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!

Gym Membership Price Increases: Is the race to the bottom over?

piggy bank sinking in sea

Gym Membership Prices race to the bottom ashbourne blog


“Is It Time To Increase My Gym Membership Prices?”

We realise you’re busy, so there’s 2 parts to this blog.

If you want to read the full context behind why raising prices is a good idea, then just keep reading.

But if you want to skip ahead to our 12 tips to increasing your gym membership prices, then click here to skip ahead!



For the last decade, the fitness industry has been a battle between the independent gyms and the large chain giants with their budget pricing doctrines in what seemed like an ever-deepening race to the bottom.

It is a story we have seen time and time again in the fitness industry. The arrival of this type of a huge chain Gym in a city or town indicated a significant shift and for the greater part of ten years these huge companies have dictated the pace of the industry.

But this was never a system that could last forever. Only a monopoly is able to put up their prices with anything resembling confidence.

And a business strategy based around ever-lowering prices will only ever work when times are good.

Part 1: The State Of The Market (or why times aren’t so good for the big guys)

Between the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing energy costs and property rent spikes, it is safe to say that at the very least, the good times are on hold.

This represents a chance for a correction within the fitness industry for gym and club owners.

The cost of living is undeniably rising and rising at an alarming rate. Not only that, but rising energy prices are presenting a very real squeeze to the margins of Gyms and fitness clubs alike, regardless of size.

And yet due to the increasingly competitive nature of the sector, the question is still only tentatively asked… Should we be raising prices?


The answer is, of course, yes!


The price war that has come to define the industry can only abate in these trying times. While it is a model that allowed for rapid growth, it was one driven by very specific economic and technological factors. 

This shift prompted positive and negative change within the industry. The increased focus on automation is just one example of a development that was hypercharged by the rise of the budget chains for both better and worse in different areas.

But now that period of growth has subsided and both the chains and independent Gym owners are left with a quandary. There are relatively few gains to make through automation now. The Covid-19 pandemic and resultant lockdowns caused unprecedented disruption. 



Stock Market Increase

Pictured: The large gym chain business strategy



The model that previously seemed unassailable has reached the end of its artificial boom and now we have to ask the hard questions about where the industry goes from here and the culture shift that will have to occur when it comes to pricing. 

As hinted at the beginning of the article, it is actually telling that the industry is even approaching this debate so tentatively, when before so few gyms would even be considering a price rise, at the risk of turning members away.

Ultimately this approach is out of touch with economic reality. As inflation continues to bite, energy costs rise and rents increase, it is only natural that some of this should be passed onto the customer. As stated previously, the idea of ever-reducing prices is a mantra that can only exist in times of sustained prosperity. In a contracting or disrupted economy, it is neither prudent nor good business. 

Consumer Perceptions Have Changed!

While every price increase must be communicated effectively so your Gym patrons understand the reason for the decision, your members do not exist in a vacuum. Everyone is aware of the current situation to a lesser or greater extent. Consumers are seeing prices rise in different parts of their life, they are reading about it in the news and dealing with it in their own careers.

Context is king and in many ways the current context has the consumer prepared for a price increase in a way they haven’t been since 2008.

We must reinforce that it is still necessary to control and communicate the narrative for any price increase measures, but the position of increasing prices will be easier to justify.

And Sorry, But We Have To Mention Covid Again…

It is safe to say that Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our economic reality and we’d be remiss to not talk about it in the context of price increases in 2022. Quite simply, we don’t believe there has been an event in recent memory that has changed consumer habits so profoundly.

As such, the picture that is starting to emerge in our research is one of a post-Pandemic landscape that is focused on the creation of value, collaboration and community that will really make the difference.

The lockdowns showed us the value of socialisation that we had understandably taken for granted previously. (A complete lockdown of society having seemed previously unthinkable).

Now that the world has opened up and would appear to be staying open, we are seeing consumers that care more for interacting with friends and engaging with their community. We believe that these Independent Gyms, more likely to be locally focused and independent, will flourish during the post-Lockdown era. And the evidence is on our side.

As such, this makes for a greater justification for raising prices. The value of the product these Gyms provide will be more valuable. The operational costs are increasing. Consumers are looking for brands that they can rely on for more than just a service now. Frequenting an establishment now also carries the implication of protecting health.


Who is a consumer more likely to trust in that task? A soulless automated chain or a trusted, local Gym at the heart of the community?


It is these factors that we believe will effect the dynamic of price increases in the fitness industry in 2022 and beyond. As we hinted at earlier in the introduction, we believe this is one of the key factors that has taken the tempo of control in determining prices away from the rock-bottom chains.



Nutrition Plan


There’s A Greater Focus On Health In The Gym Now

And finally on this checklist, there is just a greater focus on health in 2022 than there has ever been. The Covid-19 Pandemic kicked the desire for fitness into overdrive. No longer was it just a goal to strive for, it became linked to survival.

While it might all start to feel surreal now we are out of lockdown, for 18 months everyone from the government and NHS to the supermarkets were telling the public to stay fit and healthy.

This really supercharged an existing trend for health and fitness that we have not seen abate.

Not only that, but we have no reason to assume that this new furore will disappear anytime soon. The historic survey data has only ever shown an increase in the importance of health and fitness within the public consciousness over the last twenty years. No data has shown thus far that the lockdown focus on fitness is receding.

In terms of raising prices, this means that gym and fitness club owners now hold a commodity with increased social and societal stock than ever before.

The Philosophy Behind Raising Your Gym Prices

So why have we spoken at length about the reasons that justify raising your prices?

Because the reasons that a gym or fitness club is able to identify for a price rise will be a cornerstone of how they communicate this to their members.

The crux of the matter is, if a Gym does not believe that the service it is providing isn’t worth it, it’ll be very hard for the leadership to justify a price increase.

So now we have discussed the state of the market, the increasing hardships facing all businesses, the Covid-19 pandemic and the role of the price wars in recent years.

With all that taken into account, it should now be easy to see whether or not the justification for a price increase exists within any given gym or fitness establishment.



Raising Living Cost Prices


Part 2: How Should A Price Increase Be Implemented At Your Gym?

So now we are going to focus on how to implement that price increase.

The methodology behind both the increase itself and how it should be communicated out.

Price Rise Tip 1: The Hard Maths Behind Your Health Club’s Price Rise

In this section we will be looking at the different methods that can be used to increase prices. Between different tiers of members, off-peak and on-peak, OAP and Students, premium members and concessions, there exists a multitude of different price points. 

Even without all of that, there are still hundreds of permutations possible when it comes to a price increase.

We are going to look at some of the most obvious and intuitive and work out their viability in the current market. We will make reference to what was covered in part one to justify or dismiss certain decisions. 

It is important to remember that just because a price increase method seems logical or has been used in other industries, does not mean it is necessarily a fit for the fitness industry. Increasing prices by 33%, 50% or 100% is a surefire route to disaster unless you have been seriously undercharging for a long time. 

Let us examine some potential methods of raising prices that mix in a little communication/spin.

