The gym giant will introduce extended opening hours around the country to create more flexibility for members.
Fitness First will start to roll out extended 24 hour training times across some of its gyms around the country from this month.
Fitness First general manager David Aitchison said 24/7 opening hours would eventually be available at all of the chain’s 61 gyms, but only 10 locations in NSW and Victoria will be adopt the changes in the short term.
Those gyms are Hornsby, Cronulla, North Strathfield, Shelley St Sydney CBD, Erina Fair, Richmond, QV Platinum, Brighton and Victoria Gardens.
To access the 24 hour facilities, members must make a one-off $25 payment for a security card allowing them entrance to the gym outside regular staffed hours. Staff members will not be present at all hours of the day, which is common at most 24 hour gyms.
“Our members have been asking for this for a long time and we’ve listened to the feedback. People don’t work 9am-5pm anymore and they want to go to the gym when it suits them.” Mr Aitchison told news.com.au.
“I went to the gym the other day at 5.20am, just before the 5.30am opening and there would have been 25 people lining up all wanting to get in at 5.30 on the dot,” Mr Aitchison said.
“For those people, being able to train earlier means they can then get on the train or jump in the car and get to work quickly. That extra time and convenience is so important to people can have that work life balance.”
While Mr Aitchison wouldn’t comment specifically on the impact of budget 24-hour gym chains on his business, he said the company’s investors wanted to mimic the “lifts” other brands had seen.
Anytime Australia Pty Ltd, which owns 24-hour gym chain Anytime Fitness, is the largest gym brand in the country with a 14 per cent market share of the multi billion dollar fitness centre marketplace, according to a 2016-17 report from IBIS World.
Fitness First is second with 12.6 per cent, followed by Jetts Fitness’s parent company 24/7 Brands Pty Ltd at 9.2 per cent, then Quadrant, owner of the Goodlife Health Clubs chain, at 8.4 per cent.
The rest of the industry is made up of smaller franchises, independent gyms and facilities owned by local councils including Fernwood, the Genesis Fitness franchise, Snap Fitness, Curves and Virgin Active.
“The growing number of 24-hour gyms has taken market share away from traditional full-service gyms, particularly those run by Fitness First,” the IBIS World report said.
“Franchises like Anytime Fitness and Jetts Fitness have undergone exceptional growth over the past five years, attracting new customers with their affordability and accessibility.”
Jetts Fitness CEO Elaine Jobson told news.com.au in August that 24-hour gyms appeal to a large portion of the population who don’t have a regular work schedule.
“Shift workers are our bread and butter,” Ms Jobson said.
“At night, interestingly, we get lots of families training together. It’s often the only time of day they can all get together,
“Women with babies … they tend to come out between 8pm and midnight. Their partners come home and they have dinner and that’s their ‘me time’. They train at 2am because that’s the only time they can train.
“And then there’s people who are relatively new to exercise. They like the lack of intimidation and that there’s not lots of people looking at them.”
Fitness First says its members should contact their local club for specific details about when extended opening hours will be introduced.
This story originally appeared on news.com.au and is republished here with permission.
Exercise is hard. Discipline is harder. It’s all-too-common in this day and age for people to get into a health kick. Nutrition and exercise is now just as cool and sexy as smoking was in the 1950’s, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t so simple. Trainers and athletes will attest that it’s not motivation, but discipline that’s needed to reach your goals. That includes early starts, late finishes, strict dieting, good rest, and consistent activity. Seems doable in the first week. Then the excuses come rolling in. Credit: Various via Storyful