How To Attract And Include Younger/Junior Members In Your Club

How To Attract And Include Younger/Junior Members In Your Club

In this week’s article, we will be exploring a subject that is in need of frequent revisitation, a complete discussion about how and why to attract younger people to be members of gyms and fitness clubs.

Now this might seem like a well-worn road, but that logic can be a pitfall. The young people of today are not the young people of ten years ago and certainly not of twenty years ago. Just as the demographics constantly shift, so too do the demands of those demographics. The last generation that didn’t have smartphones in school is now firmly over a decade graduated, an entire generation is near voting-age that was born after the release of the first iPhone.

When we say young people we no longer mean people who grew up with a GameBoy Colour, we mean children who grew up with iPads. 

With Millenials and Gen-Z now constituting up to as much as 80% of the gym and fitness club going population, what do owners need to know about how to attract younger members to their gyms? 

How do their expectations contrast compared to the generations that came before them? And while our focus is on youth, we are going to look at what owners can do to make their gyms safe and appealing to under-20s.

It is a trickier topic, relying on knowledge of how to treat young members at different age thresholds and what is expected of a gym, but one that can be broken down into its composite parts fairly easily. It is important to note (and we will reiterate this at the beginning of the section) that this article does not constitute legal advice. If a gym owner or gym management has any concerns around the physical safety of children (or anyone) within their gym environment, we recommend contacting a legal professional with the relevant expertise.

But with that being said, we are happy to recount what we have seen work for our independent gym partners over our twenty years of experience in the fitness industry. A new generation of gym-goers might have risen in that time, but our dedication to staying on the cutting edge of the fitness industry means we are just as ready to assist this generation as we were for the last. 

What will we cover in this article?

(you can also click to skip ahead!)


Should independent gyms and fitness clubs use AI and AI-powered language learning models to assist with their digital marketing?

How can hiring or incentivising influencers to endorse a fitness business boost their digital marketing campaigns?


Why should gyms utilise mixed media and marketing via a variety of digital platforms to increase their demographic reach?

How can AI be unsuitable for producing high-quality content, despite its ability to produce content in vast quantities?

Why Aim For A Younger Demographic?

As with many inevitabilities in business, it is simply a numbers game at this point. Between the generations we know as the much-maligned Millenials and the relatively new Gen Z, we now have approximately 80% of the gym-going population. 

That is a current statistic, in fact, almost an old statistic. Not a projected number in five years’ time. It was one of the most striking discoveries of the Les Mills Global Consumer Fitness Survey in 2019. Gen Z was not imminent, they were already here. A significant shift in the generational makeup of the fitness market had occurred without appropriate recognition. At the time it was the largest survey of its kind, questioning over 12,000 participants across over 20 countries.

Four years on, and as surely as none of us have gotten any younger, it is safe to say that this trend has only been compounded. The health of the industry and its techniques were formed by, and to cater to, the generations prior. The Baby Boomers and Generation X. And while it might not feel like much has changed, this steady shift is now undeniable. Though these generations will play a key part in the management and direction of the fitness industry, they no longer represent the majority of the consumer base.

Of course that doesn’t mean diverting all efforts towards attracting these generations. Our goal here is to address what marketing techniques work, as well as the services that are expected and desired from independent gyms by this burgeoning generation. A generation that is well on its way to being firmly entrenched in our fitness scene.

So now that we’ve covered the ‘why’ it is important for independent gyms and fitness clubs to appeal to Millennials and Generation Z, let’s address the ‘how’.

Digital Generation

Perhaps more than any two sets of generations in history, the cultural and practical divide between Generation Z and the elder generations is pronounced.

And really this is not surprising. As a society, we have experienced the most rapid technological acceleration in human history. It is understandable that when the gulf in technology is so massive between the adolescent period of two generations, an equal and appropriate gulf in attitudes will follow.

So where do the values and priorities of these new generations fall? The answer broadly falls into two categories, technological sophistication/competence and time efficiency. 

Readily Available. Easy Searchable. Implicitly Tech Savvy

Surveys have consistently shown, perhaps with little surprise, that the on-demand generation wants things…Well, on-demand.

Despite being the generation to whom googling is second nature, they aren’t one for second chances. If a gym or fitness club’s website or app can’t be immediately found and accessed in a single search? They might not want to know. 

These are generations that have grown up with the omnipresent, omnicompetent mega-corporations. They have a high standard for online presentation and sophistication. If a website looks like it was made before they were born, they’ll know. If an independent gym or fitness club doesn’t have an app, they’ll notice. Keenly. 

Luckily many of the services they have come to expect are easy to provide. 

Tech-enabled automation of turnstiles and workout equipment has never been more readily available. These can help an independent gym’s staff provide a more efficient service, as well as enable them to focus on that personalised, social service that Gen Z have come to expect and value. 

When supported by an App that allows them to easily navigate and access the services of an independent gym, the key needs of the average ‘Generation Digital’ denizen are being met.

Class schedules, temporary facilities closures, events, news and sales. It is no longer enough for all of this to be stored on a website, it must be readily available on mobile phones in order to meet our criteria of ‘readily available’.

This preference extends further into the social sphere and even the home workout sphere (Which we will get to next). This feeds into the narrative that Gen Z and Millenials are looking for an independent gym to be an enhancement to their lifestyle, not just an area they visit. Integrated virtual solutions enable a gym to project its influence on its members’ lives beyond the walls of the facility and into many more aspects of their lives, from virtually guided workouts to diet and sleep.

The numbers don’t lie, it is estimated that over 60% of our target generation engages in some form of Virtual Fitness. And that is to say, nothing of the now pushed over 80% of polled gym members that aid their gym workouts with home workouts.

More than ever, it is vital for a gym’s services to extend beyond the four walls of a building and the key methods for achieving this lie in the palm of their, and our, hands.

Home Workouts, Lifestyle And More

Speaking of home workouts, we thought given the aforementioned statistics that over four in five gym members complimenting their workout routine with home sessions was worthy of further attention.

Traditionally Home Workouts were seen as something of a threat to the gym, competing for the same schedule and same space. This attitude has shifted dramatically and it is safe to say that most gym members are not attempting to substitute what they can achieve in a gym with what they can achieve outside of a gym.

This is fantastic news for the fitness industry. As we implied above, advances in everyday software and hardware, allow gyms and fitness clubs to influence, guide and act as a source of expertise in ways previously unimaginable.

Whether it is providing virtual classes at scheduled times, instructional videos or dietary information, gyms can now provide a repository of information for their members to access at any time, in any place.

These are the sorts of services that independent gyms and fitness clubs want to be focusing on if they wish to make themselves truly indispensable to Generation Digital. Gen Z and Millenials have been raised on the subscription model. In many ways, it has primed them perfectly for the structure of most gym membership payment systems.

What is required is for more independent gyms to recognise that the expectations have expanded, now encompassing more than just the workout equipment and dedicated spaces they’ve provided. Now the onus is on providing a digital space to match the physical.

Digital guidance solutions have been proven to enhance the effectiveness of home workouts dramatically and virtual classes have been shown to lower attrition. Any independent gym or fitness club leaving these options on the table needs to seriously ask why!

Go Hard Or Go Home? The Generation That Does Both!

Famously decried as the ‘Lazy Generation’ in the 2000s, a decade later it would appear they are anything but! The aforementioned study determined that over 80% of regular exercisers polled are now working out at least three times a week, a dramatic rise spurred on by the two younger generations. 

Gen Z is leading this charge, with 87% of the polled members of the demographic exercising three or more times per week (including non-gym or fitness club workouts). Millennials rank only slightly behind them (Which can perhaps be attributed to employment and an increasing number becoming parents). 

All of this points to a pair of generations that are deeply fond of fitness. Gen Z is famously the generation now smoking the least and drinking the least. Their ‘sesh’ of choice isn’t a drinking session, but a workout session.

The implications of this development are profound on many levels, socially, societally, and economically. What it can tell us in the fitness industry is that this generation will be active, motivated and above all else, discerning.

These are generations that have grown up with warnings about obesity, smoking-induced lung cancer and alcoholism. More than any generation before them, they are keenly informed on the benefits of exercise and the detriments of unhealthy living.

As such, they will be drawn to any independent gym or fitness club that can channel, promote and embody these healthy lifestyle virtues while providing a social environment. If this can be achieved by a gym, then it will near-inevitably become a place where the younger generation can gather multiple times a week to thrive. 

A Social Generation

Speaking of home workouts, we thought given the aforementioned statistics that over four in five gym members complimenting their workout routine with home sessions was worthy of further attention.

Traditionally Home Workouts were seen as something of a threat to the gym, competing for the same schedule and same space. This attitude has shifted dramatically and it is safe to say that most gym members are not attempting to substitute what they can achieve in a gym with what they can achieve outside of a gym.

This is fantastic news for the fitness industry. As we implied above, advances in everyday software and hardware, allow gyms and fitness clubs to influence, guide and act as a source of expertise in ways previously unimaginable.

Whether it is providing virtual classes at scheduled times, instructional videos or dietary information, gyms can now provide a repository of information for their members to access at any time, in any place.

These are the sorts of services that independent gyms and fitness clubs want to be focusing on if they wish to make themselves truly indispensable to Generation Digital. Gen Z and Millenials have been raised on the subscription model. In many ways, it has primed them perfectly for the structure of most gym membership payment systems.

What is required is for more independent gyms to recognise that the expectations have expanded, now encompassing more than just the workout equipment and dedicated spaces they’ve provided. Now the onus is on providing a digital space to match the physical.

Digital guidance solutions have been proven to enhance the effectiveness of home workouts dramatically and virtual classes have been shown to lower attrition. Any independent gym or fitness club leaving these options on the table needs to seriously ask why!

Content With Content

When Bill Gates famously wrote ‘Content Is King’ in 1996, people believed him. But few were able to grasp just how salient and prophetic his words would be. 27 years later, the phenomena he described has shaped our society, and economy and must necessarily shape how we approach the generations who have been raised in this system.

In fact, it has reached the point where even the word ‘Content’ feels like a bit of a strange term. Technology has prompted a rapid evolution of how we consume information and the word content has shifted with it. 

Suddenly it seems like everything is content and the concept of an independent gym or fitness club producing ‘content’ has seemed alien to some owners. 

But independent gyms and fitness clubs are in a good position to sate the ‘content’ demands of this new generation. This is a generation that overwhelmingly consumes non-traditional, non-analogue media. Sitting down to watch live television is something they only do with their parents. What they want is specific content made from sources that they trust on topics that interest them. 

And as we established their keen interest in fitness, independent gyms are in a prime position to be one of those trusted content sources.

It is speculated that nearly 90% of those engaging in app-based workout content belong to Gen-Z and Millenials. This trend shows no sign of abating either, with an ever-more dominant portion of the market seeking out these trends. The digital revolution is only going to be compounded as more generations move into the consumer market.

As we touched upon earlier, it will be the gyms that can bring value to these younger generations when they are outside the gym as well as inside that will ultimately have a higher retention rate and secondary spend engagement. 

Whether it is initiating a partnership with creators who specialise in this sort of content or engaging staff members to create it in-house, the benefits in membership retention and engagement will be evident! 

And not only that, this content doesn’t merely need to be used to preach to the converted. Content can also help independent gyms and fitness clubs in reaching non-members.

As we covered earlier, having a sophisticated online presence can help project the influence of a gym significantly. If the resources created are good enough to be shared by members or even social media feeds, new members will be exposed to the gym and its brand in a way that previously would not have been possible.

Personalities Go A Long Way

To a generation that has everything at its fingertips, music, film, art. There is an authenticity and meaning issue that they are constantly trying to address. It is why, as we covered earlier, they crave experiences so much. It is why we have seen the explosion of retrograde technology such as vinyl. It is the inconvenience, the exclusivity, the hardship in obtaining something that makes it feel real.

While such a distinction might have the analogue generations scratching their heads, this is something all too pertinent to the younger generations.

But away from the media, where does authenticity come from? What can’t be downloaded or replicated (at least yet)…Other people.

In this case, we are talking about staff, personal trainers and instructors.

In the era of ‘following’, a personal trainer or instructor that the younger generation can latch onto can make all the difference.

It is becoming ever-clearer that the quality and personality of the instructors are the key factors for Gen Z as to whether they keep or ditch a class. The business-like, stoic approach to classes has fallen by the way.

By employing magnetic, energising people to lead classes, independent gyms and fitness clubs will be poised to drastically increase retention amongst younger members!

Specialised Price Brackets And Membership Tiers

While we have spent this length of this article so far going into the virtues (and intricacies) of this generation, there is one important thing to keep in mind that is not quite so pleasant.

Via several pertinent metrics, Millennials and Generation Z are the poorest generations in recorded history. Now we know it sounds strange, we’ve just talked about how they have a life centred around technology. But don’t be fooled, behind that technological facade are two generations that own a lower portion of societal wealth than ever before.

While they don’t completely lack purchasing power, they are very prudent about how it is spent. More than the generations that precede them, they are willing to wait for a bargain and do without until then. 