Price Rise Tip 2: Pay Up-Front For A ‘Fixed Rate’

One way we have seen be quite effective is something derived from ‘price-locking’ seen in the energy industry, but with a fitness spin.

Communicate to your members the reasons we have discussed for the price rise regarding rising energy, rents and increased market instability. State the necessity of a price increase but state that this will not be implemented for one month.

If, within that month, a member is willing to commit to another 12 months, they will effectively be able to keep the old price for the whole year. Once the year has elapsed, they will be charged the new price. This will demonstrate that you are being proactive and rewarding loyalty and commitment to your Gym. Furthermore, if the offer is picked-up, it will result in a significant amount of revenue early on within this price increase initiative.

Price Rise Tip 3: Communicate With Your Members & Give Them Plenty of Time

On the subject of communicating a month ahead of time. We want to reinforce that in order to appear professional and in control of this price increase, we would recommend that a month is the minimum amount of forewarning a gym should give their membership of a price increase.

Ideally, this should be a two month timespan. An increased timespan works well with the above strategy as well, as the longer a member has to mull over their financial situation, the more appealing locking in a year of ‘cheaper’ membership will seem. 



Email Marketing and Customer Communication


Price Rise Tip 4: Provide Members With A Fixed Rate Follow-up

As a final word on the subject of the fixed rate up-front price increase, a Gym shouldn’t be afraid of utilising their list of former members.

It is an ideal time to contact lapsed or cancelled memberships. As we stated earlier, a lot has changed and members who cancelled before or during the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown may feel differently now. Additionally, it will make them feel part of the loop and connected to the news cycle of the Gym.

It will also be a communication that isn’t overtly about trying to sell.

It will be about the price increase, with the option to secure 12 months membership for cheaper than it would otherwise be available.

Whilst a small difference, psychologically it can make all the difference. 

Additionally, do not be afraid to communicate the 12-month offer several times. If a gym has communicated the raise and the offer two months ahead of time, we would say it is reasonable to remind members at least two additional times before the deal expires.

Price Rise Tip 5: Build Inflation Into Your Price Increases Today

We would recommend that essentially any price increase initiated by gyms and fitness clubs at the moment should cite inflation as a primary reason.

With that in mind, why not go one step further. Reinforce the causal link of this price increase to inflation by benchmarking it against inflation. If you raise prices by 33% or 50% of the total current inflation, say, 6% for example, you are effectively communicating that while you are increasing prices, relative to the market, you are still absorbing some of the costs.

This way the gym gains additional revenue, and your customers understand that you have protected them from part of the inflationary costs.

By crafting your increase around inflation, you are putting your money where your mouth is. This should leave little doubt in the mind of your customers that your motivations are in reaction to the increased cost of living. To any reasonable consumer, this will be taken as a positive on an unavoidable economic reality.

Price Rise Tip 6: And Think About Your Next Price Increase

If a Gym elects to go for this route, it might be worth considering raising the price of all services in line with this figure. Any additional workout supplements, drinks or associated accessories that you sell and have control over the price point of. 

By taking this approach, it is akin to ripping the band-aid off all at once and it is an action that is legitimated by your reasoning.

Conversely, if a fitness club does not wish to or need to increase the price of these additional services, it would be prudent to highlight this. It can be stated that due to the increase in membership prices, all associated prices will stay the same despite the new economic reality. This is once again a way to put a positive spin on a price raise outcome.



Planning Ahead In Your Gym Business


Price Rise Tip 7: Know Your (Local) Market

While this was touched on in the introductory section, it bears repeating here.

Context is king and no context is more important than the local market landscape that a Gym or fitness club is competing in.

Just prior to a price raise is the exact time for a gym to refresh its local market research.

A gym should strive to understand not only what the current membership price is for all Gyms and across all price points, but also how that contrasts with their historical pricing.

This will be a clear way to tell whether all Gyms that are considered to be competitors are also raising their prices and by what margin. It is important to understand the level of drop-off that can be expected and where they might go.

It will also help legitimise the price increase actions undertaken by a Gym.

Price Rise Tip 8: Make Sure Your Staff Are On The Same Page

No-one likes talking about price rises. The silent resignation that we have when the electric or council tax…So…


Train your staff on how to handle the price conversation!


No-one feels natural or comfortable while fielding questions regarding a price increase, especially during circumstances like the ones we find ourselves in. Spend time with your staff briefing them on the main reasons.

As these will have all been laid out in your e-mail and social media communication, it should not take too much work to collate these into material for your staff to learn from. If your staff are not briefed regarding this, bad interactions with customers who have taken the price rise poorly could work their way onto social media.

Price Rise Tip 9: Spread The Costs OR Add Value

When it comes to additional options and bolt-on amendments to Gym membership, there is room to manoeuvre in the realm of price increases. The inclusion of additional bolt-on options to a Gym membership can also be used to work around to give the impression of added value or a fair trade-off.

In one scenario, if you include a set number of sessions with a personal trainer as part of your membership with the increase, this helps give the impression of compensation for the service being provided. In turn, this will make members not only more likely to stay than if nothing is offered, but also more likely to engage with the gym or fitness club.

Conversely, by removing certain benefits to new members, you will be able to minimise the price  increase for newer members due to value saved. However, this should be implemented carefully, and rarely, if ever, on existing members. 



Personal trainers at your gym extra service


Price Rise Tip 10: Keep Your Price Increases Steady

Do not announce that the price increase is only temporary. No-one can predict what the future may bring and any goodwill gained from stating this will not equal the risk of being unable to fulfil this pledge.

While there are scant few reasons to reduce your price, unless your price increase has significantly priced you out of the market, it should never be pledged ahead of time. Instead, it should be communicated as a pleasant bonus. 

In practicality though, if a Gym did their market research correctly, it would take an immense reason to reduce prices after they have recently been raised.

Price Rise Tip 11: Prepare For Members To Abandon Ship

It is inevitable that some members will leave during a price increase. But if communicated effectively this number should not matter. The price increase should be structured in such a way that the increase is able to mitigate any potential dropoff.


As the old adage goes, you can’t please everyone, and some members will take any reason to quit.


Others will have been scaling back their expenditure irrespective. It is important to deal with these customers fairly and politely.


If a gym doesn’t already have a ‘lapsed/previous’ members mailing list, this is the ideal time to create one.


A gym should monitor the numbers that leave through their CRM system as that will be a key indicator as to whether they have done their market research and communication correctly.

Price Rise Tip 12: Remember That It All Adds Up

Earlier we covered the idea of increasing prices just for new members, or increasing the price and offering the old membership rate to all members.

These are tried and tested methods that we have seen in the fitness industry. However, we’d like to end our article on this practical piece detailing one of the many methods that can be used to implement a price increase.


Instead of using percentages, or only charging new members, one method involves a price increase of £1 per month for each member.

The thinking here is that this sum won’t seem a lot to each customer and isn’t represented as a percentage on purpose.

If you take a club with exactly 750 members, this little £1 increase transforms into £9000 a year prior to tax.


