One year after piloting a summer program in New Hampshire that allowed select teens to exercise for free at Planet Fitness facilities, the company is expanding the program nationwide in an effort to promote healthy lifestyles and potentially reach new members.
“This is the right thing to do for teens to help create self confidence and introduce them to fitness and wellness,” said Chris Rondeau, chief executive officer at Planet Fitness, whose corporate headquarters are in Hampton.
The company’s Teen Summer Challenge invites teens ages 15 to 18 to work out for free all summer long from May 15 to Sept. 1 at any Planet Fitness gym. Nationwide, Planet Fitness has about 13.6 million members, 15 percent of whom are millenials.
Rondeau said there is a large pipeline of teens over the next decade that could join Planet Fitness. The program helps build the brand so that in the future these teens will know how to make lifestyle changes, he said, adding the ultimate goal is to get the teens to remain physically active. In a pilot program last summer in New Hampshire, more than 2,500 teens participated and logged more than 12,000 workout visits, according to Rondeau.
“This year, we have a lot more marketing behind the program, and social media,” which has already created significant momentum, he said.
A previous survey determined that 90 percent of the teens questioned wanted to stay more active over the summer, but half said they did not have access to athletic facilities and programs once school let out, Rondeau said. In addition, many teens reported that they would rather exercise over the summer months instead of playing video games, watching television or scrolling social media, he added.
“I was surprised to hear that,” Rondeau said.
Planet Fitness representatives are available to help the teens get acclimated to the gym equipment and create a specific fitness program.
“We are going to help them along the way,” he said, stressing participants will not be left in the dark to figure out their own workout regimen.
Based on the success last summer in New Hampshire, Rondeau is optimistic that Planet Fitness facilites in the other states will see similar results.
“I really believe, personally, that a workout regimen can be beneficial both personally and professionally,” said Rondeau, explaining many teens often invite their parents to try the gym as well, and they ultimately all end up with memberships.
Teens who have already signed up for the summer challenge are automatically entered into a Planet Fitness Scholarship Sweepstakes; 51 teens across the country will be randomly selected to receive a scholarship toward academics or athletics, including one $5,000 grand prize, according to a news release. Teens will also have the chance to win prizes on Planet Fitness’ Twitter and Instagram accounts throughout the summer.
There are currently 18 Planet Fitness locations in New Hampshire, and all of them are offering the special summer promotion for teens 15 to 18. For more information on how to sign up for the free membership, visit PlanetFitness.com/TeenSummerChallenge.