Health and fitness industry overview in MENA region: What you need to know about the middle east and global market



The health needs of people are constantly changing, and this has led to the rise in the demand of the Health and Wellness market at the global level. In present times, the global health and wellness industry is worth USD 4.2 trillion .However, The global health and fitness club market is projected to grow at the rate of 10.6% during the forecast period 2018 to 2023 . Based on the consistent expansion of the market, demands are always increasing on the health and fitness associates , partners and facilities. Today, people are willing to spend more amount of money on improving their health and well-being. Some of the key sectors that exist in the prosperous Health and Wellness industry include healthy eating and nutrition, personal care and beauty, fitness and mind-body, workplace wellness, and many more. All these sectors have contributed to the overall growth and expansion of the entire industry. Based on findings gathered by The FACTS Academy2020 , approximately 9 million members utilize 13,478  health clubs in 10 markets in the Middle East and North Africa. These 10 markets collectively generate roughly $2.1 billion in industry revenue. Saudi Arabia leads all markets in this region in revenue with approximately $1.2 billion  generated at 1,574 health clubs, which attract more than 1.5 million members. In terms of club count, Egypt leads all MENA markets with 7100 facilities. Despite conflicts in several MENA countries, there is a demand for fitness as consumers seek to exercise and reap the benefits of an active lifestyle. Successful international fitness operators, including Fitness First, Gold’s Gym, and World’s Gym, have expanded into the Middle East. Fitness Time, based in Saudi Arabia, has more than 160 facilities in the Middle East, highlighting the opportunity in this region. The outlook of the health club industry is bright and promising. As leading economies continue to improve, the industry is expected to thrive in the global marketplace, serving consumers with a variety of health and fitness needs. Offering access to fitness amenities, instructors, trainers, and coaches, club operators are well-positioned to lead a healthier world.



MENA population overview 

The Demographics of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region show a highly populated, culturally diverse region spanning three continents. As of 2018, the population was nearly 578 million. The most populous country in the MENA region is Egypt with nearly 100 million people, accounting for approximately 17% of the total. The MENA region is characterized with a young average population age. The median age across the MENA region is 26.8 years old. The younger generation is growing, creating an age bulge and high rates of youth looking for better life , health and career . Which creates an available work force for the fitness industry to use with big potentials and enthusiasm for growth?


Health overview in MENA region

In the past several decades, countries in the Middle East and North Africa have made significant improvements in developing their health systems and improving the health status of their populations. However, the region continues to face substantial and diverse political, economic, social, and health challenges, a rise in the burden of noncommunicable diseases, ongoing conflicts in several countries, and refugee crises , creating bigger challenges for the region to overcome and a necessity for fitness orientation on a bigger scale . noncommunicable diseases accounts for approximately 74% death yearly, obesity ratio around 40% , 80% of the population suffers from muscular dysfunction and about 10% are diabetics. 



 Fitness industry workforce in MENA region

Due to the fast movement toward a healthier lifestyle and the increased awareness of the Arab community by the importance of living actively to fight against the health risks in our region, the demand on the fitness professionals increased and shortage in the workforce is found , which creates a lot of chances for our youth population to hunt for opportunities and use the advantage of this expansion to achieve their goals either as a fitness professionals , marketing&sales specialists, operating managers, nutritionists, Spa specialist .. etc.  FACTS Academy research team on the MENA workforce in the fitness industry found that:

  • there’re about 100,000 Fitness industry (in-house) workforce(including gym management, Fitness trainers ,sales and front desk, House keeping, IT, accountants …etc. )
  •  the ratio between the fitness trainers/instructors and the supporting professionals is about 50% to 50% 
  • 50,000 Trainers/ instructor serving 20 million, so the ratio is around (0.0025% ) which (1:400) ( 1 free trainer to 400 member, compared to ACSM bench mark (1%) (1:100)  
  • Personal training penetration rate is 5-10 % compared to International rate of 15 -20 % Trainers utilization hours in MENA are 25H per week/100 per month Compared to 50H per week/ 200 per month
  • Personal trainers who provide one to one training and small group fitness training form an integral part of the industry, experiencing annual growth of 4.9% over the past five years and the profession is expected to reach 24% growth from 2010 t0 2020.  

