What Do Customers Expect from a Gym Membership in 2022?

Customer expectations have changed a lot since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some exercisers have made a full return to the gym floor, while others prefer a more hybrid approach to working out. But what’s here to stay in 2022?

Let’s start with a simple concept: digital fitness.

Digital fitness refers to digital devices, software, and applications that are used in health and fitness. So, things like wearables, fitness apps, digital fitness devices, digital On Demand video library, and online streaming.

It’s not really new…

But for the first time in 2020, digital fitness was the only way to exercise with your gym and connect with other gym goers. This was the single event that accelerated the digital adoption among both exercisers and fitness clubs.

So how have gym operators changed tactics since then?

In 2020 digital fitness was the only way
to exercise with others.

There is now more choice for exercisers than ever before. If they’re not in your facility, they might not be in a facility altogether.

With exciting remote options like Apple Fitness and content creators like Les Mills, there’s a lot of digital distractions for anyone who wants an active lifestyle.

The big question is this one: are gyms offering more options?

Introducing digital thinking into your business strategy doesn’t have to replace everything you know about fitness. The goal with adopting digital fitness is to enhance your customer experience and scale up your delivery.

You might not have the ambition or resources to become the next big digital fitness content creator and that’s okay. But in order to attract new customers, you will need to rethink your target audiences and create membership offerings that match their expectations.

We have outlined 5 distinctive memberships that will continue to increase in popularity in 2022 and how you can easily implement them in your gym.

1. Health membership: extra focus on nutrition and mental health

In the aftermath of the pandemic, we all just want to be healthy. The more we hear news about the latest COVID figures, the more we start to question how much we actually know about nutrition, exercise and mental health. 

Fitness clubs have the perfect opportunity to educate a new generation of eager customers who will happily bring a friend along if they see the value. 

      • Health first: Consider changing the way you talk about your gym in the communication with prospects: think of the class names, the fitness goals and the marketing emails.


      • Mindfulness: Instead of only promoting classes that “make you buff” or “pump up the volume”, offer some more health-focused titles as well. For example, you can have a “mindful tabata” class that combines breathing exercises and cardio moves.


      • Additional services: In the introduction session with new members, ask them if they would like to set up monthly health checks, get a personalised nutrition plan, schedule a mental health consultation, and additional health checks. Some of these services could be included in your membership offering and others could be at an extra cost.


      • Fitness programmes: Be prepared to send pre-made fitness programmes that offer workouts to help with recovering from acute and chronic health conditions, including COVID recovery health plans.

Once you understand what your members want to achieve with their gym membership and start to supply them with knowledge and support, they can begin to see the gym as a place with additional value.

2. Hybrid membership: the option to attend online classes, watch digital content and rely on remote PT

We know some gym-goers have made a full return to the gym floor whereas others might never do so with the many available exercise options. 

What’s the biggest selling point for any gym? Location! 

Imagine you had a hybrid membership offering which gives members access to the gym, but it also allows them to join fitness classes online, exercise with your On Demand video library and chat with your team of personal trainers when they need remote support? 

When you know the people you exercise with (e.g. you often run into them in the supermarket or at the cinema), you can really transform the initial interest and interactions into trustworthy experiences in the long run.

You don’t have to change all of your memberships into hybrid offerings. If you currently have 3 different membership models, think about adding a fourth or changing one of the existing models into a hybrid offering. 

Going hybrid is not about
changing everything.

What’s more, you can create additional subscriptions for those who are happy to be in the gym on a full time basis but want to trial the remote PT option.

Providing some of your most popular classes as pre-recorded sessions can only serve as a way to promote your facility and team members. After all, no class experience is ever the same.

In the process of creating hybrid offerings, you will show gym members that you care about their wellbeing and create more value out of their gym membership.

The Future of Gyms

Learn how customers have changed the rules of engagement for gyms after COVID-19 and what fitness clubs can do to meet and exceed the expectations of gym members in 2022.

3. Home membership: rent out equipment, offer remote fitness programming, fitness content and DIY workouts

Many of your customers have relocated in the past two years due to changing jobs or going into WFH full time. Some of them might have moved from a city centre flat into a countryside house, for example. In this case it doesn’t matter how amazing your gym facility is if it cannot provide a remote experience.

How about you offer a 100% remote membership? Gym members can do all of their fitness programmes and classes at home. They can access a library of exercises and DIY workouts through your gym’s mobile app. And there will be a personal trainer on the other side supporting them on their health journey.

You can rent out some of your bigger equipment or create bundles of smaller equipment pieces ready to ship out as soon as new customers make the one off payment.

Similarly to the previous two membership models, you can introduce additional subscriptions to offer even more choice. Think about offering a personalised nutrition plan, mental health check ins, and 1 to 1 personal training sessions.

This will create a different revenue stream for your business and give you the opportunity to offer an innovative solution within the industry. Remember that community building does not end at your facility.

4. Multi-membership: bundle up different fitness subscriptions

What if all of your memberships were just subscriptions?

Imagine you go to your favourite restaurant. You want to order something to drink, something to get started with, something for your main meal, finally something for your dessert.

Now translate this into a fitness menu:

      • something to drink: pre or post workout smoothie
      • something to get started with: meditation subscription
      • something for your main meal: monthly subscription for unlimited spin classes or unlimited HIIT classes
      • finally something for your dessert: a nutrition box to take home with vitamins and meal ingredients

There are no limits to how creative you can get with your subscription offers. The idea is to offer members the chance to fully personalise their gym membership.

The future of fitness is full personalisation.

If you need to borrow some inspiration, think of Apple. The App Store has thousands of apps that make you subscribe on a monthly or yearly basis.

You could now be paying an annual subscription for Calm or Headspace to get your mental health support, and a monthly subscription for Strava or The Body Coach to have access to remote fitness content and goals tracking, just to name a few apps. How is that different from your facility introducing all of the solutions in one place?

The important factor here is to make sure you have the right partners who can help you deliver the subscriptions (e.g. meal prep service, mental health experts) and that you talk to members regularly to make sure the services you are providing cover their expectations.

5. Smart tech membership: use of wearables and smart clothes, connected equipment, access to VR workouts

While this is the most futuristic approach to fitness memberships, there are no doubt facilities that are already offering this kind of member experience.

Think of dedicating a section of your gym for VR-powered workouts. With VR headsets becoming more affordable and connected fitness games and gadgets on the rise, this is a great opportunity to invest in memorable experiences that most gym members will not be able to recreate in their home.

      • One, you need extra space when doing movements with VR.
      • Two, VR headsets are more affordable but they are still a large purchase for the average customer.
      • Three, most people don’t live with fully licensed personal trainers who can guide them.

This area could be used for working out with smart clothes that track your vitals and connect them to a leadership board.

You can use wearable technology to gather data and insights and send more personalised workouts to members.

When your smartphone can now connect to nearly everything in your home and you can use it to pay, scan, record and send nearly everywhere outside, customers expect a similar experience when they visit the gym. In other words, customers want to live in the future.

Technology’s now certainly both advanced and affordable enough to begin to shape that futuristic customer experience in the fitness club.

There’s no universal solution for member engagement that gyms can apply in their business strategy. But one thing’s certain – technology’s here to stay and continue to redefine how we live. Fitness professionals now have the unique opportunity to expand and redefine the image of gym memberships.

📲 Earlier this year we wrote that the rise of digital fitness will continue in 2021 and remain central to keeping people healthy and active. Check out the rest of out 2021 fitness predictions