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17 Types of Gyms: A Guide for Gym Owners

17 Types of Gyms: A Guide for Gym Owners

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) on July 14, 2023 — Updated on January 6, 2024

Learn all about the different types of gyms: conventional “big box” gyms, boutique gyms, CrossFit “boxes”, yoga studios, and more.

Types of Gyms

From traditional fitness centers to specialized studios, the choices for gym owners are both exciting and demanding. Understanding different gym business models and recognizing what aligns with your business vision can significantly impact your success. This guide will explore various types of gyms and delve into what makes each unique, assisting you in determining the best fit for your entrepreneurial journey.

Fitness Income Ideas

Discover the various types of gyms available to help you achieve your fitness goals. Find the most profitable fitness business models to help you determine whether you should start a gym, and what kind of gym business you should start.

And, of course, we all know that we want to increase gym revenue and profitability, we want to make your gym stand out, we want to motivate gym staff, and be one of the most successful gyms, so be sure to power up your gym business with the best gym management software and the best personal training software: Exercise.com.

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Choosing the Right Gym Model for Your Business

Before embarking on your gym ownership journey, consider the niche or market you want to target. Whether catering to serious bodybuilders, those seeking weight loss, or providing a family-friendly environment, identifying your target audience will help define the gym model best suited for your business. And remember that if you want to learn how to start a fitness business, then there are many different types of fitness businesses you can start, from a mobile fitness business, to learning how to start a fitness bootcamp business, to learning how to start an online fitness streaming business, to many others, so do your research.

Let’s explore the wide spectrum of gym models available for you to consider.

1. Conventional Gyms: All-in-One Fitness Solution

These gyms typically include cardio machines, weightlifting equipment, and group exercise classes. As a gym owner, offering amenities like locker rooms, showers, or even childcare services can make your establishment more appealing to a broad clientele.

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2. Boutique Gyms: Focused and Personalized Fitness

Specializing in specific training methods like CrossFit, Pilates, or boxing, boutique gyms can attract a dedicated audience. Smaller in size and often community-driven, this model allows you to provide personalized experiences that foster loyalty.

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3. CrossFit Boxes: For the High-Intensity Community

With specialized equipment and certified coaches, CrossFit boxes can attract a clientele that thrives on challenging and competitive workouts. The community aspect is often a significant draw, encouraging members to push each other to reach their best performance.

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4. Yoga and Pilates Studios: Mindful Movement

These studios can appeal to those seeking balance, flexibility, and mindfulness. Offering different styles of yoga or specialized Pilates equipment will cater to a wide range of fitness levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners.

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5. Functional Training Centers: Real-Life Movement Focus

If targeting athletes or those wishing to improve daily movement, functional training centers could be an ideal choice. Equipped with kettlebells, suspension trainers, and other innovative tools, these centers can create engaging and practical workouts.

6. Martial Arts Dojos: Self-Discipline and Defense Skills

Offering training in disciplines like karate, Muay Thai, or Brazilian jiu-jitsu can attract a diverse clientele. Emphasizing respect, discipline, and growth may foster a supportive community and create long-term membership.

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7. Dance Studios: Fitness Through Dance

From ballet to hip-hop, dance studios offer a lively and engaging environment. Providing classes for different age groups and skill levels can make your studio appealing to a broader community.

8. Sports Performance Gyms: Training Young Athletes

Sports performance gyms are a great way to train young athletes who want to excel in their sport. Sports performance gyms can be lucrative as parents are highly motivated to help their young athletes maximize their scholarship potential.

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9. Aquatic Centers: Low-Impact Options

With pools and water-based classes, aquatic centers can cater to seniors, those recovering from injuries, or anyone seeking gentle exercise. This model can fill a specific niche in your community.

10. Outdoor Fitness Parks: Natural Fitness Experience

An outdoor fitness park can attract those who prefer exercising in natural surroundings. Featuring various fitness equipment in an aesthetically pleasing setting can offer a refreshing alternative to traditional gyms.

11. Senior-Friendly Gyms: Catering to an Aging Population

By offering specialized equipment and classes tailored to seniors, you can fill an essential need in your community. Ensuring safety and providing targeted support can make your gym a go-to place for older adults.

