How gym owners can manage their gyms during economic downturns

How gym owners can manage their gyms during economic downturns?

Whenever a business becomes profitable, the owner only thinks about making more money and providing its clients with a user experience that they have never had before. To attract more clients to their services, owners bring innovation to their businesses. However, the only thing they neglect under the sun’s shine of profitability is understanding the economic climate. With each passing day, the economic climate changes. If inflation or recession occurs, it turns the tables for the businesses and owners have to make decisions to stabilize their businesses financially. 

Similarly, any disruption in the economic climate also affects the performance of the gyms and leads to tough times. As per CNBC’s report, 91% of small businesses like gyms say inflation and workforce challenges negatively impact their businesses. So, as a gym owner, you have to understand the economic climate. Thus, if tough times appear, you can survive the hardships without raising gym membership prices or laying off staff. 

However, you might wonder how I can manage my gym during economic downturns despite understanding the changing climate. Finding the answer to this question can be challenging and time-consuming. Here, we are going to help you find the answer by discussing the effective strategies that you need to embrace to allow your business to survive economic downturns. 

Reasons for economic downturns 

Reasons for economic downturns can vary from business to business. Sometimes, it might occur due to a lack of understanding of the market trends and sometimes, it solely depends on the world economy. So, as a gym owner, you have to identify the reasons for the economic downturn and make data-driven decisions to nullify the impact on your fitness studio. Here are some of the reasons for the economic downturns for gyms. 

Lack of understanding target audience  

The fitness industry has witnessed tremendous change over the past few decades. Initially, physical fitness was all about physical strength. So, trainers started to provide training to the audience to attain physical fitness. With time, new techniques and types of exercises emerge that attract the target audience with more effective and faster results than traditional ones.  

So, as a gym owner, you need to understand the audience and conduct research before starting your gym. Otherwise, your gym has to face challenges that might lead to your business’s closure. Let’s suppose you started your gym at a place where audiences love to perform cardio training to boost stamina

However, at that place, without understanding your target audience, you start to offer HIIT services. Offering HIIT services to your target audience might inspire some members to join a gym, but it doesn’t help you to attract the majority of the members, leading to the downfall of your gym. 

Unable to adapt changes 

Another reason your fitness studio may fail is that you are unable to adapt to the changes to keep up with market trends. The fitness industry is changing daily. With each passing day, new trends and challenges appear that attract members to start their fitness journey. 

Some potential leads start their fitness journey by hearing about bootcamp training and some might start their journey by learning about HIIT services. So, you have to make sure that your gym is flexible to adapt to the market trends and offer your members services based on the preference of the target audience. Otherwise, lack of adapting to market trends leads to an economic downturn for your business. 


Inflation is caused by the change in the economic climate worldwide, which indirectly affects the sales of your gym memberships. The term inflation is defined as the rise in prices across an economy. As per Harvard Business Review’s research, inflation appeared as one of the biggest threats to global prosperity in 2022

Inflation in the market affects your gym prices, as you have to charge high for the services you have to offer. On the contrary, your members don’t have enough money to pay for the services that your studio offers. So, the members who are not able to pay the money leave gym membership, leading to an economic downturn for your gym. 


Another factor influenced by the economic climate that leads to a downturn for your business is the recession. Investors stop investing money in different projects, which leads to increased unemployment and higher wages.  

In the recession, different companies lay off their workers to limit productivity, leading to unemployment. If your gym member is unemployed, how will he be able to pay for the membership fees? Thus, it leads to the downfall of your gym. 

How to manage economic downturns

There might be different reasons for your gym’s economic downturn, whether it’s a recession or your inability to adapt to changes. If you want to stand among the competition in the fitness industry, you have to make sure that you can predict the causes of the economic downturns along with suitable remedies. Otherwise, you will face losses in your business. Here are some of the solutions that can help you predict the cause and enable you to manage economic crises successfully. 

Managerial aspects 

As a gym owner, you have to understand the importance of economic climate. So you can predict the causes of economic downturns and rectify them timely. For this, you have to make sure that you make an analysis of your studio performance either by using gym management software or some other means. Here are some of the methods that can help you predict economic downturns and establish yourself as a successful gym owner. 

