds in an allotted timeframe. Rally for Redford was the showcase event for the annual Jaycee Week, which is a series of community events.

“The goal of Rally for Redford was to simply spread positivity around Redford Township by paying it forward,” said Susan Dials, the event coordinator. “One random act of kindness can be the spark that changes someone’s day, and they, in turn, can positively affect another person’s day and the momentum can build.”

The Planet Fitness Warriors was one of seven teams given a list of 34 tasks to complete within three hours. The PF team was the only team to complete the entire list within the timeframe.

Dials approached Planet Fitness Redford to see if the franchise would be interested in the opportunity to support the community as a sponsor for the event. “We jumped at the opportunity to get involved with this unique event and decided it would be fun to form a team for the event as well,” said Karen Ryan who manages the PF Michigan Group, LLC location.

Not only did the event give the Planet Fitness team a chance to bond, it made the day of several Redford residents.

The Planet Fitness Warriors chose the Redford Grill & Bar as their favorite restaurant and gave a letter of appreciation to the owners.

The Planet Fitness Warriors chose the Redford Grill & Bar as their favorite restaurant and gave a letter of appreciation to the owners.

The tasks each had a corresponding hashtag, and teams were encouraged to post pictures with the hashtags to social media in an effort to further spread the good vibes.

A few of the challenges included: #DrivethruDonation, where teams were expected to pay for the car behind them in a restaurant drive-thru; #MovieMemories, where the Planet Fitness Warriors left a bag of popcorn on a Redbox machine; #RedfordRestaurants, where participants appreciated their favorite Redford restaurant with a handwritten note; #ChalkChivalry, where groups wrote encouraging chalk messages on the sidewalk throughout Redford; and #BookBuys, where teams paid for someone’s past due library fees.

For the #Createyourown task, the Planet Fitness Warriors bought a toy for a child waiting at a bus stop. “The #Createyourown was one of our favorites because it gave us a chance to be creative,” said Ryan. “One challenge that was difficult to complete, but especially fulfilling, was #ThanksVets, which is where we went to a vet’s house and personally thanked him for his service.”

Over 250 random acts of kindness were completed during the Rally for Redford event. The event was such a hit the Redford Jaycees plan to make it a reoccurring part of the annual Jaycee Week, and Planet Fitness Redford looks forward to participating in the coming years.

“One of PF Michigan Group’s core values is ‘people first.’ We are thrilled to see our managers and employees promoting these values within their surrounding communities. We applaud Karen and her team for their initiative and community outreach,” said Pete Hopkins, franchisee for PF Michigan Group, LLC, which owns 27 PF locations in Michigan and Ohio.