12. Women-Only Gyms: A Safe and Inclusive Space

Creating a gym exclusively for women may attract those looking for a more comfortable and empowering environment. Specialized classes and amenities can foster a strong community of female fitness enthusiasts.

13. Co-Working Spaces with Gym Facilities: Work-Life Balance

Integrating workspaces and fitness facilities can cater to busy professionals. This innovative model allows members to seamlessly transition between work and exercise, enhancing their daily routine.

14. High-Tech Gyms: The Future of Fitness

Investing in cutting-edge technology like virtual reality (VR) and AI-assisted trainers can place your gym at the forefront of fitness innovation. Offering futuristic workout experiences can attract tech-savvy fitness enthusiasts.

15. Community Centers with Gym Amenities: A Hub for Local Community

Creating a community center that offers fitness and recreational facilities can become a gathering place for local residents. From basketball courts to swimming pools, these centers can foster community engagement.

16. Home Gym Setups: Personalized Fitness Havens

Offering home gym setup services can cater to those seeking privacy and convenience. Providing design and equipment consultation can create a unique business opportunity in the fitness industry.

17. Online Fitness Platforms and Apps: Digital Fitness Solutions

Entering the digital fitness space allows you to reach a global audience. By offering live classes, challenges, or personalized programs, you can create a flexible and innovative “online gym” with your online gym fitness platform.

Read More: How to Make a Fitness App

AMPD Golf Performance
“Working with Exercise.com and their team has been an amazing experience and a dream come true in terms of accomplishing a vision! Their workout technology has helped us effectively engage our community, and I highly recommend Exercise.com to grow your business!”
Andrew Banner
Co-Founder, AMPD Golf Performance

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What are small gyms called?

Small gyms are often referred to as boutique gyms or fitness studios. They typically focus on specialized training and offer a more personalized experience compared to larger commercial gyms.

What is the most common gym?

The most common gym is likely a commercial gym, which is widely accessible and offers various equipment, classes, and amenities to a broad audience.

What is the difference between a public gym and a private gym?

A public gym is typically open to anyone who pays a membership fee or drop-in rate, while a private gym may have restricted membership, often targeting a specific clientele or offering specialized services. Private gyms may also provide a more personalized or exclusive experience.

What is a fancy name for gym?

Fancy names for gyms might include terms like Fitness Pavilion, Wellness Center, Strength Studio, or Health Emporium, depending on the gym’s focus and clientele.

Which type of gym is best?

The best type of gym depends on individual preferences, goals, and needs. Some may prefer a commercial gym for variety, while others may opt for a boutique gym for specialized training, or a home gym for convenience.

What is the ideal gym?

The ideal gym varies for each individual and may depend on factors like location, equipment, atmosphere, staff expertise, cleanliness, community vibe, and alignment with personal fitness goals.

Why do people go to private gyms?

People may choose private gyms for personalized attention, exclusivity, specialized training, a sense of community, privacy, or additional amenities and services not typically found in public gyms.

What is the difference between a gym and a fitness gym?

The terms “gym” and “fitness gym” are often used interchangeably. A gym generally refers to a facility with equipment for physical exercise, while “fitness gym” emphasizes a focus on overall fitness and may include additional wellness services.

Are private gyms worth it?

Private gyms may be worth it for those seeking a more personalized, exclusive experience, specialized training, or specific amenities. However, they often come with a higher price tag, so individual needs and values should be considered.

What is the opposite of a commercial gym?

The opposite of a commercial gym might be considered a home gym or a boutique fitness studio, offering a more personalized, intimate setting compared to the large-scale operations of a commercial gym.

Which is the smallest gym?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the smallest gym specifically, as there are many small or even one-on-one training studios worldwide, some of which may be quite compact.

What are the different types of gyms, and how do they vary in their offerings?

There are several gym categories, each catering to different fitness needs and preferences:

  1. Commercial Gyms: These are large-scale facilities offering a wide range of equipment, classes, and amenities. Examples include Crunch and LA Fitness.
  2. Private Gyms: Smaller in scale, focusing on personalized experiences, often with higher-end services.
  3. Specialty Gyms: These gyms focus on specific types of workouts or disciplines, like CrossFit (box gyms), yoga studios, or sport-specific training centers.
  4. Studio Gyms: Typically smaller spaces that offer specialized classes like spin, pilates, or barre.
  5. Old School vs. Modern Gyms: Old school gyms focus on weightlifting and traditional equipment, while modern gyms often incorporate the latest fitness trends and technology.
  6. Public Gyms: Operated by community centers or local governments, offering basic facilities to the public.
  7. Non-Commercial Gyms: These include corporate gyms, hotel gyms, and university fitness centers, usually not open to the general public.

