16 Gym Gender Statistics, Facts, and Demographics

America has more gyms than any other country on the planet, so, it's high time we look at some gym gender statistics to see how the genders differ in the gym.

Top 10 Gender Gym Membership Statistics

  1. More than 50% of gym memberships are held by women
  2. Between 2010 and 2019, gym membership and health clubs memberships among women grew by 32%
  3. 14% of women who are gym members are interested in yoga and pilates
  4. Women attend the gym for appearance reasons and to lose weight
  5. Men attend the gym for the health and fitness benefits
  6. 51% of gym members men keep their New Yearโ€™s resolutions 
  7. 42.6% of women keep their New Yearโ€™s resolutions in the fitness club industry
  8. In Norway, more women gym members chose resistance training than men
  9. Only 10% of male gym members were interested in yoga and pilates
  10. From 2010 to 2019, male gym membership grew by 23%

Gym Gender Statistics and Demographics

Surprisingly, contrary to popular belief, half of all gym membership holders in the US are female. While it’s true men work out more than half of the time compared to women, gym membership growth is booming in the female market. Women are more likely to join spin classes and yoga, while men opt for the weight room.

1. Gym Gender Attendance in the US

According to the IHRSA, in 2020, more than 50% of gym membership holders in the U.S. were female. Furthermore, female gym goers were much more likely to participate in activities such as yoga, spin classes, and pilates. (1)

2. Gym Gender; Who Works Out the Most?

Although more women gym goers are actually in the gym, the numbers provided by the Journal of Preventative Medicine found that males almost double the amount of time spent performing exercise and other sporting activities. (2)

Gym Memberships Growth and Trends

The gym and health clubs industry is massive, to say the least, but with that comes many factors that can either boost market growth or hurt it. One such factor has been the devasting effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on gym memberships and gym owners. The positive, however, has been the pandemic forced gym goers to find other options like online fitness apps.

1. Gym Membership Statistics Growth

The same IHRSA report also showed that the female gym membership base grew 32% between 2010 and 2019. Compare that number to male gym memberships, which only increased by 23.3 % for the same period. Although the fitness industry was rocked by COVID, online and virtual fitness programs, saw a massive boom. (3)

2. Gym Statistics Gender And Motivation

According to a study published by the International Journal of Arts and Social Science, females tend to report a much higher quality workout rate compared to their male counterparts. Additionally, women reported working out to improve their appearance while men worked out for the competition. (4)

3. Gym Statistics Gender and Exercise

In 2020, 14% of females were more interested in activities such as yoga and pilates compared to 10% of males. Yoga led the way as the most popular activity attended by women in fitness gyms. (5)

4. Gym Attendance Statistics Demographics

In 2020, 18 to 34-year-olds attended the gym 60% of the time. The next leading age group was 35 to 54-year-olds who frequented the gym 30%, according to IHRSA. (6)

5. Gym Membership Statistics Seniors Attendance

According to a report published by IBIS World 2020, citizens aged 55 and over attended gymnasiums and fitness clubs 22.3% of the time. This number is expected to grow, particularly in aging countries like Japan, Germany, and Italy. (7)

6. Gym Membership Statistics and Junior Attendance

According to the same report published in 2020 by the IHRSA, juniors or those under the age of 18 made up nearly 17% of total gym memberships. An impressive and good sign for the health of the next generation. (8)

7. Gym Statistics Gender and Male Motivation

10 to 40% of men in various studies and surveys have reported working out to help boost their body confidence by building muscle and losing fat. (9)

Many statistics about health and fitness industry motivations have been published in the American Journal of Men’s Health. Male gym goers reported reasons for going to the gym, such as “im too fat” or “I was exercising, but I quit and need to get back into it.”

Global Gym Membership Statistics

Many fitness enthusiasts might be surprised to learn that Europe has a higher rate of gym memberships per capita when compared to the US. Although men and women differ in many areas, the one common factor they have for purchasing gym memberships is body image. One interesting stat is that men in Norway prefer aerobic activity compared to resistance training.

1. Gym Genders Statistics and Belly Fat

Although men and women attend the gym for different reasons, the one common goal we share is trying to shed that belly fat and body image. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly. However, statistics show that only 23% of the general population in the U.S. reach that target. (10)

2. Gym Membership Statistics Attendance Europe

European countries have a slightly higher gym attendance rate than the U.S., according to the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. In Europe, the figure sits at about 50% of the general population who are gym goers.

3. Gym Female Gender Statistics in Norway

An interesting gender fitness statistics out of Norway shows that in 2020 and 2021, women chose to perform strength and resistance training more often than men. Males, on the other hand, chose to perform aerobic and cardiovascular activities such as cycling and running. (11)

Gym Quitting Statistics and Fun Facts

OK, so who hasn’t made a new years resolution before? We all have, right? New years resolutions provide us with the chance to get our health and fitness in order and back on track. Unfortunately, many gym-goers fail at the first hurdle. Whether it’s too busy at work, struggling with diet, or just lack of motivation, most new years resolutions go unfinished.

