Updated February 26, 2020

23 Gym Membership Statistics That Will Astound You

Ringing in the New Year is all about noisemakers, champagne toasts, and vows to go to the gym. The result is a month of elbow-to-elbow workouts, sore muscles, and many broken goals by the time bikini season rolls around.

The scramble to lose weight and get fit in the beginning of the year is always a given, and the gym industry reaps all the benefits. In fact, if anything, more people are doing it. Gyms across the country have seen significant growth over the past decade, and demand doesn't appear to be slowing down. If you don't want to take the CreditDonkey team's word for it, check out these gym membership statistics that are sure to get your pulse racing.

1. Most people don't make it past the five-month mark

When you consider that gyms are inundated in January year after year, this is a truly amazing stat: 80 percent who joined a gym in January 2012 quit within five months.

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2. February is a better time to join than January

Gym rats notoriously resent the resolution seekers who crowd their gyms in January and — like clockwork — are gone by February (in fact, 4 percent of new gym goers don't even make it past the end of January and 14 percent drop out in February). If you don't like waiting to get your turn on the treadmill, and if you can hold off on your own resolution for a month or two, sign up for a membership in February or even as late as March. As it is, 12 percent of gym members joined in January and the other months of the year get smaller percentages of signups.

3. Women are more likely to bail than men

In the case of gym memberships, women are more commitment phobic than men. The genders are roughly a 50-50 split in terms of who gets memberships, but guys have the edge when it comes to how many of them put theirs to work. Among those who joined a gym and dropped out within the first year, women accounted for 14 percent versus just 8 percent for men.

4. Only about half of the members go on a regular basis

For those who do stick with their memberships, they may not get to the gym as often as they like — or should. In 2017, only about half of the existing members (47%) visited the gym 100 times or more during the year.

5. Gym owners actually expect disloyalty — and are fine with it

If all the people who purchased gym memberships were truly dedicated to exercising regularly, the clubs would have a real problem trying to squeeze everyone in. That's actually fine with gym owners, who expect only about 23% of people who buy memberships to use them consistently. In fact, to be profitable, they need about 10 times as many members as they can actually fit through their doors.

6. Laziness isn't the only reason people stop going

Although gym memberships are up lately, there was a dip when the recession made everyone revisit their spending habits and cut out anything that wasn't a critical necessity. Cost continues to influence decisions about whether to keep going, with about 46 percent of former members citing the expense as the number one reason why they stopped using their membership.

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7. But people who do go are paying more than they should

People who opt for the least cost efficient membership will actually go to the gym more frequently than those who pay less over the long term. Those who paid per visit ($10) were more apt to go to the gym and get their money's worth (for $40 total) than those who went for the $70 monthly contract and went an average of just four times a month. The monthly contract was less of a deal for those folks. (Another reason to be careful before signing up for a monthly contract: The gym may require you put the recurring charge on your credit card, where you may be more likely to forget about it if you don't regularly pay attention to your monthly statements.)

8. Gym goers are spending half a grand a year on memberships

The average monthly cost of a gym membership was $41 as of 2014. That's a decrease of $8 since 2009, but still equates to nearly $500 a year, a hefty sum if you don't go often enough to the gym to feel like you're getting a payback.

9. That results in some serious revenue

Getting in shape usually comes with a pretty decent price tag, and the gym industry is definitely reaping the benefits. The gym, fitness and health club market is valued at around $38 billion in the U.S. Globally, health clubs raked in an astonishing $94 billion in revenue in 2018.

10. The average gym member is older than you might think

Take a visit to your local gym and you're likely to see a fair number of young people, but they're not alone in their desire to improve their physiques. In fact, the average age of gym members as of 2010 was just over 40 years old.

11. Americans aren't the only ones who like to stay fit

There are over 210,000 health club facilities worldwide. Gyms in the United States make up just 20 percent of that total. Around the globe, health clubs serve a staggering 183 million members.

12. One state has a higher participation rate than the rest

California has a reputation for having super-healthy, physically fit residents, but it actually comes in second in terms of its gym participation rate. Interestingly, it's Colorado that takes top honors, with 21 percent of members heading to the gym on a regular basis.

13. Alabamans are not known for sweating it out at the gym

States with the lowest gym participation: Alabama came in dead last, with just 10.2 percent, but it's joined by Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Louisiana, Indiana and Kentucky, all of which were under the 15 percent mark.

14. When you join, get ready to have workout-gear envy

The fact is, going to the gym is a luxury. You're more likely to be surrounded by people who have extra cash to spend and who have time on their hands. Members who visited the gym most often earned an average income of $80,300.

15. Accessibility is a priority above all else

You'd think that the variety of equipment or the quality of the facilities would be the driving force behind why people stay at a particular gym, but you'd be wrong. Fifty percent of members surveyed said that they stayed with their current gym based on the convenience of its location, while 38 percent agreed that the equipment was worth sticking around for. Other exercise mavens believe you can't beat the convenience of a home gym.

16. Nearly half of the gym members work out together

Approximately 44 percent of gym-goers are exercising with one other person, according to the report.

17. A smaller percentage take advantage of personal trainers

There were 267,000 fitness trainers and instructors in the U.S. in 2012. While the number of personal trainers is expected to grow by 14 percent over the next decade, that doesn't mean all gym members are taking advantage of their services. In fact, the number of members who use trainers is just 12.5 percent.

18. And more people are joining

As the number of gyms continues to grow, membership is also climbing steadily. The total number of gym members in the U.S. alone stands at just over 60.9 million. That's a 22% jump compared to 2005, when around 41 million people had active memberships.

19. You could give yourself a monetary incentive to go

Knowing how hard it is for people to get up and go to the gym, some apps have come along to keep you on your toes. GymPact (which just this past year changed to Pact to go beyond just gym visits) lets you put up money (nothing major, just around $5 per week) to give yourself an incentive to meet your fitness goals. Using GPS to make sure you do what you say you will, you can lose money if you skip out.

20. Gyms are no longer filled with just meatheads

To keep members coming back for more, the gyms of yesterday have expanded their offerings with the latest and greatest trends in group exercise, from yoga to zumba and barre to kickboxing. More than two out of five health club members are involved in group exercise.

21. Some members don't even go at all but still get a workout

For well-worn business travelers or homebodies, gyms are offering online, live-streaming workouts. In one example cited by the Wall Street Journal, a woman in Tennessee has paid $1,995 for a specialized bike, plus $39 for unlimited classes, so that she can stay connected and up-to-speed with her spinning buddies at a New York City club.

22. Not everybody who does go wants to feel the burn

A gym is a great place to meet new people and for some members, that's the main reason they make the trip. Thirty percent of members admitted that they never actually break a sweat while they're at the gym because they're too busy chatting up others to focus on their workout.

23. But don't expect to make friends when you first join a gym

You might be hard pressed to get a warm welcome from long-time members. Fifty-six percent of current gym-goers dread the influx of newcomers in January. Overlook the snobbery, focus on getting fit those first few months, and — if you can stick it out and combat the statistics that are working against you — you'll become a regular in no time.

Sources and References

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a personal finance comparison and reviews website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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