Naturally this can vary depending on the number of members and the average price paid at a club. As another example, we shall say a club has an average Gym membership of £40. Certain tiers come in on either side of that total, of course. Now we say that this club increases each membership, irrespective of tier, by £2.

A club where someone is already paying £40, providing it meets the criteria laid above, should not see significant dropoff from this.

But in turn, they will receive a windfall of over £1.5k a month, or nearly 20k prior to tax in a given year. 

As such, you can understand why this method can quickly cope with any small amounts of dropoff that may occur if implemented, communicated and handled correctly. 

Using direct debits, it becomes easy to arrange a price increase across your entire customer base as we’ve just described.

Interested in this method? Then you might be interested in Ashbourne Membership Management. Here at Ashbourne, we have twenty five years of experience in the industry, getting our partners the money they deserve, each month, every month.

Interested in finding out more? Then arrange a demo and gym consultation with us today.


In Conclusion…You Can Do This!


While we understand the aversion that many Gym and Fitness Club owners have to raising their prices, it is a decision that, given the state of the economy, they should be considering.

No business can maintain the same price points for their entire operational lifespan, that sort of inflexible doctrine will only result in damaging the long term viability of the gym.


Maintaining prices only damages your business and your profits.  


By failing to react to the increase in the value of the commodity that is fitness, a Gym is passing up profit at a time where it can scarcely be afforded. 

If a Gym truly believes itself to be an institution that adds value to the community and its membership, there is no reason they shouldn’t have the confidence to ask for a little more. 

As we stated at the beginning, the era of the budget club dictating the pace is over. It is a system that cannot survive contact with market contractions. Now the market must seek value generation, and to ensure that the proper price is being paid for that value generation. 

Uncovering The Best Location For Your New Gym (or your next franchise)

Empty Warehouse Gym Location

Finding New Gym Location Help


“Where Should I Set Up My Next Gym?”


If you are a long time reader of our articles, you will know how much we value market research before undertaking a significant business decision…

…And we are also going to go out on a limb and call starting a new gym or fitness club ‘a significant business decision’.

And so, if you are ready to set up a new independent gym or fitness club, then it is time to hit the research. In this article, we will be focusing on, to borrow the title of a popular show, location location location. Unlike many aspects of setting up a new gym or fitness club, location is one that a gym owner cannot easily change once it has been established. (Though, of course, it is not impossible).

As such, we’ve put together the following checklist of criteria that you should keep in mind when looking for a location for your new gym. And just for good measure, we’ve loaded it up with tips from our 25 years within the fitness industry and our very own plans to expand our ‘The Fit Club’ franchise of gyms.



Consider a location based on your customer’s demographic


The kind of customers you’re going after will massively determine your location, or can even be a chicken and egg scenario, shaping what your gym becomes.

If you already have an idea of what you want your gym or fitness club to be, then your location is effectively chosen for you.

An MMA fitness club is probably not going to do well in a village of 100 people in the middle of Yorkshire with an elderly trending demographic.

Every area has a character, and one that can be understood with just a little research. Some, of course, are characterised by a fairly even balance, giving you access to lots of demographics in a single area. Others will be heavily skewed, for example, here are a few locations that come to mind in our experience, complete with their strengths and weaknesses to a new gym or fitness club owner.


Student Areas

While the usually dense population, significant free time and active nature of a student population are huge positives, these areas are also highly transitory, with many students only going to university for three year terms and putting down no significant routes.

The explosion in dedicated student housing has compounded this trend. They can feel like a great place to target active gym goers, but you’re also going to massively cut your retention as your members may be active, but eventually they will have to leave for reasons out of their control, no matter how many benefits you offer.


Dormitory Towns

Otherwise known as suburbia, the pros to these areas include relative prosperity and normally a much more firmly rooted population than in cities.

A common downside we have seen is that a lot of workers will favour Gyms within the city that the dormitory town allows an easy commute to. This dynamic of being split between two areas has, however, been diminished by the work from home revolution in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, so you might find more workers are spending more time, and money, on the services in their local area.


Town and City Centres

Normally highly competitive and expensive to set up within these areas, but always providing a vast influx of people relative to the surroundings. Certain types of Gym will not be viable here, while other, more niche clubs will flourish in a way that they wouldn’t in more out of the way places.

We’ve seen a lot of gym owners who instinctively try to set up shop in these populated areas. After all, more people, more customers.

But that thinking can come back to bite many-an-aspiring gym owner down the line, when high maintenance costs put you on a business treadmill to always keep your club filled to max capacity.

Sometimes looking for a quieter area and providing a unique club experience can be far more profitable in the long run, as your club can easily become a discount one size fits all gym when upkeep costs become a major driving factor.


Every area, even if it falls into an archetype, will have its quirks and foibles. Don’t make business decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions.




Thankfully, the internet has made researching an area easier than ever. From forums and social media to simply using google maps, it has never been easier to grasp an area. With that being said, most prospective gym owners in our experience are looking to set up in an area well known to them. While this has considerable and obvious advantages, do not be afraid to throw the net out slightly wider than usual.

Sometimes taking the road less travelled really does make all the difference. 

So once you’ve determined who you want to attract, now you need to work out where they live, and more importantly, where they are willing to drive to.

Unless it is in a town centre, city centre or business park, the assumption should be that people are not willing to drive more than 20 minutes.

Again, this will vary depending on roads, infrastructure, public transport and other interesting locations at the destination of a prospective gym. As such, ease of accessibility should be the top priority for the demographic you have in mind.



Look at the type of buildings available


The Covid-19 pandemic shook up nearly every market, and the business rental market is no different. Many businesses either shifted location or shut down entirely. This means that the pool of rentals post-2021 is significantly different.

The safest bet, predictably, will be a site that used to host a gym or fitness club. These come with several built in advantages, such as a pre-existing reputation within the local area and facilities that proved suitable for a gym in the past.

However you needn’t be limited by this. We have seen plenty of unorthodox venues transform from other areas of the economy into successful gyms and fitness clubs. Whether it is a former supermarket, restaurant or part of a school, with enough effort put into the conversion, we have seen prosperous gyms setup in all sorts of former venues. 

Don’t limit your imagination based on what’s available, but as always, be realistic in your budgeting about how much it’ll cost to convert that abandoned shoe store into a Kickboxing Gym.


Renovated Gym



BE SEEN! Don’t hide your Gym or Fitness Club away


This might sound silly at first. Surely it is what on the inside that counts?

Alas, there is a reason we tell people to not judge books by their cover, and that is because they do, CONSTANTLY!


A story we’ve heard repeated a hundred times from as many gym owners is the following:

‘They got inside our gym and they said they had no idea it was this good’.

Sometimes it is even worse and the visitor said:

‘They had no idea this was here’. 


More often than not, these gyms are hidden away on cheap industrial estates, down country roads, or only have a slither of a facade facing the street. 

