Exercising, having a good diet, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance are all part of living a healthy lifestyle. But maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be challenging. Many people opt into gym memberships in a bid to maintain their exercise regimens. 

However, opinions are changing on whether gym memberships are effective in maintaining fitness. According to a RunRepeat report, just 15.2% of gym members considered gyms to be the ideal way to stay fit in 2021, a 63.3% drop from 41.4%. This is just one of the surprising gym membership statistics we saw recently. 

To give you an accurate picture of what overall gym membership looks like, here are 25 of the most important gym membership statistics for 2022.

General Gym Membership Statistics

gym membership statistics

1) 50% of all new gym members quit within the first six months from lack of motivation (IHRSA 2018)

It is important for your members to have a clear vision of their fitness goals and a clear understanding of the steps they need to take to achieve them.

It can be hard to keep fitness goals realistic, and achieving a high level of fitness takes incredible effort. The more ambitious the fitness goal, the more difficult it will be to achieve. Providing gym members with personal trainers to help manage their expectations can give members the tools to start exercising the right way.

2) 63% of memberships go totally unused (Hustle 2019)

We’re all guilty of getting caught up in the daily grind. While it may seem like good news for gyms that they’re getting membership fees without their facilities being used, it’s negative in the long run.

Eventually, these members will end the membership and feel like they’ve wasted a lot of money. This can translate to negative reviews and low customer retention.

3) 40% of gym members enroll in group gym classes (e.g., Zumba, yoga) (IHRSA 2020)

Zumba and yoga are popular fitness classes. Zumba combines dance and cardio, while yoga combines physical poses with deep breathing. Depending on your members’ fitness goals, group gym classes can help them improve their health.

Offering a variety of classes can help your gym cater to a wider group of people, but if there isn’t enough attendance this might not be efficient. Tracking attendance and polling for desired times can help ensure you’re accommodating your members.

4) 2021 saw an 88% average increase in exercise for people who normally exercise 1-2 times per week (RunRepeat 2021)

Of the people already exercising one to two times per week, there was a marked increase in the time they spent exercising last year.

Members who are more involved might refer others to your gym. This is an encouraging trend as it might show that people are developing a heightened interest in working out.

5) 46% of men and 43% of women use smartphones while exercising at the gym. (LiveStrong 2021)

Smartphones can be distracting when members focus on checking their latest notifications on social media instead of their workout. However, phones can be useful tools during a workout at the gym. For instance, many apps are available for users to track their workout and help them count reps and sets.

Many gym-goers use a fitness tracker, like a Fitbit or Garmin. These devices come coupled with an app on their smartphone. Phones can also make working out more enjoyable for some people by playing music to help them get stoked for the next exercise.

Some people opt to watch videos on their phone while running on a treadmill. While this can be entertaining, it can also be a distraction for some.

Many gyms have created an app to relay information to their members. With how much people are using their smartphones, developing an app for your gym could be an avenue to explore.

6) Half of all new gym members are adults under the age of 30 (Les Mills 2019)

Exercise is proven to improve mood, sleep, and self-esteem. It’s more than just a hobby or an activity. It’s a lifestyle change that nearly anyone can commit to, and it isn’t restricted by age.

Around one third of gym-goers are between ages 18-34, with another third between ages 35-54. Those older than 54 comprise 22% of gym members, and those younger than 18 comprise 16%. The approximate median age of a gym member is 35.

gym membership by age

Young and old alike can make the decision to start going to the gym. With half of all new gym members under the age of 30, that means 50% of your target audience is older than 30. Keeping your target audience in mind when developing and implementing a marketing strategy is key to attracting new memberships.

Gym Membership Cancelation Statistics

7) Fitness club members who don’t participate in group exercises have a 56% higher chance of quitting and cancelling their membership (IHRSA 2019)

Group exercise has a strong social component. When people come together to exercise, they have an opportunity to build new friendships, develop new relationships, and learn from each other.

Friendships develop among members of group fitness classes, and they often motivate each other to keep on attending. Create a welcoming atmosphere in your gym where newbies and more experienced people can come together.