Each type of gym can significantly benefit from using Exercise.com’s gym management software for customized member management, class scheduling, and tracking progress.

Commercial gym vs private gym: What are the differences, and what gym software suits them best?

AspectCommercial GymPrivate Gym
Size and ScopeLarge, diverse clienteleSmaller, more personalized approach
ServicesWide range of equipment and classesOften specialized services
AtmosphereCan be crowded and less personalTypically more intimate and focused
Membership CostsUsually less expensiveCan be pricier due to exclusivity
Software NeedsRequires robust software like Exercise.com for managing large member databases, diverse class schedules, and extensive equipment trackingBenefits from Exercise.com’s personalized client management features, tailored scheduling, and detailed progress tracking

How do specialty gyms and sport type gyms utilize gym software to enhance member experience?

Specialty and sport type gyms, such as CrossFit boxes or martial arts studios, often have specific needs in terms of class scheduling, member progress tracking, and specialized workout programs. Exercise.com’s software offers:

  • Customizable workout plan creation
  • Progress tracking specific to the sport or activity
  • Online booking and class management, essential for studios with limited space
  • Communication tools for community building and member engagement

What gym is the best, and how does gym software play a role in this?

The best gym depends on individual fitness goals and preferences. Whether it’s a commercial gym with a variety of equipment and classes, a specialized studio gym, or an old school gym focused on weightlifting, the key is finding a gym that aligns with your fitness journey. The role of gym software, like Exercise.com, is to enhance the member experience by providing seamless management, personalized fitness plans, and effective communication tools, making any gym more efficient and member-friendly.

Which gym is best to open in a small town?

In a small town, the best gym to open is one that caters to the broadest possible audience while considering the specific needs and interests of the local community. A general fitness center or a multi-purpose gym offering a variety of equipment and classes, such as cardio, strength training, and basic fitness classes, can appeal to a wide range of people. Additionally, considering the growing popularity of boutique fitness studios, a specialized studio focusing on yoga, Pilates, or group fitness classes could also be a successful venture in a small town environment.

What is the difference between a gym vs fitness center?

The difference between a gym and a fitness center often lies in the range of facilities and services offered. A gym typically focuses more on weightlifting and cardio equipment, catering to individuals interested in strength training and basic fitness routines. In contrast, a fitness center usually offers a broader range of services, including not only gym equipment but also group classes, personal training, swimming pools, and sometimes wellness services like saunas or massage therapy.

What is the best gym for me to start?

The best gym for you to start depends on your interests, expertise, and the market needs. If you are passionate about a specific fitness niche, opening a boutique fitness studio specializing in that area can be rewarding. Alternatively, if you aim to appeal to a broader audience, starting a general fitness center with a variety of equipment and classes could be more beneficial. It’s essential to conduct market research and understand the local demand to determine the most suitable gym type.

Which gym is best for a first-time gym owner?

For a first-time gym owner, starting with a smaller, more manageable facility can be a wise choice. This could be a boutique studio or a specialized gym focusing on a particular fitness trend. These types of gyms typically require less investment in equipment and can be easier to manage while building experience in gym ownership and operations.

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What is the best gym to start to make a lot of money?

To make a lot of money, the best gym to start would be one that not only attracts a large number of members but also offers high-value services. A well-equipped commercial gym with diverse offerings such as personal training, group classes, and wellness services can generate significant revenue. Additionally, boutique studios with unique, high-demand fitness programs can also command higher prices and attract dedicated client bases.

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What type of gym is the easiest to start?

The easiest type of gym to start often involves lower initial investments and simpler operations. A small personal training studio or a boutique fitness studio specializing in popular workouts like yoga, Pilates, or functional fitness can be a good starting point. These require less equipment and space compared to larger commercial gyms.

Is opening a boutique fitness studio hard?

Opening a boutique fitness studio can be challenging but rewarding. It requires a clear understanding of the target market and a unique fitness concept that stands out. While it may be less challenging in terms of space and equipment requirements compared to larger gyms, success in the boutique fitness space often hinges on strong branding, marketing, and creating a loyal community.

