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Gym Owners: Here’s Proof That You Should Charge More

A gym owner uses a laptop and paper form to help a client renew her membership.

Exercise is an investment in health.

You and I know it.

But for some reason the public and federal governments don’t know it. Or maybe they just don’t care.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

On June 23 at its global conference, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) released the report “Economic Health and Societal Well-Being: Quantifying the Impact of the Global Health and Fitness Sector.” The report, which is broken down country by country, is free for IHRSA members and $495 for non-members. It’s available here if you’re a member or want to lay down your credit card.

I have no idea why you’d want to paywall this thing and use it as a membership magnet. I’d think IHRSA would want everyone in the world to read it, including politicians at all levels.

All that aside, Fitbizweekly.ca shared some details from the Canadian report. Here they are:

  • In 2021, the fitness industry in Canada added US$1.7 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and provided over 83,000 jobs.
  • The Canadian health-care system—which is crumbing, by the way—is burdened with $3.9 billion in costs as a result of inactivity. Of that, $2.7 billion is paid by public health.
  • Insufficient physical activity costs $7.9 billion in lost productivity every year.
  • The average worker who isn’t active enough has an economic price tag of $2,068 when you combine the costs of productivity losses and health care.


That’s all fairly stunning, and I’d guess the stats are similar for other nations once you factor in population differences.

So how do you solve the problems on a national level?

I haven’t a single clue.


Inactivity on a National Scale


It’s simple: If more people were active, health-care systems—and taxpayers–would save billions.

But then it gets really complicated: How the hell do you get an entire nation to start moving?

No one knows.

And I’m not really exaggerating when I say “an entire nation.” According to the Participaction Pulse Report, only 16 percent of Canadian adults are active enough. That means 84 out of 100 people don’t move much. In the U.S. only 23.2 percent of people over 18 do enough cardio and weight training, according to the CDC.

The huge number of sedentary people in any nation can be viewed as a cruise ship that’s heading toward a gigantic, jagged rock. You can’t turn a cruise ship on a dime, and the recent COVID pandemic suggests the rock is actually tearing a hole in the side of the ship as you read this.

In other words, a lot of people are suffering as a result of inactivity, and more will join them in the next years.

People on the cruise ship really only have one option: Escape disaster on an individual level by jumping off and swimming for shore. It should be obvious at this point that gym owners and trainers represent lifeboats.

I’ll drop the analogy there and simply remind you that publication of these stats isn’t going to change anything. That will be up to you.

Governments around the world actually chose to lock gyms down during the pandemic, and they aren’t suddenly going to rid us of inactivity.

Members of the general public just spent two years hearing that inactive people had a higher risk for severe COVID-19. But most people stayed on the couch anyway. So it’s unlikely the majority of people will suddenly start training.


What the Stats Mean for You


Here’s what the average gym owner should take away from the stats listed above:

1. If the average worker costs a nation over $2,000 a year, you should feel great about charging more than $200 a month for your service. Divide $2,068 by 12 and you get $172. Tack on a profit margin of about 33 percent and you get a rate of $225. Sounds fair, right? (This isn’t how you should price your services; it’s just a reminder that coaches provide way more than $200 worth of value. Two-Brain has an exact formula for pricing—please use it.).

2. Every single person you get moving is a huge win—for your business, for the person and for your nation.

The numbers prove you’re doing important work—and you should be paid for it. You are keeping people healthy and helping them stay out of the hospital. You’re changing lives.

But if you’re burning out, working too much for too little, and don’t know how to charge what you’re worth, you need to get help.

If you stop coaching, more people will suffer. We need you. If you aren’t charging more than $200 a month and making a good living by improving health in your town, talk to a mentor soon.

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One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.