It might be easier to book a bike at your local SoulCycle now.
Specialty fitness studios have seen a significant slowdown in growth this year, according to new data from location intelligence company Foursquare, signalling the possibility that $US40 boutique fitness classes could be poised to fall out of favour.
It wouldn’t be the first time Americans have shifted their exercise preferences in recent years. (Hello, Jazzercise!) One in five high-end yoga and pilates studios closed down between 2015 and 2016, Foursquare found.
Some specialty fitness studios, which represent only 3% of the overall fitness market and can cost up to $US40 a class, may soon suffer a similar fate. While the number of cycling studios in the US doubled over the past two years, visits per location saw a 30% decline during the same time frame, according to Foursquare.
There is one fitness company that has seen consistent growth over the past few years, however.
Planet Fitness — the notoriously cheap national fitness chain that entices members with free pizza and tootsie rolls — is now the destination of choice for 25% of gym goers in the US. That’s up 8% from the same time last year.
With a basic membership fee of $US10 a month, the budget-friendly gym has twice as many members as luxury gyms, which represent 11% of the overall fitness market.
Even the most expensive Planet Fitness membership, which costs $US19.99 a month and includes unlimited access to massage chairs and other perks, adds up to less per year than the $US290 monthly fee for an all-access membership to luxury gym Equinox. And it pales in comparison to the $US24,000 annual bill to join Centuryon, a chain of lavish fitness centres in Asia.
Regardless of the price paid, getting fit may lead to additional financial benefits, as Business Insider’s Kevin Loria reported.
Americans who get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous exercise save an average of $US2,500 a year on medical costs, Loria reported. That’s according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, which analysed health records for over 26,000 Americans.
That means exercising five days a week for 30 minutes could be worth about $US10 per workout, in terms of savings on medical care. Moderate exercise was defined as activities that cause “light sweating,” such as fast walking, while vigorous exercise includes running or swimming laps, enough to cause “heavy sweating.”
As Loria pointed out, joining a gym isn’t a requirement to work out. But an increasing number of Americans are choosing a $US10-a-month gym membership over $US40 a class.