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Gym Business - Subscriber Numbers Are Falling

Oct 21, 2007
The leisure business is facing difficult times as members cancel their subscription and are not replaced by the same number of new fitness enthusiasts. A survey by Deloitte in 2006 found that numbers of members fell across the board by close to 55,000. I expect this decline to continue in 2007.

Health clubs have now changed forever. Existing members demand clean modern equipment, swimming pool and sauna / steam room. Even the name "Gymnasium" is hardly ever used now with the modern clubs calling themselves fitness centres.

No longer are the smaller establishments viable as they compete head on with modern chains. In the seventies many smaller establishments were making decent profits but nowadays do not even think about opening your own gym unless you have a million in your account and a friendly bank manager!

Most clubs are now open from 7:00a.m till at least 9:00p.m seven days a week and almost 365 days a year. This means that staffing costs are high and therefore only larger fitness centres can possibly ever make money.

Salaries for qualified fitness instructors can vary between $20,000 to a high of $40,000 per year. At any one time the best clubs have at least 2 fitness instructors working. Therefore to cover the long hours you need at least 5 or 6 fitness instructors and a couple of cleaners working full time!

So why are fewer people doing exercise? Maybe it is due to the fact that we all need much more money than our predecessors. The cost of living is now sky high with fuel prices, property prices and taxes at an all time high. People need to make more money just to stand still.

People are working harder with longer hours than ever before. Finally when they do finish work all they want to do is go home and relax. Everybody knows that exercise is a vital component for good health but with modern demands, many people seem to be happy being out of shape.

In fact it is now common to see obese people on your television. Many young children grow up thinking that it is OK to be overweight. Expanding waistlines are now becoming the "norm" and some of the happiest people seem to be the "couch potatoes."

Technology has also made our lives easier. No longer do we need to get of the couch to change the TV channel! Washing machines, dryers and dishwashers all mean that we have more time to sit, eat and watch television in the evening. With online shopping and fast delivery it is not even necessary to leave your house to get the weekly shopping!
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