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 gym, I never saw anyone use it.
This owner’s decision though, illustrates the challenges with capital-heavy, space-absorbing investments. If you’re considering offering recovery services, here’s a few points to consider.
With the trend towards boutique studios and curated approaches to health, modular design provides the greatest flexibility for full-service club operators. Can you provide privacy where it is necessary, carving rooms out for massage therapists or a float tank? Or is your gym capable of offering designated recovery zones where equipment can be rented, used, secured, and – in today’s environment – properly cleaned?
Can you keep large equipment in good working order as well as disinfected?
Today’s club operators are stepping into territory traditionally owned by spas, chiropractic offices, or even professional sports teams: ice baths, hydromassage beds, stretching machines and others all require maintenance and regular cleaning – are you ready to expand staff workloads or sign service agreements?
How about marketing?
Managed correctly, recovery offerings can be a profit center. However, the investment needs to be entwined into your marketing materials so members not only look forward to the equipment, but also understand how to use it, know where it is located, and how much they can expect to pay.
Can you make money?
These investments do not come cheap. NormaTec Pulse Recovery System boots start at $1,300 each. A massage chair for hydromassage technology works its way up to $20,000 or more. Consider the cost of ownership against what a customer might pay for a session. After designating space, adding it to your advertising, and buying or leasing the equipment, the investment should pay for itself.
One company, AquaMED-HydroMassage anticipates a $20 a day cost (five-year financing and an initial investment of about $20,000), with customers paying between $20-$25 for a 15-minute session. IHRSA’s “Why Recovery is Essential” article illustrates one club operator who anticipates a $100,000 a-year revenue stream through their investment in HydroMassage Beds and Lounges as an add-on service.
Other companies, such as Therabody, partner with gyms to integrate their recovery equipment into business models through direct rentals or member perks, with the tools supported by Bluetooth-enabled, theft-detection smart technology.
However you approach recovery, considering it a capital investment, as you do your standard gym equipment, will help you make the right decisions.
Why does investing in recovery make sense?
In one way, it’s a differentiator for your gym. It shows you’re interested in members’ overall health, from their fitness success to their stress levels. By tapping into the wellness industry, where self-care is measured in metrics by wearable devices and holistic health therapies including supplements and massage, you’re bridging a gap that generates long-term affinity and loyalty for your facility.
Additionally, younger adults, particularly those between ages 24 and 34, are increasingly attracted to performance training programs such as HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and CrossFit, which are tough on the body and often result in stiff, sore muscles.
If recovery is done correctly, your gym becomes a familiar, trusted center where customers can stay fit and rejuvenate without the inconvenience and aggravation of visiting multiple businesses.