Saturday, 1 May 2021

State of Independents Report: shows good independent gym sector recovery in second half of 2020

I have wanted to explore and compare membership retention at independent fitness clubs for some time. Gym owners who know and care about their members deliver incredible customer service, and this report shows how that pays dividends, even during a pandemic.

Click here to download the report.

In the UK, SMEs (Small & Medium Enterprises) represent 99.3% of total private businesses, account for half of private sector turnover, and employ 3/5 of the workforce. A company is defined as being a UK SME if it meets two out of three criteria: a turnover of less than £25m, fewer than 250 employees, gross assets of less than £12.5m.

Monday, 26 April 2021



But with only 15% market penetration (and even fewer visiting over the last year), gyms are simply not shining brightly enough on the radar, no matter how loud we shout about it.

Supermarkets and delivery companies are essential. Doctors’ surgeries and pharmacies are essential. Public transport is essential for essential workers. Mental health support can be found in hairdressers, cinemas, record shops and gyms, but unfortunately, they are not essential. Take-away coffee shops fall somewhere in between, which is nice.

A Public Health England Survey says that 7 in 10 people want to make healthier choices in 2021. 

We need to change our tune.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

8 Gym Re-Opening Lessons in Member Retention

Unless you run a brand-new club, this is not your first re-opening.
Some clubs have re-opened 3 or 4 times over the last 12 months.
And whether you are opening for outdoor exercise only, gym but no classes, or another variant, there are lessons to be learned each time you do it. 

Monday, 15 March 2021


Data is the new oil. In all industries, it is now more important than ever that you use your data wisely, understand how to mine it and refine it. 

For those of us who study fitness industry data, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with lots more data and some interesting new challenges. You now know more about your members than ever before. Consequently, you need to learn to treat them even more like the individuals that they are. If you manage this, you will be able to improve the service and support you provide your members, and to increase your revenue and retention.

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Health Memberships to Save the Fitness Industry

A Public Health England survey says 7/10 adults are motivated to make healthier choices in 2021. There is a massive opportunity for the fitness industry to support, motivate, and educate the public. We just need to stop trying to persuade them to join the gym or an exercise class. 

Wednesday, 17 February 2021


You know the Benjamin Franklin quote “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. The whole fitness industry is in a tough spot right now. To survive, you need to have a few different plans, contingencies, and ideas. There is a lot to be learnt from the last lockdowns, and lots of ways to survive and thrive when clubs re-open.

At the time of writing, we do not know when lockdowns will be relaxed and we can re-open. You might be busy running virtual classes, sending out programmes or remotely coaching members. But the most important thing you can do now is to reflect, listen to your members, and make more plans.

Monday, 18 January 2021


It is clear from all the conversations I have had with clubs in the second part of 2020 that the biggest issue facing the industry is getting members back. Many memberships are still frozen or suspended, and lots have cancelled. Furthermore, some members are still paying yet not visiting, and consequently are at high risk of cancelling.

Some industry research reports that most members will return (up to 88%). But the reality is that many have not yet. It is hard to remove bias from fitness surveys when they are mostly completed by the keen, raving fans of your facility. As clubs dip in and out of lockdown, member recovery is going to become a full-time, constant battle. Whilst it will feel like a battle, it is easier to re-engage your existing members than to find new ones.

To get more of your members back, you need to be smart and to work hard at it. You also need to have lower price options and accept that having lesser member revenue is better than nothing.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

How to get over the January blues if you work in the fitness industry in 2021

The two things that successful club owners and gym managers will be doing in January 2021

Boris Johnson brought Blue Monday* forward by three weeks this year. Traditionally the third Monday of January, when Christmas has faded, debts are at their worst, and it is dark and cold. He moved it from 18th Jan to 4th Jan, starting at 8pm, with the announcement of the return of lockdown in the UK. This meant the closure of gyms, and a return to home schooling. The idea of dry January was kicked swiftly into touch by many people, not just parents of schoolchildren.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Personal Training: fundamental to the Future of Health and Fitness

The fitness industry is going through a revolution. Technological advances in fitness streaming, apps, and member support have developed at a rapid pace. Clubs have been shut down, re-opened, locked down again, and some businesses have already gone for good. 

Yet more people are interested in health and fitness than ever before. Existing fitness fans quickly adopted apps and livestreaming to tide them over or replace their club experience. However, inexperienced people need more support. While some will look to apps alone, many people will need proper encouragement and motivation if they are to make significant lifestyle changes.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020


The fitness industry is facing a revolution, rather than an evolution. There are going to be some clear winners, several casualties, and lots of change. 

In recent years, forward thinking clubs have been moving towards ‘wellness’ models, incorporating health (physical and mental) and nutrition into their service. The current pandemic has highlighted the need for more inclusive offerings, truly supporting people’s health, rather than just fitness or strength. 

Clubs that focus on the already active may survive, but those who expand their thinking have an opportunity to thrive.