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Can social media predict the best gym experience in London?

This month we have been living ‘life resets’, and as a keen gym goer I jumped at the chance to try out the most up and coming socially recommended gyms. The gym is a hot topic of conversation on social media; over a 90 day period the ‘gym’ was mentioned a whopping 1.3 million times in the UK across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook! Unsurprisingly January dominates this conversation with 496,700 mentions although, September comes a close second at 447,000 mentions in total. I mean what’s the point in going to the gym if you can’t take a good gym selfie and share it with everyone?

I then set about researching which gym is the most up and coming gym for September to try out and fully embody this month’s trend. This was done by examining which gym has seen a growth in mentions across different social media channels, compared with January. Here are our top 4:

  1. F45, specialising in high intensity workout classes.

  2. Bannatynes, a health club complete with spa and swimming pool.

  3. Curves, a women only gym which specializes in workouts designed specifically for women.

  4. Energie, a gym which prides itself on being reasonably priced in London.

Surprisingly, no one type of gym was favourited and the data showed a full variety of gyms. F45 saw the biggest percentage growth when comparing January and September with a 133% growth in social mentions. This was closely followed by Curves with 125% growth. Energie (45%) and Bannatynes (23%)  also showed a decent increase in mentions. The majority of the gym conversations for these brands was centered around special offers and new gym openings however, each gym had its own hook to increase mentions… Energie utilised 'NationalFitnessDay' to successfully generate online conversations between members. Bannatynes increase in mentions seemed to be linked to the overall lifestyle the club has to offer: gym, spa and smoothie. Notably for Curves and F45 the conversation was between members celebrating an individual’s fitness success and different types of workouts.

The next step, was for me to see if these socially recommended gyms are all they’re cracked up to be. I was able to visit Bannatynes, Energie and F45. Unfortunately Curves only operate in fairly select regions of the UK and so I was unable to get to one.

To examine how good these gyms really are I created a rating system (1 was the lowest and 5 was the highest) and scored the gyms across a number of categories – although note this is my subjective judgement as a gym-goer!: GymEquipment and Facilities SociabilityValue for moneyAtmosphereTotalEnergie21328Bannatynes323210F45351413

So the scores on the doors: F45 has come out on top; although the most expensive at £150 per month you do really seem to get what you pay for. The main attraction to this gym for me is that every session is like having a personal training session. Every class you are encouraged to improve and your successes are really celebrated by the trainers – it feels like a real community unlike the other 2 gyms I tried. This is reflected in the online conversations; F45 members are constantly encouraging one and other. Turns out the social data is correct on this occasion…. All I need to do now is find £150 a month to join! New company perk?


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