September Fitness Industry Trends

A closer look at yoga studios, martial arts schools, CrossFit affiliates, and small gyms

When navigating uncharted territory, it helps to have a map. As a gym owner, you’re busy with the day-to-day operations of your gym or studio — whether that’s running classes outside, virtually, or at full capacity indoors. You don’t have time to keep up with what’s happening in the rest of the industry, in your state or across the country. 

How does your business compare to other gyms or studios in your state, the country, and even the rest of world? Are things improving or getting worse? 

At Zen Planner we have access to information that can offer business owners perspective and hope. Each month we’ll share data about member check-ins and monthly payments, looking at the current state of the industry and how it compares to last year. We’ll also offer tips for success and next steps specific to your reopening status. 

Let’s put that data to work! 

September Trends 

Overall, the trend for yoga studios, martial arts schools, CrossFit affiliates, and small gyms across the country is one of improvement. 

The volatility of the late spring and early summer is beginning to stabilize. Member check-ins are steadily increasing — up 1% over last month to 79% of what we’d normally expect this time of year. Revenue is slightly behind check-ins but increasing at a faster rate — it increased 3% over August to 75% of normal in September. This number is especially encouraging when compared with April, when the number dipped to 14%.

Gyms across the country are in various stages of reopening, so this average may not reflect your current reality. Below you’ll find numbers and analysis for three categories: opened with restrictions, minimal closures and restrictions, and special circumstances (states that have paused reopening or have shut down after being open).

We understand — some of these numbers are discouraging. If your gym isn’t fully open, take a look at the overall trends and the improvement from April. Keep communicating with members and holding virtual or outdoor classes if possible, and do whatever you can to keep your community connected and strong. 

Opened with Restrictions: New Jersey, Ohio, Colorado, Texas, and Washington

It’s an exciting time for states that are finally able to open their doors for in-person classes and training. We’re seeing a steady recovery month over month, with a very encouraging upward trend. Gyms, studios, and schools tell us the key to success has been flexibility and creativity: expanding class offerings outside a typical schedule, consistent communication and engagement with members and students, and hybrid memberships and class options. 

Our tip for continuing this positive trend is to start a marketing campaign aimed at people who are tired of working out at home. Once people come through your door, make sure they feel safe and welcome. Take extra time with leads and members to strengthen your community!

States With Minimal Closures: Oklahoma, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Montana

The states that have completely reopened should give hope to gyms across the country — for the most part, these states are showing revenue and check-ins similar to 2019, which speaks to the strength of the boutique fitness community. If you own a school, gym, or studio in one of these states, you can maintain the momentum by communicating with members and students. Now would be a great time to launch a marketing campaign and reach out to former members. Remain flexible, because the situation could shift as we head into the winter. Look at diversifying your offerings or research community outreach initiatives. 

Special Circumstances (States that have paused reopening plans): Arizona, California, New York

These states have improved when compared to April and early May, but aren’t back to 2019 levels. The numbers in Arizona are encouraging after a second mandated closure, but New York and California are still well below their 2019 numbers. Many gyms in these states are finding success with outdoor classes, virtual classes and events, and outdoor events like community 5Ks. If you’re in a state that hasn’t fully reopened, continue to stay in touch with your community through multiple channels and platforms: email, social media, and virtual events. Make a plan for reopening and know that it will get better! 


Know what’s happening in your industry. Explore the Insights and Impact Report today!

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