Personal trainer’s income in some countries of MENA region

The following Personal trainer’s  income includes commission and perks,  Personal Trainer salaries may differ drastically based on education, experience, skills, gender, or location. 



  •  Egypt, the Personal Trainer typically earns around 10,000 EGP per month. Salaries range from 5000 EGP (lowest) to 18,000 EGP (highest), with median annual income of 120,000 EGP.


  • United Arab Emirates, The average income for a Personal Trainer is  70,500 AED annually and the highest salary may reach to 168K AED


  • Saudi Arabia, Personal Trainer  typically earns around 15,000 SAR per month. Salaries range from 7,500 SAR (lowest) to 23,400 SAR (highest).with median annual income of 180,000 SAR .


  • Kuwait,  typically earns around 1,300 KWD per month. Salaries range from 600 KWD (lowest) to 2000 KWD (highest).with median annual income of 15,600 KWD.


  • Qatar, Personal Trainer typically earns around 16,000 QAR per month. Salaries range from 7,500 QAR (lowest) to 23,600 QAR (highest).with median annual income of 192,000 QAR.


  • Morocco, Fitness Instructor  typically earns around 18,500 MAD per month. Salaries range from 8,500 MAD (lowest) to 27,600 MAD (highest).with median annual income of 222,000MAD .


  • Bahrain, Fitness Instructor typically earns around 1,200 BHD per month. Salaries range from 500 BHD (lowest) to 1,800 BHD (highest).with median annual income of 14,500 BHD.


  • Oman, Fitness Instructor  typically earns around 1,300 OMR per month. Salaries range from 600 OMR (lowest) to 2000 OMR (highest).with median annual income of 15,600 OMR


  • Lebanon, A person working in Recreation and Sports  typically earns around 3,600,000 LBP per month. Salaries range from 1,800,000 LBP (lowest) to 6,600,000 LBP (highest). With annual income of 43,800,000 LBP


  • Jordan, A person working as a Personal Trainer  typically earns around 3,000 JOD per month. Salaries range from 1,400 JOD (lowest) to 4,700 JOD (highest). With annual income of 36,000 JOD

MENA region health and fitness industry total market scope and size by country 2020

Population Total industry revenue Total number of clubs Total number of members Penetration rate % Annual income

(with the country’s national currency)

Saudi Arabia 34,218,169 1,185,659,090 1574 1,539,817 4.5 180,000 SAR
United Arab Emirates(UAE) 9,599,353 393,755,538 854 542,363 5.65 70,500 AED
Egypt 99,581,200 1,449,902,272 7100 3,983,248 4 120,000 EGP
Kewait 4,621,638 273,580,713 696 416,409 9.01 15,600 KWD
Lebanon 6,859,408 195,040,315 541 288,095 4.2 43,800,000 LBP
Morroco 35,581,294 603,031,694 1365 1,352,089 3.8 222,000 MAD
Bahrain 15,694,46 71,602,450 193 107,350 6.84 14,500 BHD
Qatar 2,641,669 66,820,233 174 113,063 4.28 192,000 QAR
Oman 48,294,73 116,863,260 319 178,690 3.7 5,600 OMR
Jordan 10,407,793 174,851,040 662 364,273 3.5 36,000 JOD


MENA region health and fitness industry total market scope and size 2020

total industry revenue (USD) total number of clubs total numbers of members
2.15 billions 13,478 8,885,397


Physical activity market growth projection in MENA region 2020-2025

The projected physical activity market includes a broad spectrum of services and products such as wearable products, equipment, fitness and nutrition apps, food products and dietary supplements..etc therefore the physical activity market is not exclusively represent the clubs/classes/gym memberships or personal training fees. Over the last decade, health and fitness industry around the world has observed rapidly rising interest in all kinds of wellness-related behaviors and lifestyles, accompanied by accelerating consumer spending. This growth is evident in the global explosion of fitness, gyms, and health clubs in countries around the world, as well as the rapid proliferation of yoga and other mindful movement modalities. There is no sign that this movement is slowing down, as a wellness-mindset continues to permeate the global consumer consciousness, affecting people’s daily routines, decision-making, and spending habits. despite of the ropust physical activity market growth and increasing the consumer spending on physical activity , it doesn’t mean our MENA region’s problem of inactivity will be solved, From a public health perspective, the aim is simply to get more people more active, more often – regardless of whether they spend more money while doing so on the latest fitness fads, gadgets, and apparel .Hereby comes the increasing demands on the health and fitness workforce to increase the fitness awareness and engage the MENA to the The new Global Action Plan on Physical Activity which target to reduce physical inactivity by 10% by 2025 and 15% by 2030.