Read More: Best Boutique Fitness Studio Software

How many types are there in gym?

There are several types of gyms, each catering to different fitness preferences. These include commercial gyms, boutique fitness studios, CrossFit boxes, strength and conditioning gyms, personal training studios, and functional fitness gyms. Each type offers unique experiences and training environments.

What is a gym classified as?

A gym is typically classified as a facility focused on physical fitness and exercise. It can range from a basic setup with weightlifting equipment and cardio machines to more comprehensive fitness centers offering a variety of services, including group classes and personal training.

What is the most common gym?

The most common type of gym is the commercial gym. These facilities typically offer a wide range of equipment, including free weights, cardio machines, strength training equipment, and often various group fitness classes. They cater to a broad audience and are popular due to their versatility and accessibility.

What are gyms called?

Gyms are commonly referred to as fitness centers, health clubs, workout facilities, or simply gyms. Each term can denote a place where people go to exercise, although specific names might imply different services or focuses, such as a boutique studio, CrossFit box, or personal training studio.

What are some new types of gyms?

The fitness industry is constantly evolving, introducing new types of gyms that cater to specific trends and preferences. Some of the newer gym types include:

  1. Tech-Integrated Gyms: These gyms incorporate advanced technology like AI-driven equipment, virtual reality workouts, and app-integrated fitness tracking to enhance the workout experience.
  2. Eco-Friendly Gyms: Focus on sustainability, featuring energy-efficient equipment, eco-friendly materials, and practices that promote environmental responsibility.
  3. Hybrid Studios: Combine various fitness disciplines under one roof, such as a mix of yoga, Pilates, and HIIT, offering a holistic approach to fitness.
  4. Micro Gyms: Small, niche-focused gyms that specialize in specific areas like calisthenics, circuit training, or mobility workouts.
  5. Obstacle Course Gyms: Designed for obstacle course race training, these gyms feature equipment and setups that mimic race conditions.
  6. Mindfulness and Wellness Centers: Gyms that blend physical fitness with mental wellness, offering meditation, stress management classes, and mind-body exercises.
  7. Virtual and Online Gyms: Offering digital memberships for live-streamed or on-demand workouts that can be accessed from anywhere.

These innovative gym types reflect the changing landscape of fitness, appealing to a diverse range of interests and lifestyle needs.

What are some types of gyms for ladies?

Gyms for ladies often focus on creating a comfortable, empowering, and supportive environment tailored to women’s fitness needs. Some popular types include:

  1. Women-Only Gyms: Exclusively for female members, these gyms provide a more private and comfortable space for women to work out.
  2. Boutique Fitness Studios for Women: Specialize in workouts popular among women, such as barre, Pilates, or yoga, often in smaller, more intimate settings.
  3. Wellness and Holistic Centers: Offer a combination of fitness classes, nutritional counseling, and wellness services targeted at women’s health.
  4. Strength Training and Bodybuilding Gyms for Women: Focus on strength training and bodybuilding tailored to women, breaking the stereotype of these being male-dominated areas.
  5. Mom and Baby Fitness Centers: Provide facilities for new mothers to work out, often including childcare services or classes that mothers can do with their babies.
  6. Dance and Aerobic Studios: Offer dance-based fitness classes like Zumba, belly dancing, or ballet fitness, which are popular among female fitness enthusiasts.

These types of gyms cater to the unique fitness preferences and requirements of women, offering specialized programs and environments conducive to their fitness journey.

How can Exercise.com help me run a gym business with different types of gyms?

Exercise.com is an all-encompassing gym management software that can assist in running various types of gym businesses effectively. Whether you operate a commercial gym, a boutique studio, or a specialized training facility, Exercise.com provides tools for membership management, workout plan creation, progress tracking, scheduling, and e-commerce. Its versatility and comprehensive features make it an ideal choice for managing different kinds of gyms, streamlining operations, and enhancing member experiences.

Jimmy Myers Relentless Sports Performance
If you want to offer an elite service for the end user you need to get with the times and use elite level software that is intuitive, visually appealing, and effective. That is exactly what Exercise.com delivers to its clients.
Jimmy Myers
Owner/Trainer, Relentless Sports Performance

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Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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