While this could initially be seen as a frustration and a detriment, as with much of what we have covered, it merely requires a change of tact and approach.

This is a generation that responds infinitely better to things such as flash sales, discount codes and concessions.

The Marketing Generation?

Perhaps it is fitting that the first generations born after the fall of the Soviet Union have embraced technologies ideal for marketing businesses. As we are probably all too keenly aware, the era of quietly going to a place and quietly leaving it is over. The phrase ‘being seen’ no longer purely applies to the physical world.

But a place has to LOOK great before it can earn the honour of being woven into the digital tapestry of someone’s life. This is why now more than ever it is important that independent gyms and fitness clubs look the part. Fitness facilities have to look like somewhere that they would be proud to call a backdrop.

Every post, every photo, every video. It is a statement and a story. If a gym or fitness club isn’t somewhere that Millennials or Gen Z are keen to be seen, it will mean comparatively little exposure.

And worse than that, it means that they might just start searching for another gym that can meet those ‘aesthetic’ needs.

As such, it is clear that the look, feel and, to use the parlance of our time, ‘vibe’ of a gym or fitness club is an all important retention factor and a key part of the mental maths of whether they stay or go! 

When the dichotomy is reduced to either ‘increase your marketing footprint at no additional cost’ or ‘give your members another reason to go looking elsewhere’…Well, the choice really makes itself!

The Next Generation: How To Attract Junior Members

So, what is the logical continuation of this article exploring how to appeal to and include younger members? The answer is simple, we need to look beyond Generation Digital, to the younger potential members, those still forging their generational consciousness. 

For the purposes of this discussion, we will use the term ‘junior members’ to mean someone below the age of 18, and sometimes even below the age of 16. While some independent gyms and fitness clubs don’t focus on these areas at all, we don’t believe this potentially lucrative and rewarding demographic can be entirely overlooked.

The reasons that appealing to the under-16s/17s/18s (we’ve found different gyms have different cut-offs on age for valid reasons) is often neglected is understandable. These age groups are often more prone to error and injury and may require parental or adult supervision. It is a simple and understandable reaction. ‘Why appeal/allow in junior members when they have to be treated in a separate categorisation compared to ‘adult’ members’.

Well, the simple and understandable response is because it is money left on the table that needn’t be. In areas that have a large secondary school or a large teenage population, that amount of money can become significant enough to warrant further investigation.

That is what we plan to do in the latter part of this article, a quick overview of the easy ways to appeal to potential junior members without compromising the core membership base of any independent gym or fitness club. 

Reaching Out to Schools And Colleges In The Area And Community

This first part might be the key consideration when independent gyms and fitness clubs are considering whether there is profit to be made in appealing to junior members.

If there is a lack of local schools and colleges then it may not be worth the time and effort. Invariably certain areas will not contain enough of the correct demographic to make pursuing this avenue worthwhile.

With that being said, generally, where there are people, there are schools and colleges. And these will be where the potential junior members of the area will gather.

Much like our articles on contacting the council as a nexus/focal point of community life in a local area, schools can act as a similar focal point to access otherwise hard-to-reach demographics. Not only is this a cost-effective way to reach a broader audience, but it is also a great way to establish an independent gym or fitness club as somewhere that is interested in engaging, improving and assisting the local area.

In turn, in our experience, we’ve found that schools and colleges are often very willing to partner, cooperate and collaborate with gyms, especially local and independent. This is because schools are often under pressure to demonstrate how they are helping to combat both the obesity crisis and the increasingly sedentary nature of their students.

But once an independent gym or fitness club has reached out and established a relationship with an independent gym, the benefits can spread to both quickly! 

After-School Programmes

One of the benefits of a partnership with a local school that can be initiated at comparatively low costs is after-school programmes. These are simple to arrange and easy to govern. They always happen around the same time (unsurprisingly, after school).

This is perfect because the majority of clock-out times (1500 to 1530) for schools come at an off-peak time for many independent gyms and fitness clubs. And ideally, by the time the junior members are done working out, it will be in time for the 1700, after work rush!

Of course, these after-school programmes are normally done at a reduced rate or at the very least, a bespoke rate. But the combination of good publicity and additional funding makes it an easy win for independent gyms and fitness clubs trying to bolster their numbers during the day.

Furthermore, we’ve seen several phenomena occur off the back of programmes such as this that lead to an overall increase in adult members. Whether it is an increased take-up of parents attending the same gym or junior members eventually transitioning into adult members once they are of age, after-school programmes can be a great way to make sure more people are entering through the doors of a gym or fitness club.

Discounts for After-School Hours

While this focuses on the same time period, between 1530 and 1700, the system proposed here does not need to go through the schools. Instead, it is an appeal directly to the junior members and utilising the after-school/college time period.

We have seen independent gyms successfully drumming up additional footfall between 1530 and 1700 by offering discounted membership to teens and/or those in education who come to the gym before 5pm. Once again this is designed to address a frequent off-peak time in a gym’s schedule and once again can be used to generate positive word of mouth.

Hosting Teen and Junior Member-Focused Events

We all know the archetype of the bored teenager. Often in the places where people choose to raise teenagers, there are not enough activities to keep them interested or occupied.

Running events aimed at this demographic (in an area where teenagers are a prevalent enough demographic), can help dramatically increase the uptake of new junior members, as well as potentially filling up a gym on an otherwise less-than-busy night.

These events needn’t be anything flashy, but it is best to consult with personal trainers and class leaders to make sure that it is genuinely engaging and productive for the teenagers to get involved with. It may also be worth understanding who within a gym’s given staff has run events like this before if anyone. This is because running an event for teenagers can be quite a different experience compared to running one for adults! 

Hosting Youth, School Or College Sports Team and Clubs

The ability for an independent gym to be able to engage in this one will be based on the facilities to hand. Not every gym will be able to host activities relevant to every club.

But with that being said, not every event that a sports team or club holds needs to be directly connected to their main sporting activity. So while it is easy to see how most gyms or fitness clubs could be of service to say, a school or college Running sports team, it may be less apparent how they can aid a Football team. The answer is fairly simple however, general fitness is important and no team purely uses their activity of choice to improve their strength, stamina or endurance.

Even the most rudimentary independent gym or fitness club has something to offer these teams, using free weights, treadmills and class spaces to bolster fitness, focus on teamwork and team cohesion or focus on areas that the teams or individuals wish to improve.

Gyms and Fitness clubs should not be reluctant to use their facilities to offer sport-focused or specific classes and lessons to competitive teams and leagues in the area. The positive publicity and energy that these young athletes can bring to a gym environment is priceless and contagious. 

Sport-specific Classes And Fitness Regimes

Some teens want more physical activity than their school or college can reasonably provide, especially if they want to go into sports after their academic studies are done. If an independent gym or fitness club finds itself within close proximity to one or multiple schools and/or colleges, it may be able to attract a significant number of students by advertising focused on this benefit.

Independent gyms and fitness clubs might be able to offer programmes of physical conditioning that school facilities often cannot match or that might better fit the needs of the children in question. By focusing on programmes that increase stamina, strength and speed it is likely a gym can attract young people eager to raise their performance in their sport of choice.

Teen-specific App Support

Much as we focused on app-appeal for Generation Z, potential junior members are equally as likely to find this sort of service appealing, especially if there are sections aimed at them. Nutrition and routine can vary for children, so a specialist area of the app might be necessary to ensure the correct advice is given, but equally, it will be all the more appreciated by teens who are eager to learn more about the world of working out, diet and nutrition. 


So there we have it! Now we have covered how an independent gym or fitness club can appeal to everyone from 16 to those now pushing 30. Though these generations have largely gone silent in a business sense for the last decade, it is apparent (and indeed, inevitable) that they will continue to occupy a greater share of the economic share of the fitness industry until they themselves become the elder generation.

More than many industries and sectors, fitness requires a keen sense of the now. Fitness has always appealed to the young and while that in and of itself is changing (another article for another time!) It is vital that we do not treat this generation as the generations that came before it.

These are the first of the digital generations, and perhaps as importantly, they will not be the last. Though no-one knows, most likely the reality we are adjusting to now…One of instant communication, scheduling and further technological integration. That is the environment that the fitness industry will be operating in for many generations to come. If the last twenty years are any indication, not only will this process not slow down, it shall accelerate.

While there may never be such a gap as that that has come between ‘the Analogue Generations’ and ‘The Digital Generations’, it is apparent that this gap must be bridged in order to make sure the fitness industry keeps apace with what has always been our main demographics, the young, the enthused and the energetic. 

More to Read...

Get your club in shape.

Want to discover how? Let us show you.

Simply select your preferred timeslot and we’ll be in touch to have a chat about your health club,
the goals you want to achieve, and how our system can help you.

Get your club in shape.

Want to discover how? Let us show you.

Simply select your preferred timeslot and we’ll be in touch to have a chat about your health club, the goals you want to achieve, and how our system can help you.

Get your club in shape.

Want to discover how? Let us show you.

Simply select your preferred timeslot and we’ll be in touch to have a chat about your health club, the goals you want to achieve, and how our system can help you.

Member of a gym? Simply text "HELP" to 60777 and we'll help you.

Member of a gym? Simply text "HELP" to 60777 and we'll help you.

Member of a gym? Simply text "HELP" to 60777 and we'll help you.

6 Free & Low-Budget Marketing Ideas For Your Gym


6 Free & Low-Budget Marketing Ideas For Your Gym

In today’s blog, we will be tackling what independent gym and fitness clubs can do to take their marketing to the next level on a budget. And that budget? As close to 0 as possible! That’s right, we’ve shaped this entire article around what can be done for free or as close as we could find.

But why? Well, the reason is simple and intuitive. Because after talking to countless owners, marketing personnel, and other staff who work in independent gyms and fitness clubs across the country, we’ve realised what appeals. 

We realised that the people marketing independent gyms and fitness clubs are often doing so on a shoestring budget. Often it isn’t even their dedicated job! As such, we thought it best to shift away from more traditional concepts such as ‘budget’. These are things that might just turn away the sort of person we want this article to reach.

Gym and fitness club owners and staff members who want to improve their marketing, social media, and general outreach for as little money as possible. 

More and more, the people responsible for these important tasks are stretched thin. Understandably BAU (business-as-usual) operations are given priority, but given the low cost and high impact of these methods, gyms are ignoring them at their own peril! 

Everything on this list has our own seal of approval and just as importantly, everything on this list is something we’ve seen independent gyms NOT doing when it could make such a difference. 

With an ever-shifting and challenging economy, combined with an ever-increasing focus on online marketing and presentation, we thought now was the idle time to put pen to paper and list our six free or low-budget marketing ideas that can make a powerful impact on the presentation, presence and outreach of independent gyms and fitness clubs! 

We will be starting with basic, free and instantly actionable measures. Just because these are free, doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth doing! Quite the opposite. Several things we are about to recommend are cornerstone marketing methods for many gyms! 

From there we will be ramping it up, taking methods that require a minimal amount of expenditure, while still maximising effect! This will help create a smooth curve from what is immediately actionable and free to what will take a little more effort and a small amount of money.

And so with that out of the way, keep reading to find out what knowledge we have gained between our twenty five years of experience in the fitness industry and our desire to stay on the cutting edge of value creation for independent gyms and fitness clubs!

 Jump ahead to our 6 marketing ideas!

Build an E-Mail List and Increase Email Engagement

Build a Website

Create a Google Business Page

Fill up Your Gyms Social Media

Run Competitions, Events & Giveaways

Work with Local Partners & Community Groups

Build an E-mail List and Increase E-mail Engagement!

So starting at the beginning of that ‘easy and actionable curve’, we have a simple but incredibly powerful opening strategy for independent gyms and fitness facilities to recommend.

That strategy? The humble e-mail list. A bedrock of marketing strategies and engagement initiatives across the world, we have been alarmed by the number of gyms and fitness clubs that have neglected to incorporate e-mail into their business-as-usual engagement operations!


The premise (for those not acquainted) is simple. Gather together the e-mail addresses of members and potential members and…Well, get e-mailing! 


It really is that simple. For some businesses, gathering e-mail addresses and gauging interest can be hard. Thankfully for the fitness industry, many people harbour a genuine interest and do not mind receiving e-mails about their lifestyle choices and hobbies. This means independent gyms and fitness club management are in a unique position to capitalise on this medium…Making it all the more bizarre some don’t! 


The materials required to start this are simple, just a singular website. Not even e-mails initially, they will come later!

There are many websites that provide the service of managing an e-mailing list for a gym or fitness facility. The differences and nuances between them are too varied for the scope of this article, but we will briefly touch upon some of them and list a few names for the interested to explore!


Perhaps the website that has made its mark on industries ranging from insurance to influencers and beyond is Mailchimp and it is easy to understand why.

Simple, easy to use and all importantly, free for the needs of the average small business as it tests the water (with options for greater capacity and other features). This has ensured that Mailchimp has become a by-word for the type of e-mail list distribution service we are talking about.


