Free Fitness for Baltimore Area Teens This Summer

Amiya Curry, 14, of Edmondson Village in Baltimore City, is a first-time participant of Planet Fitness' free summer pass program. | Photo courtesy of Planet Fitness
Amiya Curry, 14, of Edmondson Village in Baltimore City, is a first-time participant of Planet Fitness’ free summer pass program. | Photo courtesy of Planet Fitness

The Planet Fitness Summer Pass program gives high school-aged students the opportunity to work out for free all summer long.

Teens in Maryland can choose from multiple locations throughout the state, including areas such as Reisterstown, Towson, Catonsville, Baltimore City, Columbia Westminster and Aberdeen.

In addition to the chance to stay healthy, teens and schools have a shot at winning scholarships through the program. Five teens nationwide will be awarded $10,000 in academic scholarships through a TikTok submission contest. Additionally, the five schools with the most student sign-ups will receive $10,000.

This program follows reports from a study commissioned by Planet Fitness.

Ninety-three percent of teens appreciate how fitness can positively impact their lives and lead to healthier lifestyles into adulthood, according to the study.

Locally, in Maryland, 13.2 percent of teens are obese and 10.2 percent are overweight. In Washington, D.C., 11.9 percent of teens are obese, with 9.5 percent being considered overweight.

“When people think about fitness, they often think about the physical side of things,” explains Jeremy Smoot, the director of fitness training for Ohana Growth Partners, a Planet Fitness franchise.

But there’s much more that comes into play. Exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety by releasing endorphins—brain chemicals that enhance a person’s sense of well-being— according to the Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health.

“One thing I always try to tell people is it’s always cool to have a physical goal, but if you focus on things like the mental benefits, sleeping better, less irritation, less stress, it makes it easier to commit to staying active,” Smoot says.

Amiya Curry, a first-time participant in this year’s program from Baltimore City, says, “I want to get my friends to come with me because it’s free and a fun opportunity to learn to work out. My friends can be lazy, so it’s time to get moving.”

Amiya is 14 and was introduced to the program by her uncle.

“I had been scared of the gym and thought working out was terrible,” she says. “My goal is going more than once or twice a week for now.”

Amiya Curry | Photo courtesy of Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness is equipped to support teens with social anxiety, according to Smoot.

“We provide a very comfortable, safe and non-intimidating environment. I think what we do really well is have guidelines—a set of rules—and we make sure everyone follows them,” he says.

These rules include not allowing people to take pictures of other members. (Selfies, however are permitted.) Planet Fitness also has staff to help students be sure they’re working out correctly.

“We’re here to help. We offer an orientation, show them around, explain equipment areas and offer a one-on-one customized workout experience. Trainers write a workout based on a goal and can do that with them,” Smoot says.

Smoot’s own workout routine involves waking up at 5:30 a.m. to squeeze in a workout before his kids wake up. His workout tip for teens is to set a goal this summer, then break that goal into smaller goals.

“That way, every step along the way you have something to celebrate,” he explains.

Teens can also participate from the comfort of their own homes, or on the go, with Planet Fitness’ 10-plus digital workouts, which can be accessed from anywhere through the app.

Find more information about the high school program and a map of local clubs at planetfitness.com.

About Heather M. Ross

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