Why high-value, low-price gyms are becoming a way of life

Fitness can be affordable

Over the past decade, the beauty industry has seen a paradigm shift. Not too long ago, professional services like massages, facials, pedicures and manicures were expensive and exclusive, available only to the well-heeled. In recent years, however, these expensive and exclusive services have become more affordable and more accessible, paving the way for anyone to access these high-end services at a far more reasonable price.

Much in the same way, the gym and health industry has evolved—both in Colorado and nationwide. Not long ago, health club options were limited to big, expensive gyms with quality equipment but limited activities. Eventually, boutique spinning studios, Cross-Fit gyms and yoga studios began opening up and offering more creative workout options within smaller spaces. While this drew people to small, local storefronts, the additional creativity often came at a steep price for memberships and drop-in classes.

As time went on, however, gym and health club owners began to realize that there were opportunities to bring both affordable pricing and creative workout opportunities under one roof. Boutique gym amenities like yoga, Zumba and cycling could fit in with the expansive gym model, with membership options to fit peoples’ choice and budget. This spurred the advent of high-value, low-price (HVLP) gyms that represented not the cheapening of the gym experience, but the exact opposite: the improvement of the gym experience with an abundance of amenities but without the hefty price tag.

Now, people around the country and in Colorado are returning to the big-box gym concept and finding innumerable ways to keep fit, stay engaged and get healthy at a much more affordable price. These gyms have begun not only to proliferate, but to dominate the market by making a broad range of amenities more accessible. By bringing boutique services within an expansive fitness center, a gym can deliver a better experience to an audience hungry for more exercise options and pricing flexibility.

There are a few reasons for this shift.  

Health and education is top of mind. There’s an increasing awareness of the obesity epidemic in our country, and Colorado in particular is seen as the poster child for an active, outdoorsy and health-conscious demographic. As one of the fittest states in the country (according to the United Health Foundation), Colorado has seen an uptick in HVLP gyms—especially surrounding the greater Denver area. And as Colorado’s population has grown, so too have its gym options. In 2015, a Yelp search for “gyms near Denver” landed about 2,000 results (a stat from 5280 magazine). Today, that number has grown by more than 300, indicating a 15 percent rise in the past 18 months. While not all of these are HVLP gyms, these types of expansive, inexpensive options are more and more common.

The once-exclusive perks have become affordable. In 2014, the average cost of a monthly gym membership was $41. Today, many gyms rates offer membership rates starting as low as $9.99. The key? Tiered membership levels. HVLP gyms include high-end amenities even at their lowest membership level, and the options grow from there. Base amenities might include cardio cinema theaters and select exercise classes. More advanced amenities may include infrared saunas and HydroMassage lounges that rival any boutique gym, which tend to offer innovative but limited workout options.  

They meet the needs of key demographic. The HVLP concept easily appeals to lower- or middle-income areas with higher population densities and limited access to affordable fitness options. Maybe there’s no gym in the area, or residents don’t want to pay $50, $60 or $70 a month for a gym membership. We’ve seen over and over again that inexpensive gyms are appealing to people—especially in Colorado. With the increase of exercise and health awareness, people want access to affordable self-care. That’s why HVLP gyms are resonating with Americans who want to maintain fitness as a part of their everyday lifestyle, and it appears that concepts like these will only continue to grow.  

The trend of bigger gyms with more amenities and lower price points in Colorado continues to climb. Due to tiered membership options, targeted demographics and the ability to meet peoples’ desire to be healthier, these inexpensive gyms have become serious contenders within the health club market.  


Cory Brightwell is the CEO of Chuze Fitness with three locations across Denver including Westminster, Thornton and Littleton. Three more locations are expected to open in 2017 in the Denver-Metro area. For more information, visit chuzefitness.com.

Categories: Healthcare & Wellness, Industry Trends