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What is a commercial gym?

What is a commercial gym?

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®) on July 14, 2023 ā€” Updated on July 22, 2023

A commercial gym is a fitness facility that operates for profit. These are typically larger-scale facilities that are open to the public and require a membership or a pay-as-you-go fee for access. Commercial gyms generally offer a wide range of fitness equipment and amenities, such as weightlifting machines, cardio equipment, group fitness classes, personal training services, locker rooms, and sometimes extras like a pool, spa, or sauna. They may also offer specific programming, such as bootcamps or yoga classes.

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Source: Urban YVR

A commercial gym is a place where people come together to exercise, stay fit, and achieve their health goals. These gyms are typically open to the general public and offer a wide range of facilities, equipment, classes, and services to cater to the diverse needs of their members. Discover what a commercial gym is and how it differs from other types of fitness facilities.

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Top Commercial Gyms in the United States

Choosing the best commercial gym to start can significantly influence your fitness business journey. The facilities, equipment, atmosphere, and additional services provided can all impact your gym owner’s experience, and your gym member’s fitness experience. Here’s a list of some of the most popular commercial gyms in the United States. It’s worth noting that the suitability of a gym is highly subjective and depends on personal needs and preferences.

1. 24 Hour FitnessVisit Site
2. Gold’s GymVisit Site
3. LA FitnessVisit Site
4. Planet FitnessVisit Site
5. Crunch FitnessVisit Site
6. EquinoxVisit Site
7. Lifetime FitnessVisit Site
8. Anytime FitnessVisit Site
9. Orangetheory FitnessVisit Site
10. YMCAVisit Site

Each of these commercial gyms has its unique offerings, ranging from 24-hour accessibility to personalized fitness programs. By researching and visiting different gyms, you can determine which one is the best fit for your fitness goals and lifestyle. As a prospective gym owner, understanding what these successful gyms offer can help you plan your own gym to meet your customers’ needs.

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Understanding the Commercial Gym Landscape: A Guide for Gym Owners and Prospects

Commercial Gym Space
Source: TMPL Gym

Becoming an owner of a commercial gym or contemplating to be one comes with an understanding of the advantages your business provides to fitness enthusiasts. A commercial gym not only presents a broad range of workout equipment for different muscle groups and training methods, but it’s also a space for experienced trainers to offer expertise, guidance, and motivation. With an assortment of cardio machines, strength training equipment, and group fitness classes, the commercial gym serves the diverse fitness needs of the community. Choosing the right gym management software like Exercise.com can further streamline your operations and improve member experience.

A Community of Fitness: The Benefits of Owning a Commercial Gym

Owning a commercial gym fosters an encouraging and supportive community. Such an environment brings together like-minded individuals who share similar fitness goals, creating a positive and motivational atmosphere. This environment encourages members to push their limits, remain consistent in their fitness routines, and enjoy their gym visits.

Furthermore, commercial gyms provide additional amenities and services. From sauna rooms and swimming pools for relaxation after intense workouts to locker rooms with showers for convenience, commercial gyms create a comprehensive fitness experience. Some commercial gyms even include childcare services, and on-site nutritionists or dietitians who provide personalized advice to help members achieve their fitness goals. The advanced software offered by Exercise.com can help you efficiently manage these amenities, along with member check-ins, staff scheduling, and much more.

Varieties of Commercial Gyms: Catering to Diverse Fitness Preferences

Commercial gyms come in different types, each designed to cater to various fitness preferences. Some gyms focus primarily on strength training and bodybuilding, offering a wide array of free weights and weightlifting equipment. Others emphasize cardiovascular endurance, providing a variety of cardio machines like treadmills, stationary bikes, and rowing machines. Many commercial gyms offer a balanced approach, incorporating both strength and cardio equipment along with a variety of classes like yoga, Pilates, and spin.

Specialized commercial gyms are also a popular choice. These gyms cater to specific demographics or training styles, such as women-only gyms, gyms for seniors, or gyms that focus on functional fitness and cross-training. Selecting a niche can be an effective way for you as a gym owner to stand out in a competitive market. With a gym management platform like Exercise.com, you can cater to these unique market segments by creating tailored workout plans and classes for each demographic.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) gyms are another type of commercial gym that has gained popularity. These gyms specialize in delivering intense, short-duration workouts that blend cardiovascular exercises with strength training. HIIT workouts are known for their efficiency in burning calories and improving overall fitness levels.

