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The Fit Guide Launches in NY. Its Data Will Help Fitness Operators Improve, Say Co-Founders

The Fit Guide Launches in NY. Its Data Will Help Fitness Operators Improve, Say Co-Founders

Fit Guide
An international rating system for fitness clubs, The Fit Guide has launched in New York first, with plans to expand to London and Singapore

Every business is ranked these days, from healthcare providers to restaurants, so why not fitness businesses? Enter The Fit Guide, a service that rates and celebrates fitness clubs crushing the game.

The rating system is beginning in New York and plans to expand internationally by the end of the year.

The Fit Guide was created by Jack Thomas and Matt Lavender, two experienced fitness and hospitality professionals with a combined 25 years of experience. During a casual conversation, they realized that, unlike restaurants and hotels with established rating systems, there isn’t a global authority providing a similar service for the fitness industry. 

Consider it similar to Zagat… but for gyms and fitness studios. 

Collaborating with hospitality and fitness industry experts, The Fit Guide covers over 250 objective standards, evaluating what it believes encompasses a truly premium fitness experience. The carefully created ranking system evaluates reception service, group class experience, facilities, technology and online presence. 

Thomas says the decision to launch The Fit Guide in New York, a city renowned for its lavish consumer experiences, has worked out well.

“We wanted our very first city to be the world’s premier market for boutique clubs and studios, which is why we chose New York,” Thomas tells Athletech News. “This has proven to be the right decision as the brands we’ve spoken to there really understand the importance of hospitality, community and creating an experience.”

Aside from providing fitness enthusiasts with a roadmap to finding the best fitness experience in their city, The Fit Guide’s rating system holds fitness businesses accountable, ensuring that they provide a positive experience. Gyms and studios are anonymously visited by The Fit Guide using an unbiased and independent approach, and the company stresses that unlike other popular ranking systems, The Fit Guide’s ratings cannot be bought or influenced.

Ultimately, The Fit Guide’s creators believe the system will help fitness businesses better serve consumers.

“Through my decades of experience in hotel, spa and restaurant evaluations I can confidently say that an extra layer of accountability is a huge step towards creating consistently great experiences,” Lavender says. “The fitness industry has been missing this up to now and we believe that the time is right to introduce a global standard that promotes excellence and recognizes the best clubs.”

Which NYC clubs got 5-star ratings?

Beginning in New York, The Fit Guide evaluated fifty clubs, with five receiving its highest honor, The Fit Guide 5-Star Award. According to the creators, the five-star rating reflects an exceptional overall experience.

Orangetheory Manhattan-Plaza District, Physique 57 Soho, F45 Lower East Side, MADabolic Brooklyn, and Fhitting Room Flatiron were credited with The Fit Guide 5-Star Award. 

Fit Guide

As an example of how The Fit Guide reviews fitness spots, Fhitting Room’s Flatiron location received high marks for its instructor’s infectious enthusiasm and well-structured class. According to the Fit Guide, its pre-visit call to the club was also impressive. Even though the workout was challenging, the anonymous Fit Guide reporter noted that the Fhitting Room team made sure the exercises were scaled to a variety of abilities. The report revealed that Fhitting Room’s training area was clean and well-lit, and the equipment appeared high quality. The Fhitting Room also received a favorable evaluation for its free workout and shower towels as well as its in-class technology, which was noted as particularly useful. 

Twenty-three other fitness clubs and studios in New York were recognized for excellence, achieving The Fit Guide’s 4-Star Award. However, facilities and gyms that don’t reach the exclusive 5-star or 4-star ranking aren’t ignored; The Fit Guide says it offers “special mentions” to clubs that have been endorsed and rated. 

Thomas and Lavender assure that no detail is overlooked. The Fit Guide highlights facilities and the service they provide while also paying special attention to the experience for a fitness consumer, such as how the team and workout make a visitor feel from the moment they step inside until the moment they exit. 

Fitness clubs have private access to The Fit Guide’s data via an online portal where they can view a breakdown of their results across five categories. They can also select a comprehensive report highlighting all standards and observations, which The Fit Guide explains is an important tool for recognizing excellence and identifying areas for improvement. 

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Owners and managers of health and fitness clubs can add their clubs to be featured in The Fit Guide, but before they are listed, they will be anonymously visited and evaluated. 

Lavender expressed excitement about bringing the same level of quality assurance concepts found in the hospitality industry to the premium fitness industry. According to Lavender, who its the CEO of Enlites, a hospitality consultancy, one of The Fit Guide’s goals was to create a professional, thorough and objective evaluation process.

“We’re proud to say that we have achieved just that,” he said.

Fit Guide

It’s The Fit Guide’s deep data collection that Thomas is particularly excited about.

“Improving the fitness industry so we can all help more people live healthier, stronger lives is what drives us at The Fit Guide, but one element of our process that gets us really excited is the deep data set we’re collecting,” Thomas said.

“This will help us to educate club owners and operators and start positive conversations on how we can improve. For example, this week we highlighted the percentage of clubs across each city that are finishing classes late, which was higher than we expected. Each week we’re releasing industry stats and insights through our newsletter.”

While New York is the launching pad for The Fit Guide, the ranking system will soon launch in London and Singapore, and there are plans to expand to other leading fitness cities domestically and internationally by the end of the year.

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