Here’s What Your Gym Says About How You Spend Money


It’s always fun to imagine what your gym says about your life—or what your friends’ gyms say about theirs. You know the stereotypes: The bros at your local Retro Fitness buy the cheapest whey protein around in bulk. SoulCyclists are all about green juice smoothies. CrossFitters have an unreasonable love for neon tights.

And while those sweeping generalizations might sound silly, there’s a good chance they have some basis in reality, a new report from The Wall Street Journal suggests. The WSJ cites a survey from Cardlytics, an Atlanta-based “purchase-intelligence firm” that analyzed the spending patterns of people who started going to gyms in the past year. The survey looked at what these people eat, to the stores they frequent, and how much they value travel—all categorized by the gyms people attend. The survey focused on people who spent at least $30 a month on fitness in 2015 after not spending money on that type of fitness the year before. People who visited more than one type of fitness center—like a yoga studio and a traditional gym—were counted twice.

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Some interesting highlights:

— People who work out at traditional multipurpose gyms like Planet Fitness, Retro Fitness, or Average Joe’s Gym spend less than $46 on their memberships, and they’re more apt to spend more money at “big-box stores” like Walmart. But what they save on memberships and protein powder they balance out with fast food—about 15 percent of their food budgets go to Big Macs, Crunchwrap Supremes, and other quick-stop food. (That’s no rounding error: Nearly 88 percent of new fitness-center members in Cardlytics’ sample spent that much on fast food. Yikes.)

CrossFit enthusiasts members spend an average of $120 a month at their box of choice (even though it’s typically a bare-bones warehouse sans televisions or showers). They splurge on apparel, too: CrossFitters spend 7.4% of their retail budget on athletic apparel, more than any other group.

Men and women who frequent specialized cycling studios like SoulCycle and FlyWheel are the “upper crust.” They spend less than CrossFitters on membership (about $99 per month, plus $25 to $35 on individual classes), but spend huge chunks of their retail budgets on gifts, jewelry, shoes, and full-service restaurants, and a smaller portion on discount apparel and wholesale or discount clubs.

People who do yoga, Pilates, or barre workout classes are (unsurprisingly) mostly women, and spend like “nesters” who focus on groceries, pet supplies, and antiques than any other group.

Sound familiar? Are your worst suspicions confirmed? Click here to check out the full report at The Wall Street Journal.

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