While we fully understand the temptation to secure a bargain on an industrial complex or in a village barely anyone even knows exists, for most gym owners it is a false economy. Out of sight is, unfortunately, out of mind. The amount that will need to be spent on promotion and advertising to get people aware that your gym or fitness club exists, let alone get them into it, will be sky high. 

And even once the prospective customers to your new gym are aware, what is going to draw them far off of their beaten track? The unfortunate truth is that unless the area has an extreme level of car-reliance or fantastic public transport infrastructure, it will be hard to draw people away from the main streets. This is why certain chains, that shall go unnamed here, are always positioned in highly visible areas with large glass windows letting you see everything inside.

It is a tactic that works, and while you may find the premise will be more expensive than an out-of-the-way industrial estate, the benefits it brings can be measurable and powerful. A chalkboard out the front of your gym can get more eyes than a few hundred pounds of Facebook ads may ever do.



Take stock of what else is close to your Gym or Fitness Club


This is really a continuation of the last point, with a more specific focus.

Once you have an idea of the area, take a deep look at what is there.

Imagine you are a prospective customer, what would draw you to the gym?

Maybe there is a cinema along the street? Maybe it is next to a city’s business sector. Start to understand how people would weave your new gym or fitness club into their lifestyle.


High Street Shoppers



Collaboration & Competition


Now you have an idea of the area and what else might draw your potential customers to it, work out if any of these are ripe for collaborations.

A new gym requires a lot of promotion (which we have loads of helpful e-books on), and local partners are the ideal way to spread the good word about your new gym or fitness club. Think about what businesses would make for natural partners, both in the short term and the long term.

In turn, think about the competition that could arise in the future:

Don’t just look to see if an area is already overpopulated with gyms and fitness clubs, but also whether there are empty units or locations that could one day be turned into competition.



What is your Gym or Fitness Clubs Unique Selling Point (USP)?


As we hinted at in the point on demographics, if you are setting up a gym or fitness club, you want it to do something better than any other gym in the area. Whether that is a certain type of equipment or training, a type of class (the aforementioned MMA in Yorkshire), or the infrastructure, location or facilities that the Gym has, it should be planned in advance.

Once again, market research comes into play. Look at the prospective competition in the area you’ve selected.

Are there no gyms with a significant amount of parking?

Are there no gyms that offer competition level body-building equipment?

Does nowhere have an Octagon? 

It may sound like one upmanship and that is because it is. These are the sort of questions that the prospective customers your gym will be vying for will be asking themselves. Make sure your gym has enough of a USP that the answer frequently goes in your favour. 


Now, maybe it’s time to get back on Google maps…


To close off this article, we think it is important to reiterate what we said at the beginning.

Setting up a gym or fitness club is no small feat, but more importantly it is a task that rewards thorough market research beforehand.

We hope this article can serve as a checklist of criteria to look for when scouting for a location for your new gym or fitness club.


And if you are looking to start a gym or fitness club…

…And need help with running your business…

Then it might be time to drop us a line!

Ashbourne Membership Management has been working with partners in the fitness industry for over 25 years and we’ve been with gyms and fitness clubs at every stage of the journey, including setup.

So if you are interested in having your membership management locked in place before your doors even open, come and book a gym consultation today. We can show you round our system and give you tips for how to grow your club and collect your payments.

All our sales team own gyms or work within the industry, so a quick chat is well worth your time!

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. 


How Can Gyms Tackle Rising Energy Prices in 2022 and Beyond?


“How Your Gym Can Tackle Rising Energy Prices in 2022 and Beyond?”


It is a time of tension, both across the world and in the UK. It is hard to shake the twinned feelings of horror that one, energy prices have substantially risen. And two, that not only will those prices not go down, but they are also most likely, under current government policy, only going to rise.


With that being said, the last two months have seen stunning reversals by the UK Conservative Party (including the reversal of a prime minister), so it is possible that compared to the time of reading, the situation may change.

As it stands, our understanding is that the rather ‘half-measure’ cap in energy prices that has been put in place for businesses will expire in April and that ‘a more targeted alternative’ will come into place.

In a move reassuring to no-one, the specifics of that scaled-back and ‘more targeted’ scheme have not been shared.


As predicted by the head of the British Chamber of Commerce earlier in the year, we are already seeing businesses, both within and outside the fitness industry starting to reduce hours. In a few extreme examples, closing entirely. 

As such, we thought it best to be proactive and look at a selection of measures that businesses can take to mitigate the damage that the energy price crisis is currently inflicting on many industries. We have made sure to keep in mind what independent gym and fitness club owners can do about the rising energy prices during this coming winter and beyond. 



Click To Skip Ahead!

1. Utilise what government support is available

2. Reach out to your energy provider

3. Review your choice of energy supplier

4. Contact your bank

4. Reduce your consumption


1. Utilise What Government Support Is Available

Despite being the ‘party of business’, the Conservatives have never been too keen on the state directly financing businesses (unless they are banks). Now former Prime Minister Liz Truss’ response to the crisis involved an energy package that capped energy bills for businesses at the same price per unit as consumers for two years. This was later revised to six months by now Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. Alongside this measure, we have also heard talk of the capping of business rates and, we should also expect VAT and business rates to be reduced, all of which have yet to be finalised.


Thankfully there are multiple government schemes including a grant scheme and the offer of bespoke loans which businesses should absolutely take advantage of.


And while you wouldn’t believe it from government rhetoric, there are also incentives on offer for businesses that are able to show that they have lowered their carbon emission and a variety of other factors.

While we might discuss these another day and how they can be applied to independent gym and fitness clubs owners.

For now we would guide you towards the official government advice on this:


Environmental taxes, reliefs and schemes for businesses: Climate Change Levy – GOV.UK (


2. Reach Out To Your Energy Provider

Much like the government, energy providers are keenly aware of what is happening, and know that while these energy prices are currently resulting in record profits, they also threaten to wipe out many of their customers. 

As such, we have seen many energy suppliers offering initiatives and grants that encourage and reward energy efficiency. Most of the time, these can be taken in conjunction with the government schemes. This reinforces the need to keep track of any and all improvements that a gym owner may make to their facility. Often a portion of this can be recuperated. 


In addition, ‘business hardship funds’ have existed for a long time within many energy companies. These are, for apparent reasons, coming into the limelight now in a back way. While a business will need to prove that they qualify for this type of relief, it can be of vital importance to small businesses.


Business rates relief: Hardship relief – GOV.UK (


We are planning to do a more indepth article about business rates in the future but for now the above should help guide gym and fitness club owners down the right path. 


Finally, though it will not save or add additional money to a business portfolio, the option of setting up a payment plan exists. Energy companies are receiving significant pressure from governmental and non-governmental sources to enact these at the moment and they can often be a generous lifeline. As such, we believe every facility within the fitness industry struggling should look into energy payment plans for their gym or fitness club. 


3. Review Your Choice of Energy Supplier

If you are not happy with the support offered by your current energy supplier, the next step is to shop around. Each energy supplier is different and will offer different levels of business support. We recommend doing research on any energy supplier with an appealing energy package to see what experience other business owners had with them. We would recommend looking for other business owners within the fitness industry first, followed by other businesses that use a similar level of electricity to a gym or fitness club. 