8) The average length of membership is 4.9 years (IHRSA 2018)

People quit going to the gym for a variety of reasons. They may quit a gym membership in favor of another gym, or they may have invested in home gym equipment. Some people become injured or significant life events happen.

Whether starting a family or adjusting to changes at work, everyone feels short on time. It’s common for people to skip workouts due to time constraints and then end a gym membership when they feel they’ve not used their membership to the fullest. Think about what makes your gym stand out from the rest and help your members feel like they’re getting value from their membership with you.

9) 51% of respondents were members at a gym for two to five years (IHRSA 2018)

The majority of respondents to this poll had gym memberships for two to five years. It’s important to poll gym users that have experience going to the gym for workouts. Their voices matter and directly affect your bottom line. You can even poll your own members to see what their opinions are of your gym.

10) 38% of gym members quit because of costs (IHRSA 2019)

Around two out of five gym members are quitting because of costs. Gym memberships are becoming more expensive and there are more alternatives to choose from. Home workouts, personal exercise equipment, and other fitness classes are some of the many options that may lure away your members.

How does your gym benefit your members? It’s important to consider the socioeconomic status of your target audience when planning out membership pricing.

11) 23% of gym members quit due to non-use (IHRSA 2019)

Many people get a gym membership to motivate themselves to exercise regularly. However, it’s hard to make a big lifestyle change and many people stop going to the gym after signing up for a membership.

While one out of five people quit because they’re not using their gym membership, there’s a variety of reasons they might have stopped going to the gym. It can be hard for people to be motivated if they don’t feel like they’re getting adequate results fast enough. Your members might need guidance if they’re new to fitness so they don’t fall into common fitness mistakes.

Gym Membership Attendance Statistics

12) 82% of gym members go to the gym less than once per week (Hustle 2019)

There are many schools of thought on how often people should exercise or go to the gym. Some believe longer workouts that are less frequent allow our muscles to adequately rest and heal. Others believe that we should exercise four to five days a week and rotate the muscles being used.

While there’s a variety of ways for gym-goers to get the results they want, often people just aren’t going to the gym as frequently as they need to get results. However, pressuring members to visit the gym frequently might stress them out. Help your members get the most out of the time they have to go to the gym.

13) 22% stop going to the gym six months into their membership (Hustle 2019)

When starting a lifestyle change, people are often highly motivated. Motivation tends to wane as time wears on, and half a year after signing up, 22% of gym members quit going to the gym entirely. Keeping your members motivated to attend can be tough, but there are many strategies to keep and maintain gym members. 

14) 31% say they would not have spent the money had they known how little they’d use their membership (Hustle 2019)

People regret spending money when they feel they haven’t got their worth from their hard-earned cash. While people who didn’t use their membership regretted spending the money, it’s possible the main regret is that they didn’t continue using their gym membership.

The U.S.’s federal recommendation for exercise is at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. It’s also recommended to include strength-building exercises at least twice a week. If your members benefit from the time spent at your gym, they’ll think it was money worth spending.

15) There’s been a 9.4% increase in frequency of Americans in visiting health clubs, gyms, or studios (IHSRA 2021)

In 2021, there was an increase in how often people went to the gym over the previous year. While this may have been partially due to some gyms shutting down in 2020 when COVID hit, it’s a good sign that gyms should be seeing continued growth in 2022. Don’t be left behind by your competitors.

About 50% of gym members in the U.S. attend the gym more than twice a week, while 44% attend less than once a week but not never. Approximately 6% of gym memberships go unused.

16) From 2010 to 2019, the number of female health club-goers grew by 32.2%, while male users increased by 23.2% (IHRSA 2020)

There was a larger increase in women attending health clubs than in men during 2010-2019. Due to stigma, intimidation, or other misconceptions, many females may have been worried about going to the gym.

Some women may feel self-conscious that they would gain too much muscle from working out regularly and lifting weights. However, this is not the case as it is difficult for females to hypertrophy (bulk up) significantly. Luckily for gyms, due to marketing efforts and changing worldviews, women feel more welcome at the gym.

