With the right class schedule and approach you can make cycling a massive success in your club and increase your profitability by getting more people moving more often Photo by Thinkstock

With the right class schedule and approach, you can make cycling a massive success in your club and increase your profitability by getting more people moving more often. (Photo by Thinkstock.)

Why Your Health Club Should Take Advantage of the Growth in Cycling's Popularity

As cycling grows in popularity and cycling studios increase in numbers, multipurpose health club operators should ensure they are offering quality cycling programming. 


In a 2013 Nielsen report on global consumer fitness, cycling was one of the top fitness activities for regular exercisers, outranking both running/triathlon (29 percent) and swimming (27 percent). Only walking (59 percent) and gym-type activities (61 percent) showed higher results.

Here are three more revealing stats that provide further proof of just howand whycycling is taking off:

  1. Joining. From 2008-2013, the number of people in the United States who reported doing some sort of cycling activity (indoors or out) surged from 47.16 million to 67.33 million, according to Statista. This 30 percent increase in people riding could be a significant opportunity for your business.
  2. Watching. In 2015, the 21-day Tour de France cycling competition had an estimated worldwide television audience of 3.5 billion people, leaving events like the 2014 Super Bowl with its 112.2 million viewers in the dust.
  3. Trending = Spending. From New York to London, indoor cycling is a hit. Studio classes are packed with the crucial 18- to 34-year-old age group, each paying up to $34 for one class. Information lodged by frontrunners at SoulCycle, in their IPO filing notice on July 30, 2015, shows that the company's total revenue grew from $36.2 million in 2012 to $112 million in 2014. Their total classes and rides more than tripled.

Most importantly, consumers know that cycling gets results

At the end of the day, it just works. Cycling is the ultimate combination of endorphin-inducing exhilaration and stress-reducing calm. It’s a low-impact cardio workout that burns anywhere from 350 to 600 calories in a 45-minute studio class, according to the American Council on Exercise (depending on the individual participant and the intensity level of the class).

So, what does this mean for health club operators? The rise in consumer demand for cycling means an increase in competition for club owners, from cycling boutiques to larger facilities. It’s crucial that you provide a cycle offering to attract and retain members.

How Smart Operators Are Finding an Opportunity in the Threat

Refocusing on your cycle offering can achieve improved results, meet your millennial customers’ needs, add value to your membership and block high-end boutiques from gaining entry in your market. By stepping up your game and following some best-practice behavior, there’s no reason you can’t provide a high-quality, mass-market cycle experience.

Multi-activity health clubs have the advantage of being able to focus on the things that boutique studios can’t. Greater quality of programming backed by science allows you to guarantee a far more consistent experience across instructors. This is something that’s a frequent source of complaint for customers of boutiques.

A better and more systematic fitness, exercise and programming prescription is made possible through a broader fitness offering. For example, educate your customers at point-of-sale about your combination of cycling, strength and mind-body flexibility classes. The quality of prescription at your point of sale is a critical component for the success of your cycling classes. When your membership team effectively prescribes cycling to new members, your attendance goes up quickly.

By reinvigorating your cycling offering, along with your other high-quality programs, you can add more value to your membership and create much greater market appeal. With the right class schedule and approach, you can make cycling a massive success in your club and increase your profitability by getting more people moving more often. Discover more cycling insights here.


Brian Gagne, chief executive officer of Les Mills United States, has more than 20 years of health and fitness experience. He previously served as chief operations officer for Health Fitness Corp., where he provided leadership for the delivery of health and fitness management services for one in five US Fortune 100 companies. Gagne holds a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology and a master of science degree in exercise physiology.​

Les Mills delivers a variety of group fitness classes that provide cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility training for your members. Fresh class content is provided every three months to motivate and support engagement of both instructors and members, which in turn reduces the attrition rate of your members. Our tried-and-tested group exercise classes deliver real physical results. Learn more about the tools and resources you need to improve your members’ experiences in their workouts, in the group studio and across the entire facility—all of which contribute to increased member engagement and retention. For more information, email [email protected] or call 844-LES-MILLS.

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