PERRYSBURG, OH — Cost is the number one factor in choosing a fitness facility, according to a recent survey of 974 U.S. health club members. Thirty-one percent of consumers surveyed ranked cost of membership first.

“As with many consumer decisions these days, people are voting with their wallets. While they are willing to pay for conveniences and amenities, if a club cannot distinguish itself from its competitors, it still comes down to price. Consumers are increasingly demanding greater value for their dollars spent on health club membership,” says Ron Welty, CEO of IntelliShop, whose company conducted the study with an online panel of more than 130,000 available consumers who had active health club memberships purchased within the past 12 months.

However, cost wasn't the most important factor for everyone. Twenty-five percent of those surveyed said location was most important. More than 10 percent of those surveyed said that on-site child care was the number one factor in their decision.

“As in many sectors that we measure, when it comes to health clubs, consumers are looking for options to make their lives easier. People are busier than ever, and specifically in the fitness industry, consumers have said loud and clear that they want to work out, and they need help from their clubs to provide safe options for child care while they do so,” says Welty.

Other factors in the buying decision included club amenities (14 percent), membership-type options (8 percent) and hours of operation (7 percent).

Club amenities desired by members include a variety of equipment to help vary their routine, expert trainers to assist them with designing goal-specific workouts, and conveniences such as refreshment bars and flexible hours of operation, Welty says. Females also want to have women-only workout facilities.

7.8

The average number of pounds gained by 907 freshmen at a Midwestern university during their first semester. What's to blame? Academic stress, alcohol, fast food and less family support, according to the study by the National Institutes of Health.