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Santiago Prada, the senior executive of membership and wellness at YMCA of the Virginia Peninsulas, outlines five ways to create more value in gym membership amidst inflation.

Many fitness centers and YMCAs continue to evaluate their offerings and financial models after the pandemic. Rising costs of goods will also have an impact on how gym-goers choose to spend their hard-earned cash in the months to come. Though the fitness sector continues to show signs of overall growth, the market has become more diversified than ever before.

In-home and virtual fitness remains an appealing option for some health seekers. And with economic inflation levels at a 40-year high, some may decide the cost associated with a gym membership may simply not be worth it. What can community recreation centers do to remain attractive to their current and future members? Reevaluate the value of their membership.

Here are five components that may add more value in the gym membership amidst inflation:

Category Tiered Pricing

Community centers become more attractive when pricing is reflective of the diverse demographic they are trying to serve. Charging teens and young adults a lower than standard adult rate, and incorporating distinctive categories for couples, seniors, and families can help facilities be better positioned in a crowded market and a rising economy.

Added Classes and Programming

There are successful business models built upon offering the bare minimum to members. But when financially possible, adding additional programming without added costs to the member will not only help to attract consumers, it’ll also help to retain them. Group exercise classes, activities for children and social groups are all ways to add value to the standard offerings.

Membership Swaps

Partnerships with other non-fitness, membership-based businesses can create more value in the monthly dues for gym-goers. Zoos, museums and theme parks may be willing to allow temporary access for your members to their attractions while allowing their members access to your facilities. Swaps create a dynamic way to promote and retain consumers for both parties and create a great sense of value for the members as well.

Learn More: YMCAs Partner with the Virginia Zoo for Membership Swap

Rewards and Incentives

In the age of instant gratification, rewarding consumer loyalty can go a long way. Having monthly workout incentives and a rewards system for activity or attendance are easy ways to ensure members feel valued and connected.

Virtual Add-ons

Digital content is here to stay and providing it as part of the standard membership will help lessen the risk of members being swayed to leave gyms for other virtual subscription fitness models. Utilizing virtual components within the operating hours of clubs can also help with providing more offerings during non-peak times or through staffing constraints.


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Santiago Prada

Santiago Prada is the senior executive of membership and wellness for the YMCA of the Virginia Peninsulas. He has worked in the health and fitness industry since 2006 and has worked for various YMCAs and health clubs across the country. He is an ACE certified personal trainer and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in mass communications.

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