We would recommend that all independent gyms and fitness clubs that have not yet set up an e-mail list at least consider and explore the service Mailchimp has to offer.


But mailchimp aren’t the only game in town for gyms seeking to increase engagement via an e-mail list.

Services such as the similarly animal themed Moosend, the ominous Omnisend and the high-flying Mailjet have all encroached on a portion of the market share. 

While there are slight variations in service and the post-free premium price points, we would suggest that the choice can be made after browsing a few different options, starting with the most famous and well-reviewed such as Mailchimp. 


Now as for e-mails, this part is comparatively simple and just as free. As we stated earlier, the good news is that lots of a gym’s members, and even many of their prospective members are keen to hear from them!

It isn’t like car insurance or town-hall, people are often actively excited to hear from their gym or fitness club. It can help enhance the sense of community and connection, as well as keeping them informed and motivated. 


As such, our simple solution for gathering e-mails for the burgeoning e-mail list is…ASK!

Whether it is through sign-up or on the gym floor, we often hear stories of surprise at just how many members were willing to sign-up and what a difference it made to engagement within an independent gym or fitness club! 


When it comes to getting potential members on the list, we find social media competitions and an on-website sign-up function are often the best. This allows prospective and potential members to come to the gym! 


Build a Website – Wix (free version)

Our next action is just as free and just as important. Arguably even more important. Whereas an e-mail list will make a difference in terms of engagement (and that is very important to a gym!) then this makes a difference to not only engagement but appearance!

And that all-important first impression that we’ve seen determines whether a potential member turns up or turns away!


What is that you ask? Well it was in the section title, it is a website! 

Now we know (in fact, we hope!) that some independent gym management and owners will just be met with a firm ‘Well, of course, I have a website’. And that is fantastic, but it is not a given… 


But from our lengthy experience in the fitness industry, we know that there are still a significant portion of independent gyms and fitness clubs up and down the UK and Ireland (and beyond!) that don’t have websites.


The impact on the online footprint of a gym or fitness club that doesn’t have a website is noticeable and immediate. Recent studies across multiple industries have shown that the majority of people under 35 and a good portion of people over 35 use Google as a significant part of their filtering process when it comes to choosing the goods and services they consume.


This is no different in the fitness industry. Upon first hearing of a gym from a friend or seeing it advertised, one of the first things most potential members will do is check out the gym’s website. 


If the website is nowhere to be found, what does that say about the gym or fitness club? Very little good unfortunately. Reactions can range from assuming that the gym has closed down to just thinking that they are newly established or amateurish.

All that to say: Nothing good!

Reactions fare only a little better if the first hit is a Facebook or Instagram page. While it might reassure them that the gym or club hasn’t shut down entirely, it is still considered largely ‘unprofessional’ and ‘negative’ in the eyes of most potential consumers.


As such, you can see why this recommendation made it very near the top of our list! 

First impressions are absolutely vital and for the vast majority of customers, their first impression is going to be digital, not physical!  A Google business profile link that leads through to a Facebook page is not a good first impression. It is difficult to parse information, it shows low commitment to production values and professional aesthetic and it doesn’t instill faith in the potential member. 


This is why we recommend any website builder if it helps a gym or fitness club get their online presence off of solely social media and onto a sleek and dedicated space.


While websites certainly benefit from a little bit of monetary investment, that can come later. If a gym or fitness club is entirely lacking a website in 2023, it is time to get something simple and effective up quickly!


To that end, our first recommendation for a free website creator for independent gyms and fitness clubs is

While it won’t be able to match the standards of professional website builders, it is a fantastic tool for getting a simple and effective website up and running in good time and at a low cost. 


The information to focus on will include:


  • The services, equipment and machinery that the gym or fitness club provides
  • Value of the gym/club and history
  • How to navigate to the gym or fitness club, including maps.
  • A list of events and classes being held (updated regularly)


It needn’t win awards, but as long as it looks coherent, aesthetic, and communicates the necessary information it will provide an infinitely better first impression than the lack of a website. 


Once a simple but professional free website has been created, an independent gym can either ask members for feedback or plan what the more complete, consummate version of the website will eventually look like.


One thing is for sure, having a website and combining that with our next strategy will result in an uptick of potential members becoming actual members if they value the online presence and presentation of their gym or fitness club! 


Create a Google Business Page – Google Shows Your Business For Regional Searches Automatically

This is another simple and effective strategy that we highlight primarily because we find so many independent gyms and fitness clubs neglecting it!

It is safe to say as of 2023, we are firmly in the digital age, and searchability is everything! Searchability not only means that a gym or fitness club should show up if it is googled, but that the way it shows up will reinforce to the searcher that this is a brand and a service that can be trusted. 

It sounds like a weighty task to the uninitiated, but really it is quite simple! Most people have an idea in their mind about what looks ‘right’ and professional’ when they are searching for a business.


One large aspect of this is the Google Business Profile. It is an innocuous little piece of information on the side of many Google searches, especially those pertaining to businesses. I’ve put a picture of our most trusted and up-together partner gyms below and their fully fleshed-out Google Business Profile. 

At a single glance, this will tell any savvy searcher (and therefore, potential member!) either what they need to know, or how they can search for it further in a simple and efficient way.


It demonstrates that the gym is currently open, when it closes, the reviews it has been given, the general location it is in, the address, and the telephone number.

Within a single click, these same potential members will be able to access a detailed Google Maps layout with the gym location highlighted, pictures of the outside and inside, and a breakdown of the reviews and directions.


All that information is either immediately available to a potential customer or a click away! And all of this can be available to a gym or fitness club for free!

So you can see why we find it baffling that so many gyms still do not have this system in place! It is so simple and easy. It instantly communicates all the necessary information, while impressing upon old and new members alike that you are open for business!


So the next question becomes, how do independent gyms and fitness clubs create a business profile?

Well, sometimes we are happy to leave it to the experts and thankfully Google has put everything in place necessary for an independent business to set up their own Google Business Profile with minimal fuss. 


The link below will be vital for any independent gym or fitness club that wants to increase its online profile with a Google business profile! 


Sign up for Business Profile – Google Business Profile Help


And it doesn’t take a visionary to imagine how having a simple but professional website in place, backed up by a Google business profile to guide members and potential members where they need to be can drastically improve the online engagement rate for a gym or fitness club!


Fill Up Your Gym’s Social Media Pages with High Quality, Bespoke Content

While we are on the subject of making a good first impression, it is time to address another weakness we see when it comes to the marketing and engagement of some independent gyms and fitness clubs. 


The good news? Once again, it can be addressed for free! Here at


Over our time, we’ve seen some truly awful graphic design come out of the fitness industry. We get it! As we said at the beginning of this article, marketing personnel and departments (And they are rarely departments!) are stretched thin.

But that doesn’t mean we need to immediately lower our standards to Paint and other unmentionable programmes in order to create banners. 


Not when Canva exists! 


The plucky Australian company that could, Canva now boasts over 100 million users, and for good reason. It is a simple, powerful, and all-importantly free at point of entry piece of software that can be used by anyone to create high-quality, bespoke marketing materials. 


What sets Canva apart from the crowd? Many things. 


So many things, in fact, we’ve made a mini-list within a list of reasons why Canva can’t be left on the shelf


  1. It is free! And the premium version is fantastic value for money, even for an independent gym or fitness club!

As with many services, Canva has adopted the model of having a free and a premium option. For our needs, this is fantastic as it means that it can be obtained immediately by any member of staff within a gym or fitness club. The free version gives you a large number of options and does not impede your ability to make sleek and bespoke images quickly. 


The premium version of the service is something we would recommend if a gym or fitness club comes to rely upon Canva sufficiently enough that they want to improve their options. Starting prices are very reasonable and can easily be utilised by a small gym to great effect if necessary. 


     2. The versatility of Canva means it can fulfill a plethora of roles:

The fitness industry is fast-paced and varied. One day a gym might need fliers, another day it might need posters, and during both of those days, it might also need several social media posts.

Luckily Canva is a service that allows gym staff to meet all of these needs and more while doing a good portion of the work itself with the help of thousands of templates to choose from. This allows even a relative newcomer to graphic design to make visually coherent and impactful promotional material quickly.

Combine this with a large library of pre-existing images and a fantastic workspace for editing images and it is clear that the only limit to Canva is the imagination. 


      3. You don’t need to be a professional designer:

Due to an easy learning curve and a host of pre-existing and free templates, we are confident that anyone on the staff of a gym or fitness club will be able to pick it up and quickly produce quality material.

As we mentioned earlier, this is perfect for the average independent gym environment where some roles, such as social media and marketing, are not dedicated roles. With only a little training, a member of staff can generate quality content in no time! 


       4. Canva makes creating class schedules, promotional material, and customer engagement easy!

Speaking of social media, we thought it deserved its own point on the list.


And that is because the effects that Canva can have on a social media page are incredible.

In an age where every major business and corporation is running ultra-sleek, daily social media campaigns. It becomes very noticeable if an independent gym puts something out that isn’t quite as in vogue. 


With Canva, that worry can disappear. Anyone within a fitness facility can immediately start creating material with a strong visual style that will catch the eyes and stand out.

With this ability at the fingertips of virtually anyone within the gym or fitness club’s staff, it means that every sale, class or event can have its own bespoke, eye-catching social media post ready to go! Customer engagement will never be higher. 


     5. Canva allows multiple employees to collaborate! 

Some design tools, especially traditional, non-web-based ones, only allow one person to edit or create at one time.

With Canva, this issue is a thing of the past.

Once again, we’ve seen this be particularly useful to independent gyms, who often have to start and stop tasks due to the fast-moving nature of this business. The Canva collaboration system means that if one staff member is unable to finish, another can pick it up in their place!


Running competitions, events and give-aways- Use incentives that are free or low-cost such as memberships, free day passes or overstocked goods. 

For our last two tips, we are going to move on from ‘free’ to ‘very low cost’. 

While we could’ve ended the article with what can be implemented within a gym or fitness club for free, we thought it was a shame to limit the scope of the article to only that which can be achieved with no budget whatsoever.

This is because we didn’t think it was right to ignore a couple of the great methods of driving membership engagement and marketing that can be achieved for very little.


And they fit our theme, what can be achieved by independent gyms and fitness clubs on a super-low budget, so here we go. 


Starting with that classic piece of engagement, competitions!


Events, competitions, and giveaways are a great method of generating hype, publicity, and engagement within the local community and beyond. With the benefits of social media, these gym competitions and events can far outweigh the reach they generate on the day as well!

(Especially if you have slick Canva images to promote them!) 


Gyms and fitness clubs find themselves in a good position when it comes to competitions, there are lots of prizes they can offer, many of which come at a relatively cheap price point. 


Memberships are, of course, the go-to prize. It is a valuable commodity to the consumer while costing a gym or fitness club no immediate budget upfront. Not only that but if a free membership is given, there is every chance that the money might be partially or fully recovered by secondary spending. 


The same applies to runner-up/secondary prizes such as day passes. They are a perfect sweet spot as they represent both value saved by the consumer/potential member and also a potent and free advertising mechanism for the gym or fitness club. 


The publicity generated from these competitions is also an asset that must be considered.

It has become a frequent and effective trend to run a ‘following and retweeting’ (now reposting) competition on Twitter (now X). The entry method for each potential winner is merely retweeting and liking the post. This enables it to be spread far and wide, with the cumulative effect of each participant retweeting it to their own batch of followers while increasing the online following and reach of the gym or fitness club!

As you can imagine, when combined with our earlier steps, especially utilising Canva and providing a good ‘first online impression’, a gym or fitness club can rapidly start to reach a lot of people in a professional, engaging, and largely free way! 


Working with local partners and community groups

Our final strategy will require the most time and commitment, and most likely the most resources if it is to be done correctly. But if done correctly, it can significantly increase engagement and membership numbers within an independent gym or fitness club! 


And the method you ask? Getting out there into the local community, establishing a presence within the area, and making connections that will give a gym or fitness club the edge in the local community and economy.


In this increasingly online, increasingly stratified society it almost feels like the local area sometimes takes a backseat. There has become this trend, even amongst some independent gyms and fitness clubs, to view their business as a detached, aloof brand first. 

But this isn’t the case, and one of the many lessons that the Covid-19 pandemic taught us just how physical and just how local the world truly is. 


The local community and economy that an independent gym exists within cannot be overlooked or underestimated. Time and time again we have seen that there are significant gains to be made from reaching out to the broader community, meeting influential individuals in the area and engaging with pre-existing groups and organisations for community and sporting events. 


And the fantastic news is the options are as varied as they are effective.

Whether it is approaching the local regional, town, or city council. Whether it is reaching out to charities, sports clubs or local businesses. There are opportunities everywhere when viewed through the appropriate lens.

We have seen independent gyms increase their engagement by reaching out to councillors and council workers involved with the health, sports, and fitness sector. Organisations and organisers responsible for weekly events within the area, and people within the fitness and health sector can be vital. We find that once a gym starts reaching out to these individuals, they can help them get into contact with others within the community.


