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Dumbbell training area in a gym, 2007
Fitness studio in Bonn, 1988

In a fitness studio , also called a fitness center , fitness center , gym , sports studio or Muckibude , you will find different devices for targeted strength or endurance training . Animated courses for aerobics , indoor cycling or the like are often offered. It is not uncommon for sauna or wellness areas to be connected.

For a fee , the visitor can use the equipment, the service and the courses of the fitness studios.

Fitness studios offer a collective and often entertaining, sociable form of fitness training or bodybuilding that goes beyond the structure of classic sports clubs . In contrast to voluntary associations, they are commercially oriented. However, there are also fitness studios run by sports clubs. Studios are also important meeting points for the fitness and bodybuilding scene.

Offers and equipment

The offer usually includes training on fitness equipment as well as supervised courses with fixed start and end times.

In the area of ​​fitness equipment, a distinction can be made between the following three categories:

When it comes to courses, the studios try to differentiate themselves from one another and advertise with a wide range:

Some fitness studios and gym chains have specially tailored their offers to female customers. Many fitness studios employ physiotherapists and sports medicine specialists or trained fitness trainers to look after their customers. Fitness trainer is a training or further education that is regulated by internal regulations of the course providers. The courses of varying duration are carried out by private educational institutions.

Large fitness chains also offer sauna , massage or wellness areas .

In so-called micro fitness studios, training is usually carried out in a smaller space without the classic fitness equipment. So- called EMS training is usually used under the guidance and control of a personal trainer , as the person exercising cannot control the stimulation current used.

Economic aspects and market situation

Fitness studios are usually financed through monthly contributions. A contract can often be signed either for a specific period of time or for a specific program. There are around 8,330 fitness companies in Germany (2017), around 1,000 of which are chains with at least three companies. The concept of these companies are extremely large studios (up to 3,000 m² and more) in metropolitan areas with more than 50,000 inhabitants , with flexible opening times (even 24 hours 7 days a week) and low monthly fees, but only with a fixed minimum contract period. But smaller concepts such as micro studios also find their place in the market.

At the end of 2016, the industry had around 9.5 million members, making it larger than the German Football Association (DFB) with around 6.9 million members. Most members in Germany, the " discount - chain " McFit (over 1.4 million members). The chain " ELIXIA ", which used to have the highest turnover , filed for bankruptcy in July 2009 . There are also the companies FitX , Injoy Fitness , Fitness First , Clever fit and Kieser Training , which occupy the top positions with over 200,000 members each.

There are gym chains in the form of franchise systems. The largest franchise systems on the German fitness market are: Injoy, Kieser Training and Clever fit.

In recent years, however, more and more sports clubs have opened their own fitness studios. Since the sports clubs have tax privileges, they usually manage to be competitive with purely commercial gyms. However, if the studio visitors are not members of the association, but rather non-members, the tax privilege does not apply. Due to this dual structure of the sports market, the situation in Germany differs from that in other European countries with fewer interventions in sport as an economic asset.


The medico-mechanical therapy of the Swedish doctor Gustav Zander was the model of today's apparatus-supported training therapies. In the 1890s there were approx. 80 so-called zander institutes .



  • Detlef Lienau, Arnulf von Scheliha: Fitness studio / health. In: Dietrich Korsch, Lars Charbonnier: The hidden sense. Religious dimensions of everyday life. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 2008, pp. 118–128, ISBN 978-3-525-57001-2 .

Web links

Commons : Gym  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Gym  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Fitness studios of the Bornheim gymnastics community
  2. Micro-fitness studio: Lifestyle-Trend in Großstädten ,, accessed on November 21, 2012
  3. Electrical muscle stimulation: give the buff current! , Spiegel Online, Ina Brzoska, September 28, 2012
  4. Statistics on the fitness industry in Germany. Accessed on January 21, 2017
  5. ↑ Number of fitness studios in Germany. Accessed on January 21, 2017
  6. DFB membership statistics 2015 Accessed on January 21, 2017
  7. Infographic: The most popular fitness chains. Retrieved June 5, 2020 .
  8. ^ Arnd Krüger : Introduction. The interdependencies in the dual structure of the sports market, in: Arnd Krüger & Axel Dreyer (Hrsg.): Sportmanagement . Munich: Oldenbourg 2004, pp. 5-22 . ISBN 3-486-20030-5