Gym chain to install fewer treadmills as women swap cardio for weights

One of Britain’s largest gym chains is installing fewer treadmills as a growing number of women swap cardio for weightlifting.John Treharne, founder of The Gym Group, which runs 230 sites across the UK, said the company was dedicating more space to weightlifting as demand grows.“A lot more women are interested in free weight training these days,” he said. “I think you’ve seen that sort of cultural change.”He noted that lifting weights has grown in popularity among women, particularly as celebrities, including Victoria Beckham, Adele, and Ellie Goulding, tout the benefits.Mr Treharne added: “There is definitely a shift away from the predominance of [cardiovascular] equipment. If you looked at one of our gyms 10 years ago, we would have had 35 treadmills, a high proportion of cross trainers and so on.“The treadmill is still the most popular machine in the gym. But we don’t have as many today, as we would have done. But the free weights area will probably be three times the size, the functional training area will have been introduced.”It comes as revenues at The Gym Group were up 18.5pc in the first half of the year, the company announced on Tuesday.It also narrowed pre-tax losses from £7.2m in the first six months of 2022 to £6.1m this year.It opened two new gyms in the first half of the year, with plans for a further five by the end of 2023. At least 10 more will follow next year.Mr Treharne said the company would consider taking on sites owned by the collapsed discounter Wilko as it expands across the UK.He said: “We’ve been very successful over the last 16 years in terms of converting existing buildings. More recently, we’ve done a lot of retail park development. We will be looking very closely at any opportunity and certainly Wilko will be part of the assessment.”

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