In recent years, boutique gyms have gained prominence. These fitness spaces offer specialized classes or training programs in a smaller, more intimate setting. Examples of boutique gyms include boxing studios, cycling studios, and barre studios. These gyms often provide a unique and immersive fitness experience, with expert instructors and a robust sense of community.

Commercial Gym: A Journey Through History

Commercial gyms have a rich history that dates back to ancient times. The concept of communal fitness has remained a constant theme, despite how different our modern-day commercial gyms may appear from the training spaces of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

In ancient Greece, gymnasiums were multi-purpose spaces where individuals engaged in physical exercises, athletic competitions, and philosophical discussions. These gymnasiums functioned as social hubs, promoting physical and mental well-being.

Fast forward to the late 19th century, the first commercial gyms started to appear in North America and Europe. These early gyms were dedicated to weightlifting and bodybuilding, catering to the growing interest in physical culture. Throughout the 20th century, the fitness industry boomed, making commercial gyms more accessible to the general public and evolving into the diverse and inclusive spaces we know today.

In recent years, commercial gyms have integrated technological advancements to enhance the fitness experience. Many gyms now offer state-of-the-art equipment like interactive treadmills and virtual reality workout programs to engage and motivate members. Additionally, fitness tracking devices and smartphone apps have become prevalent tools for monitoring progress and setting goals. Exercise.com is a leading software in this regard, providing gym owners with a platform to manage their operations, interact with members, and even provide online workouts.

The Evolution of Commercial Gyms: Adapting to Changing Fitness Needs

Commercial gyms have seen significant transformations over the years, adapting to the changing needs and trends of the fitness industry. They have shifted from small, no-frills weightlifting dens to sprawling fitness centers that cater to various workout preferences and customer needs.

In the past, commercial gyms primarily focused on weightlifting and bodybuilding. However, as awareness grew about the importance of cardiovascular health and overall fitness, gyms started incorporating more cardio machines like treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes.

Group fitness classes and personal training have become integral parts of commercial gym offerings. You can now find a plethora of classes ranging from high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and dance cardio to mind-body practices like yoga and meditation. Personal trainers are also readily available to provide personalized guidance and tailor workouts to individual needs.

Technology has played a significant role in the evolution of commercial gyms. The rise of wearable fitness trackers and smartphone apps led gyms to incorporate digital tools into the workout experience. Many gyms now offer equipment compatible with fitness apps, allowing users to track their progress, set goals, and receive personalized workout recommendations. Exercise.com can be an invaluable tool for gym owners in this digital age, offering an integrated platform to manage gym operations, track member progress, and deliver online workouts.

Commercial Gyms vs Home Gyms: What Sets Them Apart?

While home gyms certainly have their perks, commercial gyms provide unique advantages that make them appealing to a wide range of individuals. As a gym owner, understanding these benefits can help you communicate the value proposition of your business effectively.

Commercial gyms offer a vast array of equipment that would be challenging and costly to replicate at home. They provide a wide range of tools to diversify workouts and target specific muscle groups, from exercise machines and free weights to specialized equipment for functional training.

Commercial gyms also foster a motivational atmosphere. The energy of fellow gym-goers working hard towards their own goals can inspire members to push themselves further. This enthusiasm can significantly impact their motivation, encouraging consistency in exercise routines.

Commercial gyms often provide amenities such as locker rooms, showers, sauna rooms, and social areas. These facilities enhance the convenience and comfort of attending a gym outside of one’s home environment.

Furthermore, commercial gyms often offer a variety of fitness classes and personal training services. These resources can help individuals new to exercise or looking to switch up their routine. Fitness classes, such as yoga, spin, or HIIT, provide structured workouts led by experienced instructors. Personal training services offer one-on-one guidance and customized workout plans tailored to specific goals and needs. As a gym owner, providing these services can significantly enhance your member’s experience and help retain them in the long run.

Commercial vs Private Gyms: A Comparison

When it comes to fitness establishments, there are generally two categories: commercial gyms and private (sometimes home gyms, but not necessarily). Both come with their own unique sets of advantages and challenges.

Commercial Gyms: The Advantages and Challenges

Commercial gyms are usually expansive, offering a wide variety of equipment and amenities that cater to different fitness goals and needs. From numerous cardio machines and weightlifting stations to specialized workout spaces and group fitness classes, commercial gyms provide a comprehensive fitness environment.