In order to achieve this effectively and meaningfully, this will require going to events, even sponsoring events, and hosting events. It will require networking and it will require a genuine passion for the community that the gym is operating in.

But the rewards in terms of membership uptake and membership engagement are well worth the time, effort, and cost. In an era of corporate, budget gyms attempting to dominate the landscape with cookie-cutter gyms up and down the country, independent gyms and fitness clubs can really play to their strengths and shine by engaging with the community and making their facility more than just a place people can work out. 



And really that same mantra applies to all of our tips. In a time of increased competition and challenge, the innovation that can occur on an independent level is vital for not only surviving, but thriving. 

We hope these strategies, methods and ideas have helped show that there is an awful lot that an independent gym or fitness club and their staff can do to improve, even when resources are tight and the budget is tighter!

What can your Gym Do To Reach out to the LGBTQIA+ Community and Reduce Gymtimidation?


People and Fitness: What can your Gym Do To Reach out to the LGBTQIA+ Community and Reduce Gymtimidation?


In the last few years there have been an increasing number of studies and increased visibility about the fact that young people who identify as belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community are participating in less exercise than their non-LGBTQIA identifying counterparts.

This isn’t due to a lack of desire or a lack of interest in sports or participating in physical activity. Unfortunately, the reason for this imbalance is complex but all too predictable. A lot of members of this community feel unsafe and unsupported in an atmosphere that can be quite intimate and intimidating.

We already know that Gymtimidation is a real and impactful phenomenon. And research has shown this feeling can be compounded when you already associate certain areas with discrimination and harassment. 

The focal point for all this, is, of course, the changing rooms. Many members of the LGBTQIA+ community have said that they do not believe the staff will either be trained well enough or supportive enough. This could lead to situations of intense victimisation or isolation. Given that the changing rooms are a fairly vital area, necessary in order to fully utilise a Gym or Fitness Club, it leads to large levels of avoidance.

While we are obviously focusing on what can be done from a Gym or Fitness Club owning perspective, it is important to remember that this is felt across all echelons of physical activity. Whether it is the desire to attend a swimming pool or a sports club, many members of this community sadly view it as a higher-risk proposition. It is therefore no wonder that these numbers do not match up when comparing physical activity participation.

Both an area where physical activity occurs and the changing rooms are seen as places of vulnerability. When targeted discrimination is an omnipresent threat that an individual is seeking to minimise and where they do not believe they will be supported, they will avoid that place. 

As well as the health implications, this is also unfortunate from a social implication. The LGBTQIA+ community is already more prone to social isolation. Therefore it is reasonable and necessary to look at what we can do to reassure members of the community that they will be supported, that their participation is wanted, and how to communicate that message in an effective and respectful way. 


So, What Can The Fitness Industry Do?

Take a look at how Language is used within your Gym or Fitness Club

The concept of serious reflection on our language and how it affects marginalised people within our society is a relatively new one. That means that there are a lot of terms and phrases that we use unthinkingly in everyday life that we should perhaps spend more time thinking about.

There are several areas where immediate and impactful change can be accomplished.

  1. Title: Whether on a paper sign-up form, your gym website or your gym app, putting gender-neutral titles demonstrates a Gym has acted upon inclusive values

2. Gender: Much like title, another criteria on nearly every sign-up sheet is gender. De-emphasising the binary of Male and Female is an easy and effective step to goodwill to the marginalised Trans and non-binary communities.

3. Pronouns: It may be a part of grammar you’ve spent little time considering, but to many people within the LGBTQIA+ community and outside of it, it matters a lot. While it is not necessary to add it to any potential sign-up documents, giving the ability for people to add their pronouns to their account with your Gym or Fitness club is an easy way to demonstrate that your business acknowledges the importance they hold. 


Talk with young members of the LGBTQIA+ community, whether individually or on a group basis

It may sound basic, but it is often overlooked. The power of reaching out and asking to talk to people cannot be overstated. These are ultimately the people you are trying to make feel more welcome. Here are some ways to reach out:


  1. Approach your own membership via e-mail or social media and say you are keen on reaching out to improve their experience within your Gym or Fitness Club. 
  2. If you receive a positive reception, ask people individually if they’d be interested in attending a group session.
  3. Also consider reaching out to your local council, community centres or LGBTQIA+ organisations. 
  4. No matter what form they end up taking, ask them what your facility can do as an institution to be more inclusive. 
  5. Send a representative to a local LGBTQIA+ organisation to either give a talk on what your Gym is trying to accomplish 


Review your business and your facility from a new perspective

As with any attempt to increase inclusivity, the success of this kind of initiative will be about how well a gym or fitness club owner can see their business from a new perspective. We have covered outreach and customer interaction and we will close this off with some questions to be asked and answered.


  1. Does your gym or fitness club have any openly LGBTQIA+ members of staff?
  2. Do the signs and posters within your gym or fitness club use gendered or gender-neutral language?
  3. Does your gym or fitness club have gender-neutral changing rooms and toilet facilities? 

By asking simple questions and taking a step back for honest reflection, hopefully you can determine just how welcoming your gym or fitness club is to the LGBTQIA+ community. If you do not feel able to answer these questions with authority, seek out someone from the LGBTQIA+ community and give them a tour around the gym with the above questions in mind. 


What Next?

None of us want to exercise in an environment we don’t feel comfortable in, but unfortunately that is the reality for many people within the LGBTQIA+ community and beyond. As responsible members of the fitness industry, we should always be looking for ways to make everyone feel welcome in our clubs and gyms. As we discussed in the introduction, historically these places have been highly gendered and unwelcoming, and while the reality is shifting, the perception will always move more slowly.

As such, it is important that we signal openly and honestly what we are trying to do to address these issues. If we are silent on these matters, many marginalised communities may assume that the unwelcoming status quo remains in place. 


Should You Increase Your Gym Membership Prices?


Is It Time To Increase Prices At Your Gym or Fitness Club?

With fluctuating energy prices and supply chain issues from both the Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine, it is time to tackle some of the hardest questions when it comes to running a Gym or fitness club.

We will be looking into the following questions involving price increases in the current climate: 

Is it time to raise the price of your Gym Memberships?  

How much should they increase by?

Should you increase the price for all members or membership bands?

How to communicate to your members the facts and reasons for the price increase

Certain industries and sectors have little to no reservations about putting up their prices. The council is all too happy to dictate when their cut will rise, as are the trains and the petrol stations. But, unfortunately for some in the fitness sector, the rise of national chain budget Gyms has turned the health and fitness industry into an arena of constant price warfare.

As such, we will be taking a look at each of these questions in turn to try and navigate this minefield. A tone-deaf rollout of a price increase could cost your gym or fitness club more than it stands to save. As could a price increase that doesn’t reflect that of your local market and competitors.

Is it time to raise the price of your gym memberships?

In times of prosperity, the aforementioned price war is not necessarily a bad thing. It certainly leads to a lower price for the consumer and necessity will always spark innovation while warding off stagnation. But in times of budget squeeze, the ability to remain inorganically competitive will naturally come into conflict with the ever-increasing, real-value cost of running a Gym or fitness establishment.

As such, when it comes to contesting the percentage of the population who will actually purchase a gym or fitness club membership, the subject is best approached with, at the very least, caution.

With increasing property rents, interest rates, and energy prices, the time has come when the industry is wondering if even the budget chains will be able to sustain their rock-bottom price metrics.

And of course, unlike many economic factors that assail the industry, property rents and energy prices are both concerns that impact the spending habits of the consumer. The economic and societal upheaval of the last two years has left many consumers in a very different position when compared to 2019.

It is important that we keep this in mind when both considering and communicating potential price rises. More than ever, consumers will be concerned about the value they are getting for their service.

We will go into more detail when it comes to communicating the price rise but it is important to highlight in this section that your price increase cannot come with no benefits. At the very least be prepared to showcase how your Gym has improved, is improving or will be improved. If you can’t showcase this, a price increase may well result in a net loss of revenue.

To expand, it is important we reinforce that increasing the prices of your Gym or fitness club membership is not a silver bullet solution. It is possible that, if mishandled, your club could end up with less collected membership fees than before.

This is, of course, a worst-case scenario but it is a consideration that should be held at all points of a membership price review. As we previously mentioned, there is an increasingly price-savvy consumer base out there as the public starts to cut unnecessary costs. Many people will be reacting in a knee-jerk fashion. A poorly timed or poorly communicated price increase could be just the thing to causes an exodus of people looking to reduce their monthly expenses. It is also important to consider that the obligatory communication may alert sleeping members to the fact they are still paying for your service. 

If either of these takes place during a price increase, it may be significant enough to reduce or even negate the benefit of a Gym membership price increase.

How much should you increase membership prices by?

While this is possibly the most important question here, it is also, unsurprisingly, the one with the most nuanced and situational answer. This will require not only a comprehensive review of your membership but also of the competition in your local area. 

Before increasing the price, it is vital to research the fitness service market in your area. Understand if any of your competitors have already increased their prices. If you don’t know their price previously, merely understanding the different benchmarks for different Gyms in your area is still valuable information. Even if you feel like an increase of £x is justified, if it prices you out of the current market in your area then it is time to ask some intrinsic questions. 

In regards to your current membership, it is important to understand several different aspects of your current situation. It is vital to understand how satisfied your current membership is with the gym or fitness club.

The two primary methods of achieving this will be social media, reviews, and surveying. Thankfully consumers are very willing to give their feedback in the internet era. Review all outlets of feedback for your Gym, including review sites such as TrustPilot and Google Reviews, as well as your most active social media accounts.

If your clue is not meeting the expectations of your members at the current value, it is very hard to justify a price increase, let alone a significant one. It is important to keep your finger on the pulse of your customer’s opinion. Too often we all complain of businesses being out of touch, but in a value-driven, competitive market, being in touch is paramount.

Only then will you be able to have the necessary confidence in the service you are providing to justify increasing your prices.


Should you increase the price for all members or membership bands?

The answer to this question will once again depend on the nature of your Gym or fitness club. From our experience in the fitness industry, we know that Gym membership categories are as varied, if not more varied than the number of clubs. 

The reason we have decided to write this as its own section is to reinforce that you should take into consideration every membership when conducting a price review. 

Even if you are perfectly happy with the price point of certain membership tiers, it is still necessary to communicate effectively across the entire business.

On the other hand, it may be that you wish to increase the price of every membership by a set amount. The difference between say, £1 per member and 3% per member could vary massively. Both are systems that have been implemented in the fitness industry to varying levels of effectiveness.

The economic logic here is simple.

Increasing everyone’s membership by a static amount, for the sake of argument here, £1, will give a sense of uniformity. However, this method will represent a smaller increase in terms of percentage for your higher-paying members.

Increasing the price by a percentage across the board will, conversely, spread the load more equally, but perhaps extracting less from your lower-paying members. 

Another frequently asked question during a price review is whether or not loyal members should get preferential treatment. Or whether the price increase should only apply to new members. While this can be tempting and even effective, it is important to note that an increase only on new members may take months, or even years to have a noticeable impact on the margins. 

How should you communicate to your members the facts and reasons for the price increase?

It is vital that when you start to communicate the price increase to your membership, it is done in a calm, clear, and empathetic manner. The tone and professionalism of the communication will be important to get the point across that you are not:

1. Making this decision quickly or lightly 

2. Making this decision due to panic or in a reactionary manner 

3. Nor that you are making this decision due to greed

4. That you have considered all possible options and avenues before making this price increase.

In order to demonstrate that the price increase is being implemented in a controlled manner, it should be communicated well ahead of time. Preferably this should be done in writing, either via e-mail or letter.

This communication should lead with an acknowledgment of the current situation. The consumer is fully aware that the price of living, energy, and rent has increased and therefore this is a solid justification for any rise.

Focus on the improvements that have been made to the Gym and how the service is different from what was being provided a year prior.

Highlight the strengths of your gym or fitness club compared to other Gyms in the area and show that the price is still competitive.

Highlight other improvements that will be being made in the future and where the additional money will be going.

Make sure to brief all staff, most importantly the managers, about this upcoming change. Make sure everyone appreciates why it is happening so that there is a unified response to any complaints. If the team running your social media is separate from your Gym staff, make sure that they are also fully briefed.

Ask staff to refer any severe complaints to the management team. 

If you have more than one gym or fitness club, make sure that the price increases and the communication is tailored to the area. 

Offer to arrange a face-to-face meeting for members to attend to discuss the price raise. This will give the sense that their voices are being listened to. Set an agenda that involves improvements they’d like to see given the new price. 


Should you be wary of increasing your membership prices?

While it is a decision that should be taken with the utmost care, ultimately gyms and fitness clubs should not be scared of increasing their prices. In the current circumstances, it is an understandable and necessary evil. While there will be some inevitable pushback, any gym should be able to effectively articulate that these price increases do not come from a place of greed.

With all the disruption to the economy within the last half-decade, price increases have become an accepted part of life. With that being said, it is important to understand that you still have to be competitive within your local fitness market.


