Breaking Barriers: Revolutionizing the Gym Industry’s Approach to the Uncontested 80%

In the ever-evolving landscape of fitness, the gym industry has long fixated on capturing a coveted 20% of any given area, leaving the remaining 80% untapped and overlooked. This untapped market, often referred to as the uncontested 80%, presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the fitness industry to redefine its purpose and impact a broader demographic. It’s time for the fitness industry to break down barriers and shift its focus from the stereotype that the gym is only for the already fit. Let’s explore how we can tap into the vast potential of the 80% and revolutionize the gym experience for everyone.

The Myth of the 20%:

Traditionally, gyms have been perceived as exclusive spaces catering to the already fit, creating an environment that intimidates those who may be new to fitness or feel they don’t fit the typical gym-goer mold. This perception perpetuates the myth that the 20% represents the fitness elite, leaving the remaining 80% disengaged and disinterested. It’s time to shatter this myth and redefine the gym as an inclusive space for everyone, regardless of fitness level, age, or background.

Breaking Down Barriers:

To tap into the uncontested 80%, the gym industry must proactively address the barriers that prevent individuals from taking that first step into a fitness facility. Accessibility, affordability, and inclusivity are key factors that need attention. By strategically breaking down these barriers, gyms can create an environment that fosters engagement among a more diverse clientele.

  1. Accessibility for All:
    • Introduce gyms in unconventional locations, such as community centers, workplaces, and residential areas, making fitness facilities more accessible to a broader audience.
    • Collaborate with local organizations to provide transportation solutions, ensuring that geographical distance is not a hindrance to gym participation.
  2. Affordability Initiatives:
    • Implement tiered pricing structures to accommodate varying income levels, making gym memberships more affordable for a wider demographic.
    • Explore partnerships with health insurance providers or corporate wellness programs to offer subsidized memberships, promoting health and fitness as an integral part of overall well-being.
  3. Inclusive Programming:
    • Diversify fitness programs to cater to a wide range of interests and fitness levels, from beginners to advanced athletes.
    • Foster a culture of inclusivity by providing resources and training for staff to create a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for all members.

Redefining Success:

The success of the gym industry should no longer be measured solely by the number of members in the 20%. Instead, success should be defined by the positive impact made on the lives of individuals within the uncontested 80%. By focusing on breaking down barriers, the industry can create a ripple effect of improved health and well-being that extends far beyond the traditional fitness enthusiast.


It’s time for the gym industry to step into a new era, one where the focus is on inclusivity, accessibility, and breaking down barriers that have long hindered the engagement of the uncontested 80%. By doing so, gyms can become true community hubs, empowering individuals from all walks of life to embark on their fitness journey. Let’s shift our perspective, redefine success, and build a healthier and more inclusive future for the gym industry and its members.

As the gym industry embarks on the mission to capture the untapped potential of the uncontested 80%, the role of Fitness Management and Consulting becomes paramount. These experts bring a wealth of knowledge in business development, strategic planning, and market analysis. By partnering with Fitness Management and Consulting services, gyms can gain valuable insights into consumer behavior, implement targeted marketing strategies, and tailor their offerings to cater to the diverse needs of the broader 80%. With their guidance, the industry can navigate the path towards inclusivity, breaking down barriers, and ultimately thriving in a landscape where success is measured by the positive impact made on the lives of the many, not just the few. It’s through collaborative efforts and strategic partnerships that the gym industry can truly revolutionize its approach, making fitness a universal and accessible journey for everyone. Contact FMC here.

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An Outsourced CEO, Turnaround Expert and Author, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround, financing  and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at: or

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