Projected market size (US$ bllions) projected average annual growth rate
2020 2025 2020-2025
$26 $36.2 7.8%


Top 10 Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2021 according to ACSM Worldwide Survey 

Online training.  The big changes within the health fitness industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the temporary closure of clubs around the world forcing innovative delivery of classes. The challenges of engaging clients at a distance resulted in the use of some very strategic delivery systems. Online training was developed for the at-home exercise experience. This trend uses digital streaming technology to deliver group, individual, or instructional exercise programs online. Online training is available 24/7 and can be a live class (live streaming workouts) or prerecorded.


Wearable technology. Wearable technology was the no. 1 trend since it was first introduced on the survey in 2016 (the only exception was a drop to no. 3 in 2018) and includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices. Examples include fitness and activity trackers like those manufactured by Fitbit®, Samsung Gear Fit2®, Misfit®, Garmin®, and Apple®. These devices can be used as a step counter and can track heart rate, body temperature, calories, sitting time, sleep time, and much more. Initially, there was some question of accuracy, but these issues have seemed to be resolved well enough that it has been estimated to be about a U.S. $100 billion industry. New innovations include blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and electrocardiogram.



Body weight training.  Body weight training did not appear as a survey trend option before 2013 because it only became popular (as a defined trend) in gyms around the world within the last decade. Using a combination of variable resistance body weight training and neuromotor movements using multiple planes of movement, this program is all about using body weight as the training modality. Body weight training uses minimal equipment, which makes it an inexpensive way to exercise effectively.


Outdoor activities. Perhaps because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more outdoor activities such as small group walks, group rides, or organized hiking groups have become popular. They can be short events, daylong events, or planned weeklong hiking excursions. Participants can meet in a local park, hiking area, or on a bike trail typically with a designated leader. 



HIIT.  These exercise programs typically involve short bursts of high-intensity bouts of exercise followed by a short period of rest. Although there are several commercial club examples of HIIT, all emphasize higher intensities (above 90%) of maximum during the increased intensity segments followed by periods of rest and recovery. Despite warnings by some fitness professionals of potentially increased injury rates using HIIT, this form of exercise has been popular in gyms all over the world.




Virtual training. This is the first time that virtual training has appeared separately from virtual online training. For the purpose of the survey, virtual training was defined as the fusion of group exercise with technology offering workouts designed for ease and convenience to suit schedules and needs. Typically, virtual workouts are played in gyms on the big screen attracting smaller number of clients compared with live classes while providing clients of all levels and ages with a different group fitness experience. Virtual classes are often a gateway for live group fitness classes. Virtual workouts typically attract smaller numbers, and clients can go at their own pace, which makes it ideal if training a novice looking to learn the moves. As with online training, virtual training in the top 10 may be an industry reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Exercise is medicine. Exercise is medicine (EIM) is a global health initiative that focuses on encouraging primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity assessment and associated treatment recommendations as part of every patient visit and referring their patients to exercise professionals. In addition, EIM recognizes fitness professionals as part of the health care team in their local communities. 


Strength training with free weights. Previous surveys included a category described as “strength training.” Determined to be too broad a category, strength training was dropped in 2020 in favor of the more specific free weight training. Free weights, barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, and medicine ball classes do not just incorporate barbells into another functional class or activity. Instructors start by teaching proper form for each exercise and then progressively increase the resistance once the correct form is accomplished. A new exercise is added periodically, and those begin at the form or movement level. 


Fitness programs for older adults.  This trend continues to stress the fitness needs of the Baby Boom and older generations. These individuals in general have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts, and fitness clubs may be able to capitalize on this growing market. People are living longer, working longer, and remaining healthy and active well into their retirement from work.



Personal training. One-on-one training continues to be a strong trend as the profession of personal training becomes more accessible online, in health clubs, in the home, and in worksites that have fitness facilities. Personal training includes fitness testing and goal setting with the trainer working one-on-one with a client to prescribe workouts specific to their individual needs and goals. Since this survey was first published in 2006, personal training has been a top 10 trend. 

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