Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Health Club Competition

September brings a plethora of new member offers from clubs trying to lure people in after the summer holidays. And competition for custom is really hotting up. The traditional gym is facing more pressure as the health and fitness industry evolves, and it is moving in several different directions.

The first big area of competition is from low cost clubs. The budget gym sector has been picking up pace, but the announcement that easyGym is on the way will raise the profile of budget clubs in the public eye, and the budget club will be seen as a viable option to many. It will be interesting to see how easyGym will differentiate from other budget clubs, and what retention tactics they will bring from their other businesses.

Secondly, the Wii-fit is no longer new, but is still seen as an alternative to the gym for many of the public, and more is on the way with Playstation Move and the Xbox Kinect interface. The British Medical Journal say the energy used when playing active Wii games is not of high enough intensity to contribute towards the recommended daily amount of exercise in children. Where the Wii succeeds is in goal setting, reminders and encouragement towards your targets.

Finally, there’s a growing market in exercise shoes. There’s been a big crossover from exercise to fashion (many sports stores feel more like fashion stores these days), but now the trend is reversing with MBTs, FitFlops and Skechers shape-ups selling footwear to help you to keep fit, shape up and tone while you walk.

These are just a few things that are eating into the traditional health club market. Clubs must evolve too, rather than offering no joining fee, or no payments in September. A health club’s strengths should be twofold. Firstly its staff’s motivation; there is nothing like a really good instructor coaching and encouraging you to achieve. Secondly a club is defined in the dictionary as an association of persons for social, political, athletic, or other ends… Clubs that fit this definition have more success.

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