Advantages of Commercial Gyms:

  1. Variety of Equipment: Commercial gyms typically house a broad range of fitness equipment, which allows for diverse and versatile workouts.
  2. Fitness Classes: Most commercial gyms offer group fitness classes, such as yoga, spinning, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), adding variety to workout routines and fostering a sense of community.
  3. Professional Guidance: Commercial gyms often employ personal trainers and fitness experts who can provide members with advice and personalized workout routines.
  4. Amenities: Many commercial gyms provide additional amenities such as locker rooms, showers, saunas, and sometimes even childcare services.
  5. Community: Commercial gyms foster a social environment, where like-minded individuals can motivate and inspire each other.

Challenges of Commercial Gyms:

  1. Membership Fees: Most commercial gyms require monthly or annual membership fees, which can be quite expensive.
  2. Crowds: During peak hours, commercial gyms can become crowded, leading to waiting times for certain equipment.
  3. Commute: Depending on the location, commuting to and from the gym can be time-consuming.

Private Gyms: The Advantages and Challenges

A private gym, or a home gym, is a fitness space set up at one’s own residence. Home gyms are becoming increasingly popular, especially given the flexibility and privacy they provide.

Advantages of Private Gyms:

  1. Convenience: With a home gym, there’s no commute. It’s easy to fit workouts into a busy schedule, and there’s the freedom to exercise whenever one wants.
  2. Privacy: Private gyms offer a space to workout without feeling self-conscious or judged.
  3. Cost-Effective in the Long Run: While the initial setup cost can be high, a home gym can be more cost-effective in the long run since there are no recurring membership fees.

Challenges of Private Gyms:

  1. Limited Equipment: Home gyms may not have as much equipment variety as commercial gyms due to space and budget constraints.
  2. Lack of Professional Guidance: Unless one hires a personal trainer, home gyms typically lack professional guidance.
  3. Isolation: Some individuals may find working out at home isolating as it lacks the community aspect found in commercial gyms.

Both commercial and private gyms have their own unique selling points. The choice between the two largely depends on an individual’s personal preferences, budget, fitness goals, and lifestyle. As a commercial gym owner, it’s important to understand the advantages of your establishment over private gyms and communicate these effectively to prospective members.

Selecting the Perfect Commercial Gym: Key Considerations for Prospective Owners

For prospective owners, selecting the right commercial gym to start is a critical decision. There are several factors to consider before making your choice.

Location plays a significant role. Choose a gym location that is convenient for your target demographic, making it easy for them to incorporate gym visits into their daily routine. Operating hours should also be considered to ensure they align with the schedules of your target members.

Evaluating the gym’s facilities and equipment is crucial. The gym should be well-equipped and align with the fitness goals of your target demographic. Cleanliness and maintenance are vital aspects to consider, as they contribute to a safe and hygienic workout environment.

Additionally, the gym’s atmosphere and community are important. A welcoming and supportive environment can greatly enhance the motivation and enjoyment of workouts. Look for a gym that fosters a sense of community and offers group fitness classes or social events.

In summary, running a commercial gym involves understanding the needs of your members, the history and evolution of fitness centers, and how to set your business apart in a competitive market. Selecting a comprehensive gym management software like Exercise.com can streamline your operations and provide a better experience for your members, and can even help you grow to add new gym locations with the best gym multi-location software.

What’s the difference between a gym and a commercial gym?

A gym is a general term for any facility dedicated to physical exercise or sports. This can include home gyms, school gyms, and community center gyms. A commercial gym, on the other hand, is a type of gym that is run as a business for profit. It typically has a wide range of fitness equipment, classes, and other amenities and services that are available to members who pay a fee. These can range from large national chains to smaller, local facilities. With Exercise.com, commercial gym owners can manage memberships, scheduling, personal training, and more, all from one easy-to-use platform.

What makes a gym a commercial gym?

What distinguishes a commercial gym is its for-profit status. Commercial gyms are businesses that offer a variety of fitness services to the public in exchange for membership or usage fees. These facilities usually provide a broad range of equipment and classes to cater to a wide variety of fitness needs and preferences. Using a platform like Exercise.com can help commercial gym owners manage their operations more efficiently.

What is the difference between commercial and public gym?

