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Is your gym overflowing? A new study shows gym use is nearly double pre-pandemic levels and Gen Z is driving the trend

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Do you spend a lot of time at the gym lately waiting for an empty squat rack? Or maybe you’re often in line for your favorite treadmill––the one in the best TV–watching area?

A new report says you’re likely not alone. 

ABC Fitness’s inaugural Q1 Wellness Watch Report shows traditional gym check-ins in the first quarter of 2024 were up 60% from 2023. Fitness studios and boutiques also saw a 22% increase in check-ins compared to the same period last year.

“People around the world are recognizing the importance of fitness for their physical and mental wellbeing, and now we are seeing more people recognize the social benefit as well,” Bill Davis, CEO of ABC Fitness, said in a press release about the report. 

Check-in data is strong in the first quarter each year, with fitness goals often topping new year’s resolution lists. 

But the report shows that the fitness industry has also more than rebounded since the pandemic, when gyms shuttered their doors and the at-home workout business boomed. A total of 184 million gym check-ins occurred in the U.S. alone, which is nearly double pre-pandemic levels. 

The report incorporates findings from third-party U.S. consumer research in combination with data from ABC Fitness’s platforms ABC Ignite, ABC Glofox, ABC Evo, and ABC Trainerize, which the company says “offers a comprehensive look at fitness trends from every angle of the industry.”

ABC Fitness says Insights revealed in the Q1 Wellness Watch depict global trends, pulling data from 40 million members and 30,000 fitness businesses between January and March 2024, in over 100 countries.

Here are other notable findings from the report.

Young people prioritize wellness

ABC Fitness says Gen Z is most invested in their physical and mental health. Twenty-nine percent of new gym joiners are Gen Z, and 38% of Gen Z respondents use traditional health clubs.

Gen Z is more apt to seek out personal trainers or coaches (38%) versus the general population (29%), though ABC Trainerize has seen a 78% increase in new personal training clients year-over-year. They also index higher in recreational sports and small group training. However, the majority of Gen Z respondents (68%) opt to work out on their own.

Gen Z respondents say they typically spend between $21 and $69 per month for their dues. Plus over half of Gen Z in the study (56%) monitor their workouts with wearables like Apple watches, Fitbits, or other fitness trackers, according to the report.

“Gen Z is more digitally connected than almost any other generation,” fitness coach Kai Karttunen said in the report. “App-based workouts, gamified challenges and personalized data are all going to help connect to this audience.”

Gyms have become the new ‘third place’ for many

Not only is working out and going to the gym part of many peoples’ routines, it also can help people seek out community. 

The report highlights that connecting with friends over wellness and fitness has helped gyms emerge as a popular “third place:” a place people go to outside of work, school and home to find community.

“The fitness industry is poised to help more people in more ways than ever before as fitness businesses emerge as a strong driver of community,” said Davis.

Regardless of how the gym is being utilized, gym memberships and usage continue to rise and show how people are prioritizing their health and wellness.

“Utilization is up globally nearly 90% when compared to pre-pandemic levels. Now, we are seeing the focus shift to overall well-being,” Davis said in the report.

“Fitness businesses should recognize the increased demand for their services and the heightened importance of healthy living in the average consumers’ life.”

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