Will There Be a ‘Busy’ Season This Year?

Fitness studios typically see a spike in attendance every January when people begin working out to satisfy their New Year’s resolutions. But can studios expect a busy season in the age of COVID-19? While 2021 may not bring the usual rush of clients to their favorite workouts, fitness studios can still capitalize on people’s New Year’s goals to get fit and stay fit. Along with the yearly push to get back in shape, the pandemic has placed a new emphasis on health and wellness around the globe. While we can’t predict whether studios will be able to operate at full capacity this winter, there are many ways that studios can plan to meet the surge in demand for fitness that the busy season will bring this January. 

Fitness studios typically see a spike in attendance every January when people begin working out to satisfy their New Year’s resolutions. But can studios expect a busy season in the age of COVID-19? While 2021 may not bring the usual rush of clients to their favorite workouts, fitness studios can still capitalize on people’s New Year’s goals to get fit and stay fit. Along with the yearly push to get back in shape, the pandemic has placed a new emphasis on health and wellness around the globe. While we can’t predict whether studios will be able to operate at full capacity this winter, there are many ways that studios can plan to meet the surge in demand for fitness that the busy season will bring this January. 

Historical fitness studio attendance patterns 

New Year’s resolutions drive the yearly January attendance increase. A 2017 study by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association noted that, in 2016, 10.8% of membership sales took place in January, the most for any month that year. However, the spike in attendance usually only lasts for a few weeks before attendance drops off, with January 17th being the day when the majority of people give up on their fitness goals.  In contrast, June through August, along with November and December, are usually quieter. Clients often travel during the summer, and as it gets darker earlier and temperatures drop, the motivation to workout can also decrease. 

How the pandemic affects studio attendance

With COVID-19 changing how people travel, work, and workout, 2020 studio attendance did not ebb and flow to the previously predictable rhythm. This means that the typical busy period likely won’t look the same as in years past. Foot traffic might be significantly lighter, but that doesn’t mean overall engagement needs to be as well. Thinking outside the box can allow you to still keep your business active. 


For example, if you aren’t able to offer in-person classes, you can still capitalize on the usual New Year’s rush by offering special virtual offerings, such as a ‘New Year, New You’ online workout class series, or a discount on online classes for the month of January. Or, if some of your classes utilize equipment, like balls and bands, consider putting together a home gym workout kit that you could sell to your members. It could be advertised along with a class series that will lead them through workout progressions with the equipment. 

3 ways to retain your clients 

Once you’ve successfully engaged your clientele with classes and other studio offerings, the next step is to ensure that you can retain their attendance. Here are 3 ways your studio and staff can help clients stick with their goals and help your busy season last longer.

  1. Offer variety: Offering a variety of classes can help your clients stick with their routine. For example, one study showed that people who participated in high-intensity functional training were more likely to enjoy and stick with the regimen that those who tried moderate-intensity aerobic and resistance training. Offering multiple types of levels and options can keep your clients coming back day after day. 
  1. Accountability: Keep your clients accountable. This could be anything from having them keep a weekly log of their physical activity to matching them with a trainer or workout partner who can ensure that they don’t skip a workout.  
  1. Emphasize progress, not perfection: Let your clientele know that the goal should be progress, not attaining a perfect training regimen or diet. Doing so will help set them up for success, rather than failure when inevitably their perfect training goals aren’t met. 


Studio attendance in 2021 may not resemble previous years, but that doesn’t mean your attendance has to necessarily drop. If you’re creative and willing to embrace new initiatives, you’ll be able to succeed in this new environment.