Our hero today is Sarah Marion. Director of syndicated research at Murphy Research. In this episode, she reveals insights from original research into how millennials and Gen Z view fitness in gyms.

As these generations continue to develop greater spending power, it’s important for gyms to understand how to attract and serve them. Sarah unpacks how you can do just that.

Understand Millennials and Fitness

Millennials range in age from 26 to 41. One of the central distinctions for this group is the comprehensive health education they received growing up, encompassing not just physical fitness but also healthy eating and mindfulness.

They were among the first to be consistently taught that exercise is crucial for overall health. This education means they’re already knowledgeable and committed to maintaining an active lifestyle, setting them apart from previous generations.

Gender Differences in Fitness Engagement

Despite their commitment to an active lifestyle, there’s a notable gender disparity in fitness engagement within the millennial cohort. Generally, men are more likely to engage in fitness activities than women. This can be attributed to early socialization where boys are more encouraged to participate in sports. For women, juggling career, family, and personal health often becomes a challenge, limiting their time for fitness. To attract more millennial women, gyms should consider offering solutions like childcare services, flexible class schedules, and online workout options. Online fitness has become a game-changer for many millennial women, offering the convenience they need to incorporate exercise into their busy lives.

The Role of Online Fitness

Millennials are the biggest users of online and digital fitness resources. From apps and Zoom classes to platforms like Peloton, they value the flexibility and convenience of being able to work out anywhere, anytime. Therefore, gyms should not only offer state-of-the-art equipment and facilities but also integrate digital fitness solutions into their memberships. Offering hybrid memberships that include both in-person and online classes can cater to this demand.

The Impact of Organized Sports

Participation in organized sports among millennials has increased since the pandemic, providing a structured and social form of exercise. Unlike traditional gym workouts, organized sports offer a social component that many find essential.

Therefore, gyms can attract millennial members by promoting team sports and other group activities, highlighting the social and fitness benefits.

Price Sensitivity

It’s a common misconception that millennials are highly price-sensitive. Unlike older generations who might prioritize cost-saving, millennials are willing to invest in quality services that meet their needs.

They value amenities like towel service, saunas, and personalized training, viewing these as worth the extra cost. Gyms should focus on offering high-value services and clearly communicating this value to attract and retain millennial members.

Engaging Gen Z in Fitness

Gen Z, currently aged 10 to 25, is another important demographic for fitness studios. Like millennials, they have grown up with health education, making them knowledgeable about the importance of fitness. However, their engagement patterns and preferences can differ significantly.

The Influence of Social Factors

Gen Z is heavily influenced by social factors when it comes to fitness. They prefer working out with friends or being part of a team. The social aspect of fitness is a significant motivator, partly because they’re accustomed to structured activities from school sports and group fitness classes. Gyms should foster a community-centric atmosphere, promoting group activities and social events to attract Gen Z members.

Digital Fitness vs. In-Person Workouts

While Gen Z is the most tech-savvy generation, they favor in-person workouts over online fitness. They use fitness apps and digital resources but find more motivation in a group setting.

Gyms should leverage this by offering group classes and activities that promote social interaction. Even though they engage with digital fitness, the in-person experience is crucial for this demographic.

Participation in Organized Sports

Gen Z displays higher participation in organized sports compared to millennials, thanks largely to school and college programs. Sports like basketball, soccer, and football are highly popular.

Fitness studios can tap into this by offering programs that cater to these interests. Whether it’s through sports leagues, intramural activities, or sports-specific training programs, providing options that resonate with Gen Z’s love for team sports can be a significant draw.

Address Price Sensitivity

Unlike millennials, Gen Z tends to be more price-sensitive, largely due to their younger age and limited financial resources. Despite this, they prioritize fitness and are likely to invest in it if they see value in the services. Fitness studios should consider offering tiered membership plans, student discounts, and flexible payment options to attract this group.


Understanding the unique characteristics and preferences of Millennials and Gen Z is crucial for fitness studios looking to attract and retain these valuable demographics. From offering digital fitness solutions and flexible schedules for millennials to fostering a community-centric atmosphere and addressing price sensitivity for Gen Z, there are numerous strategies studios can employ.

By tailoring their services and marketing efforts to meet the specific needs of these groups, fitness businesses can better serve their members and ensure long-term success.

For more insights into how to attract and engage Millennials and Gen Z in your fitness studio, don’t hesitate to reach out to Sarah Marion, Director of Syndicated Research at Murphy Research, via email or visit their website.

Looking for better gym software?

We can help you run a more efficient and more profitable business.

Learn more

Get Our Best Content In Your Inbox

Insights on how to manage and grow your gym

Subscribe Now

Get more articles like this directly in your inbox.

Learn how to make your gym or martial arts school a profitable business.

* Unsubscribe at any time