The Rise of Private Gyms: Why Quality Trumps Quantity

Private gyms are quickly popping up all over North America and it’s no surprise, consumers are looking for more than what big-box gyms offer, specifically, a more tailored fitness experience that is putting their money to good use. The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), the trade association of the fitness industry, reports that of the 54.1 million people that had a membership to a health or fitness club in 2014, 42 percent were members of a studio. The number of studios opened in 2014 showed a 200-percent increase from the previous year. When comparing this to only a seven-percent increase in the number of new gyms that were opened, it suggests that the industry is shifting away from traditional big-box chains. Although these are American statistics, Canadian statistics would be very similar.

So why are more people investing their money into private gyms? It’s simple, they recognize the value of the services provided at private gyms. Although both types of workout facilities provide fitness services, the differences between them could determine whether someone meets their fitness goals or not. Big-box gyms are not built to get results, they’re built to get members. Most members at big-box gyms waste countless hours on machines and cardio equipment, and keep paying month after month, only to go home and search for tips online so they can learn how to make progress. They become fed up because they don’t have the “tools” they require to succeed. Yet, they continue to workout and make no progress, or give up altogether (but continue to pay for their membership because the cancellation fee cost is too high). Most people spend so many years in the gym and have nothing to show for it. This is the opposite of how a gym should operate, yet this is how big-box gyms profit. The less members that utilize the facility, the less money they need to spend on maintaining and updating equipment, cleaning, hiring more staff, etc.

The benefits of private gyms are simple but grand. They put the customer FIRST. Most private gym owners are actively involved in the fitness industry and truly focus on helping clients achieve their fitness goals rather than the number of gym memberships being sold. Since private gyms are independent, they don’t have clients given to them, meaning every client is top priority. The best quality coaches and trainers are hired to keep the business running successfully. The majority of private gyms want to know they have better quality instructors and trainers than the big-box gyms as that’s what will draw in more members.

Although private gyms have less strength and cardio machines, they have equipment that is much more efficient and effective. Strength machines can be useful for specific muscle isolation exercises, but when it comes to increasing strength, exercises that utilize just your bodyweight (i.e. barbells, dumbbells, resistance bands, etc.) are much more functional. Functional training (e.g. deadlifting a loaded barbell and performing heavy carries) uses your muscles in ways that relate to your day-to-day life, which helps reduce the risk of injuring yourself during non-gym activities (e.g. lifting and carrying groceries). Many strength machines found in big-box gyms are useful for specific muscle isolation exercises, but they place you in a fixed position that doesn’t truly mimic a functional movement pattern. Machines also let the rest of your muscles relax while you focus on a specific area; whereas, bodyweight exercises recruit more muscle groups and are much more effective. Recruiting more muscle groups requires you to exert more energy, so you’ll burn more calories during your workout (plus, increasing your muscle mass will increase your basal metabolic rate so you burn more calories at rest).

Another benefit of private gyms is the strong sense of community. Members often refer to a private gym as their “third home” (the first: your residing home, the second: your workplace) because of the family-like atmosphere. Private gyms aren’t crowded and all the owners are actively involved which allows each member to interact with all the staff, as well as other members, on a more personal level. Your environment has an enormous influence over your lifestyle choices and factors greatly into the creation and implementation of new habits, so where you workout can greatly influence your fitness regimen. Exercise should be part of your daily lifestyle (or at least almost every day), and going to a gym with a great community atmosphere will be an experience you’ll want to repeat over and over when the staff makes you feel like family and fellow gym-goers become your friends. Simply put, greater consistency leads to better health and greater happiness (and fewer doctor visits)! A private gym is well worth finding when you’re training in an environment that makes you want to be there.

At XLR8 Fitness, our business model is dependent on the success of our members. If the members aren’t seeing positive results, then our business will not succeed because we have a monthly subscription service (no long-term contracts) and a simple cancellation process (just pay your next month’s payment or find someone to replace your spot). It’s imperative that we provide the highest quality services and provide our clients with the tools they need to successfully reach their health and fitness goals, otherwise the business will fail. The fitness industry is a service industry and therefore customer care is top priority. If you aren’t being serviced professionally, then look elsewhere.


Foley, Michele. (2016, February). How the Rise of Boutique Fitness Is Affecting the Business of Gyms. Retrieved from

Sinkler, Jen. (2015, April). The Perks of Belonging to a Smaller Gym. Retrieved from

Tucker, Alexa. (2016, October). Here’s Why You Don’t Need To Use The Weight Machines At The Gym. Retrieved from

(2017) Small Studio VS. Big Gym. Retrieved from


By | 2017-01-26T07:39:16+00:00 January 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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