Good Times for Gym Owners, Says New York Times

Group of athletic seniors in an exercise class in a gym. Focus is on senior woman having fun with her fitness instructor.

Finally some good news for gym owners and the fitness industry.

On Nov. 8, The New York Times published an article with a few interesting stats:

  • From March to August in 2022, gym visits increased by more than 18 percent vs. that period in 2019—before the pandemic.
  • Sales of new memberships increased.
  • Sales per square foot were 34 percent higher in August 2022 than they were in August 2021, and they were very close to 2019 numbers.
  • “Space that is newly occupied by fitness centers increased to more than 4.5 million square feet in the first three months of this year, from about 2 million at the end of 2021, outpacing other types of retailers.”
  • The industry will hit 4.2 percent growth if 2022 patterns continue to Dec. 31.
A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

The article went on to suggest many landlords are eager to lease space to gyms, then suggested that ideal gym locations might be changing as more people work from home or get back to hitting the mall.

Finally, author Jane Margolies noted some post-pandemic changes to the gym world:

  • Some gym owners believe at-home cardio gear acquired during the pandemic has reduced the need for similar machines at a gym, so they’re getting rid of the equipment to create more space.
  • New gear is showing up in some gyms—“air-powered resistance training equipment” was noted, though pneumatic machines aren’t new but perhaps just novel right now.
  • Some gyms are tricking out their spaces with lighting and tripods to please social-media influencers who need all the camera angles as they chase #gainz.
  • To provide on-demand content to clients, some gyms are running cameras and filming classes.
  • “There’s also an emphasis on communal spaces where members can hang out and maybe get some work done from laptops.” (Please, please calculate the ROI on this move before making it.)


You can read the entire article here: “For Fitness Buffs and Landlords, Gyms Are Hot Again.”

After more than two years of misery in the media, it’s refreshing to get good news—especially with a recession looming. I love hearing entrepreneurs are opening new gyms, expanding gyms and testing improvements in gyms. Here are three tips to for people in each category:

  • If you’re opening a gym, check out the free resources on Startagym.com. This website will save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours.

  • If you’re planning to expand a gym, make sure you have your current situation locked down tight. A mentor can help you spot any holes that might get way bigger if you go bigger.

  • If you want to try out something new, be sure to research potential ROI first, then run tests and collect data on your key metrics. For example, it’s unlikely that adding a few workstations to your lobby will increase your revenue per square foot. And new equipment won’t bring in any new clients. But expanding the role of a client success manager is likely to produce clear improvements in length of engagement. Again, a mentor can help you avoid big mistakes and make the right moves at the right time.


Finally, remember this: Strong businesses are strong businesses regardless of external factors like pandemics and recessions.

If you’re still struggling right now, Two-Brain can help you solidify your gym so you’re prepared for the next crisis. And if you’re experiencing a boom, Two-Brain can help you grow at a sustainable rate and ensure your business becomes a platform for wealth generation and legacy building.

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