1. Gym Membership Statistics and New Year’s Resolutions

According to statistics, at the start of each year, 50% of the U.S. population wants to improve their fitness, with 48% wanting shed body fat and 39% wanting to make better food choices and improve their mental health. (12)

2. Gym Gender New Yearโ€™s Resolutions Quitting Statistics

Statistics vary in this area, although the most verifiable numbers show that 51.5% of male gym members quit their new year’s resolutions compared to women, with a percentage of 42.6. 

3. Gym Membership Statistics

Gym Gender Statistics

14% of female gym goers quit their gym memberships within the 1st year, while only 8% of men quit in the same time period. However, women’s fitness club members are 50% more likely to perform online gym workouts and hire a personal trainer when it comes to working out at home. 

4. Gym Gender Statistics and Smartphone Use

Although using a smartphone while exercising drastically reduces the effectiveness of your workouts, both men and women continue to do so in staggering numbers. Men lead the way in smartphone usage while working out at 46%, although women are a close second at 43%. Either way, it’s probably best to put your smartphone down.

Frequently Asked Questions

What gender goes to the gym more?

In 2019, a survey showed that 20.7% of males participated in some form of daily sporting activity, while only 18% of women found time to exercise daily.ย 

How does gender affect workouts?

Male gym goers are much more likely to participate in sporting activities for social interaction and competitive reasons. Women reported reasons for exercising as weight loss and appearance.ย 

Sexism in fitness clubs; is it real?

Some women experience sexism in the gym, with some surveys reporting that at least 6 out of 10 women have experienced sexism while working out.ย 

What percent of gym goers quit?

Some studies suggest that up to 73% of gym-goers quit before reaching their goals. This is particularly true for those who have set new year’s resolutions.

What percent of millennials go to the gym and fitness clubs?

In 2021, 70% of millennials attended a health and fitness club

What generation uses health clubs the most?

As of 2021 in the U.S., the breakdown of the average gym member is:
Boomers (1945-1964) 64.4%
Gen X (1965-1979) 64.2%
Millennials (1980-1999) 70%
Gen Z (2000+) 55.8%


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https://www.ihrsa.org/improve-your-club/15-surprising-facts-about-health-club-member-retention/#:~:text=The%20risk%20of%20cancellation%20was,those%20who%20exercise%20in%20groups.

Craft BB, Carroll HA, Lustyk MK. Gender Differences in Exercise Habits and Quality of Life Reports: Assessing the Moderating Effects of Reasons for Exercise. Int J Lib Arts Soc Sci. 2014 Jun;2(5):65-76. PMID: 27668243; PMCID: PMC5033515.

https://www.ihrsa.org/improve-your-club/15-surprising-facts-about-health-club-member-retention/#:~:text=The%20risk%20of%20cancellation%20was,those%20who%20exercise%20in%20groups.

Craft BB, Carroll HA, Lustyk MK. Gender Differences in Exercise Habits and Quality of Life Reports: Assessing the Moderating Effects of Reasons for Exercise. Int J Lib Arts Soc Sci. 2014 Jun;2(5):65-76. PMID: 27668243; PMCID: PMC5033515.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1110999/virtual-yoga-interest-gender/

https://www.ihrsa.org/improve-your-club/15-surprising-facts-about-health-club-memberretention/#:~:text=The%20risk%20of%20cancellation%20was,those%20who%20exercise%20in%20groups.

https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/market-size/gym-health-fitness-clubs-united-states/

https://www.ihrsa.org/improve-your-club/15-surprising-facts-about-health-club-member-retention/#:~:text=The%20risk%20of%20cancellation%20was,those%20who%20exercise%20in%20groups.

Castonguay AL, Pila E, Wrosch C, Sabiston CM. Body-Related Self-Conscious Emotions Relate to Physical Activity Motivation and Behavior in Men. American Journal of Menโ€™s Health. 2015;9(3):209-221. doi:10.1177/155798831453751

https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

https://www.ssb.no/sosiale-forhold-og-kriminalitet/artikler-og-publikasjoner/levekarsundersokelsen-eu-silc-2019.tema-idrettsaktiviteter

https://www.statista.com/statistics/378105/new-years-resolution/

https://www.asics.com/jp/ja-jp/mk/smsb-state-of-mind-index?asics-orig-path=%2fgeo%2fmk%2fsmsb-state-of-mind-indexย 

Contributors

Brenton Barker

Brenton Barker | Writer

Brenton is a highly qualified sports coach with over 20 years of experience working with professional athletes. With a degree in sports coaching and experience in prominent positions, including Head Advisor to the Japanese Government Sports Institute and Manager & Head Coach to Australia's Governing Sporting Body. Currently, he consults with several professional athletes and sporting organizations, sharing his expertise to help them reach their full potential.

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