Comparison websites can be useful here for getting an idea of which energy supplier will offer the best rates, but it is important to keep in mind that that isn’t the whole picture.

If they offer effective energy efficiency grants, business hardship schemes and other business supports, it might be preferable to pay a little extra on your bill to be properly supported through these trying times. 


4. Contact Your Bank 

Every major bank provides some form of financial advice for businesses. Santander, Lloyds, Natwest, HSBC and Barclays all spend a significant amount of money investing in their business departments. In better times, we can just forget that these services exist but they exist for a reason.

Whether you are a long or short term customer with your bank, they should be more than willing to offer business support. This advice and support can manifest in a variety of ways, it may overlap with some of the above, being able to recommend areas to save, energy suppliers that have been useful to their other client businesses and more. Banks represent a concentration of business expertise and support to gyms and fitness club owners and should be utilised as such. 



5. Reduce Consumption

And finally, the most direct solution. While we never want to impact the members that use our gyms and fitness clubs, given the circumstances it may be necessary to scale back energy usage. Some energy usage can be reduced without compromising the operational effectiveness of a gym or fitness club. 


Lowering the thermostat/resting temperature:

As obvious as it is effective. Lowering the thermostat a few degrees can quickly add up to large savings. It is important for any gym or fitness club to communicate this (and any measure that is undertaken) to their membership ahead of time.

Even if it is a temperature change that will be mostly imperceptible, your membership will appreciate being forewarned and that a gym is taking measures to lower costs. 


Using energy-efficient equipment and LED bulbs:

As discussed earlier, one of the many tools in the fight against energy costs will be energy-efficient electronics. Gyms and fitness clubs should make careful note of every energy-saving appliance they purchase to demonstrate the measures that have been taken to make the business more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. If this can be demonstrated, significant price reductions and business assistance could be unlocked.


Automatic sensors to endure that empty rooms do not have their lights turned on unnecessarily: 

Just as above, this is another measure that will not only save a significant amount of money after a gym or fitness club has installed them but can also be used to demonstrate energy efficiency.

Turn off powered exercise equipment/PCs/Sauna/ when not in use:

By turning off these systems when they are not in use, consumption can be reduced.

A more extreme variant of this measure would be to limit the amount of time that these systems are operational. This can be especially effective with any facility that uses heated water, such as a sauna, spa, or especially a swimming pool.

While an extreme measure, if communicated responsibly we have seen that gym and fitness club members are understanding of the hardships currently facing the industry. 

Energy Audit:

An energy audit can highlight some of the above measures and recommend where more complex energy-saving measures such as solar panels and insulation can be placed.

Both of these measures are expensive but very effective. Insulation will allow for the thermostat to be run lower, though it is important that the current ventilation also be taken into account.

Solar panels can provide massive savings on energy for a business if a gym or fitness club is able to accommodate them. 


Here at Ashbourne, we’ve been working with gyms and fitness clubs, growing their business and helping them reach their potential for over 25 years. While our primary domain is membership management, we’ve learned plenty along the way. Interested in seeing if we can help enhance the reach and potential of your Gym? Please do not hesitate to contact our team today here



Feeling the Strain: The Fitness Industry is Facing Energy Bill Increases of up to 150% Even With the Government’s Energy Price Cap

Cost of living increase for businesses

Cost of living increase for businesses header


While it feels like dire tidings across the entire economic sphere ever since September’s ‘mini-budget’, a leading industry association within the fitness industry has warned that Gyms, fitness clubs and leisure centres might be in for an especially painful winter. 


The prominent industry association ukactive, an organisation that promotes the interests of gyms, fitness clubs and leisure centres across the UK has issued a statement to both the government and the fitness industry that we believe should be heeded. In the wake of the government’s price cap, ukactive issued a warning that the fitness sector might be looking at a spike well above that of the national average for businesses, possibly as high as 150%.


Given the decision by the government to cap prices at the point that they have, it is still estimated that the combined cost of both electricity and gas for gyms, fitness clubs and leisure facilities will increase by over 100% compared to 2019. This is because the cap isn’t on paying a set amount but per unit. 


Operators of large facilities, and specifically those that deal with large amounts of heated water, such as facilities with swimming pools, saunas or Jacuzzis, have been warned of increases up to or above 150%.


As such, ukactive has cautioned that due to government action and policy, the financial cost of energy bills for the whole sector will come to consume over 100% of what it did in 2019. Given that that amount was over £500 million in 2019, this means that over £1 billion, potentially even one and a quarter billion pounds will exit the fitness industry to pay for their energy costs. We have covered these developments and potential measures being taken by the industry here: Energy Costs, Powercuts and the fitness Industry – Google Docs 


The CEO of ukactive, Huw Edwards (not that one), stated in his warning that: “The government should be extremely concerned about both the health and economic impact of the energy crisis on fitness and leisure operators.” And went on to say that “Rising energy costs will have a disproportionate impact on our sector, particularly larger, energy-intensive gyms and leisure centres with swimming pools, which are now at major risk of closure”. 


While it is clear that this situation is unprecedented, it is one that this government is monitoring intensely, and one that is affecting nearly every business within the UK. The fitness industry has shown time and time again, most recently with the Covid-19 pandemic, that it is versatile, resilient and innovative. It is also an industry that thrives on communication, and as such we will be focusing on measures, like the one linked above, to endure this autumn, winter and beyond. 

Content as a Tool for Increasing Your Gyms Marketing Potency


“Content as a Tool for Increasing Your Gyms Marketing Potency”


Content as marketing is not a new strategy, but it is one that has seen a marked increase. We think that part of the reason for this is that it has never been easier to get a long-form, detailed opinion out into the public at virtually no cost.

Whereas before the rise of the internet and digital marketing, there was always a prohibitively expensive cost associated with length that has started to recede and vanish. Now there is very little to stop long form, insightful content from being published online with a high chance of reaching its audience through ever more advanced search engines.

This is, in our opinion, a blessing. It has allowed companies to post valuable and meaningful content without fear it will go completely unread, or even end up costing significantly more than it generated.

Now the ability to share relevant and impactful information directly to the audience cannot be overestimated as a tool for marketing. Now rather than relentlessly and monotonously bombarding potential customers with the same message in order to build some semblance of trust, businesses can put their message, their product, their expertise and their value right where their mouth is.

Unlike terrestrial advertising, this method allows for the story and expertise of the company to be demonstrated through the content they produce. In turn, this can help create a bond with the potential customers that a business is trying to reach. 

At time of writing, it is estimated that over 80% of brands are either utilising or in some way participating in Content Marketing. It has become a tour de force that has transcended marketing and become a way to get a business into search engines while generating valuable and meaningful content. 


So how can a gym or fitness club owner incorporate content based marketing into their marketing strategies?

We are going to cover off a few of the most accessible and impactful methods that can be implemented swiftly.


