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What's on the Gym Goer's Plate?

All of us want to be healthy: eat right, exercise, you know the drill.

Many join a gym: according to the IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association) a whopping 55 million Americans are members of a health club [1].

We were wondering if those who exercise regularly (or at least join a gym) also change their eating habits and if so - how.

To find out, we used our dataset of transactions from over 3 million credit/debit cards: we looked at spending at major quick-serve restaurant chains and compared all customers to those who also spend money at one of large gym chains: LA Fitness, Planet Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness.

We evaluated the spend-per-customer metric over the last 180 days and found a few restaurant chains where gym goers diverge from the average customer:

The following trends emerged:
Members of LA Fitness spend more at Starbucks, Chipotle and Panera Bread while spending less at Sonic Drive-In.

Members of 24 Hour Fitness also spend more at Starbucks and Chipotle. These two fast casual chains seem to be perceived as more health-oriented.

24 Hour Fitness members spent meaningfully less at Dunkin Donuts, Wendy's, Burger King and Sonic Drive-In.

Interestingly, members of Planet Fitness seem to like the most popular fast food chains including those that aren't necessarily perceived as being "healthy": these customers spend significantly more at McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts and at least as much or more at all other major fast and fast casual chains.
These customers of Planet Fitness seem to adhere to Planet Fitness' "Judgment Free Zone" philosophy.


  1. http://www.ihrsa.org/about-the-industry

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