Top 5 Profit Centers at Fitness-only Health Clubs

Leading fitness-only clubs generate 21.8% of total revenue from non-dues revenue profit centers. Our research expert breaks it down.

A health club’s revenue breakdown is dependent on several factors, such as its location, member demographics, and value proposition. While every club is different, knowing where leading clubs like yours are generating revenue can help your company get ahead of the competition.

In a previous article, findings from IHRSA’s Profiles of Success detailed the top profit centers at leading multi-purpose health clubs. Thanks to the participation of more than 100 club companies in the annual IHRSA Industry Data Survey (IDS), Profiles of Success analyzes the performance of leading health and fitness clubs. The report covers key performance indicators, membership traffic, staffing & payroll, financial statement data, and profit center analysis.

Now we’re turning our attention to fitness-only clubs.

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According to Profiles, the top fitness-only centers generate 21.8% of total revenue from non-dues revenue profit centers. Although multipurpose clubs tend to derive a greater percentage of revenue from non-dues sources (33.6%), the top fitness-only clubs show that their healthy bottom line relies on more than a steady revenue stream from membership dues.

Here are the top five profit centers at leading fitness-only health clubs.

5. Aquatics & Pool

Aquatics & pool facilities and programming account for 1.6% of total revenue at top-tier fitness-only clubs. Pool access, swimming instruction, aquatics aerobics, and other aquatics offerings not covered by membership dues all add to the bottom of line of successful fitness-only clubs.

Capitalizing on aquatics and pool amenities can also help clubs attract less active consumers. According to The 2019 Physical Activity Council Report, swimming is one of the top 10 aspirational activities among Americans that do not engage in any of the 123 activities observed in an annual fitness and sports participation survey.

4. Children & Youth

Fitness-only clubs that participated in the IDS reported a median of 2.2% of total revenue derived from children and youth programming, which ranks fourth among profit centers. While youth programming has traditionally been a focus of family-friendly multipurpose clubs, fitness-only centers are also paying attention to the exercise and activity needs of children and teens.

According to The IHRSA Fitness Training Report, across all age groups, the under-18 cohort has the highest likelihood to engage in either personal or small group training, offerings available to youth at many full-service health clubs, including multipurpose and fitness-only centers.

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Swimmers at the Healthtrax Washington Township pool.

3. Food & Beverage

Food and beverage claim 3% of total revenue at leading fitness-only clubs, good for third among profit centers. Whether it’s made-to-order smoothies or ready-to-drink shakes, pre-packaged or fresh salads and wraps, the best fitness-only clubs are finding ways to meet the fueling needs of club goers post-workout and beyond.

Offering food and beverage to complement the health and fitness goals of consumers follows the trend of top-tier clubs offering more beyond a gym floor and exercise instruction.

2. Spa

Spa ranks second among the top profit centers at leading fitness-only clubs, accounting for 7.4% of total revenue. Interestingly, spa services claim more than twice the share of revenue dollars at top fitness-only clubs than multipurpose facilities, where 3.9% of total revenue comes from spa.

Again, the best fitness-only clubs are utilizing space and human capital to offer amenities beyond traditional fitness offerings. Whether it’s massage, bodywork, float pods, saunas, or other treatment, fitness-only centers are catering to the rest and recovery needs of active consumers.

“The best fitness-only clubs are utilizing space and human capital to offer amenities beyond traditional fitness offerings.”

1. Personal Training

Consistent with historical data, personal training is the number one profit center at fitness-only clubs. Nearly 9% of total revenue is derived from personal training at multipurpose centers.

According to the IHRSA Fitness Training Report, roughly 32% of members who use a personal trainer belong to a fitness-only facility. Members who engage in personal training typically use their clubs more frequently and stay longer than members who do not use a personal trainer.

If you are a fitness-only club operator, do your top five profit centers vary from the above list? If so, please be sure to participate in IHRSA’s annual Industry Data Survey, available on the IHRSA Research Portal now through May 22. Your input will be valuable in our efforts to compile meaningful, representative data that clubs (including your own) can use to benchmark their performance against.

Related Articles & Publications

  • IHRSA 2018 Profiles of Success

  • Top 5 Profit Centers at Multipurpose Health Clubs

  • IHRSA Fitness Training Report

Author avatar

Melissa Rodriguez

As IHRSA's Senior Research Manager, Melissa Rodriguez oversees research initiatives for the health club consumer, club operations, and international markets. The best part of her job is helping members better understand how IHRSA research can help them improve and expand their business. When she's not analyzing data and statistics, Melissa enjoys spending time with family, watching superhero series, poring over NBA and NFL box scores, and reading a good book.