1. Blogging

2. Podcasting

3. Events. Virtual, Real, Hybrid

4. Educational Videos & Infographics


1. Blogging

Blogs are the mainstay of content-lead marketing for a number of reasons. As we discussed previously, one of the draws is the ability to communicate impactful information and have it reach the audience for the lowest possible cost.

Blogging fits that criteria perfectly. Not only is creating it cheap, requiring only expertise and a word processor, hosting it on a website is a negligible expense. Furthermore, given search engines focus on keywords, the potential for it to be found is very high relative to other forms of marketing.


So that is the positive news. The downside is that, especially within the fitness industry, Gym content lead marketing is very competitive. It is an industry full of people who know their stuff and do a significant portion of their business through their websites.


As such, it is important that gym owners keep in mind two mantras when producing blogs as content lead marketing for their websites. 

First, it must make a real contribution. No half measures. The information that Gyms are putting out shouldn’t be contentless clickbait or a guide that has been done better elsewhere. Every gym or fitness club should be a hub of talented and experienced individuals, with valuable expertise to contribute.

It is therefore necessary that Gyms bring their A-game to all content. The blogs will be what is selling the gym or fitness club to the customer. We want them to be drawn in and understand that the organisation has something to offer them that can improve their life. That it is worth their time and money. 


A useful thought exercise is something we call ‘The bookmark test’. Does the blog provide valuable enough content that someone who is interested in the subject would want to bookmark or favourite it on their browser so they can return to it. If the answer is yes, the content is on the right track.

The second is the more pragmatic and marketing side, and that is keywords. The best content in the world won’t draw a business any new custom if it can’t be found. As mentioned earlier, blogs trade in keywords and that is especially true in the fitness industry.

With prospective customers often searching very specific queries, whether it is related to an exercise, or a class, or an exercise machine. It is necessary for the content to be precise and purposeful in the language that is used


In addition, a successful blog should try to mention the location of the gym or fitness club it is trying to promote. A lot of searches are locational, so the more that the gym or fitness club can be linked with the specific area, the better. 



2. Podcasting

Take it from us, making a podcast and getting it onto the big platforms that people actually use has never been easier. 

There has been a big rise in the number of brand podcasts and they are enjoying a large amount of success.

In a recent poll, 50% of content-led marketers who have adopted and utilised podcasts as a marketing tool have described it as one of their most effective content mediums they use. 


So then the question becomes, why are podcasts experience such an increase in adoption by businesses?

The answer is actually above, it has never been easier.

Accessibility and outreach always used to be the issue. Even as little as ten years ago, podcasting was a niche with few defined outlets. Still very much the domain of iTunes and Apple. Recording, editing and then releasing a podcast was a lot of work and there was no guarantee it would be downloaded (not streamed!) onto more than a few devices.

Now both recording and distribution has been made simple. Multiple websites can allow a business to upload a podcast once and then have it put onto all major streaming services (including the big hitters like Spotify).

As it often goes, this meant that businesses were able to test the water with comparatively little time and effort. In turn, businesses learned that there was a market for these podcasts and so a content marketing method was born.

The success factor has come from the casual nature of podcasting. A conversation between two people within the fitness industry, about the fitness industry doesn’t feel like marketing but it is highly effective at doing so. Given that people will be listening to the podcast on either a phone or a computer, they will have a search engine to hand, so any mention of a gym or fitness club that grabs their attention can be instantly followed up upon. 


The topics are endless and normally we find if you just set out a few topics of conversation and get the right people in the room, the conversation will flow nicely. Unlike a blog, it can be more freeform and anecdotal while still communicating valuable insight into the fitness industry.

It can also exist to deliver news about a gym or fitness club, a few minute segment either at the beginning or the end of the podcast is the perfect time to detail new equipment, renovations, classes or events. These topics could even spark a conversation themselves about the running of the gym or fitness club. 


The last aspect is promotion. By putting up posters and sending out emails promoting the podcast, a gym can get a core group of followers interested in the podcast. In turn, just like with blogs, this will help with discoverability. 


The only limitation, and it is a relatively minor one in 2022, is getting the necessary equipment together. This will include a recording-quality microphone or microphones, headphones and computers to record and edit on. Nothing particularly outlandish and with a little candid conversation and audio quality, any gym can join this exciting and contemporary content marketing avenue. 


3. Events. Virtual, Real, Hybrid

Hosting events may not feel intuitive to many gym or fitness club owners, but their facilities are an asset that many businesses envy. A big public space with plenty of room for activities. It has novelty value to some and lifestyle appeal to many. 

This makes gyms and fitness clubs a very attractive place to host events, whether they are in-person events, virtual or a hybrid between the two. 

It is important to take stock of every asset a given gym or fitness club has. Whether that is a spacious lobby, a central location within the town or city, a coffee bar or a large, easily emptied space for free-form events. 


Open Days

It is the oldest trick in the book, but it stayed in the book for a reason. Open days are a great event for the area to see what a gym is made of, invite people in, publicise it in your area, invite local people of note.

Furthermore make sure the day is filmed so that footage can be uploaded to your social media channels. It might even be a good topic for a podcast.


A food fair that focuses on healthy living: A universal human experience and perhaps one of the best. Partnering with local food distributors, cafes, restaurants or healthy takeaways can be a great way for a gym to act as a nexus and a hub for the local community. 


Online Classes: Utilise a gym’s existing class system and personal trainers to hold free online classes. 


Charity Events and ‘Event’ Events: It may sound slightly ridiculous but we all love a tie-in event. Whether it is for Easter or the Olympics, the Tour De France or St Valentine’s Day. Topical events are easy to market and will get people through the doors. The same with charity, everyone loves to support a good cause and for some a good cause can be the push they need to get exercising. 


4. Educational Videos and Infographics 

The chances are everytime you log onto social media, you see at least one instance of the following two things.

The first is educational video content. Whether it is the TikTok ‘how to’ or YouTube short ‘life advice’, short-form video is everywhere. And where the individual goes, a company can follow. Just as we discussed with podcast, this new cultural trend is just ripe for companies to get onboard with and many have already. 


The second is infographics. We live in a world teeming with statistics, data and advice. This is good for content-marketing because it means that the audience of today is very receptive to infographics. More than ever, people are consuming their information from individuals and businesses through the snappy combination of data, images and text. 


Both methods are capable of turning someone who has just stumbled across the content into an interested party right away. More people than ever before are discovering new businesses due to the informative video content that they are putting out. The rise of near limitless mobile data means that people are doing this everywhere and at every time of the day. Combine this with Instagram, Twitter and Tiktoks ever more efficient video integration and shareability and a Gym would be remiss not to capitalise on this effect and far-reaching trend. 


As for what to show, we’ve listed ideas below for inspiration. 


Facility tour: Showing off a Gym or Fitness club is a surefire way to get people interested. Unless a gym has large windows, local people can pass by every day and never know the great facility instead.


How to use equipment: education and entertaining: This can also help reduce gymtimidation if someone has never used a piece of gym equipment. 