It is important to understand the strengths of your gym or fitness club, and what makes it continue to appeal to your existing members. If it is the advanced equipment, great location, or versatile facility, that is a solid foundation for a small but impactful price increase. If it is purely that you are the cheapest gym or club in the area, then that may make you more vulnerable to the attrition caused by a price increase. 

Further, it is important not to fall into the trap of incremental, yearly rises. This will just result in a yearly exodus of customers. In these exceptional times, better to announce a one-off increase that can be justified and clearly communicated to your membership.

You may want to look into offering members options when you announce the increase. This could include offering them a year of membership at their old rate if they pay the full amount upfront. While this will represent a loss of income over time, it will mean that you collect a full year’s membership whereas otherwise, you might not.


As stated earlier, the confidence in which a price increase can be implemented should be directly linked to the sophistication of the membership monitoring systems you have in place and therefore the knowledge of your members. 

If you are confident you understand which of your members are loyal and active, and which are perhaps inactive, sleepers, or non-committal, then you will understand the full implication of the decisions you take when conducting a price review.


Increase Your Memberships: Four streamlining techniques Gyms can use to smash stagnation in a challenging and changeable economy!


Increase membership and reduce complexity: Four streamlining techniques  Gyms and Fitness Clubs can use to smash stagnation in a challenging and changeable economy!

This week we are continuing our focus on the fundamentals, this time by exploring the potential for streamlining and optimisation available to independent gym and fitness club owners. All of these techniques can be reviewed and considered with near immediate effect by owners and management, though some may require further commitment after the initial review to be fully effective. 

Our goal here was to create a quick and instructive article that will get gym and fitness club owners thinking about certain BAU (business-as-usual) operations within their fitness facilities that they may have taken for granted or let stagnate accidentally.

It is no secret that the fitness industry has been through a period of intense change over the last four years, and that trend shows no sign of abating. Whether it is a reorganising of power and profitability amongst the big chains, ever-greater technological innovation or the shifting of consumer habits and member priorities, this industry does not stay still and neither should its denizens! 

As such, we are here to find where chaff can be cut, where orthodoxy can be overthrown and ultimately where we can create the most value for members and the most profit for owners!


Want to jump straight ahead and see our 4 techniques? We won’t keep you waiting any longer!

Technique 1: Independent gym owners should be questioning the 24-hour opening time doctrine

Technique 2: Effective, Intuitive, Contextual Automation

Technique 3: Demographic Messaging

Technique 4: Systems, Systems, Systems


Technique 1: Independent gym owners should be questioning the 24-hour opening time doctrine


Is it worth keeping the lights on?


With energy costing more and more, it is time to ask whether the 24 hour model is still optimal, aspirational or even viable in the 2023 landscape. 

We have seen significant discomfort being caused to the likes of PureGym and The Gym Group through their insistence, or rather, dependence on the 24 hour model.

Whereas the large, budget chains may have locked themselves into the 24-hour model, independent gyms and fitness clubs have no such obligation.

With technology making the adoption of the 24-hour model increasingly viable, it was gradually becoming seen as the optimal mode of operation. The Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine may have heralded an end of this increase.

Indeed, it now increasingly seems like the 24-hour model could soon be viewed as a luxurious remnant of a more prosperous age. There will still be gyms where it can operate and even thrive of course, such as the eternally busy city centres. But the time where it could be viewed as the norm irrespective of location seems to be quickly fading. 

Is there truly any need for a PureGym or any gym to be opening in some sleepy dormitory town all night, every night. Do the membership fees of the five night owls that come in to work out really justify a full night of operation? It is dubious as to whether they ever really did, but the energy crisis has put the answer into black and white. 

As such, we are seeing many gyms either revert back to, or away from, 24 hour operation. The benefits to this shift can be numerous. Saving electricity, increased security, diminished risk to equipment, dedicated repair times, the list goes on.


Technique 2: Effective, Intuitive, Contextual Automation

Perhaps it is fitting that for an article based entirely around streamlining processes for independent gyms and fitness club owners, this next technique is another ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’.


This time we are focusing on automation. While there are many, many forms of automation in even the most basic gym or fitness club these days, one area where this is becoming increasingly normalised is the entrance/exit area of any given fitness facility.

The benefits of automation in this area can seem numerous and apparent. There is the potential for decreased staffing costs, increased security and increased flexibility. 

But the wrong system can cause issues. Too often we’ve seen a system get implemented and abused. One of the most common shortfalls that occur is with keypads. While a unique pin that opens a gate or unlocks a turnstile may seem like the sleek image of the future, it is highly susceptible to abuse and exploitation. 

This helps to highlight that it isn’t enough to automate and innovate. It is about doing so with an end goal in mind, and with an output that you wish to see.

If a gym or fitness club is operating in an error that is prone to breaches in security or abuse, the implementation of a full-height turnstile has been proven to reduce the amount of incidents remarkably.

Equally, if there is a large amount of pin code/passcode sharing, a fingerprint system can eliminate nearly completely and instantaneously. 

Only with the specific contextual application of automation with specific goals in mind can automation yield impactful results. Without this vital step, it might create more issues than originally intended!


Technique 3: Demographic Messaging

Too often we find that gyms and fitness clubs are not aware of the messaging they are sending out, the brand identity they are cultivating and how it can affect the overall tone and success of a fitness facility! 

This is a trap that is easy to fall into. We have all seen posters, flyers and banners that haven’t been updated since before the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. It is safe to say that the lockdowns, followed by the subsequent energy prices put many businesses into a sort of fight or flight survival mode. The rolling crises that have followed have kept many businesses in that mode of operation until today. 

This can have a knock-on effect in many different aspects of a fitness facility’s daily operations. It can reduce staff morale, damage member retention rates and ultimately start to impact the bottom line. 

However this is only half the issue we wish to raise today. The other half stems from the effect that this trend has on demographic messaging. The time period between 2019 and 2022 saw one of the most rapid societal and economic shifts since the second world war. People moved in unprecedented numbers, routines shifted and priorities changed.

With all of this, gyms and fitness clubs must also change. Take stock of the local area, work out who is there now that wasn’t before. If a gym is located within a suburban town, understand whether more people are working from home and whether the population increased as people fled the city centres. Conversely, if it is in a more central, urban location it is equally as important to understand the new, post-Covid landscape. This information will be available and acting upon the changes in the area could be vital to understanding whether the brand identity and messaging of a gym needs to change.

One thing that has become increasingly clear across all demographics since 2019/20 is the rise in the desire for functional, low-impact workouts that boost long term health. 


While we appreciate this will not blend with every gym or fitness club’s chosen aesthetic and brand, it is a remarkably broad and versatile message that is finding more and more purchase out there amongst potential gym and fitness club members. 

It is important to examine the brand identity of a gym. If it has a name that invokes words and concepts such as ‘XTREME’, it will obviously attract a certain type of person and that is fantastic. But it is equally important to think about who is being pushed away. In an increasingly challenging economic environment, the decision to hyper-focus on specific demographics while neglecting others cannot be taken lightly. 


Technique 4: Systems, Systems, Systems

Our final technique represents a big change and a big step for many gyms and fitness clubs, but that makes it no less important.

The systems that power a fitness facility are the beating heart of the operation. Without the ability to efficiently organise and track membership, collect payment, pay staff and allow access, the operation essentially ceases to exist. As with any business, it is much more than just a building. It is an organisation trying to create the greatest value and experience for its members, a complete service. 


And in the last twenty years, perhaps more so than any other point in human history, the definition of what constitutes a service has changed rapidly. This is especially true in the fitness industry, where an unprecedented application of technology has rendered many gyms nearly unrecognisable from their 1990s counterparts. 


With this in mind, our final consideration for independent gyms and fitness club owners is to earnestly review the systems that power and enable their facilities.

  1. Are they allowing your staff to operate as efficiently as possible?
  2. Are they maximising the feedback and data available to the operation?
  3. Are they giving staff and management the control to implement that feedback?
  4. And most importantly, is the system giving your members the best experience possible?

If the answer to any of these is anything less than an emphatic “Yes!” then it is time to at least consider other options. We have seen time and time again independent gym and fitness club owners settling with sub-optimal and sub-par gym membership management systems because they either believe, or can’t conceive of a better system out there.

But gym membership management software is a sector which sees development and innovation year on year. Settling on a system because it is ‘good enough’ could be holding a gym (and by extension their members) from experiencing something truly game changing!


Are you interested to see what strategies other independent gym and fitness club owners are using to thrive in 2023?

Then look no further, we have the event recommendation for you! 

Ashbourne Membership Management and many other industry faces will be at the Gym Owner’s Workshop conference for 2023! Given that gym membership management is our specialty, we will be covering streamlining, automation and modernisation techniques across the fitness industry, utilising our expertise from across Ireland and the United Kingdom! 

Hosted this year at the Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan, Dublin, The Gym Owners Workshop is a nexus for fitness industry expertise and knowledge, specialising in innovation, profitability and growth for  independent gym and fitness club owners across Europe and beyond! 

Capitalising on the momentum of the Gym Owners Workshop 2022, the 2023 event is shaping up to be even better, featuring more sponsors, more experts and even more talks and workshops! 

We are pleased to announce that The Fit Club – Redditch will be giving a case study talk on how they were able to increase their membership from 400 to over 2000! This will utilise some of the techniques talked about in this article and many, many more not mentioned here!

It is one not to miss for an independent gym or fitness club owner looking to expand their operations in 2023 and beyond! 

Top 8 Must-Have Pieces of Gym Equipment To Appeal To All Ages!


The top 8 must-have pieces of equipment for independent Gyms and Fitness Clubs to appeal to all age ranges, including the increasingly valuable 50+ demographic!


Are you a forward-thinking independent gym or fitness club owner? Do you pride yourself in always considering what steps are necessary to ensure the growth of your facility, the happiness of your members, and the future of your business?

Then our blog today is for you! 

Today we will be going over one of the fundamentals of any independent gym or fitness club operation, equipment!

But we will be viewing equipment, something often taken for granted and viewed too simplistically, and examining it through a new lens! 

And that lens is to focus on the demographics that will be using your equipment. Specifically, we will be focusing on what will appeal to the more low-intensity workout-oriented older demographics. 

While there are obviously many factors (some of which we have already explored!) that help determine whether a gym or fitness club will appeal to certain demographics, one that is oft overlooked is the actual equipment within a gym. There is a habit of viewing gym equipment as a relatively static entity within a gym or fitness club. One that requires repair, updating, and occasionally replacing, but rarely anything else.

As such, we’ve put together this list of must-have equipment that favours older potential members, as well as those interested in more Recovery-based or low-intensity workouts. 


Just want to see the list of our must-have equipment. We won’t keep you waiting any longer!

Type 1! Step Machine & Pedal Exercisers

Type 2! Stationary Bicycle

Type 3! Rowing Machine

Type 4! Balance Trainer & Resistance Bands

Type 5! Pressurised or Low-Impact Treadmill

Type 6! Appropriate Dumbbell Sets

Type 7! Cross Trainer/Elliptical Machines

Type 8! Training Bench

Type 1! Step Machine & Pedal Exercisers

The key strength of the Step Machine has always been twofold.

First, it is a surprisingly effective, relatively low-impact workout that can be utilised at the pace the user desires. 

The second? Equally as important but just as overlooked. Nearly everyone knows how to take a step and is capable and confident of taking one. It is a satisfying and safe piece of equipment that people can easily operate while listening to whatever they want.

When someone who is interested in low-intensity exercise walks into a gym or fitness club for the first time, this is one of the pieces of equipment they will be looking for.


The same is true of pedal exercisers. They are a piece of equipment sometimes more commonly associated with private use than gyms or fitness clubs, but we have found they make a great addition to a low-intensity workout area.



Type 2! Stationary Bicycle

There is a similar logic that can be applied to our second piece of equipment. The Stationary bicycle!

Low impact, eminently popular, simple and safe to use. 

Cycling is becoming an increasingly popular method of transport for older people the world over, and stationary cycling offers all the benefits with none of the risk (or actually going anywhere!). 

While it is, of course, a staple of gyms and fitness clubs. When it comes to Stationary bicycles it is about asking two key questions.

1. Does a gym or fitness club have enough stationary bicycles?

2. Are they being marketed and associated with low-intensity workouts through social media, classes, and posters?


Type 3! Rowing Machine

While more of a surprise hit, you only need to ask a gym regular to get confirmation that the venerable rowing machine is a hit amongst the venerable demographics.

When viewed through our existing criteria though, the appeal is not surprising. Once again it is a relatively simple and safe exercise machine that can be operated at the pace of the user. After an explosion in popularity due to technological advances in the 1980s, it would seem that many from that era are still using the noble rowing machine to this day!



Type 4! Balance Trainers and Resistance Bands

Our next one is not even traditionally thought of as gym or fitness club equipment, even less so than the pedal exerciser. Some would argue that would mean exclusion from the list. However, we would argue that this makes its inclusion all the more important.

Though not exactly machines, balance trainers and resistance bands have become a hit among beginners and upwards when it comes to low-intensity and recovery workouts.

