What Club Industry’s 2021 Top 100 Health Clubs List Reveals about 2020

(Editor’s note: Data for Club Industry’s 2021 Top 100 Health Clubs list was collected from July 2021 through August 2021 for data from the year 2020. Club owners were asked to submit through an online form their 2020 revenue, memberships, increase/decrease from the previous year, anticipated revenue increase/decrease in 2021, employee numbers, states they operate in and other information. A larger-than-normal number of club operators declined to provide their information for 2020, and two club companies would only provide the information confidentially, so they are not on the list. You can view the full list in this story or in this photo gallery.)

It would be an understatement to say that 2020 was a bad year. It was undoubtedly the worst year that the U.S. fitness industry has faced as health clubs in almost every state were closed for at least a month (and many for much longer) in spring 2020 due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

Slowly, some states began to allow health clubs and other businesses to reopen, but in many localities, capacity restrictions were in place. And as a second COVID-19 wave hit the country later in 2020, some cities and states again closed gyms and other businesses or required them to conduct business outside, halt in-person group exercise and/or limit capacity.

The result was that U.S. fitness industry revenue dropped 58 percent to $20.4 billion in 2020 from what had been a record year in 2019 when the industry pulled in $35 billion, according to IHRSA, the trade association for commercial clubs. About 19 percent of studios and 14 percent of clubs permanently closed in 2020. IHRSA estimates that 1.4 million club employees lost their jobs, which was about 44 percent of the 3.2 million industry jobs.

Several major brands filed for bankruptcy in 2020:

As part of restructuring, some of these brands closed multiple locations: 24 Hour Fitness closed 144, Gold’s Gyms closed 31 sites and Town Sports closed more than 100, according to IHRSA.

Club Industry’s 2021 Top 100 Health Clubs list reflects much of the distress the industry experienced. The list ranks U.S. health clubs based on their revenue in 2020. All but one brand on the list reported a decrease in 2020 revenue of anywhere from 3 percent to 75 percent.

(View the full list in this story or in this photo gallery.)

An analysis of the list brings to light just how much COVID-19 impacted the fitness business. In the more than 20 years that Club Industry has published the Top 100 Clubs list, never has the list included so many revenue decreases and such deep declines. Not even during the 2008-2009 recession did so many companies report a revenue decrease: 16 reported a decrease in 2008 revenue, 36 reported a decrease in 2009 revenue and 17 reported a decrease in 2010 revenue.

Twenty-two of the 75 clubs on this year's list experienced a decline in revenue of 50 percent or more with the highest revenue decrease at 76 percent.

The largest club companies often operate in multiple states and for those for which a comparison with the prior year could be calculated, the revenue declines were high:

  • No. 1. Life Time, Chanhassen, MN (155 clubs in 29 states and Canada): -50 percent
  • No. 5. Planet Fitness, Hampton, NH (103 owned stores and 2,021 franchised locations in 50 states plus Washington, DC) -41 percent
  • No. 6. Exos, Phoenix (55 owned clubs and 474 franchised club in 43 states): -33 percent
  • No. 7. Orangetheory Fitness, Boca Raton, FL (18 owned clubs, 1,396 franchised and two licensed in 50 states): -46 percent
  • No. 8. Bay Club, Pleasanton, CA (24 owned clubs in two states): -63 percent
  • No. 10. Crunch Fitness, New York (29 owned clubs, 336 franchise and three licensed in 32 states): -55 percent

One of the larger brands that reported less of a revenue hit in 2020 was Xponential Fitness, Irvine, CA, which ranked No. 10 and had 40 corporate-owned studios and 1,672 franchised locations in 48 states at the end of 2020. It reported a revenue decrease of 17 percent.

F45 Training, Austin, Texas, ranked No. 11 and reported an 11 percent decrease in revenue. It had no corporate-owned locations but 1,437 franchised clubs at the end of 2020.

