Just in time to work off all of those extra holiday pounds, Laurel welcomes its very own Planet Fitness to The City Beautiful. The gym known for its “judgment free zone” will provide a welcome support in improving the overall health and fitness of area residents.

Laurel’s brand new Planet Fitness, located at 125 Leontyne Price Blvd., will bring a fresh new perspective to health and fitness. To get a sneak peak at the facility and its many amenities, there will be an open house 2-4 p.m. Saturday. Raffle prizes will be given away every 15 minutes and there will be games and refreshments.

The new Laurel location will be operated by United Fitness Partners. United FP currently operates 192 Planet Fitness locations across 42 markets in the United States, making it the largest Planet Fitness franchisee operator in the nation.

“We are excited to be here,” said Millicent Hawkins, chief growth officer of United FP. “This gives us an opportunity to share what is important to this community, and why health matters. From our buildout to our opening team, we have created over 40 jobs to get the Laurel Planet Fitness open and in action.”

More than 10 of those new jobs will be permanent, as the team is currently being assembled and finalized.

The Planet Fitness approach is different from nearly every other fitness center. The mission is to enhance people’s lives by providing a high-quality fitness experience in a welcoming, non-intimidating environment. At Planet Fitness, anyone – and its operators mean anyone – can feel he or she belongs. No one will ever feel “gymtimidated.”

“We are here to help with the health journey, in all walks of life,” said Natalie Kirk, district manager of United FP Operations. “We love the community and the people here and want to be able to change lives in the community.”

The 12,500-square-foot facility will not only offer the latest cardio, circuit and weight-training equipment, brightly adorned in the Planet Fitness trademark colors of purple and yellow, but also hydromassage beds, massage chairs, tanning beds, a hybrid tanning-red light therapy bed and a brand new reclining station that will be the first of its kind in Mississippi — the Wellness Pod.

The Wellness Pod will allow members to focus on mental well-being, providing a comfortable recovery bed that is enhanced by relaxing videos, temperatures and even scents, all controlled by the user.

“These are new to the industry and ours will be the first one in this area,” Kirk said. “They allow for recovery after a workout. We realize that health and wellness is both physical and mental.”

The hydro-massage chairs are pressurized water beds that massage the body from head to toe, with adjustable pressure.

“Health and wellness involves both physical and mental well being,” Hawkins said. “Our approach realizes that and addresses those needs.”

In addition to being “judgement free,” what sets Planet Fitness apart is its relentless commitment to cleanliness.

“We live that,” Kirk said. “Members and staff alike hold the highest standards of cleanliness, everyday, all day, morning and night. Every member of our team will clean throughout the day.”

“We won’t hire someone if they don’t want to help clean,” Kirk added. “We will foster the sense of community that makes sure we do things intentionally.”

Corporate packages and discounts are being offered as a way to provide employers with a healthier workforce as well as a valuable employee benefit to help attract and retain staff.

“We will work with companies here in Laurel to offer employee wellness benefits that can enhance their benefits package to employees,” said Wendy Cox, corporate sales manager for United FP. “Our corporate membership plans are available regardless of the size of the company.”

For more information on the corporate membership program, Cox can be reached at [email protected].

“We cannot wait to start helping all of the great folks of Laurel and Jones County to feel better and be healthier,” Laurel location manager Skylar Cunningham said. “I hope to meet and connect with every single new member and guest to ensure they feel comfortable in their new fitness home.”

The facility will begin its regular hours of operation on Monday.

No matter where one might be in his or her wellness journey, Planet Fitness officials say their gym will be just right. With no contracts or commitments required to join, there is nothing to lose, except a lot of extra pounds and excess stress, they said.

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