WOONSOCKET – Anne Marie Lukin has only to walk into her Planet Fitness franchise in the Diamond Hill Plaza at 2000 Diamond Hill Road to know the business potential of the location.
Her customers and those of the abutting Burlington Coat Factory and Dollar Tree stores, and nearby Ocean of Pets, GNC store, and 99 Nail Salon keep their section of the spacious plaza parking lot active and full during much of the business day.
Planet Fitness is also open 24 hours, seven days a week, another sign of its role as a key anchor for Diamond Hill Plaza as the city works itself out of its economic doldrums.
Lukin believes in her location’s growth potential enough to have invested over $300,000 in equipment and renovations at the 17,000-square-foot fitness business over the past two years and this week is continuing that trend with the installation of the latest batch of new treadmills and stair climbing machines in the cardio workout center.
Diamond Hill Plaza is one of two Planet Fitness franchises she operates. Lukin’s other Planet Fitness location is at 780 Washington St., in Coventry.
At Diamond Hill Plaza, Lukin has added new equipment in the just redesigned 30-minute-circuit workout room and made other improvements in the health club’s offerings.
The tanning bed area has been complemented with a stand-up, red light therapy closet that can be used by club members with the appropriate membership as part of their work out warm ups or to improve circulation, relieve joint pain and even lessen the appearance of lines and wrinkles, according to Lukin. “It makes you feel good and there are no UVA rays so it doesn’t tan,” she said.
Planet Fitness offers both a $10 basic monthly membership and a $19.99-a-month Black Card membership that includes tanning and red light booth services, guest privileges, and the option of visiting any of the over 700 Planet Fitness centers in the country.
The memberships also include the help of a club fitness trainer, such as Chad Hudson, who can help the member plan an efficient and effective workout suited to their individual needs, according to Lukin.
Hudson, she noted, started out as a customer working on his own significant weight reduction plan and that make him especially understanding to the challenges faced by new members coming to Planet Fitness.
“He has been in their shoes and the cool thing is that he can help them understand it is not going to happen overnight,” Lukin said.
Hudson, 22, said he had started out visiting Planet Fitness at Diamond Hill Plaza sporadically at first but then more often as time went by. “I started to lose weight and it made me feel better so I got more into it,” Hudson said. His work out plan helped him go from weighing over 300 lbs. to the 180 lbs. he weighs now, he said. “Because of my success in losing weight, I decided I wanted to be a trainer,” Hudson said. He went on to become a certified workout trainer for the Woonsocket club and is ready to help anyone coming in get a start on their own work out plan.
Leo Fontaine, Planet Fitness Woonsocket’s manager, said there are varied groups of customers that come into use the club’s facilities during the course of the day. The early risers make use of the club’s round the clock operation by coming in beginning at 4 after the cleaning crew finishes work, and there are also the late night workout folks who come in after night work shifts anywhere from midnight to 2 a.m., he noted.
“We will get people who come in and do their work out in the morning and then take a shower here in the locker room and go to work,” Fontaine said.
The busiest club hours are after 3:30 p.m. and until 8:30 p.m. when people like to come in after working during the day and before they go home to relax for the rest of the evening, according to Fontaine. The club is closed only on Thanksgiving and Christmas, he said.
Winter is an extremely popular time at the club when people will take advantage of getting their cardio workouts in without the discomfort of an outside workout in bad weather, he said, but there are other club members who also seek shelter from the summer heat when exercising outdoors can be uncomfortable.
The arrival of Thanksgiving and the holiday season is another incentive for members to visit the club or come in for a new membership, according to Fontaine.
Some members visit the club daily, he said, and some every other day or less frequently depending on their schedules or motivation.
Some members schedule their workouts so that one day is a visit to the free weight room where they can lift dumbbells ranging from 5 pounds to 70 pounds, and the next day a cardio workout while spending time on the Life Fitness treadmills, the elliptical trainers or stationary bikes.
A member can select a television program to watch on one of the television screens in the cardio room and then tune in the sound with the help of earphones while they workout, he said. Another day could be spent in the weight and resistance machine workout room, according to Fontaine.
The club gets really busy after New Year’s of course when everyone has that New Year’s Resolution goal to start working on and Planet Fitness can offer the right “Judgement Free Zone” environment to begin such a quest.
Fontaine explains that you might hear a siren sound go off from time to time in the club, the “Lunk Alarm,” as it is called, that is only set off when someone begins to get showy, “drops weights or judges.”
The goal for Planet Fitness is to offer a comfortable and relaxed workout atmosphere where a member can pursue their individual workout goals with nothing more than encouragement.
Lukin said she feels a feeling of satisfaction from her job when she hears about a member who came in with a personal goal of losing weight to lower their blood pressure or reduce their risk for diabetes and achieved those goals with their workouts.
“They come in faithfully and workout every day for several weeks,” she said. The payoff is the “smile” on that member’s face when they come back and relate that their health had improved because of their physical fitness, according to Lukin. “Those are the really neat stories, the ones about how they were able to control an aspect of their health,” she said. “They come in here, work out, and leave here in a totally different frame of mind because they got their work out in and they feel better,” Lukin said.