The Price Tag On That New Year’s Resolution

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 5 2015 @ 1:05pm

It’s highly variable:

High-end gyms catering to individuals with intensity and ample disposable incomes are proliferating, particularly in urban markets. The infamous and fast-growing SoulCycle costs an eye-watering $34 a class. (If you buy a 30 pack, it works out to just $28.33.) Work out four times a week for a year, you’re facing a nearly $6,000 tab. Going to CrossFit looks cheap in comparison, at about $2,500 a year in Manhattan. Ditto for all those boxing gyms, Pilates and barre studios, and outfits offering massages and juice bars.

But amenity-lite, low-end gyms catering to budget consumers are proliferating too.

For the same price as a single one-off SoulCycle class, you could work out for a month and a half at a Blink Fitness outlet or for three whole months at the Planet Fitness in Brooklyn. “From 2010 to 2014, many small, low-cost gyms with few amenities and month-by-month contracts have fared well,” said an industry report by IBISWorld. “Poor economic conditions, coupled with many consumers continuing to be budget conscious over the period, have caused new trends to emerge.”

It is the middle that is growing more slowly, with some chains struggling to demonstrate their value to consumers — your Bally Total Fitness, now all but defunct, or Curves. It is the gyms with considerable but not intolerable monthly fees and decent amenities, but no sheen of luxury or promise of extraordinary results.