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How To Open Your Own Gym Part 3

In the first installment of How to Open Your Own Gym we talked about different types of facilities and financing options. Part 2 of the series addressed choosing the right location and smart layouts. Once you've figured all of those difficult decisions, deciding on your equipment should be relatively easy.

Equipment Purchasing: Quality Wins in the Long Run

Deciding what brand and type of equipment to utilize in your gym can be confusing. Most manufacturers offer several different lines of equipment and within each line, there are typically different models, entertainment options, colors, upgrades, etc. Partnering with a local sales representative can be an invaluable tool in sorting through a manufacturer’s catalog, gaining in-depth knowledge about the features and benefits of each product, and ensuring that the right products for your facility and members are being selected. 

While it may be tempting to utilize lighter duty products to minimize cost and maximize profits, you’ll undoubtedly eventually see a shorter product lifespan, multiple service calls and a nonexistent trade allowance. The tempting low price tag ultimately costs more in the long run, so be sure that the product line and model you select is reliable enough to meet the demands of your facility and members.

Keep in mind that a trusted manufacturer offers essential post-sale support, including reliable service and preventive maintenance that keeps your equipment performing.

A Smart Equipment Mix

Be sure that the equipment you select caters to your target population. Unless you’re opening the doors to a very specific type of facility (e.g. powerlifting space, kickboxing gym, Pilates studio, etc.) be sure to offer something for everyone.

Know your audience, but don't necessarily limit your offering. For example, encourage members to progress in their fitness journey offering selectorized strength equipment and free weights. Olympic lifting on a Hammer Strength rack may initially seem intimidating to new members, but after some experience with strength training, many novices may step up to the challenge and adopt this effective form of training.

Don't Be Afraid of Digital

Cardio equimpent connected to the internet can provide you with valuable asset managment information about what equipment is being used and when it's being used the most. This informs you of both peak times in your facility (which helps you make smart staffing decisions) and the popularity of each piece of equipment (which can guide future equipment purchases).

Keep in mind that many exercisers are digitally savvy, and many likely use fitness apps to track their progress. Consider cardio equipment that's compatible with these apps and the digital experience that exercisers are used to.

Consider "Trends"

Finally, while it’s nice to offer cutting edge fitness trends that are exciting and new, exercisers still have plenty of interest in staples that never go out of style. Check out the list of the Top 20 Fitness Trends for 2017 put out by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The majority of the "trends" on the annual list don't fade away. Be sure to address some of these items from the ACSM list when deciding on equipment, layout and staff.

  • Body weight training
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Educated and experienced fitness professionals
  • Strength training
  • Group training
  • Personal training
  • Functional fitness
  • Group personal training
  • Circuit training

Key Takeaways:

  1. Consult with industry experts on which equipment provides the best solution for your needs.
  2. Budget appropriately so you can spend the extra money on high-quality, reliable equipment.
  3. Offer equipment that your target population(s) want and need.
  4. Realize the importance of the digital experience.
  5. The majority of what you offer should be tried and true fitness activities, which are still on trend. Producing results never goes out of style.

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

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