A commercial gym operates as a private, for-profit business and generally charges a membership fee for use of its facilities. A public gym, on the other hand, is often run by a community organization or local government and may be free or charge a nominal fee for use. Commercial gyms typically offer more amenities, such as a wider range of equipment and classes, than public gyms.

What are the three types of gym?

The three main types of gyms are commercial gyms, specialty or boutique fitness studios, and home gyms. Commercial gyms are large facilities that offer a wide range of equipment and classes for a membership fee. Specialty or boutique fitness studios are smaller and focus on specific types of workouts, like yoga, spin, or CrossFit. Home gyms are personal fitness spaces set up in an individual’s home. Exercise.com offers features to support all types of fitness facilities, including scheduling, workout tracking, and more.

Why is it called a commercial gym?

A commercial gym is called “commercial” because it operates as a for-profit business. This distinguishes it from non-profit or community-run fitness facilities. Commercial gyms generally offer a wider range of services and amenities to attract and retain members.

What is an example of a commercial gym?

Examples of commercial gyms include large chains like LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, and Gold’s Gym, as well as smaller local facilities. These gyms typically offer a wide variety of equipment and classes to their members for a fee.

Do commercial gyms make money?

Yes, commercial gyms can be quite profitable, depending on factors such as location, membership fees, overhead costs, and the services they offer. They generate revenue primarily through membership fees but can also earn money through personal training sessions, group fitness classes, and other services. Learn more about which gym franchise is the most profitable and then find out how Exercise.com’s business management software can assist gym owners in tracking revenue, managing expenses, and optimizing their operations for profitability.

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Why a commercial gym is better than a home gym?

While this can depend on individual preferences and circumstances, commercial gyms often offer advantages over home gyms, including access to a wider range of equipment, group fitness classes, personal training services, and a community of like-minded individuals. However, some people prefer the convenience and privacy of a home gym.

What is the minimum size for a commercial gym?

The size of a commercial gym can vary widely, from small studios to large facilities with multiple floors. However, a typical size for a commercial gym might be between 3,000 and 10,000 square feet. This allows space for various workout areas, equipment, locker rooms, and potentially a reception area or office space.

How big are commercial gyms?

Commercial gyms can range in size from small studios of around 1,000 square feet to large multi-story facilities of 50,000 square feet or more. The size of a commercial gym will depend on the services it offers, the number of members it serves, and the location.

When did commercial gyms become popular?

Commercial gyms began to grow in popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, coinciding with a broader societal interest in physical fitness. The popularity of commercial gyms has continued to increase over the decades, driven by factors such as the rise of fitness culture, advancements in fitness equipment, and the proliferation of fitness classes and personal training services.

How big are most commercial gyms?

The size of most commercial gyms can vary widely, depending on factors like location, membership base, and the services offered. However, a typical size for a mid-range commercial gym might be between 3,000 and 10,000 square feet. Larger commercial gym chains might have facilities that are much larger, up to 50,000 square feet or more.

Which type of gym is best?

The “best” type of gym depends largely on an individual’s fitness goals, preferences, and budget. Commercial gyms offer a wide range of equipment and classes but may be more expensive and crowded. Boutique fitness studios offer specialized classes and a more intimate environment, but they may not have as much equipment or variety. Home gyms offer convenience and privacy but require upfront investment in equipment.

Do commercial gyms make money?

Yes, commercial gyms can make money and can be quite profitable. Revenue is generated primarily through membership fees, but also through personal training services, group fitness classes, and other services. The profitability of a commercial gym can depend on factors like its location, its membership base, its overhead costs, and the range of services it offers. Exercise.com’s gym management software can help gym owners manage their finances and operations effectively to maximize profitability.

What is the difference between residential and commercial gym equipment?

Commercial gym equipment is designed for heavy use in a gym setting, where multiple people might use the same piece of equipment throughout the day. It tends to be more durable and often has more features than residential gym equipment. Residential gym equipment, on the other hand, is designed for home use and is typically lighter, less expensive, and less durable than commercial equipment.

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How much profit does a commercial gym make?

The profit that a commercial gym makes can vary widely depending on factors such as the gym’s location, its membership fees, the range of services it offers, and its overhead costs. Some gyms might make a few thousand dollars in profit per month, while larger facilities in prime locations might make tens of thousands of dollars or more. Exercise.com’s business management software can help gym owners track revenue, manage expenses, and optimize their operations for profitability.

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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 SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®). 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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