Change, Health, Money

Gym membership. Good or not?

March 5, 2017
Gym membership. Good or not?

Behind the glossy images and catchy slogans used in advertisements, there’s one motive; money and how to extract it from customers.

An advertisement caught my eye the other day; a large banner with a fit, beautiful young woman, in the latest gym gear. She was perfect. With toned abdominals, slender bronzed legs and flowing blonde hair.

All we aspire to be. Right?

“Unleash Yourself” the advertisement claimed. And I thought “Could that be me?”

Actually I didn’t. I’ve never joined a gym and probably won’t. Here’s what the statistics say about gym memberships:

50-67% of people never use them

Just as well, because if everyone turned up, there wouldn’t be enough space or equipment. To make a profit, gym owners need 10 times more members than they can accommodate.

Join our gym. And never go

It’s no surprise that advertising is targeted toward the no-showers; the people who won’t be regular gym-goers. Perhaps they’ve been told to “get in shape” by their doctor or they see the gym as an incentive to shift excess weight.

This group of members will use the gym periodically at the start and then eventually stop going.

Average gym attendance is less than 2x per week.


The other way Gyms make money is from super-users. This small group will pay for extras like; personal trainers, specialist classes, gym clothing & accessories, supplements, snacks and drinks.

How often do members use the Gym?

On average, gym attendance is lower than 4.8 times per month. So less than 2x per week.

Don’t experts say we should exercise 3-4 times per week?

So the only members getting value for money, are regular gym-goers who don’t spend money on extras. And based on the above statistics they must be in the minority.

And are they going often enough to get fit?

Many people don’t actually break a sweat and use the gym to socialise or relax. I guess at least they’re getting some value, if not from getting fit.

Here’s some of the other marketing techniques gyms use to attract or retain customers:

Branded classes

Many gyms individually brand their classes, particularly the latest exercise trends.

Taking a traditional exercise like karate, dance or indoor cycling; they modernise it, combine it with another exercise, then give it a new name and logo. Voila, what better way to keep existing members interested and attract new ones. These new branded classes are further promoted if people start talking about them to their friends or on social media.

Targeting certain demographics

Gyms can start reaching out to the next generation of members. As noted by the “20% off  for High School students” signs posted outside my son’s school and on the back of school buses.

We think the money will motivate us to go. But it doesn’t.

With student loans and limited or no income, who will actually fund the gym membership? Mum and dad, either directly or indirectly? Or financed by ever-increasing student debt?

New year resolutions

New year is a perfect time to take advantage of people’s resolutions and January sees a 30-50% surge in new members. It’s easy to picture the “new me”; the one who’s going to go to the gym 3 times a week and lose weight.

Then reality sets in. By April the novelty has worn off and the excess weight has gone nowhere. Unfortunately we think the money will motivate us to go. But it doesn’t.

So are you a regular gym-goer?

The majority of people won’t fall into the category of regular gym-goer. If you’ve come to the conclusion that you don’t fall into this group, stop spending money on gym memberships – now and in the future.

And don’t waste money subscribing to exercise fads or buying the latest fitness equipment. The same pattern will emerge and you won’t use it.

The simplicity of exercise

Before Health & Fitness became a multi-billion dollar industry, people got fit purely by going about their normal day. So when did the simplicity of exercise start costing so much money?

Understandably people get bored with exercise and are always looking for the next thing to try. But as long as you’re moving your body in some form, it doesn’t really matter what you do.

Here’s a few ideas which cost little or no money:

  • Go for a walk; go a different way each time, go with a friend – being outdoors has good health benefits
  • Youtube for free workout videos
  • Google; yoga, zumba, aerobics, tai chi
  • Exercise in front of the TV so it’s not so boring
  • Check local papers or websites for exercise classes or groups
  • Go swimming at the local public pools
  • Household jobs like vacuuming, cleaning windows and gardening – maybe boring, but why pay people to do these, when you can save money and get fit at the same time

Search, learn and find whatever is your thing.

I welcome your views and feedback.

Keep looking at everything Differently.

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Encouraging people to make choices that work for them as individuals, rather than following everyone else. Helping people help themselves.


  1. Hey nice work…. love this stuff.


    1. Thanks for the feedback


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