What is The Fit Guide?

The Fit Guide is the only global, independent rating system for premium fitness clubs and studios.

How do clubs and studios get rated?

Once a year, we send an experienced, highly-trained evaluator to each club and studio in the guide to conduct an anonymous evaluation.

Our ratings process is objective, thorough and completely unbiased.

What is covered in an ratings evaluation?

The evaluation process covers the entire client experience from start to finish, across five sections: Reception Services, Class Experience, Equipment & Studio, Public Areas, Digital & Technology.

These sections are further subdivided, for example, Class Experience includes: Class Set Up & Beginning, Main Session, Ending & Post Class, and Overall Class Experience.

Furthermore each standard, regardless of the section it is in, has a classification such as ‘Technical Skills & Knowledge’ or Elevated Brand Experience.

How many standards/assessment points are there in total?

An evaluation is based on approximately 250 standards. However, the exact number depends on the concept or facilities on offer.

How are standards/sections weighted?

Most standards are worth 1 point, but a small, select number of high importance standards, such as whether showers are available, are worth more.

Sections are weighted based on how much of an impact they have on the overall experience.

For example, the Class Experience section makes up 50% of the total score, with the other four sections making up the remaining 50%.

How were the standards created?

The standards were created by our founders Jack and Matt in collaboration with leading hospitality and fitness industry experts.

In creating this process, we combined Matt’s expertise and previous background as Director, Field Evaluations for Forbes Travel Guide with Jack’s background running one of Asia’s leading fitness brands, BASE, which has won numerous industry awards such as Asia’s Gym of the Year and ClassPass Studio’s ‘Bangkok’s Best Studio’.

In the development phase, we completed hundreds of test runs, collecting feedback from fitness club owners and managers, evaluators, coaches and hospitality experts.

After almost a year of work and hundreds of hours of test classes, editing and discussion, we now have an extremely comprehensive and thorough system.

We are committed to constantly improve the process, ensuring that it is relevant, changes with the times and accurately reflects the experience.

We welcome any feedback on our process and we are currently putting together a board of representatives from across fitness that will consider all suggestions from the industry.

What are the different ratings that can be achieved?

The very best fitness clubs and studios will receive four- and five-star ratings.

A five-star rating is rare and requires excellence across all sections of the assessment. Less than 5% of clubs currently achieve this, with it being a mission of ours to increase this figure.

Clubs that did not quite achieve these levels of excellence but who are still offering good service and a quality product will receive our ‘Recommended’ rating.

Many clubs that we visit do not meet the high standards and requirements of inclusion in The Fit Guide. These clubs are not listed.

How are the ratings calculated?

A five-star rating is awarded for those clubs achieving 90% and above. A four-star rating is awarded to those achieving 80% and above, while ‘Recommended’ is 70% and above. Any club that scores below 70% will not be included in The Fit Guide.

Who are The Fit Guide evaluators?

Our evaluators come from a variety of different backgrounds but have all been selected based on their ability to objectively observe and report their experiences accurately.

While an interest in fitness is an advantage, we do not require that they have worked in the industry - in fact, it is important that they can assess from the perspective of an average guest without pre-conceived ideas.

Many of our evaluators have hotel or restaurant evaluating experience and all reports are edited by our management team who have a strong background in the highest level of hospitality quality assurance.

Interested in becoming an evaluator? Email us at team@thefitguide.com

What is the evaluator training process like?

Our evaluator onboarding program is rigorous and thorough, involving both theory/classroom style learning and onsite in person training. Only when evaluators have completed this comprehensive training, with quality control checks and an exam, are they able to complete full evaluations.

How do you decide which gyms to assess?

For a club to be considered for our evaluation process, it must first be a premium facility that offers group class training, and is focused on providing a high-end experience.

They must deliver their own unique training programs, rather than, say, a Les Mills or Zumba class.

When launching The Fit Guide in a new city, we take many factors into consideration when choosing which clubs we will evaluate and highlight, such as search engine ranking, social media followings and engagement, media coverage and existing online reviews or articles.

We also speak to industry experts and insiders on the ground to build our initial list.

If, after visiting a club, we see that it is not up to standard or unsuitable, we do not evaluate them.

If a brand has numerous locations, do you assess all of them? How do you decide which ones to assess?

Some brands have many locations. For example, some of the franchised brands might have up to 30 or 40 locations in a city.

For our launch phase, when this occurs we will assess one location if a brand has up to three clubs, two locations if a brand has up to nine clubs and three locations if a brand has ten or more clubs.

We choose these clubs based on whether a location is seen, or advertised as, a ‘flagship’ location, how prime the location is or which one is the busiest or most popular.

When we revisit cities, we will look to assess more locations from the leading brands.

If you’d like your club to feature in The Fit Guide, contact us at team@thefitguide.com

How do you decide which cities to assess?

