Feature Article - June 2012
Find a printable version here

Health, Fitness & Sports Clubs

A Look at Trends in Health, Fitness & Sports Clubs

Facility Plans

Health club respondents were slightly less likely in 2012 to report that they had plans for construction over the next three years. While 54.2 percent of 2011 health club respondents had such plans, this year that number dropped to 49.3 percent. For those who do have plans, renovations are the most common, with three in 10 (30.1 percent) of health club respondents indicating they have plans to renovate. There was a slight increase from last year in the number of health club respondents who plan to make additions to their existing facilities, from 15.1 percent in 2011 to 17.8 percent in 2012. And once again, 12.3 percent indicated that they have plans to build new facilities. (See Figure 52.)

The most common amenities currently included in health club respondents' facilities have not changed much year over year. They include: fitness centers with cardio and weight equipment; exercise studio rooms; locker rooms; indoor aquatic facilities; indoor sport courts for sports such as basketball, racquetball, etc.; classrooms and meeting rooms; concession areas; indoor running tracks; outdoor aquatic facilities; and outdoor sports courts for sports such as basketball, tennis, etc.

Health club respondents were the least likely among facility types to report that they had plans to add amenities or features to their facilities over the next three years. In addition, the number who have such plans fell from 2011, when 34.2 percent had such plans, to 20.5 percent. The most commonly planned additions among these respondents include:

  1. Splash play areas
  2. Indoor sports courts
  3. Playgrounds
  4. Dog parks
  5. Fitness centers
  6. Classrooms and meeting rooms
  7. Waterparks
  8. Indoor aquatic facilities


Creative and innovative programs keep health club members interested and coming back for more. The top 10 current programs found among health club respondents' facilities include:

  1. Fitness programs (offered by 95.8 percent of health club respondents)
  2. Personal training (83.3 percent)
  3. Mind-body/balance programs such as yoga, Pilates, tai chi, etc. (79.2 percent)
  4. Nutrition/diet counseling (68.1 percent)
  5. Aquatic exercise programs (59.7 percent)
  6. Programs for active older adults (58.3 percent)
  7. Holiday events and other special events (55.6 percent)
  8. Swimming (48.6 percent)
  9. Educational programs (41.7 percent)
  10. Individual sports activities (37.5 percent)

Program areas that saw growth from 2011 to 2012 included fitness (up from 93.2 percent to 95.8 percent); personal training (from 79.5 percent to 83.3 percent); nutrition and diet counseling (from 63 percent to 68.1 percent); aquatic exercise (from 50.7 percent to 59.7 percent); holidays and special events (from 47.9 percent to 55.6 percent); swimming (from 42.5 percent to 48.6 percent); educational programs, which did not appear on the top 10 programs list in 2011; and individual sports activities (from 35.6 percent to 37.5 percent).

Health club respondents were less likely in 2012 than in 2011 to report that they had plans to add programs at their facilities over the next three years. While 38.4 percent had such plans in 2011, in 2012 that number falls to less than a quarter (23.3 percent). The most commonly planned programs include:

  1. Fitness programming (up from No. 2 in 2011)
  2. Mind-body/balance programs (up from No. 4)
  3. Individual sports activities (up from No. 5)
  4. Nutrition/diet counseling (up from No. 6)
  5. Personal training (did not appear in the top 10 in 2011)
  6. Educational programs (did not appear in top 10 in 2011)
  7. Teen programming (down from No. 3)
  8. Holiday events and other special events (did not appear in top 10 in 2011)
  9. Adult sports teams (no change)
  10. Aquatic exercise programs (down from No. 7)