Gym owners around the country have been complaining en-masse recently about the lack of new membership they’ve been experiencing. It is almost as though they have no idea why this state of affairs has manifested. We sent our health and fitness reporter along to one of the most respected gym-chains in the country to find out more. This article contains everything you could want to know about the fitness industry today, and where gym bosses are going wrong.
Firstly, membership prices have been rising steadily for the last five or six years. As wages have stagnated, and jobs are hard to come by, it makes sense that some people simply can’t afford to deal with the expense. Our reporter spoke to the man in charge at a major fitness center in New York yesterday. He was told that price increases accurately reflect rising outgoings in this industry. While that might be true, it would seem that most people feel the hikes should not be passed onto members.
Secondly, most gyms are a little dated these days. Our reporter made inquiries with regards to the price of new standard equipment and was totally flabbergasted. What he discovered was that the average price of a running machine has more than doubled in the last five years. However, we don’t feel that’s enough to warrant such a sharp rise in membership costs as most gyms rent their equipment from specialist firms.
Thirdly, nearly all modern gyms over a certain size are classed as unisex. That means both men and women are expected to train together. While most men don’t seem to have a problem with that, some of the women our reporter spoke to feel quite differently. Here is a quote from one lady who had just finished a workout at the gym we were visiting…
“While I do still use this establishment since the new unisex policy came into force, I always try to ensure I pick the quietest times of day to visit. That’s because I don’t feel comfortable with getting changed and then training around men. I can completely understand why some women have cancelled their membership. Also, I don’t blame them one bit for selecting female-only training centers. At the end of the day, we come here to get in shape, not to socialize. To be honest, it can feel a little intimidating with so many members of the opposite sex occupying the same space as us girls.”
We also got in touch with a representative from Equip Your Gym; a company that specialized in selling used commercial gym equipment. He told us…
“Over the last couple of years, we’ve been doing lots of business thanks to the amount of gyms that have closed down all over the country. While low membership might be bad for them, it’s brilliant for us. When gyms close down, they need to get rid of all their equipment, so we swoop in and purchase as much as possible.”
So, is a major reduction in gym memberships a bad thing? Well, that depends on which side of the coin you focus.