Low cost gyms have been popping up all over world, a trend that has been gaining more traction in Latin America in recent years. This model has been growing in the United States for a long time now with the increasing number of low cost gyms like Crunch, Anytime Fitness and Planet Fitness. We spoke with distributors in both Mexico and Colombia to get a better idea of how this trend has played out in their respective regions.
In the past, going to the gym in Latin America was seen as high-class. Due to high membership fees, not everyone could afford to go to the gym. With the low cost gym model being introduced into the Latin America market, it allowed anyone the ability to join a gym. According to our distributors, the low-cost gym trend started picking up in Mexico in 2007, but for Colombia the trend wouldn’t pick up it until around 2015, just a few years ago.
Heath Club Management expanded on this trend in an article earlier this year explaining, “when the last regional IHRSA report was published in 2012, there were only two low cost chains in two countries in Latin America. Today, less than six years later, there are at least 23 different brands with a total of 448 gyms (340 of these belong to SmartFit) in 12 countries throughout the region.” Kristen Walsh, IHRSA
It would seem that across both regions, gym goers have been attracted to the low-cost model. The price and number of locations have made gyms more accessible to people. The budget memberships generally include access to the gym and fitness equipment. Fitness programs, personal training, and other amenities, if they are offered, tend to require additional costs or a premium membership. Matt Ramirez, Core Health & Fitness’ Sales Manager in Latin America commented on this trend stating, “The low cost gym market has been very successful. While their membership is less expensive, they still provide great customer service by offering premium equipment with the most recognized brands in the market.”
A fitness facility that has capitalized on this booming trend is FITFORALL. Less than two years ago, FITFORALL invested in their first low cost gym in Colombia with the strategic plan to open two fitness facilities per year. The first facility was so successful that they acquired over 2,000 members in just two short weeks. This instant success lead to an immediate second and third club opening in 2017 with the fourth and fifth following early 2018. “We are honored to supply these five clubs with 100% Core Health & Fitness equipment”, says Matt Ramirez. “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with such a successful fitness facility in Colombia and can’t wait to see what the future holds for FITFORALL.”
Distributors in both regions are enthusiastic about the growing number of low cost gyms, believing it to be a positive trend for all fitness equipment manufacturers. More gyms would naturally lead to more equipment purchases.
Only time will tell what will come of the low-cost gym model, but for now, the trend shows no signs of slowing down.
For more information on low cost fitness models, contact one of our fitness specialists today.