Resistance bands have many positives. They are simple, portable, and lightweight. Perfect for more senior members. 

They also focus on areas that many older gym members are very interested in. Muscular health, blood flow, and most importantly (and perhaps obviously, given the name) balance! 

Given their relatively inexpensive nature compared to other, heavyweight gym equipment. We think that these should be high on the list of purchases for any low-intensity push a gym or fitness club attempts!



Type 5! Pressurised or Low-Impact Treadmill

From one end of the spectrum to the other, this next piece of equipment certainly isn’t inexpensive but it will certainly be impactful! 

Or should that be not impactful? The goal of the Pressurised, anti-gravity, or low-impact treadmill is to reduce the impact that running or walking on a treadmill has on the body. 

While this may seem of trifling concern to some, for those with injuries or impediments such a treadmill can be a massive selling point. 

The quality of life improvement that such a piece of equipment can bring to certain demographics and gym members is so potent. For that reason alone it made it on the list!



Type 6! Appropriate Dumbbell Sets

Much like the stationary bicycles, this tip isn’t so much about getting dumbbells, or a perceived lack of them. 

Once again the focus is more on their availability within any given gym or fitness club, and how they are being utilised, marketed, and promoted within that fitness environment. 

The availability of lighter weight dumbbells is often not sufficient. Some gyms we’ve worked with have addressed this by having dedicated dumbbell racks within their lower-intensity area with specifically lighter weights. 

This is a fantastic idea! As it helps set the tone for the area as well as providing plenty of additional weights of an appropriate weight. This makes it easier to incorporate them into classes, promotional material, and events.

How the equipment is presented is half the battle!


Type 7! Cross Trainer/Elliptical Machines

Another modern classic that needs little introduction. The cross-trainer, also known as an elliptical trainer has the potential to be the poster child for low-impact exercise. Designed and released in the 1990s, it doesn’t have the same pedigree as the rowing machine or the treadmill, but it is ready to be introduced to a new (or rather, old) generation. 


Designed to fulfill the role of a treadmill but without the repetitive leg/foot impact or noise, the cross-trainer is a perfect piece of equipment to advertise low-intensity, life-improving exercise regimes and training classes.

While, to the uninitiated, it can initially look like a mass of moving parts, we all know that the cross-trainer is easy to teach and operate.

It is becoming more common that cross-trainers are just purchased and deployed within a gym or fitness club because it is ‘the type of equipment all gyms have’. This is done without reflection on why it should be purchased and how it should be promoted.

If we do actions simply because it is what ‘all gyms do’, we risk missing the reasoning that this equipment caught on in the first place. Perhaps more importantly still, we risk not being able to correctly message and promote that equipment quickly to members.



Type 8! Training Bench

The last piece of equipment on our list isn’t a new innovation like the pressurised/anti-gravity treadmills, nor is it a classic fitness machine like the stationary bicycle or rowing machine. In fact, it isn’t a machine at all.

You know already because it is the section title, it is the noble training bench. 

If not saving the best until last, what we did was save perhaps the most overlooked until last.

Training benches often get forgotten, they become part of the furniture.

Which is almost forgivable…After all, they are furniture.

But as anyone who has spent time in a gym (or more vexingly, trying to work out at home without one) knows, they are incredibly useful. The Swiss-army knife of gym equipment.

They might not do everything for you, but they provide an incredible amount of versatility and support. With a bit of training or instruction, these can become a staple of low-impact workouts, allowing older members to access and train muscles that would otherwise take significant strain to train. 


Interested in how to innovate and grow your independent Gym or Fitness Club?


If our article has got you questioning and reflecting on parts of independent gym and fitness club management that sometimes go unchallenged, you are in the right place! 

The latest Gym Owner’s Workshop conference will be covering equipment, where to purchase it, why to purchase it and how we promote it for independent gym owners across Ireland and the United Kingdom! 


Taking place at The Talbot Hotel Stillorgan, Dublin The Gym Owners Workshop is a focal point for fitness industry knowledge, specialising in techniques and knowledge for independent gym and fitness club owners. 

Building on the momentum of the Gym Owners Workshop 2022, the 2023 event is promising to be even better, with more talks and more sponsors!

Our partners for the event over at Balance Leisure will be giving an event-leading talk entitled “How to Navigate Suppliers and Contracts To Get The Best Deal On Your Gym Equipment”

If our article has convinced you that a re-examination of how your business approaches gym equipment then don’t delay, tickets are live now!


The Best Marketing Tips For Your Gym In 2023

The Best Marketing Tips For Your Gym In 2023

Need Quick Help With Your Marketing? Here are 6 tips for marketing your gym or fitness club in 2024!

Some call it networking, some call it community engagement. Irrespective of what you decide to call it, it is very effective and it is largely free! 

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, we have seen a greater shift towards the local economy and community-driven initiatives. This has only been compounded by the suffering caused by the cost of living crisis. While the tightening of budgets and belts has people looking for value, it also has people looking beyond faceless corporations. 

This renewed focus on the local area seems to have only strengthened as we move through 2023 and it made an already unique selling point for independent gyms and fitness clubs even more appealing. 

So today we will be focusing on tips that will help maximise this in-built advantage that we’ve seen independent gyms and fitness clubs already capitalise on! 

Our Top 6 Marketing Tips Are...

(you can also click to skip ahead!)


Build a brand identity that will appeal to your local area, culture and surroundings.

Thrust your brand into the local community and intertwine your story with theirs.


Actively foster your gym’s community, both online and offline!


Ideas to help you create reward programmes who keep your best customers around.

Use the power of data from your online platforms to accurately track your success.

Use the power of reviews and referrals to build authority and legitimacy.

TIP #1: Build A Brand Identity That Will Appeal To Your Local Area, Culture & Surroundings

We cannot understate the importance of a strong identity for your gym business.

Too often when building a brand identity for a gym or fitness club we find that many owners didn’t prioritise consideration of their local area nearly enough.

While connecting with your local community is always somewhere on the list of concerns, it should nearly always be much higher!

It is an understandable trap to fall into. Certain other parts of brand identity are more exciting, more dynamic or more interesting to the people involved. 

But ultimately the area that every independent gym and fitness club will find themselves operating in will be their surrounding area. If the brand identity is consistently aimed at attracting locals and mobilising the community, the gym is leaving money on the table. Money that rivals will happily collect!  

TIP #2: Thrust Your Brand Into The Local Area

Goodwill and support for local business is at an all time higher and running an advertising campaign or social media campaign that reflects that could pay dividends. 

Focusing on the story behind an independent gym or fitness club. The people who made it possible and their connection to the area, the building, the community events it has hosted. 

These are all things that the budget chains will never be able to replicate. What is the story behind its existence? Rigorous data analysis informed a panel that this was the best location for a gym….


As we are seeing across many sectors, there is a portion of the population which receives this sort of marketing and messaging very positively. 

At the same time, pushing the name of your gym or fitness club into the community’s consciousness through hosting events and making deals with local businesses is a great way to generate awareness. After participating and hosting events like these, we have seen time and time again that locals say things such as ‘I didn’t realise it was so nice in here’ or ‘I can’t believe this has been here the whole time!’.

A lot of local engagement is about breaking members of the local community out of an apathetic routine and into your gym or fitness club.

Once that barrier for entry, the reluctance to enter the unknown, has disappeared then the sky’s the limits. 

By holding event days for the local community such as charity fundraising and sporting activities a gym can not only get free advertising, but start a chain of positive word of mouth. News spreads fast in a community! 

In addition, business partnerships with local sports clubs, spas, cafes or even the local council can go a long way. Anything that gets the name of your gym out there and gives you something to post and tweet about!

Attending unrelated community events, genuinely befriending members of the community and making your gym or fitness club a part of the community’s social fabric are all great ways to spread the message of your facility.

This will help present a friendly, accessible and non-corporate image to the area. 

TIP #3: Foster A Community, Online And Offline!

How can hiring or incentivising influencers to endorse a fitness business boost their digital marketing campaigns?

Work on creating a Community both Online and Offline: Activities, Events and a shared forum as a key pillar of an independent gym or fitness club owners marketing strategy. 

It is an arena where we see comparatively little competition from the corporate chains!

It is an authenticity issue! Whenever a large chain attempts to engage in that sort of thing, it has to fight against looking inauthentic.

However independent gyms and fitness clubs do not have this issue within their advertising and marketing strategy, especially when it comes to forming communities.

Gym members are more likely to identify themselves with an independent fitness facility. In turn, they are more likely to want to engage in the community that forms around that facility.

Afterall, people crave authenticity in all things...

...And in an era where corporate brands attempt to dominate even our social spaces, belonging to something like an independent gym or fitness club can create a powerful feeling within people.

It is up to gyms and fitness clubs to harness that feeling and channel the positive energy into their online and offline communities 

By cultivating a dedicated community, it will increase the loyalty of existing members and potentially create new members. By engaging with and dedicating resources to this burgeoning new community, a gym or fitness club can create a real sense of investment.

It could be as simple as sporting events or monthly socials. Little things can have a powerful bonding effect.

In turn, this strong sense of community is fantastic marketing potential. The events, in and of themselves, are free advertising. When coupled with the potential tool for retention and further marketing opportunities, it is a hard proposition to pass up!

TIP #4: Create A Reward Programme To Reward Loyalty

Building on the idea of community from the last tip, we now want to focus even further. Down to the individual relationships that gym members have with other members and other potential members.

reward/referral scheme is a great way to get people through the door. Much like the community system, it has a double benefit. Positive reinforcement for the referrer and the referred. 

It is likely to increase the loyalty of the existing member and the chance to retain the business of the referred member for longer. It has been proven that both collaboration and incentives can help motivate members toward their fitness goals and reduce attrition rates on membership.

As such, reward and referral programmes are a simple scheme with a low setup cost and potentially powerful outcomes if administered correctly.

TIP #5: Legitimacy, Authority, Reviews

This next tip falls into something we like to call ‘passive-marketing’, similar to a gym’s brand identity, it is the sort of marketing that works when a potential member comes across the gym or fitness club. 

There are certain signifiers that each of us look for when deciding whether we are going to invest in a product. Gym and fitness club memberships are no different! 

While some are highly specific to the individual, many of these signifiers apply to everyone. 

One of the most common, unsurprisingly, is online ratings and reviews. The number of consumers that base their consumption habits mostly or entirely on reviews frequently tops 90% in studies.

As such, when we think of prospective gym or fitness club members discovering a gym online, we must view it through the lens of their first impression from reviews. 


Bespoke Content, Quality Not Quantity

How can AI be unsuitable for producing high-quality content, despite its ability to produce content in vast quantities?

For our final point, we will head back to AI and a sentiment that was espoused in the first section of this blog. For those paying attention, it has been the throughline of the entire article. 

We believe AI has a place. It seems that AI may even have a place in video with the recent announcement of Sora. An OpenAI product that seems to be able to produce uncannily realistic videos with only a few lines of text, in the style that we have come to expect from ChatGPT (also an OpenAI product) for text or Midjourney for pictures. 

But the ‘place’ that AI has is not only a very tentative one, but one that must be subject to constant review.

So we believe that AI and language-learning models, as they currently stand, are effective for spell-checking and the like. Menial tasks. We do not believe they are any substitute for actual people behind a digital marketing strategy.

Take our example earlier of the local influencer working with the gym. Is it better to have one actual person preaching to their fans about the virtues of their partnership with an independent gym or fitness club. Or five ‘AI’ fitness influencers, were that possible, to espouse the same.

One is full of real passion and an actual relationship being forged. Between independent gym and influencer. Influencer and audience. Human and unreplicatable. The other is eerie and soulless, even if it can be produced in vast quantities.

So while we always advocate for adopting the latest technologies, up to and including AI, we also preach caution. Use AI responsibly. Use it as the powerful tool it is, to save tedium when checking actual work. But as the centrepiece of a digital marketing strategy for independent gyms and fitness clubs? No, we don’t think so. Not yet, and possibly not ever. But as the last five years have taught us. Never say never. 

Tiktok especially feels like a platform just built for the promotion of independent gyms and fitness clubs, whether it is with a quick tour set to catchy music or a demonstration of the facility and equipment. 

Authenticity and effortlessness are what these influencers are trading on and it is a powerful tool, proven to be very effective with millennials and Gen Z. It is a great way to make the marketing of an independent gym or fitness club more personal. The recommendation of a trusted influencer feels remarkably different to a cold and calculated advert. (Especially if it was made using AI!) 

Equally, unlike some influencer advertising that we see on Tiktok or Youtube, independent gyms and fitness clubs have very real incentives to offer to fitness influencers! Namely the facility and their considerable resources. Conversely, it should not take the influencer much to get excited about a genuinely good independent gym or fitness club. 

It is worth independent gyms and fitness clubs spending the time to find interesting and motivated fitness influencers in the area, even if their follower count is relatively small, the potential for a low-cost, high-yield partnership cannot be overlooked! 

