There’s so much choice when it comes to gym equipment, isn’t there?
Of course, there are the standard cardiovascular and strength choices, but fitness fads are driving investment in facilities for everything from crawling to slacklining.
The big question for gym owners is – how do you decide what equipment to buy? Because it’s not just about the price tag on the equipment itself, it’s also about how you use your available space, what you replace and how you promote the equipment to members.
The key to this conundrum is distinguishing between a trend and a fad.
Fads are short term – they become popular quickly and are then superseded and forgotten. Trends rise gradually and maintain momentum until they become deep-rooted popular movements. Think CrossFit, couch-to-5K running programmes and Zumba, for example.
You want to invest in trends, and to start with it’s worth considering those in the growth stage of adoption. The American Council on Exercise helped develop this useful matrix:
When we talk about identifying growing fitness trends, we’re talking about ones experiencing above average growth and high adoption. Investing at this time helps you capitalise on the burgeoning demand while mitigating risk.
From an equipment and facilities standpoint, growth trends include flexibility and mobility equipment like foam rollers and stretch trainers, as well as balance-based equipment like stability balls.
Other growth areas are suspension training equipment and non-traditional functional equipment (think kettlebells, tyres and ropes). These are tied to the popularity of functional training, CrossFit and high-intensity training, and are ways gyms are bringing the boot camp experience indoors. And do you know what’s interesting about these trends?
There’s an emphasis on the modular. Yes, gyms still need to offer stationary machines, but fitness is also incorporating smaller, mobile equipment that can be used in multiple ways as part of a varied workout regime.
There’s still up-front investment; functional training rigs are hardly small, but you can build your selection of secondary attachments over time. Similarly, you can integrate a balance-focused area into the gym without a big capital outlay, and then scale up or down based on demand.
The fact is everyone benefits from this approach. It’s easier for you to expand your offering without tying up large amounts of capital. Plus, it’s easy for your members to vary their workouts and keep things interesting. And a room full of happy, fulfilled customers certainly makes for a happy, busy – and most of all popular – gym.
** This article originally appeared on LinkedIn