Kilgore became home to a new Planet Fitness club earlier this year but the COVID-19 pandemic brought an order from Gov. Abbott closing all businesses deemed non-essential, which included gyms and fitness center.
Though some restrictions are still in place, fitness centers are open for business once again and Planet Fitness, located at 2001 N State Hwy 42, has opened its doors to the public since the beginning of the summer.
“We officially opened May 18th. We were supposed to open April 1st, of course with everything going on that wasn’t possible,” said Club Manager Aaron Harper,
Along with the reopening came strict conditions for cleaning and sanitizing all businesses serving the public. That wasn’t too difficult at Planet Fitness, Harper said, as the club already has strict cleaning procedures in place.
“We were already dedicated to our cleaning and sanitization standards. We doubled our efforts towards these, providing hand sanitizer at every one of our multiple sanitization stations, have all of our staff wearing masks for their shifts and we are now requiring members and guests to wear masks when not working out on a piece of equipment.”
Harper said he stepped up alongside his staff to make extra efforts towards a clean and sanitary exercise environment for club guests.
“My staff and I work very hard to maintain a clean atmosphere and to keep everyone safe from the current pandemic. We also continuously disinfect the equipment with use of an electrostatic sprayer and disinfectant is available for everyone at our Sanitization Stations to allow members to clean their equipment before, if they feel inclined, and after to help us maintain a clean club.”
Kilgore is home to several gyms and fitness clubs and Harper took time to explain Planet Fitness’ prices and special offers so those looking for a new fitness option can make an informed decision.
“Besides our very affordable plans, starting at $10 a month for a Classic Membership and the most expensive being our Black Card Membership at $22.99 a month, we offer free fitness training with our fitness instructor with both memberships. She has a ‘Design Your Own Program’ that she helps you create your own workout plan and she teaches you how to do the workouts that would be useful to reaching your goals!”
Harper added the Black Card Membership also includes access to tanning amenities, massage chairs and beds.
“Our Tanning beds are high quality level 3’s and 4’s. Our Total Body Enhancement is a standing form of massage and exercise with red lights to help warm you and activate different products we offer. Finally, our Hydromassage beds offer a full body massage using water jets heated to 92 degrees. Don’t worry though, you don’t get wet,” Harper said, noting Black Card members are also allowed to bring a guest to each workout session for free.
Planet Fitness in Kilgore also offers workouts, activities and events suited for older guests with unique physical fitness needs and requirements.
“We are very big on cardio and instruction. Since we offer our fitness instruction for free with all of our memberships, it is a large draw for older residents. All of our equipment is designed for the new gym user and is user-friendly, (we also) have 2 rehab cardio machines designed with handicapped members and accessibility in mind. We also offer the Silver Sneakers and Renew Active plans for those that might have access to that through their health insurance.”
With years of service to the Planet Fitness family, Harper says he still finds enjoyment in helping each club member reach their personal fitness and life goals.
“I’ve been running Planet Fitness clubs for over 3 years now. I moved here (Kilgore) to open this one, actually. With that, I’d say the most rewarding part is meeting the people who are coming through and making an effort to better themselves…seeing that change in people as they feel better and more confident in themselves…being able to provide a space where they can achieve that without the normal feelings of anxiety, insecurity, or judgment that can be present in other places,” he said.
“There isn’t much better than that.”