Both Xponential and F45 Training filed for initial public offerings in 2021 and now trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Companies with revenue declines of 10 percent or less were:

  • No. 14. Mountainside Fitness, Scottsdale, AZ (18 owned clubs in one state): -10 percent
  • No. 20. Bailey’s Gym Inc., Jacksonville, FL (16 owned location in two states): -3 percent
  • No. 27. National Fitness Centers, Knoxville, TN (eight owned clubs in one state): -9 percent
  • No. 61. Fuel Fitness, Missoula, MT (seven owned clubs in two states): -10 percent

More details on some of these clubs are included below.


Because of the limited number of clubs submitting for this year’s list, it is difficult to determine how state closures of health clubs to prevent the spread of COVID-19 impacted clubs by state. However, some trends can be seen in a limited capacity by looking at a breakdown of revenue decreases by state.

California initially closed health clubs on March 20, 2020, reopening on June 12, 2020, but closed again July 13, 2020. The state reopened regionally and often to outdoor fitness only and with capacity limits between January 2021 and March 2021, meaning some clubs in the state may have been closed for most of a year.

Seven of the clubs on the list operate mostly in California, and these seven were among the clubs with the highest revenue decreases:

  • Auburn Racquet Club, Auburn, CA (one club in California): -25 percent
  • Bay Club, Pleasanton, CA (23 clubs in California and one in Oregon): -63 percent
  • California Athletic Clubs, Santa Barbara, CA (six clubs in California and one in Utah): -22 percent
  • Forma Gym, Walnut Creek, CA (two clubs in California): -44 percent
  • In-Shape Health Clubs, Stockton, CA (60 health clubs in California): -61 percent
  • Fitness SF, Corte Madera, CA (eight clubs in California): -75 percent
  • Prime Time Athletic Clubs, Burlingame, CA (one club in California): -66 percent

The Claremont Club in Claremont, California, traditionally makes the Top 100 Clubs list, but it closed on Aug. 1, 2020, due to the pandemic, although it was later purchased by a new owner and reopened. The last year that the Claremont Club appeared on the list was in 2019 when it ranked No. 57 with $14.26 million in 2018 revenue.

New York

New York also had extended closures and limitations upon reopening. New York closed clubs on March 16, 2020, reopening on Aug. 26, 2020, but indoor group classes (which mostly impacted studios but also group fitness classes at clubs) were not allowed to resume until March 22, 2021 — and then only at 33 percent capacity.

The following clubs operate in New York only and experienced the following decreases in 2020 revenue:

  • Energy Fitness, St. James, NY (four clubs): -53 percent
  • Mercedes Club, New York (one club): -61 percent
  • Saw Mill Club, Mt. Kisco, NY (two clubs): -55 percent


Illinois closed clubs on March 16, 2020, and reopened them on June 26, 2020, with capacity restrictions and limited amenities. Then, on Nov. 18, 2020, clubs in Chicago were further limited by city officials in the hours they could operate, with capacity restrictions and with the closure of group fitness classes. The numbers from these Illinois-based clubs (most of which operate in the Chicago area) show how much the restrictions impacted their 2020 revenue:

  • Fitness Formula Clubs, Chicago (11 owned clubs and three managed clubs): -46 percent
  • East Bank Club, Chicago (one club): -52 percent
  • FitNation - Gurnee Park District, Gurnee, IL (two clubs): -58 percent
  • Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs, Manhattan, IL (three owned clubs and nine franchised locations in Illinois and Indiana): -70 percent

New Jersey, Michigan, Maryland

Other clubs with large decreases in 2020 revenue were in New Jersey, Michigan and Maryland.

New Jersey kept clubs closed from March 16, 2020, to Sept. 1, 2020, reopening with capacity limitations, impacting the 2020 revenue of the following New Jersey-based clubs as follows:

  • HealthQuest of Central Jersey, Flemington, NJ (one club): -59 percent
  • The Atlantic Club, Manasquan, NJ (two clubs): -53 percent

Michigan kept gyms closed from March 16, 2020, to Sept. 9, 2020, but on Nov. 18, 2020, group fitness classes were ordered closed in the state. All of this resulted in the following decreases in 2020 revenue:

  • Sparrow Michigan Athletic Club, East Lansing, MI (one club): -75 percent
  • MVP Sports Club (six clubs in Michigan and three in Florida): -58 percent
  • Ascension Genesys Health Club, Grand Blanc, MI (one club in Michigan): -47 percent

Maryland closed clubs from March 16, 2020, to June 19, 2020. However, Baltimore capped capacity at gyms at 25 percent on Nov. 12, 2020. In December 2020, group fitness was prohibited in Baltimore through Feb. 22, 2021, when group exercise classes were allowed at 25 percent capacity or 10 people, whichever is higher.

