As the proverb goes, the best things in life are free, a sentiment some Anne Arundel County teens can appreciate. Thanks to the High School Summer Pass initiative at Planet Fitness, high-schoolers ages 14 to 19 have enjoyed physical, social and mental health benefits for free since May.
Formerly known as Teen Summer Challenge, the High School Summer Pass was the first program of its kind launched in 2019. It saw more than 900,000 teens sign up and complete more than 5.5 million workouts over a three-and-a-half-month period. This year, the initiative is available through August 31 at more than 2,200 Planet Fitness locations, including the Pasadena club.
Grayce Haley, a 16-year-old who plays lacrosse at Northeast High School, is one teen who signed up. She has been using the fitness center three to four times per week with her boyfriend.
“My goal is to lose weight but build muscle,” she said. “It definitely has helped.”
Arundel High student and baseball player Tristan Wortz has been traveling to Pasadena to take advantage of the opportunity. He said he has always been interested in fitness, but the High School Summer Pass allows him to exercise consistently.
“I love the environment of the gym and working out with my friends,” he said. “Because of my membership, I’ve become much stronger with my compound lifts like bench press, squats and deadlifts.”
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open, less than 15 percent of teens met the 60-minute daily physical activity recommendation during the pandemic. And a national study commissioned by Planet Fitness found that 93 percent of American teens want to stay healthy and active over the summer months, but many lack motivation or access to do so. High School Summer Pass offers a solution for teenagers eager to stay active when school sports programs, gym classes and after-school activities wind down.
“As the leader in fitness, we believe we have a responsibility to provide a welcoming, safe and judgment-free environment for high school students to improve their physical and mental wellness, particularly given the challenges they have and continue to face in the wake of the pandemic,” said Chris Rondeau, chief executive officer at Planet Fitness. “Our study found that nearly all (92 percent) high school students agreed that when they are regularly physically active, they feel much better mentally. Fitness is about feeling good, too, and our hope is that High School Summer Pass empowers teens to create life-long workout habits to help them succeed in every aspect of their lives.”
Northeast student Austin Tewey is another teen reaping the rewards of his new workout habits. He is visiting Planet Fitness three to four times per week with friends as he prepares for the upcoming fall football season.
Seventeen-year-old Emma Shaner has enjoyed mental health benefits while working out with her friend Hannah.
“I have always been interested in fitness, but the [High School] Summer Pass expanded my abilities,” she said. “I cheer and this has helped with strength and endurance.”
In addition to free in-club fitness training that all High School Summer Pass participants have access to, the certified trainers at Planet Fitness have also designed 15 trainer-led workout videos and 10 downloadable workouts – encompassing cardio, strength, toning and sports circuits – just for high schoolers (across all fitness levels). This content is available on the Planet Fitness App and at PlanetFitness.com/SummerPass.
High-schoolers can sign up now at that link or at any Planet Fitness club. Teens under 18 must register with a parent or guardian online or in-club.
All participants who sign up are also automatically entered into The Planet Fitness High School Summer Pass Sweepstakes. Planet Fitness will award one $500 scholarship in each state (and the District of Columbia), and one grand prize $5,000 scholarship at the end of the summer. These scholarships can be used for academic or athletic activities or programs.
“The high school summer pass is awesome,” Wortz said. “I hope Planet Fitness continues it in future summers.”