Inventing a Gym Without a Roof

There are plenty of good reasons to coax your health club members outside - autumn weather is perfect, they can benefit from the shot of vitamin D, and their participation supports their favorite gym as it regains footing after the COVID-19 shutdown. Regardless of the motivations, creating this "gym without a roof" concept is an excellent option for every club at this time. These impulsive opportunities to pack in 10 pushups or swing across extra-wide monkey bars build stamina, muscle endurance, strength, and agility - all in a few moments' time. In many ways it's because exercising in the fresh [...]

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Build Your Gym’s Niche With High-Quality Personal Trainers

There are two types of clubs growing in our economy: boutique centers, and low-cost, bare bones gyms. Many of those in the middle - think Gold's Gym, 24-Hour Fitness, New York Sports Club, and Town Sports - found refuge in the bankruptcy courts as COVID-19's shutdown ravaged their business models. So what can you do to ensure your gym's future in this difficult market? One method is to create a vertical within your facility by hiring personal trainers with nationally-recognized, specialized certifications. Expanding this way boils down to two questions: Who do you want to attract as a customer and [...]

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Recovery Equipment – Is It Worth It?

Recovery fitness is the phrase of the day for health clubs, boutique gyms, and personal trainers. The equipment used by athletes today ranges from foam rollers to cryotherapy tanks and every idea in between. The rage reminds me of a former health club catering to professional and elite level athletes. There, next to the pull-up bars and heavy ropes, was an automated massage table. Each time I considered it, the sheer idea of lying in full view and receiving an electronic massage in the center of a busy gym just shamed me into paralysis. During my eight years attending that [...]

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COVID – 19 Clean – What’s Next For Gyms?

By this time, most everyone knows the basics of keeping their gyms and health clubs COVID-19 clean. Since we've figured out the basics, now is good time to consider the chemicals, techniques and emerging technologies that may make the difference in keeping your gym healthy and safe. Disinfectants When choosing cleaning products for your gym, consider that every product approved against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) includes an EPA registration number on its label. Although the CDC tracks coronavirus cases, it is the EPA which regulates chemicals and is the go-to source for correct cleaning information. Does That Chemical Work? To determine if [...]

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Back in the Day Gyms Rocked!

Remember when fitness was an exploding rocket, taking off like a firebrand in everyone's consciousness? The future seemed endless with new innovations blending technology and health, fun and funky athletic trends, and a swath of boutique and health club options catering to every age, income, and preference. The future will be "virtual, gamified, and totally immersive," claimed a January 2020 Fast Company article. Then came the COVID-19 shutdown and gym attendance petered out, to the point where an estimated 70% of health club members have not returned to their local gyms. Many turned to exercise at their home - a [...]

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Who’s Training in Your Gym?

Everyone, it seems. From teens to octogenarians, we're all pumping iron and taking classes to stay in shape. Thanks to medicine and technology, we are both living longer and more aware of how habits impact our health. And because of that, gyms are no longer the realm of young, beautiful adults. Today, your gym can attract everyone from a 16-year-old high school athlete to an 76-year-old retiree, and chances are, it will.However, just because everyone's exercising, doesn't mean we are all the same. There are many key generational differences and understanding them will help you refine services without wasting time [...]

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Keeping Gym Clients on the Roster

What does it take for a person to show up at the gym after they've paid their dues? What is the difference between the individual who exercises regularly and the one who drops the ball? Scientific research suggests it may all boil down to competency and support. People need to feel good at what they're doing and know others are in the game with them. Recent psychology research on motivation calls this the self-determination theory (SDT). How interested a person is in continuing something is driven by how well an activity meets one's need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Exercisers [...]

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Healthcare & Health Clubs: How to Make the Relationship Work

Does it make sense for your gym to expand into medical fitness services? The answer is - it depends. On one hand, your health club benefits from a growing base of business built off of referrals from the medical community, but, on the flip side, you can expect a large upfront investment requiring time, money, and space. You would be jumping into a growing trend led, in part, by the American College of Sports Medicine's Exercise is Medicine initiative launched in 2007. This powerful move by a leading organization is an attempt to reset the conversation on the importance of [...]

