Several Times a Week: The Frequent Fitness Fan

couple running on Brooklyn Bridge. Image Credit: Pexels

With the recent news that working out once a week may be enough, we wondered who works out several times a week. What makes them tick, and work out, so often?

We’ve been tracking this question since the beginning of (our) time.

Weighted to US Adults, 36% answered that they exercise several times a week. Just over half (56%) of the US adult population exercises in general. I suppose this is a glass half full conundrum, but this is promising when it comes to staying active. And of those who work out at all, they are more likely to do so weekly than monthly.

Insights on Those who Answered Several Times a Week, the Frequent Fitness Fans

Fitness Freaks Aren’t Necessarily Spring Chickens

It’s a pretty evenly split, with men slightly more likely than women to answer this way. Maybe men are more frequent to get in their run or lift because women have motherly (or grandma) duties? Not necessarily. Both parents and grandparents are less likely to answer several times per week.

When it comes to age, a somewhat surprising insight: Those 55 and older are more likely than other age groups to answer several times per week. Perhaps time is a big factor here, and how much one has when early-in-life responsibilities pass – you know – like a job. Not to mention potential recommendations from doctors to exercise more with age. Again, possibly due to age, these weekly fitness fans are more likely to earn $100K+ per year.

When it comes to region, those who answered several times per week are less likely to live in the U.S. midwest and more likely to live in the U.S. Northeast.

These Fitness Fans Aren’t Big on Hitting the Gym

Of those who exercise several times a week, how many are doing so at a gym? Surprisingly, more than half of them answered they never do so at a gym:

This could be an opportunity for gyms to bring in new customers by offering more options for classes or deals. We looked at people who workout several times a week and compared them with Do you currently own a home gym or exercise equipment? The data show that of this group,  23% own newer at-home equipment and 17% own some but need to replace it.

What time of day do they work out? 30% say they typically exercise between 5 and 8 pm. And another 30% answer in the early morning before 11 am.

Healthy Menu Items are Key

Those who exercise several times per week are more likely to be wine and beer drinkers and prefer dining at locations where the menu items are healthy. They most often dine at casual, independent and/or upscale restaurants – but neither for lunch. They like to pack their own lunch and cook their own dinner at home.

Not surprisingly, these frequent exercisers are also more likely than the general population to buy organic, local food and aren’t as interested in fast food. Maybe this is a nod to casual restaurants to amp up their game of healthy menu items. Or maybe all the more reason for places like Whole Foods to add value grab and go selections. These fitness fans prefer Trader Joe’s compared to Whole Foods and are more likely answer that they love shopping at TJ’s.

Social Media Matters in More Ways Than One

Retailers of athleisure items should know that social media affects the clothing these folks buy.  And they are more likely to be active on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, though less active on Facebook. Another way social media influences them is on the music they listen to and the TV and movies they view. Those who are most influenced by TV are not part of this frequent exercise group, but they are most influenced by ads seen on social media. These social channels seem to be the key area to get to this active group.

When it comes to paying to stream music, they are 2x more likely to pay than those who exercise a few times a month. Their Netflix-watching goes hand in hand with their exercise- those who exercise several times a week are also more likely to watch Netflix a few times week. They also are more likely to go to the movies at least once a month.

What about fitness trackers and fitness fans? 11% already own one and like it, 6% have one and don’t use it much, and another 11% don’t own one but want one.

Active in Their Leisure Time, Too

It’s somewhat interesting how serious about sports these active individuals are, illustrated by the fact that they are more likely to regularly attend sporting events. Looking at these people in comparison to Gen Pop., they are more likely to be fans of all four major sports leagues: NFL, NBA, NHL and the MLB. But it’s not just the big leagues: they are more likely to be college football and basketball fans as well.

Fitness Fans Love German Cars

Based on their income and age, it may be no surprise that this group is more likely than the general population to primarily drive a German-made car.

When checking out brand awareness, one thing stood out about this group: 58% of frequent fitness fans haven’t heard of REI. This was surprising. Perhaps the retailer can focus more of their marketing on fitness wear in addition to outdoor gear to gain new traction among this active group.

Social Consciousness Matters as Much as Getting in Steps

Lastly, we looked at different lifestyle and social consciousness aspects of this group. People who work out several times a week are more likely to favor socially conscious businesses. Charity donors of all kinds are also more likely to fall into this group than others.

Where do we go from here? It will be interesting to track this question over time. Retailers, gyms, fitness technology companies, grocery brands and the like can rely on a large segment of the adult population to work out several times a week. And influencing them via social media and/or online advertising is probably their best bet.

Originally published on in Consumer Insights