The ultimate aim is to assess every major fitness city globally. We are launching in New York, London and Singapore, and plan to have a presence in 15 cities worldwide by the end of 2023.

We will continue to expand to new cities and destinations over the coming years.

Want to see The Fit Guide in your city? Let us know!

How do you ensure that the ratings are fair and objective?

Our evaluators are trained to the highest standards, using training methods and processes from hospitality.

All reports first go through a thorough editing and quality assurance check by our team, who have a deep background and years of experience in hotel evaluations.

Evidence and extra information is provided by our evaluators to our quality assurance team to ensure the highest levels of consistency and accuracy.

They are then subjected to another, final check before being made available to the club.

What if we disagree with our rating or a particular standard?

As a club owner or manager, you have the option to access your full report with how you scored on all our 250+ standards.

If there is a standard assessment that you do not agree with, we offer an appeals process whereby you can submit evidence supporting your claim that a standard has been incorrectly assessed.

We will then submit this to our appeals board who will carefully consider if your result for that standard should be changed.

The rating is based on only one visit. What if you caught us on a bad day?

The very best clubs offer an exceptional experience to every client, every time.

However, we recognise that no-one is perfect and our system reflects that - you can miss as many as 25 standards and still get our highest 5-star rating.

Clubs do, however, have the option to request a re-evaluation after reviewing their full report.

We are not able to tell clubs when a re-evaluation will take place and we cannot make any guarantees that your new score will be better than your current one.

This paid service is simply for us to conduct another unbiased, anonymous evaluation.

My club/studio/gym has not been evaluated. How can it be included in The Fit Guide?

We are always happy to consider any club, studio or gym that would like to be evaluated and included.

If you are interested in being evaluated, either for the public The Fit Guide or as a private evaluation for your team and business, go to our Add Your Club page.

Who can see the rating?

The Fit Guide is a great resource for people to find the best clubs in their city, or when they’re travelling.

Once we launch a city, the general public will have access to a list of the city’s top clubs, as well as your club profile page which will display a basic breakdown of each category and whether you achieved a standard four-stars, five-stars, Recommended or Rated.

As a club owner or manager, you will have free access to a more specific breakdown of how you scored in each category, and your exact overall rating.

The full reports with all 250+ standards with comments from our evaluators are available as a paid service.

I'm a club owner. How can I improve my rating?

We are here to make the industry better and to help clubs create incredible, five-star client experiences every time. Our process will help us achieve this in many ways.

For some club owners and managers, the report will offer enough information and detail that you can highlight what’s wrong and start to work internally on improving your training and systems.

There will likely be areas for improvement you’ve never even considered or been made aware of. Our report will highlight these things.

If, as a gym owner or manager, you need more help improving the experience, we provide services and products that offer a deeper level of support and resources.

We have video training (coming soon) and in person onsite training available with highly experienced hospitality and fitness industry professionals.

For more information on these services contact us at team@thefitguide.com

Who is behind TFG?

The Fit Guide is founded by Matt Lavender and Jack Thomas.

Matt Lavender is the founder and CEO of Enlites, a consultancy providing quality assurance and learning & development to the hospitality industry. Former roles include Director, Field Evaluations for Forbes Travel Guide and Operations Director for Hotel IQ International. Matt has trained over 80 hotel inspectors, traveled to more than 100 countries and provided consulting services to over 700 luxury hotels, resorts, restaurants, spas, including notable brands such as Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Ritz-Carlton, Six Senses, and Rosewood.

Jack Thomas is the founder and CEO of multi-award-winning club BASE and host of the Fitness Business Asia podcast, a weekly show with a mission to raise the standards of the fitness industry. Jack was recognized for his contributions to fitness with the Industry Appreciation Award at the 2022 Fit Summit, which is given for ‘contributing immensely to the growth and success of the fitness and wellness industry in Asia Pacific’.

How is TFG different to Yelp, Trip Advisor or ClassPass reviews?

Yelp or Tripadvisor reviews are notoriously unreliable, with many reviews either fake or from disgruntled customers. Many establishments offer incentives for leaving positive reviews and often the leading businesses are simply good at marketing. As such, reviews tend to be polarized, disproportionately made up of the very negative and very positive.

ClassPass reviews, whilst offering a decent guideline, are a single-star rating average given for the whole experience, with most gyms averaging between 4.5-4.9 stars.

The Fit Guide evaluations are on a level not offered in our industry, until now. Our process takes the best from hospitality evaluations and covers every aspect of the experience. TFG will highlight some of those lesser-known clubs that deliver an amazing experience but aren’t listed on ClassPass or don’t get the recognition of some of the bigger, more well-known brands.

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Insider knowledge, statistics and valuable analysis based on our deep data set. Delivered to your inbox, every Wednesday.