Personal training is often the second-largest source of revenue for many health clubs and, in the case of many studios, it’s their primary source of revenue.

IHRSA’s Profiles of Success notes that leading club operators generate a median of 10% of total revenues from personal training. Incremental membership growth over the past several years has motivated club operators to seek new revenue sources and, consequently, the emphasis on monetizing the member experience through personal training (individual and small group). This year’s findings offer a window into the world of personal training to identify behaviors and trends that might help club operators prosper.

Personal Training Usage Moves Upward in 2014

In 2014, 15% of health club members and 15.4% of non-member users engaged in at least one personal training session. This represents an 11% increase over 2013, when 13.5% of members took part in at least one personal training session.

Among the 15% of members who have taken at least one personal training session over the past year, men are more likely to participate than women, with 16% of men and 14% of women engaging in personal training at least once in the past year, both increases from 2013. Among non-members, where overall participation was 15.4%, men and women were equally likely to engage in personal training.

Key distinctions in personal training participation can be observed across the various industry segments. The penetration percentage for members using personal training at least once in 2014 for traditional clubs ranges from 15% in nonprofits to 28% in multipurpose clubs, while for studio segments it ranges from 28% to 57%. It should be noted that the high levels of personal training participation for many of these studio facilities could be attributed to their heavy reliance on small group training.

In 2014, personal training clients worked with a trainer an average of 25 times over the course of the year, with women using the services of a trainer for an average of 32 times, in comparison with 20 sessions for men. The majority of members engage in personal training less than 10 times annually, with 59% of personal training clients using a personal trainer fewer than 10 times annually. On the other end of the spectrum, 15% of members engage with a trainer at least 50 times a year (super consumers) and women are nearly twice as likely to be a super consumer as men.

Personal Training Demographics—The Influence of Age and Income

Adults ages 25 to 34, along with youth 6 to 12, were the most likely to engage in personal training. Adults between the ages 35 and 44 closely followed these two younger age groups with 19% of personal training clients derived from this audience.

It’s worth noting that adults over age 55 are the least likely to leverage the expertise of a personal trainer, with fewer than 10% doing so. Viewing personal training trends by age group as a percentage of the overall membership, rather than just as a percentage of a specific age group, reveals that 6- to 12-year-olds, 25- to 34-year-olds, and 35- to 44-year-olds each represent 3% of the total membership base.

Personal training has proven to be the domain of the more affluent; 7% of members earning in excess of $100,000 annually engage in personal training—more than twice the percentage of any other HHI group that engages in personal training. No other HHI group has more than 2.4% of its membership group involved in personal training.

Finally, nearly 8% of all personal training clients are Caucasian health club members (over 50% of all personal training clients). Hispanic members are the second largest segment of personal training clients, representing 3.5% of all members (17% of all personal training clients).

This post was excerpted from the 2015 Health Club Consumer Report.