Gym Usage Statistics

17) The gym is most likely packed on Tuesdays as it is the most popular day to work out in the week (Classpass 2019)

For many people with a traditional workweek, Mondays are rough and Wednesday, the dreaded hump day, isn’t much better. So, it seems reasonable that Tuesday would be the day most people make it to the gym, and statistics support that.

Consider incentives and group class schedules that will encourage your members to work out on other days of the week. This will improve the gym-going experience for everyone as it will reduce crowding on Tuesdays.

Waiting to use equipment or being unable to access certain machines because of long queues can be a significant deterrent from going to the gym. If a member is already short on time, and then it’s packed when they decide to go, they won’t feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.

18) Gyms and fitness clubs are most busy at 5:30 PM on weekdays, but on the weekend they are busiest around 10 AM (IHRSA 2020)

It’s difficult to get out of bed early for a workout. Exercising after work is often more convenient for people, though switching it up with a morning exercise could be beneficial. The gym also will usually be less busy in the morning.

Keep in mind peak gym times to make sure you have enough staff to accommodate. These times may be prime for popular group classes as well.

19) 44% of gym members prefer working out with a partner (IHRSA 2020)

Working out alone can be tough. For most people, finding a gym partner can be tougher yet. Luckily, many gyms offer group classes where people can find a workout partner to make going to the gym a more pleasant experience.

Almost half of people prefer working out with someone, as it can ease social anxiety and help them feel less intimidated. It can also be more fun!

20) More than half of all gym members are female (RunRepeat 2021)

In 2021, gym membership was more prevalent among women than men. This is a change from the past as societal views have shifted. Interestingly, a study in 2014 reported that females that exercised more frequently and with higher intensity reported a lower quality of life and had lower self-esteem than females that exercised less frequently at a lower intensity.

Due to pressures on maintaining physical appearance, it’s possible that some women might be pressured to exercise more to strive for weight loss instead of enjoyment. Conversely, men who reported higher frequency and higher intensity workouts had a higher quality of life than men who reported lower frequency and lower intensity.

Post-Pandemic Gym Membership Statistics

21) The U.S. gym and health club industry lost $13.9 billion from mid-March to Aug. 31, 2020 (IHRSA 2020)

COVID-19 was rough for the service industry, and gyms were especially hit hard. Many were shut down as a public health measure, and people bought home exercise equipment in the meantime. This resulted in lower demand for gym memberships and people breaking away from their gym-going habits.

The number of gyms in the United States peaked in 2019 with 41,370 gyms across the country. However, in 2020 many gyms closed and the total number of gyms in the U.S. fell to 34,337. In 2021, there was further decline and only 32,269 remained open.

number of health clubs in the US

As restrictions have been alleviated, we can expect to see growth in gym attendance.

22) 40% of respondents exercised at home for the first time because of COVID-19 (Harrison Co., May 2020)

Exercising from home has its benefits, but it lacks the social aspect that a gym membership can offer. It’s great that people continued to exercise even with the negative impact of the pandemic, but gyms offer social connection and other benefits that can’t be found in a home gym.

23) During the quarantine, 74% of Americans used at least one fitness app (Freeletics, July 2020)

Fitness apps are a great way to stay on track with exercise regimens. They can be used in conjunction with a variety of fitness trackers that measure heart rate and other key metrics. With increased technological exposure, it’s easier than ever to develop an app for your gym.

24) Between Q1 and Q2 of 2020, when the pandemic began, there was a global increase of 46% in home fitness app downloads (Visual Capitalist 2020)

When the pandemic hit, people had to find an alternate way to exercise. They made do by downloading home fitness apps. However, this doesn’t mean they’ll always prefer to work out at home. With relaxed restrictions and as COVID-19 wanes, people will be able to safely work out in gyms without having to rely solely on a fitness app.

25) About 20% to 40% of men say body image is a major motivator for gym attendance (RunRepeat 2021)

While women feel pressured to be attractive and fit, many men feel the same way. Help your members get the results they’re looking for. There are a variety of ways men can increase muscle mass, though it’s vital to be realistic about what regular exercise can do for one’s appearance. 

Many fitness elites take exogenous substances for muscle growth and if your gym members don’t feel like they can reach these unattainable goals they might lose motivation.