Gym memberships continue to skyrocket in South Africa as more and more people sign-up to improve their health and fitness, despite the public being more cost sensitive than ever before.
This rise in memberships can be attributed to the emergence of value gyms that offer practical, functional equipment and forgo frills in an effort to keep membership fees as low as possible.
Currently leading the way is Zone Fitness, a local fitness brand that first opened its doors in Cape Town during 2002. Presently, there are 18 Zone Fitness clubs nationwide – a figure that has grown by 30% in the past year, and will escalate even further during the next twelve months.
Du ToitBritz, Head of Finance: Zone Fitness, explains. “One must keep in mind that the gym industry as we know it today – as a commercial enterprise – started in the late 1980s. When the concept was first introduced, they were seen as an exclusive offering reserved for a select few. As Zone Fitness, what we have done since is simple – we’re offering gyms accessible for all.”
At present Zone Fitness has 100 000 active members and continues to grow, showcasing the rising demand from the country. “The fact that our members are continually coming through the door is very important to us,” says Britz. “We want our members to stay fit and enjoy being healthy. We encourage them in every way possible to use our facilities. We definitely don’t see any value in making money off of people who swipe their card, buy a muffin and then simply walk out again.”
Britz believes that the notion of going to gym has become more widespread and adds: “There’s an aspirational aspect to it all now. In earlier days, people didn’t look at fitness the same way, but nowadays people of all ages take better care of themselves.”
Changing attitudes are being met by a change in the way gyms are priced. “For a long time, communities of people in South Africa didn’t have access to gyms, either because of location, finances or both.
“We sought to change that and the result has been overwhelming. We even started receiving letters from our members thanking us for opening our doors.
Their generosity of spirit was amazing. We never expected it,” he says.
Visit Zone Fitness at www.zonefitness.co.za, or join the conversation on Facebook (ZoneFitnessSA) and Twitter (@zonefitness_sa).