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Rebuilding Gym Customers’ Trust in the Pandemic Era

Health clubs are in a pickle right now. Not only are they struggling under a load of new regulations and expectations, but they must figure out how to lure clients back into the gym -where the money is made. Just how can gyms rebuild faith in their brand, their facility, their people? Is there a roadmap to follow? Here are the Facts In truth, gyms are not petri dishes of disease. Early non-peer reviewed research shows minimal transmission of COVID-19 at gyms when proper distancing and hygiene methods are in place. The Oslo-based study randomized 3,764 people split into two [...]

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Train Your Gym Staff Like Pros

What if every gym employee approached their job like a salesperson? How would that affect your health club's businessevery day? Would it help or hurt customer retention? Why would you even want to train employees in basic sales techniques? Wouldn't that become annoying? Probably not. See, sales is not just about selling something. It's an attitude. Employees are a core component of any marketing strategy.They reflect the composition of your gym, your target market.They are the face of who you are as a business and you hired them because of their skills, personality, and ability to relate to customers. So [...]

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Unite & Organize – Proving Gyms Are Essential

When I first hit the gym in the 1990s it was a Jamie Lee Curtis video fantasy: muscle-bound men clustered around weight benches, ladies in leggings and cotton t-back leotards, body builders day-jobbing as personal trainers. Bally's even kept a separate weight room just for women. It was all about the look and if you couldn't keep up, you didn't show up twice. Today's gyms are way different. I don't have to tell you the range of options available to everyone of any age, skill-level or interest. It has grown into a $34-billion-a-year industry in the United States, encompassing more [...]

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How Can Your Gym Firm Up Its Financial Future While Clients Social Distance?

If scientists are correct, COVID-19 is here to stay. According to Dr. Gregory Poland, director of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, respiratory viruses and their accompanying hospital stays are expected to be a seasonal threat to individuals across the world. Even now, an emerging virus from China, the H1N1 influenza virus, looms in our future. For gyms, fitness studios, and health clubs, navigating this tricky territory is job number one, as their business model relies on individuals congregating in a social, highly physical, generally closed environment. To keep members safe, gym owners must implement social distancing measures that, in and [...]

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Use Surveys to Safeguard Your Gym Against COVID -19

Taking control of your gym's business during the ongoing economic crisis caused by COVID-19 is not simple. It's always been expensive to acquire new members-estimates suggest it costs 3x as much to lure a new client in the door as to keep the one you have. But in today's uncertain environment, retaining and expanding your client base is both critical and complex. So how can you maximize every relationship? By understanding customers' concerns, clearing up misunderstandings quickly, and using real-time information to make informed updates to your business model. Nothing does this quicker than a survey. Surveys allow gyms to [...]

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Virtual Fitness Is Your Gym’s Newest Profit Center

In many ways, the COVID-19 gym shut-down accelerated an already intense competition in the virtual health and fitness marketplace. Companies such as Peloton and Mirror were already bringing high-end, high-quality workouts into individuals' homes, while club-staple Les Mills' expansion into the on-demand arena created another at-home avenueencompassing classes and training programs. Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar gym shops shut down, forcing owners to pivot and change business models within weeks. Their one option? Jump into the digital fray-which is exactly what they did-giving away free classes, offering free trials, and supercharging their online community with ad hoc Zoom classes and YouTube videos. Within [...]

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Take Advantage of That Clean Gym!

The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a long shadow on the question of how to maintain a clean and sanitized gym while running a successful, profitable business. The increased vigilance required by staff, the infrastructure investments, the heightened customer awareness coupled with suppressed demand all combine to swell both costs and risks. Today's gym owner walks a fine line between keeping his or her business open and losing it all to an uncertain market. However, for gym owners, their single greatest decision could be to see this pandemic as an opportunity-a chance to grow and change for the better-rather than view [...]

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