Exercise tips from your PTs: Short-form, well edited tips are the most shared and likely to hit the biggest audience. 


Classes in Action: If a class is going on, ask for permission and then get filming! 


Testimonials from the regulars: If regular customers are content and comfortable with saying a few words, the genuine enthusiasm they display can be a powerful motivator. 


Meal preparation and diet tips and tricks: Whether it comes from customers or staff, a great way to share what works for the people who use a Gym.


As has hopefully become apparent, the 2020s have heralded a golden age for content-led marketing. Never before have gym or fitness club owners been able to put out meaningful content at such a cheap price point, and with such broad reach. There is a reason that all the methods above have seen such a rapid uptake and uptick in popularity over the last few years.

Here at Ashbourne, we’ve been working with gyms and fitness clubs, growing their business and helping them reach their potential for over 25 years. While our primary domain is membership management, we’ve learned plenty along the way. Interested in seeing if we can help enhance the reach and potential of your Gym? Please do not hesitate to contact our team today here



Is Your Gym or Fitness Club Primed to Capitalise on the Longevity Revolution?


Is Your Gym or Fitness Club Primed to Capitalise on the Quality of Life Revolution?

Here are our tips on increasing your Gym’s age range appeal


The years between 2020 and 2022 have already marked multiple unprecedented events and demographic shifts within the fitness industry, but there are more to come.

And unlike Covid-19 or the ensuing lockdowns, the trend we are discussing today isn’t an anomaly. In fact it is quite the opposite, a trend that we are all aware of, one of the key criteria that we use to measure the success of modern society.

People are living longer.


While this should not be shocking to you, we are approaching a series of unprecedented watermarks as a society. We are reaching a tipping point that will see many areas that are traditionally marketed towards younger people as a matter of course being forced to change that habit.

The simple truth is that the younger demographics account for less than they ever have before, and will only continue to account for less. This goes double for spending power. We should all be equally familiar with the headlines about the relatively diminished spending power of younger generations.

Now while we won’t spend time focusing on the potentially disastrous long-term societal consequences of this shift, we can focus on how to translate it into short-term benefit for your Gym or Fitness Club.


So how will we be targeting this ever-broadening demographic?

Well, first we will need to look at what they want, and what they are currently doing. The answer to these questions are thankfully one and the same, they are staying active for longer and trying to stay active for as long as possible.

This is a significant change in behaviour when contrasted to even twenty or thirty years ago. 


Now not only are these people living longer, but they are also going out of their way to enjoy a better quality of life.


Compared to the younger demographics, people over 50 find themselves with a greater disposable income and significantly more time. This enables them to enact their growing desire to stay healthy, active and impactful within society. 

In turn this means that an entire demographic that could easily be considered ‘beyond fitness’ is returning to it in a very specific way with a very specific aim.


For the purposes of this article, we will be calling this the Quality of Life Revolution.



While that doesn’t mean abandoning the historic bulwark of the fitness industry, 18 to 35 year olds, it does benefit us to compare the behavioural trends of these groups. While it is likely your fitness club is maximising engagement with people under 40, it seems unlikely that you are making full use of your outreach to the over 50s.

Besides the obvious benefit of being a new demographic with great expansion and longevity potential, it also has several inbuilt purchasing habit benefits over the younger demographics. A retention study by the IHRSA that looked at nearly 1.5 million fitness club members’ behaviours found that the movement habits of over 55s varies greatly from that of their younger counterparts.

Remarkably, they found out that over 55s stay with a gym or fitness club, on average, 22 months longer than any other age group.

This makes sense given what we know about people in the latter half of their life. People tend to be more established, with a deeper connection, whether it is economically, socially or emotionally, to any given place. Younger people shift location for work, shifting interpersonal relationships and even for no reason at all. Therefore the study seems intuitive.

An older customer at your Gym or Fitness Club may well be a customer that stays with you longer!


And it is important to keep this in mind. With minimal restructuring of what your gym or fitness club offers and how it is marketed, it could be earning more from a more stable customer base, all while improving the longevity of the community your business resides within. 


What services can you offer to contribute to the Quality of Life Revolution?

Courses aimed at promoting longevity and quality of life work within different criteria to more traditional, youth-oriented courses. The metrics for success here are all about slowing down the process and effects of ageing while maximising functional fitness. Exercises are normally lower impact but with a focus on muscle health that can otherwise quickly decline in later years. 

The four areas where the majority of quality and length of life is most pertinent and focused on include:

  • Weight, posture and body composition
  • Brain functionality, acuity and reactions and overall health
  • Mobility and health of the Musculoskeletal system and joint flexibility. 
  • Cardiovascular health with a specific focus on the heart.


As you can tell, what is going to be important to these new prospective clients isn’t just exercise in the gym. Research has shown that they are also interested in dietary advice, breathing exercises and sleep regimes. However, all of this is rooted within a firm regime of exercise.

Results have been shown to be powerful and once someone has embraced this new lifestyle and forged the habit (habits that, as previously established, older demographics are more likely to maintain), they are less likely to relinquish that habit. 


Whether it is weightless or maintaining mobility, reaction training, meditation or joint strengthening, there are a host of activities that can be accomplished in your Gym or Fit Club. The opportunities for your gym or fitness club to provide solutions that increase the quality and longevity of life are limitless.


So let’s dive into six different ways to start catering to this demographic and their demands, today!


1. Adapt The Message

2. Shift Perspective

3. Social and Enjoyable

4. Outreach

5. Invest in the Knowledge

6. Make your Gym or Fitness Club PART of their Quality of Life


1. Adapt The Message

As we discussed earlier, the messaging of many Gyms and Fitness Clubs in the UK is inherently youth-oriented. This can be off-putting for many elderly people, when they see a Gym advertised entirely by attractive and healthy under-thirties, it sends a clear message about the target of this establishment.

Conversely, even one or two older faces in an advertisement are likely to stand out to the demographic we are trying to reach, while going unnoticed by the younger people who take their status as the core fitness market for granted. 


2. Shift Perspective

With that being said, we don’t mean that you should load your gym adverts full of strollers and walking sticks. The stereotypes about the over 60s that we have had are starting to disappear, and no one knows that as well as the current people within that demographic. Not feeling your age is the mantra, and as such the marketing should be aimed at people who are in extended middle age, with much of the vitality that they had at 45 or even younger!

This is a trend that has been thoroughly entrenched in Scandinavian society and contributed to a significant shift in the marketing of such fitness items as bicycles and swimming gear!

It is all about normalising the concept of older demographics working out, and that will never change if we shy away from including positive examples in advertising material. It will help you stand out and stand for positive change.


3. Social & Enjoyable

One opinion that crosses the generation divide (A rarity these days, it feels), is that many people young and old do not find exercise enjoyable. We have all heard polls and have had conversations where people say that they would only do exercise if ‘they found it enjoyable’ and that lifting weights or running on a treadmill doesn’t meet that marker for them.

They know it is good for them, but all that does is put it into the same category as vegetables or not spending money. 