These arrangements need not end after a single video, but with the right influencer an independent gym or fitness club can weave an entire campaign’s worth of videos promoting the positive aspects of their fitness facility on a very low budget to the right audience.

It is a lesson in the face of AI marketing that creating the right content can be more important than creating huge volumes of content.

By utilising real influencers and incorporating them into a responsible, honest and ethical digital marketing campaign on platforms like Tiktok and Instagram, an independent gym or fitness club can access whole new demographics with ease while engaging with a new community. 

Our Final Thoughts

And so ends our little thinkpiece on marketing and digital marketing for independent gyms and fitness clubs in 2024. It is an exciting time for marketing in the fitness industry, with more ways than ever for even small independents to promote themselves in new and interesting ways.

It is also a time of great change, and maybe not entirely for the better. We have already seen some businesses, inside and outside of the fitness industry, taking the ‘easy route’ and generating vast quantities of content with AI. Perhaps adhering to the old adage of throwing something at a wall and seeing what sticks.

As we said, we believe AI tools can be used by independent gyms and fitness clubs to a good end even in their current state in 2024, but it is no substitute for the talent, passion and expertise required to succeed in the industry.

And speaking of those three qualities, here at Ashbourne we know how to utilise talent, passion and expertise to help independent gym and fitness club owners take their operation to the next level! 

Over the last twenty five years (back when the term ‘AI’ was mainly a concept in science fiction or chess computers), we have helped thousands of gyms and fitness clubs reach greater heights. Whether it is with our versatile and powerful membership management software or our website creation capabilities, we have the ability to help any gym reach a broader audience more effectively! 

More to Read...

Get your club in shape.

Want to discover how? Let us show you.

Simply select your preferred timeslot and we’ll be in touch to have a chat about your health club,
the goals you want to achieve, and how our system can help you.

Get your club in shape.

Want to discover how? Let us show you.

Simply select your preferred timeslot and we’ll be in touch to have a chat about your health club, the goals you want to achieve, and how our system can help you.

Get your club in shape.

Want to discover how? Let us show you.

Simply select your preferred timeslot and we’ll be in touch to have a chat about your health club, the goals you want to achieve, and how our system can help you.

Member of a gym? Simply text "HELP" to 60777 and we'll help you.

Member of a gym? Simply text "HELP" to 60777 and we'll help you.

Member of a gym? Simply text "HELP" to 60777 and we'll help you.

How Gyms Can Naturally Promote Secondary Spend Without Intimidating or Pressuring Members!

Increase your gyms secondary spend… for the benefit of your members and your bottom line!


Secondary spend can be a challenging issue for independent gyms and fitness club owners, whether relative newcomers or hardened veterans. 

At the core of the issue is what sells and how to sell it. This is a problem that’s constantly shifting with no single solution that will last the test of time. As tastes change, what sells and how to sell it also changes. As technology improves, it both allows us to sell new products to our members and can render old products obsolete. 


As well as that, there is the question of how to sell?


If a gym or fitness club is too forceful or inelegant with its sales approach, it risks isolating members, coming across as desperate or just generally taking the sheen off of a carefully maintained brand.

But too little force and your member base may not be engaged with the products, or even aware they exist! Stock goes unsold, taking up space and depreciating in value. 

As such, it is understandable (if incorrect!) that secondary spend is often either overlooked or ignored. At best seen as a side-earner when compared to membership fees. 

But that is shifting. With the rise of app technology on smartphones, lifestyle brands and ethical/sustainable consumerism. The game has changed on secondary spend.

Today we will be taking a look into how independent gym and fitness clubs can elevate their secondary spend operations to the next level with a few easy to implement tips and tricks! Starting with WHY owners should!


Feel free to skip ahead to our 5 tips if you’re eager to find out more!

Tip #1: Understand the brand identity of your Gym or Fitness Club and sell products that complement and enhance it!

Tip #2: Sell those products in a way that is natural and consistent with that identity!

Tip #3: Train your Staff in how to sell naturally and encourage them to sell when it will enhance the experience of the member!

Tip #4: Four: Communicate what you are selling honestly and effectively!

Tip #5: Five: Encourage Members to buy and create a culture where they want to buy!



The Benefits of Secondary Spend for the member and the fitness facility 

At the core of ‘why’ it is important for gyms and fitness clubs are two concerns. The member experience and the profitability of the business

By denying members the ability to buy trusted brands from their gym or fitness club, management is limiting their ability to truly engage with the club and depriving them of a method to reach their goals.

It has been shown in polling that between 30% to 50% of fitness club members would be likely or very likely to buy brands from their gym or fitness club if they stocked them


As we will cover, secondary spend is an important step on the path for Gyms and fitness clubs to fully realise their role as health and fitness specialists in the life of their members. That service doesn’t just stop at providing a physical location, it must involve guiding them to and supplying the products necessary for their journey. 

In addition to the generation of significant amounts of revenue, the way a fitness facility engages with secondary spend (if it does at all) will directly affect membership retention and experience. It increases the sense of commitment that a member has in their gym or fitness club, in addition to providing them with the materials necessary for them to succeed in their goals. 

When viewed through this lens, it becomes clear that secondary spending is about more than simple profit (though that is, of course, an important factor!).

Now we’ve piqued your interest! Let’s dive into how to naturalistically implement secondary spending into gyms and fitness clubs in a way that will benefit your members and your bottom line!



Tip #1: Understand the brand identity of your Gym or Fitness Club and sell products that complement and enhance it!

Our first tip requires nothing more than planning and reflection! 

As stated above, the reason we are selling is to enhance the member experience, to strengthen their commitment to the gym or fitness club and to enhance the identity of the facility’s brand.

With this in mind, the products that you sell are going to be very important.

Firstly, they need to be of suitable quality. If a gym is built around being a premium experience, then it is important that the product reflects those expectations. Your members will trust (or come to trust!) your judgement, make sure you don’t let them down by selling products you wouldn’t buy yourself!


Conversely, if a gym is targeted at a more discerning and budget market demographic, it will do little good to furnish your stores with the most expensive products on the market.


More than this though, it is important that the products support the aims of membership. If it is a high-intensity gym, sell products that will help their recovery cycle. If it is more about functional fitness and long-term health, sell products that will help them live their best life for longer!




Tip #2: Sell those products in a way that is natural and consistent with that identity! 

Once you have worked out what products will sell well and reinforce the identity of your gym or fitness club. It is time to get selling!

Luckily, by selecting products that the members will want, half the battle is won already. Now it is about marketing these products in a way that will speak to the membership.


Luckily, any good independent gym or fitness club will know its members. Run small-scale social media and in-facility marketing campaigns that generate interest in the product. 


Introductory sales when you start stocking a product will motivate sales and start spreading word of mouth! It will also help you get some near-immediate feedback from your members. 

React to their feedback, both positive and negative! Most people would rather buy from local businesses than from faceless corporations and websites



Tip #3: Train your Staff in how to sell naturally and encourage them to sell when it will enhance the experience of the member!

When it comes to training staff in how to sell, there are numerous concerns. While some people within the fitness industry are very accomplished salesmen, you don’t often find them on the gym floor!

And there is nothing worse than someone trying to sell you something tactlessly, or who doesn’t truly believe in the message. It puts off the member, it doesn’t secure the sale and it creates a bad atmosphere.

So that is what we are trying to avoid!

Luckily, that is quite easy! 

As we have based the acquisition of secondary spend products on what will help the membership and what is coherent with the gym’s brand identity. 


As such, it should be comparatively simple to teach the staff of a Gym what products are in store, what their intended use is, and case uses within the gym’s classes and culture where they could be recommended. 


In addition, giving discount codes that are specific to each member of staff can create an incentive for both sides. On the staff member’s side, it can be used to track sales and commission. On the gym member’s side, it creates a personal bond and recommendation from the staff at the given time. 

Reinforce that staff shouldn’t just give to every member. This will help create a naturalistic and authentic moment of recommendation, as well as secure that all important sale!




Tip #4: Communicate what you are selling honestly and effectively! 

This one should go without saying, but it is important to not get carried away or deceive the membership of a gym or fitness club.


Unlike some sales roles, gym members can vote with their feet if they are dissatisfied with a product they’ve received. 


This is why it is important that the secondary sell material only ever enhances the experience. Make sure that what is being sold is genuinely valuable and embodies the brand identity of the gym. 

When marketing it through social media, make sure the messaging is consistent and concise. Make sure it is pushed across all relevant social media avenues to give a sense of uniformity. Ensure where to purchase it and for how much is clearly displayed. 

By being upfront and honest, members will come to trust the recommendation of a gym or fitness club and incorporate purchasing products that enhance their life into their routine. 



Tip #5: Encourage Members to buy and create a culture where they want to buy!

Following on from communication, our final tip is to use secondary spend to make members feel valued.

There is one simple method that can be used to make them want to buy from you…

As we touched upon in tip three, discount codes are a great way to mobilise members into making purchases.


But we would recommend gyms and fitness clubs avoid blanket offers on social media. Announce that products are available on social media by all means. But by offering a discount code across the board, that becomes the new price.

There is no exclusivity and it loses the bespoke nature of the personally bestowed discount code.

Not only is it an invitation to buy the product, it is an empowerment. By wielding discounts as a nuanced tool rather than a catch-all net, a gym is almost guaranteed to mobilise specific parts of their member base. By placing it in the hands of employees, the people actually on the gym floor, it will ensure that the secondary spend reaches who it needs to. 



Want To Learn More About Growing Your Club?

All of this will help reinforce a fitness facility’s reputation and brand identity as one that cares about their members. This positive business model of creating additional value for the member and additional profit for the gym is powerful if implemented correctly. 

And if you are eager for a deeper look into how this nuanced but powerful form of business can work for independent gym’s and business owners, look no further!



The Gym Owners Workshop at the Talbot Hotel Stillorgan, is a nexus for fitness industry knowledge directed specifically at independent gym and fitness club owners and one of the talks relates to secondary spend! 


After the success of the Gym Owners Workshop 2022, the 2023 event is promising to be bigger and better! 


Our partners for the event over at Glanbia will be giving a talk called ‘Nutrition for Success – Driving Growth and Performance in Secondary Spend’. It promises to be a deep dive by industry experts into how to maximise the benefit for your members and your profits through meaningful and impactful secondary spend! 

But don’t just talk our word for it! Register your interest to the free event here and look into how to take your secondary spend approach to the next level!

Independent Gyms Need To Improve Their Members’ Long Term Health (and here’s 5 ways to fix it!)

It’s Time To Change Your Club’s Focus To Long Term Health Over Short Term Fitness


What if we told you there is a sector for growth that large portions of the Fitness Industry is completely under-utilising? 

One that is near essential for futureproofing the industry? 

One that has only become more pertinent in the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic and lockdowns?

One that independent gym and fitness club owners are in a unique position to take advantage of?


Well look no further, because there is!


From simple implementations to far-sweeping changes, the contribution of private and independent gyms and fitness clubs to long term, public and medical health is as critical as it is undervalued. 

We will be taking a look at a few of the causes, how to address them and how they can increase the profitability, effectiveness and attractiveness of independent gyms and fitness clubs


The main 5 factors we’ll discuss in this article are: (click to jump ahead)

Factor 1: Complacency

Factor 2: Underutilised Technologies

Factor 3: Lack of Recognition/Funding/Integration

Factor 4: Lack of Recovery Classes

Factor 5: Further Low Intensity and 50+ Quality of Life Classes




Factor 1: Healthy Lifestyle Complacency 

It can be tempting to feel there is complacency among many governments when it comes to recognising the role that Gyms and Fitness Clubs have to play in societal health. 


Outside of scattered examples such as Queensland, where Australia granted Gyms and Fitness Clubs ‘essential’ status, there is a prevalent apathy to treat fitness facilities as no more a benefit to society than the cinema or the bowling alley.

This became especially clear during the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns. 


While there are, of course, publicly funded fitness facilities, swimming pools and health campaigns that receive government funding, it can feel like these exist in a vacuum from the private and especially independent gyms and fitness clubs.

It seems that governments are very content to keep these on two distinct sides, denying the boons and benefits that a supported, guided, and encouraged private fitness sector could contribute to societal help.

In this article we will be looking at not just the means to achieve this practically, but what needs to change in terms of perception. 



Factor 2: Underutilised Technologies 

One of the most underutilised tools of value generation for independent gyms and fitness club owners are in our pockets right now!

The rise of the portable computer we now call a smartphone, the implementation of free and fast WiFi in most public spaces, as well as the emergence of new health and fitness technologies mean that a perfect storm of factors are forming to allow for a health and fitness integration revolution in the next decade. 

We are already seeing the smartphone application offering from gyms and fitness clubs increase in sophistication rapidly, as well as the ability of gym equipment to synchronise with external aspects of a gym member’s life.

As we said before, this process has been long in the making. Ever since the longevity movements of the 1970s combined with the technological revolution of the 80s and 90s, there have been trailblazers willing to push Gyms and the fitness industry at large forward. 

By researching the ways that portable technology can be synced up with a gym or fitness club, owners are ensuring their club remains futureproof and at the cutting edge! 