  1. SWOT analysis 

You can use SWOT analysis method to evaluate your gym’s competitive position and make strategic plans to boost sales. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  The SWOT analysis can aid you in making the assessment of your gym’s internal and external factors, such as your business’s current position and future potential.

This analysis model is designed to help you make fact-based, data-driven decisions about your business’s strengths and weaknesses. You can highlight the strengths of your studio that distinguish you from your competition alongside your gym’s weaknesses. After analyzing, you have to make sure that your gym follows the data-driven decisions based on the facts drawn, leading to financial growth. 

  1. Track members behavior 

Another method that can help you to track your gym progress is to analyize your member’s behavior and preferences. You can use fitness studio management software to track your member’s behavior. From class attendance to peak hours, from client retention rates to effective marketing, you have to analyze each impact of your studio. 

By analyzing member behavior and their preferences, you are able to adapt to the changing fitness trends that your member wants. For example, you started your gym at a place where people love to perform physical training. In starting, your studio attracts a number of members who want to achieve physical fitness. However, with changes in trends, your members lose interest in physical training and shift towards HIIT, leading to a decrease in member’s attendance during peak hours. Thus, regular analysis of members’ behavior and preferences helps you avoid economic downturns. 

In-house measures

As a gym owner, you have to make data-driven decisions based on SWOT analysis and member behavior. So you can withstand economic downturns successfully. Otherwise, your gym has to struggle even to reach the minimum threshold. Here are some of the in-house measures that you can take after analyzing the causes of economic downturns to achieve the success that your gym deserves. 

  1. Be quick to adapt 

To ensure the success of your gym, you have to make sure that your business adapts to the latest trends in the industry.  You have to conduct market research to analyze the trends and introduce all the services in your gym. If your audience wants your gym to have cardio equipment, you have to make sure that your fitness studio has the equipment that your members want. 

Similarly, if a training program is unpopular and your member lacks interest in that class, you have to remove that class from the service. Moreover, you also have to take suggestions from your members more frequently and ask them about the changes that they require. In this way, you are able to keep up with the changing trends while ensuring success in the fitness industry. 

  1. Virtual classes 

Another in-house measure you can take to avoid economic downturns is to introduce virtual classes in your gym. As per NWI journal, 72% of fitness enthusiasts are using online resources to attain the physical shape they require.  Thus, it means that you can attract a wider spectrum audience and inspire them to join your gym virtual classes. 

If you are using gym management software, there is a video-on-demand feature that can help you attract 72% of the audience to your classes. You can share video lectures as well as give your virtual members one-on-one sessions for better performance. Introducing virtual classes in your gym will help you add an additional revenue stream that enables you to avoid economic downturns. 

  1. Rental facility 

The rental facility is another way to help you generate revenue to avoid economic downturns. You can simply rent your studio space and charge for it. Moreover, you can also use this space to sell merchandise to your members. Thus, this enables you to generate additional revenue and withstand the harsh times. 

  1. Host local events 

You can also host local events, inviting famous trainers and fitness industry influencers to spread awareness about physical fitness and mental well-being. It is a good policy to get involved with the local community. Apart from earning money by selling tickets to the event, you can also brand your name at a minimum cost. 

Moreover, hosting a local event can help you reach potential members who want to start the fitness industry but have reservations about it. They can simply ask you questions and you have to answer them. Thus, hosting the event can increase the chance of potential lead conversion and boost your studio’s financial growth to avoid economic downturns. 

  1. Use retention strategies 

Implementing retention strategies in your gym helps you to enhance the number of members in your gym. You can implement a loyalty program to thank your loyal members for staying with you. Moreover, you can also give rewards to your members for achieving milestones in terms of special discounts. So they can put more effort into reaching the results. 

You can also introduce a referral program in your gym, where special rewards are given to members who invite friends or members to your fitness center. This triggers word-of-mouth marketing and helps you attract new members to your gym. Moreover, using retention strategies in your gym helps you portray a positive image of your gym and establish your business as a brand. 

Final thoughts!

If you want to grow your gym despite the hardships of economic downturns, you have to understand the economic climate and devise effective strategies to tackle any disruption. 

With regular analysis of the market and members’ behavior, you can take in-house measures that not only enable you to diversify the revenue but also help you deliver the remarkable fitness experience that your members deserve.