This is a hot topic when targeting young people, but it becomes even more pertinent when targeting people for quality and longevity of life.

Luckily, the regimes and exercises that we are promoting are not about lifting massive amounts of weight or running a virtual half-marathon. The strength that functional fitness has is that it can be lightweight, unintrusive and very social.

By focusing on the more casual and social nature of it, you will be able to draw a larger crowd. This is especially relevant amongst an older demographic who frequently struggle with loneliness.

You will find many councils within the UK are keen to reduce loneliness and increase the number of active adults in the community. Work with members of the community, whether paid or volunteered to exchange ideas and inspirations on what functional fitness could achieve. This will not only help bolster the earnings of your club but contribute meaningfully to the well-being of your community. Win-win. 


4. Outreach

In the same way that a lot of the content of the marketing in the fitness industry is aimed at a younger demographic, so are the methods.

If I had to hazard a guess (based on data), I would say that your gym or fitness club’s main method of marketing engagement is social media. And that’s great!

But unfortunately the older demographic we are trying to target often have either significantly different social media habits, or none at all!

This presents a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. The main methods that we found effective while targeting the older demographic were more traditional (perhaps unsurprisingly). Going through the local council signposting system, as well as newspapers and leaflets distributed to communal areas within your local area all are more likely to resonate and reach your audience than an Instagram post!


5. Invest in the Knowledge

While many of the services that contribute towards quality of life and longevity classes are part of a standard PTs repertoire, there is always additional knowledge, technicals and qualifications to be gained.

It is also a good reason to expand the knowledge pool among your staff and potentially increase the number of classes you are running.  By undertaking training that specialises in reducing the effects of ageing and maximises functional fitness. This, in turn, will enable your gym to have a much larger and more positive effect on the people and community around you. Quality of life and longevity exercises have been proven to reduce the occurrence of certain chronic diseases within the elderly community.

Most importantly, this will give you a competitive edge over the gyms and fitness clubs in your area that are not offering this service. This is a growing demographic and a trend that is only going to become further cemented as more people from the currently under 50 demographic continue to age. It has been shown that there is a significantly different attitude in the people currently crossing the threshold and a desire to enjoy a better quality of life for longer.


6. Make your Gym or Fitness Club PART of their Quality of Life

The easiest way to make sure that this group keeps renewing month after month and year after year? Make your Gym a fundamental part of their Quality of Life.

Positive association is a powerful force, and staying active and youthful is a point of pride for people of all ages. It is estimated that lifestyle has a massive impact on the rate and effect of ageing, potentially over 60% to 70%. With all the services we have previously discussed, a Gym that provides all of that will no doubt be a key player in the longevity and life quality of the older demographic that frequents it. 


Making your gym or fitness club a place that cultivates positive mindsets, nutrition, movement, socialisation and exercise will help it become a beacon to the community. Focusing on quality and longevity of life can help put a gym or fitness club into a new light, opening up exciting avenues of business and clientele that previously didn’t seem possible.


In our intensely youth-centric society, it can be easy to forget that fitness should be for everyone and that everyone needs to move. We are coming out of an era where old age was seen as the end of an active lifestyle, but it has been proven time and time again that that does not need to be the case.

There is an opportunity for people to stay active, healthy and fulfilled for longer, and in turn, there is an opportunity for Gyms and fitness clubs to profit from this.

This is a revolution that has been 30 years in the making and is gathering speed. By putting your business at the forefront, there is the potential to make a meaningful impact on the community, and your staff and ultimately a profound impact on your gym or fitness club.


Cost of Living: Energy Costs, Power Cuts and the Fitness Industry


Cost of Living: Energy Costs, Power Cuts and the Fitness Industry


With great economic turmoil not only on the horizon but in our midsts, we thought it was a good time to look at the context that has caused these events and what the fitness industry is doing, and can do, to endure these trying times.


With costs skyrocketing, even after a lackluster government interaction, quite a few gym franchises and gym owners have reported they are scaling back the amount of electricity their facilities consume. This is being achieved in a variety of ways, from lowering the temperature of swimming pools and gyms, reducing operating times and turning off Jacuzzis and spa rooms. 


It is important to stress that all of these actions are being taken irrespective of the flagship government measures aimed at capping runaway energy prices. Even though it was announced that they would be ‘capping’ prices for six months from the 1st of October, as it is not a solid cap this still means that gyms and fitness clubs are facing a substantial rise. 

Many gyms use large amounts of energy to keep their saunas, pools and jacuzzis warm throughout their opening hours.


We are seeing examples of many gyms cutting back throughout the fitness industry, from small independents to even some of the biggest chains. 

Better Gyms, well known for operating over 250 council-owned gyms and fitness facilities were one of the first to announce measures to tackle ever-rising prices.



While it is being decided on a case-by-case basis, all 258 gyms within their operation are looking at scaling back costs. So far this has included lowering the temperature of their swimming pools by a degree celsius but leading figures within Better Gym and their parent company Greenwich Leisure Limited said that they are looking at further cuts.


Several possible measures have been floated including turning off more facilities overnight and limiting the opening time for energy-intensive services.


They stressed they would be constantly monitoring customer feedback on these measures.

An important thing to keep in mind. While saving money is paramount at a time like this, it should not come at the expense of customer satisfaction.

It is important to ensure any changes are communicated clearly and compassionately.

Customers are aware of the economic situation and will appreciate money-saving measures that are taken if they are done transparently and responsibly. 

An example of this feedback in action is the Bannatyne’s group and its chain of health and fitness clubs. They tried to implement similar temperature reduction measures as Better Gyms, but their customers were dissatisfied and so this measure was reverted in short order.

It is important that this process, if made in any gym, is a dialogue between customer and business. 


Better Gyms aren’t the only gym and fitness chain that is scaling back their services. The national titan, Nuffield Health have announced that they will be turning off all of their 72 jacuzzis until at least the spring. 


While this is an extreme solution, it will ultimately save their operation a significant amount of money over the autumn, winter and potentially beyond. While it will most likely cause more customer dissatisfaction than lowering the temperature of pools by 1 degree, it will also save significantly more. 


The example presented by Nuffield health also has value to smaller gym and fitness clubs.

A spokesperson for Nuffield gave their reasoning behind this action. They confirmed that turning off their jacuzzi facilities nationwide would allow them to save enough of their operational funds to keep their swimming pools and steam rooms functioning over winter.


This is the sort of thinking that can be applied to either one gym or many. Shutting down less popular and more costly facilities can be the key to keeping others running through this period of record high prices.


Just like with Better Gyms, the Nuffield group have not ruled out that more cost saving measures might be necessary this winter. 

It has now been confirmed that the energy price cap in its current form will only last for six months. While it has prevented the situation from getting worse, most businesses have already seen their energy costs doubled. Given that we’ve been told that these energy prices are likely not going to shoot down again anytime soon, it is important that we in the fitness industry prepare measures that are sustainable, responsible and with the outlook that they may last for a long time.