Micro Gyms is the term a lot of us are using when referring to the small-footprint fitness centers opening up all across the country. With no other affiliation other than neighborhood clout, these community-oriented centers are opening in masses. I believe their success is teaching us a lot about trends in our industry that are here to stay and worth watching.
There are three reasons Micro Gyms are one of the fastest-growing categories in our industry and more than likely, they are the health club of the future.
Micro Gyms excel at audience interaction. Social media isn’t something Micro Gyms do to advertise. Instead, they use it as a connection point to grow their community and interact internally. In fact, Micro Gyms have this nailed down so well they even know where their members are checking in when they’re not in the facility. Micro Gyms are paying attention and connecting the dots to enhance the members’ experience to reflect their personal choices, via what the member does online. That’s a good use of resources with nothing but rave reviews to gain.
Micro Gyms are more relevant to the consumer in its current state. Today, smart phones and integrated technology systems impact the way people organize their lives. Micro Gyms are not afraid to take risks, be edgy and raise an occasional eyebrow. This actually becomes more attractive to the consumer because that way of communicating feels familiar and hip, fitting into the way the rest of their life works.
Micro Gyms foster a strong community amongst members. When you belong to a Micro Gym you’ll notice they all have their own personality and following, making it truly a club in the literal sense. Often you’ll see members outside of classes grabbing a drink at happy hour or running a race together on the weekends. The micro nature of these facilities cultivates much more than a one-hour workout per day — it’s the country club of the future.
Only time will tell if this particular category is going to cannibalize other areas of our industry. Based on the number of health clubs I visit per month, I will tell you that this growing phenomenon is increasingly gaining popularity and by all appearances, isn’t going anywhere.
Because of the unique way of recruiting and retaining members, Micro Gyms are presenting an exciting opportunity to have more people join our industry and exercise more often.
Micro Gyms are less of a threat to health clubs and more of an exciting momentum advocate, taking us into the next generation of health seekers.
Lindsey Rainwater is an experienced consultant and coach to the fitness and wellness industry. She specializes in business development and leadership. Currently she is working with the Fitmarc Team helping club owners all over the South Central region of the U.S. propel their business forward via group exercise solutions.