Companies on the list operating clubs in Maryland experienced the following revenue decreases in 2020:

  • Lifebridge Health and Fitness, Pikesville, MD (two clubs): -70 percent
  • The Arena Club, Bel Air, MD (one club): -30 percent
  • Merritt Clubs, Baltimore (nine owned clubs and eight managed clubs): -42 percent


In Arizona, health clubs were ordered closed on March 18, 2020, and reopened on May 13, 2020. Officials closed them again on June 29, 2020, and reopened at 25 percent capacity on Aug. 10, 2020. They were not allowed to open at full capacity until March 5, 2021. Results from the two clubs on the list that operate only in Arizona show a difference in the revenue impact based on which company followed the closure orders and which one defied it.

DMB Sports Clubs dba Village Health Clubs operates only in Arizona and has four clubs. It had a 51 percent decline in revenue in 2020 compared to 2019. It complied with the closure mandates.

On the other hand, Mountainside Family Fitness, which operates clubs in Arizona only and has 18 clubs there, did not comply with the closure order on June 29. For 2020, its revenue declined just 10 percent.


Florida ordered health clubs closed on March 20, 2020, but reopened them May 18, 2020, initially at 50 percent capacity. As a result, the following clubs operating in Florida and/or Georgia had 2020 revenue decreases as follows:

  • Bailey’s Gym Inc. (operates 16 clubs in Florida and Georgia): -3 percent
  • Gainesville Health & Fitness (three clubs in Florida): -35 percent

As noted previously, MVP Sports Clubs operates six clubs in Michigan and three clubs in Florida. With the majority of its clubs in Michigan where facilities were curtailed from opening fully for longer, it experienced a 58 percent decrease in 2020 revenue.


Texas closed clubs from March 19, 2020, to May 18, 2020. Once reopened, gyms initially were limited to 25 percent capacity. Companies on the Top 100 clubs list operating solely in Texas reported the following decreases in 2020 revenue:

  • The Houstonian, Houston (one club): -19 percent
  • Cooper Aerobics Center, Dallas (one club): -27 percent
  • Memorial Athletic Club, Houston (one club): -36 percent


Tennessee also had a limited gym closure period. Clubs were closed from March 31, 2020, to May 1, 2020. The following club chain operates solely in Tennessee and reported the following decrease:

  • National Fitness Centers, Knoxville, TN (eight clubs): -9 percent


Although the Top 100 Clubs list includes just a small percentage of clubs in the country, they anecdotally and perhaps logically indicate that health clubs in states with shorter closure periods experienced lower revenue decreases in 2020.

This data is significant in demonstrating that the perception by policymakers that health clubs are not providing an essential service impacted the industry’s vitality.

The pandemic showed that society doesn't take health clubs as seriously as the industry thought it did, Crunch CEO Jim Rowley said. 

“Yet, the fitness industry is as relevant and essential as ever,” he said. “We need both to support and receive help from IHRSA and other regional advocacy groups to ensure we have a strong voice among government and business leaders. We must build a coalition to advocate for and protect our industry in the future.”

Even though the Paycheck Protection Program and Employee Retention Credit were available to some health club operators, the industry was not given direct relief as were some other industries as part of the six major bills Congress has passed to offer relief to the country.

That is why IHRSA and the National Health and Fitness Alliance (NHFA) are pushing for passage of the Gym Mitigation and Survival Act of 2021 (GYMS Act), which establishes a grant program that would provide funding specifically to U.S. health clubs. IHRSA and the NHFA are lobbying members of the U.S. Senate to sponsor the bill. As of Oct. 31, the bill had 156 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives and 27 in the Senate. For details about how to urge your senator to support the bill, click here.