The Fit Club Redditch Members App Provided By Ashbourne



Factor 3: Lack of Recognition/Funding/Integration

The fitness industry of the 2020s might be remembered as being in a vicious cycle. One where a lack of recognition fed into stagnation and vice versa.


But it is up to us to break that cycle!

A large problem facing the fitness industry is a lack of recognition for the immense service it already provides and the massive role it will play in the years to come.

By reorienting our collective perspective, we can start to advocate for greater recognition and support when it comes to improving public and societal health.


By lending their voice to organisations like UKActive and reaching out to local councils, independent gym and fitness club owners can spearhead the charge towards greater recognition, support, funding and integration for the service and value they add to public health. 

A change of rhetoric is required to bridge the gap. One that will be explored at the coming Gym Owners Workshop! If you are interested to learn more, scroll to the bottom of this article for further information and links! 



Factor 4: Lack of Recovery Classes!

While it has risen in prominence, it is essential we do not take this rise for granted and continue to capitalise on it. Independent gyms and fitness clubs are eager to provide recovery programmes and as public perception increases, gym members are becoming interested. 


So what are we talking about when we say ‘recovery’? 


Recovery serves as a shorthand for both physical and psychological well-being. It takes the form of a workout of lower intensity than the member is used to partaking in. It is based on the philosophy that low to moderate-intensity routines on rest days can help the body to recover more effectively from working out, as well as reduce stress and improve mental well-being.

It has become so effective that people are even utilising the classes and routines outside of their usual training regime. Dedicated recovery-focused classes have become increasingly popular and are a good example of a class and routine that is designed for pure health and not aesthetics. 

For independent gym and fitness club owners, this rising format carries an opportunity to provide service and support to a variety of different members. The great thing about these recovery-focused classes is that they can target everyone from the supremely dedicated, 5+ session a week member, or someone who is simply looking to steadily improve their baseline health and way of life. 

Classes such as this are a great way to connect with members and reinforce why they go to fitness facilities. By shifting the focus to a less intense style of exercise, it will recentre the focus to a broader audience.


Comparatively few over 50s want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but they do want to maintain their quality of life for longer! 




Factor 5: Further Low Intensity and 50+ Quality of Life Classes

And this desire for low-intensity and recovery workouts is not happening in a microcosm. It is part of a push towards more practical, longevity-focused workouts.

It is certainly not just for people under 40 to recover from their exercise regime!

Previously we have written about how an ageing population presents opportunities and the chance for a realignment. 

Part of this will be for independent gym and fitness club owners to allocate resources to low-intensity and health-based recovery classes and facilities.

By specifying the low intensity, health based nature of the workout you increase the potential for a broader demographic uptake dramatically! 


The great news is that this is something that can (and should!) be utilised by younger members as well, hence the drive for both routine recovery on rest days and broader healthy living.

The potential benefits associated with running these sorts of longevity, general health, and recovery classes are numerous. Some members will be more willing to come in for a session they know will benefit them but not push them to the limit. This can increase engagement with the existing members, as well as draw in new membership. In addition, it can help members who would otherwise spend their rest day resting to come in more often, thus creating a retention cycle. 


In addition, it will have the benefit of increasing the health of the member base and lowering injury time. It will be an additional service to advertise and it has often been seen as one of the most community-focused class genres. While it will require some initial training and space to do correctly, the benefits that this approach can have on independent gyms and fitness clubs and their membership cannot be overstated.



Want To Learn More About Growing Your Club?

Hopefully, we’ve piqued your interest now in the potential that a greater focus on health has to transform the industry!

If so, look no further! The Gym Owners Workshop at the Talbot Hotel Stillorgan, Dublin will be exploring this and many more issues pertinent to Irish and British gym and fitness club owners.




After the success of the Gym Owners Workshop 2022, the 2023 event is promising to be bigger and better! 


One of the title talks will be particularly relevant to today’s topic. It is called ‘Health Over Aesthetics – How Rethinking The Industry Message Future Proofs Its Status, Drives Membership Growth & Increases Revenue’ and provides a deep dive into how a great focus on health will help future-proof businesses in the long run and ramp up profits in the short!


As we’ve explored today, health is going to be an ever more pressing issue for the fitness industry so do not miss the chance to hear industry experts talk about this and much more!

Gearing Up For The New Year: The Power of a 12 Month Contract For Successful Membership Management


Gym Owner’s Guide: The Power of the 12 Month Contract for Successful Gym Membership Management


As the new year approaches, here at Ashbourne we are looking at how we can support our gyms as we enter 2023 and what we are able to offer members in order to stabilise a gyms income.

The 12-month contract is a concept that needs little introduction, and for good reason. A staple in the fitness industry since the 1970s, the 12-month contract became the dominant form of contract agreement in Gyms and Fitness Clubs. It reached such an extent that, to borrow a popular phrase from the time period, it seemed that ‘there was no alternative’.

However, with the rise of the internet and the budget chain gyms that have come to define city centres across the UK, the temptation has been to shift away from the 12-month contract. Is this fiscal prudence or another part of the desperate ‘race to the bottom’ that these chains have prompted?

In today’s article, we are going to examine the place of the 12-month contract in the post-Covid-19 world, determining whether it is an ailing juggernaut that is running out of steam or a pillar of the industry that should only be shunned at great risk. Few things are as vital to a gym or fitness club’s continued success as its ability to successfully manage the members and extract their membership fees. 



Click To Skip Ahead and Discover The Power of the 12 Month Contract!

1. Reliable Income, Predictability and Marketability

2. Why are 12 Month Contracts Preferable?

3. Collecting Money Methods


1. It is more than just a more reliable income, it is predictability and marketability.

While it is a guiding principle in many different sectors, in the fitness industry there seems to have been a slight bout of amnesia when it comes to WHY the 12-month contract was a mainstay to begin with.
This is, of course, partly understandable. With the rise of the ‘budget chains’ it has, as I love to say, come to resemble a race to the bottom. And under such pressure, it is natural that gym owners would look for an attractive, low-commitment response.

But as with all business decisions, it is important that we look at why this reaction is happening, without mindlessly citing that it is because ‘others are doing it.

The big ticket draw, especially in the pre-internet boom era, was stability. It was about creating an obligation to pay for your membership and creating an obligation that was long enough to be impactful and versatile enough to model business growth and potential sales on.

When it came to either seeking investment and buyers, the ability to state that you have X many members obligated to pay their Gym membership for the next 12 months, and Y members obligated to pay for 11 months was, and remains, a powerful pitch and testament to the value of a Gym.


We will cover attrition, loss rates, and non-payers (something of a specialty for us here at Ashbourne) later. But safe to say in our experience most of your members will be honest and pay on time. Most, if not all, should be signed up to direct debits so the act of manually paying has somewhat disappeared from the market.

We are now going to do a comparison of what an independent gym or fitness club owner can infer about the state and the value of their business if they engage in 12-month contracts or 1-month rolling contracts. 


First for our comparison, we are going to look at an independent gym or fitness club that uses 12-month contracts.

For the sake of hyperbole, we shall say this Gym only has 60 members. 

Membership is worth £30 a month. For a full 12-month span, therefore, the gym or fitness club owner in question collects £360. 

For the sake of neatness we shall assume that 5 members have 12 months remaining, 5 have 11 months remaining, 5 have 10 months remaining, and so on.

5 x 12 months = £1800

5 x 11 months = £1650

5 x 10 months = £1500

5 x 9 months = £1350

5 x 8 months = £1200

5 x 7 months = £1050

5 x 6 months = £900

5 x 5 months = £750

5 x 4 months = £600

5 x 3 months = £450

5 x 2 months = £300

5 x 1 month = £150 

Keeping in mind that this is done with an intentionally low number and a below-average, non-variable membership rate. Even still, just on these numbers alone, our gym or fitness club owner is still on track to make just shy of a contractually guaranteed £13,000. Even if he didn’t sign another member for the whole year. We will get into non-paying and loss rates later, but in our experience as a membership management company, this number pales in comparison to the majority that pay, and pay on time.

Now let us compare this gym or fitness club owner who works with 12-month contractual agreements versus another club owner who doesn’t and what happens to them if there are no 12-month contracts in place. Suddenly there is no guaranteed income and specifically, no lowest guaranteed income. Essentially this means, to both the gym owner and any relevant business interests, all that is guaranteed is the cash that is going in at the end of the month. 

So now we go to the tale of two owners who are trying to sell their gyms. The only thing they differ on is that one has primarily 12-month contracts, and the other does not. Both have assets, which are either the lease to the property or the property itself as well as any equipment and the like.

For our one-month membership gym owner, that is pretty much all she wrote. But for our 12-month gym owner, not only do they have all of the above. They also have a very pleasing stack of contractual obligations linking the owner of that gym and the existing membership. Not only is that an asset, but it is also a guarantee.


Without that guarantee, any potential buyer (or even investors) faces a very real uncertainty when viewing a gym. If there is a firm, legally binding contract in place across the majority of the membership, this helps provide a picture of what the immediate future of the gym looks like. This is even more vital when it comes to selling, as it means the new owner or owners will have time to convince the current membership that they should stay. 


The same applies to any changes that need to be made. This doesn’t need to be from a new owner but also applies to internal changes an existing owner may wish to make. Without long-term contracts, members can easily vote with their feet within a month if required. If a popular member of staff needs to be let go, or something needs to be cut back due to the current cost of living crisis. In a short-term contract scenario, members can organise in a month and leave. If they are signed into contracts of various lengths, that sort of rebellion becomes all but impossible. 

As such, you can see that the argument for securing cash flow through contracts is not something that can be discarded with the ease we sometimes see in the modern fitness industry. From the perspective of membership stability, investability and sellability, a long-term contracting system provides a lot of tangible benefits. 


Even if a gym owner has no desire to sell, for the simple health and stability of a gym or fitness club it is advisable to look into this method. 


2. Why are 12 month contracts preferable?

While 12 month contracts don’t fully protect a gym from the attrition of membership loss, they can help mitigate a large swathe of it throughout the churn of a normal business year (remember what those were like?). 


The reason that monthly contracts come up short in our mind is that monthly losses, by their very nature, are separated. This makes the attrition of a year look different when compared to monthly membership totals. 

To take some example statistics that have been seen. 

Opened ended, monthly renewal attrition rate  = anywhere between 4% and 8% in a given month. 

Twelve month contract attrition rate = less than 1% a month, or between 9% and 12% annually.

With even these generous figures, it becomes clear that the illusion of stability and sustainability granted by monthly open ended gym memberships is just that, an illusion.


The reason for the widespread adoption of this system? A short time rise in sales. Often you will hear the same story ‘We switched to primarily pushing for one month open ended contracts and our sales skyrocketed’. All well and good. Potentially even true. But as the late, great Jimi Hendrix once said, castles made of sand, fall into the sea, eventually. 


While the sales may skyrocket, keep in mind what they are selling is 1/12th of the value. Doesn’t sound so great does it?


3. Methods for collecting money, why it is important, and some thoughts on month-to-month membership.

As with any aspect of a successful business, factors flow into one another. One success can be supported by a multitude of factors. One failure can have multiple repercussions. Very little happens in isolation.

As such, it is pertinent to talk about not only the varying schools of thought on collecting monthly memberships but also the actual Collecting of monthly memberships.


For the amount of effort it takes to build membership on either a monthly rolling basis or a 12-month contractual term, it is important to make sure that 100% of the contractually obliged money is collected. 


A common mistake we see with gyms and fitness clubs that aren’t partnered with us is that they over-sign and struggle to collect. It is a story as old as time. The more members being processed manually, the more will slip through the cracks.

So ask yourself these three pertinent questions: 

Do you have enforceable contracts in place for all your members?

Do you have exact numbers on how many of these members are in each tier, be it 1 month, 3 months, or 12 months?

Is your membership being managed by a third-party financial specialist?


Well, we can help you with the third. Here at Ashbourne, we have over twenty-five years of experience in the fitness industry, servicing, administrating, and collecting gym and fitness club memberships from facilities across the UK and Ireland. 

From our bespoke software to our membership collection team, every aspect of our business is set up to ensure your members receive the best service and you receive every penny or cent of your contract.

With contracts built to suit you and your business, we are able to help give you the stable base for growth we’ve been discussing throughout this article.


Interested in finding out more? Don’t hesitate to book a demo with our team today. 



We hope we have highlighted why a 12-month contract could be the answer for these troubled times. While it may initially feel counter-intuitive, there is nothing wrong with striving for a stable income. 


A 12-month contractual agreement with your membership could unlock hitherto unknown stability within a gym or fitness club. And by working with a third-party membership management company, you can ensure that your foundations are solid and secured. 


So while the 12-month agreement may seem like a relic from a more civilised age, we would argue it has its place in the modern arsenal of gym owners. Don’t be lured by the short-term satisfaction and sales boost of a monthly contract. Both have their place in the modern market. 


Let Us Help Drive Your Business Forward...

Book your free demo slot and let us show you how
we can help take your gym to the next level.