Beyond resolutions: Top gyms in the US

by | Mar 15, 2016 | Analysis, Health

According to a recent Marist Institute for Public Opinion poll, almost half of Americans said they’d make a New Year’s resolution this year. Of those, the highest mentioned goal — at 31 per cent — was to lose weight and get in shape.

This makes the month of January a popular time to sign up for fitness club memberships, but what happens when that motivation begins to teeter?

Some in the fitness industry have pointed to a so-called “fitness cliff” of early February, which is the most likely time someone who signs up at the beginning of the year usually stops going. But which gyms are able to maintain their popularity come February? Who is at the top when membership drives are low?

We used our media monitoring and analysis software to analyze U.S. online news coverage for five of the top American fitness chains in February, to determine who maxes out the weight amongst their competitors.

The result? Chalk up another win for a classic company, as Gold’s Gym was mentioned in the most online news content during the study period:

pie chart of gym share of voice

It’s worth noting that several articles mentioned two or more competitors, as many media reports compared the most affordable options for readers looking to meet their fitness goals.

Gold’s Gym received a significant amount of coverage from weight loss and fitness columns, which included commentary from Gold’s representatives (indicating a proactive approach to the media). Not all news for the bodybuilding giant was good, though, as the gym also received a high amount of coverage after a tornado damaged one of its locations in Louisiana.

Gold’s also received coverage after it near the end of February that it had hired a new chief information officer and senior vice-president of franchising.

Equinox Fitness was close behind Gold’s Gym, with the majority of its coverage stemming from a recent announcement that it will soon open its own luxury “healthy hotel” in New York. Indeed, the evolving concept of staying fit on the road, even in hotels, received significant coverage in February.

While 24 Hour Fitness received less coverage than the top two, it had one of the highest one-day coverage spikes after SafeSplash, a major swim school franchisor, acquired Swimtastic Corp. (SafeSplash maintains a nationwide partnership with both 24 Hour Fitness and L.A. Fitness).

The majority of coverage mentioning Anytime Fitness and Lifetime Fitness was mostly limited to local-level articles, with the majority of content related to events/goings-on at individually owned franchise locations.

Donald Den