Perhaps There Is a Method to the (Tootsie Roll) Madness at Planet Fitness

One of the things about Planet Fitness that I find interesting is that there are always little tootsie rolls on the counter, presumably for when you have finished your workout and you are on your way out the door. (not to mention the free pizza the first Monday of each month and the free bagels the second Tuesday of each month).

To me, those tootsie rolls/pizza/bagels seemed to defeat the purpose of why you were going to the gym. (And I know people were eating the tootsie rolls because I would see the wrappers on the stairs leading out of the gym; I guess the people eating the tootsie rolls were too exhausted from their workout to bend over and pick up the wrapper.)

Bu then I thought; what a clever move by Planet Fitness. If people eat those snacks, then it sort of cancels out the benefits of the workout, and keeps people coming back, since they are not losing any weight.

Well as it turns out, there is some research that may support an even more subtle benefit to offering those snacks, based on a phenomenon known as the “peak-end rule”, which shows that when people evaluate an experience, they pay particular attention to the end.

Dan Ariely, along with two co-authors, showed that when people ramp down the intensity of the exercise at the end, they feel happier after the exercise session and expect to enjoy future exercise more. So, when an experience ends on a more positive (or at least a less negative) note, we remember the whole as better and are more likely to want to repeat it.

So perhaps those snacks are a way of having the visit to the gym end on a positive note, making it more likely that an individual will return to the gym again.

Did Planet Fitness hire Dan Ariely to come up with such a brilliant plan?

And they talk about how social media is using mind-tricks to keep people addicted…

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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