Do You Have the Tools for the New Year? Planning Guide

2018 might be two months away, but preparations for the New Year are already in motion in the health and fitness industry. Yes, the highly anticipated “BLACK FRIDAY” of the fitness industry (aka January) is upon us. Here are 3 action items to consider as you prepare to roll out the red carpet for new and returning members: 

1. Take Inventory.

Staffing: Across the entire club, from membership sales to personal trainers, group fitness instructors to childcare and front desk attendants – do you have enough staff currently on board to meet the upcoming demand? If not, determine how many full and/or part time employees each department will need. November is the ideal time to start this process. This ensures that you have one month (Nov) to interview/onboard and one month (Dec) for staff training. This will ensure that your new employees have the knowledge and confidence to provide excellent, efficient service during the busiest time of the year.

Equipment: The 2016 IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report revealed the most popular functional and portable strength equipment integrated for SGT programs are exercise mats, kettlebells, and dumbbells. Avoid equipment shortages by adding additional quantities of the most popular equipment to ensure your club can accommodate the members on the main workout floor as well as the SGT members.

The report also indicated that group cycling bikes and rowers are the two most commonly integrated cardio pieces for SGT programs. Consider adding a few bikes or rowers to your SGT training zone to make transitions from strength to cardio stations quick and easy.

2. Evaluate Studio, Group Fitness, and SGT Programming.

New & returning members might be looking for popular formats such as HIIT, Barre, Spin, Core, or Yoga – however, you might want to consider adding a few classes that are catered to beginners, i.e. Beginner Boot Camp, Barre 101, Yoga Basics, etc. Introductory level classes will put the new member mind at ease and set them up for success.

If your facility only has one or two studio spaces, consider splitting the 60-minute classes in your most popular time slots into two 30-minute classes. This can cut down on overcrowding the studio & give you the opportunity to provide more programming options in a single room. Advanced members will enjoy the increase in intensity level that happens when class time is cut in half and those who still want more will simply stay for two classes. Your new members will view a 30-minute class as a less intimidating option compared to a 60-minute sweat session.

3. Inspection for Perfection

First impressions are EVERYTHING! Make sure your facility and equipment look as good as new. Walk through your entire space and inspect everything from floor to ceiling. Consider inviting a non-member friend or colleague to tag along – your critical eye isn’t as sharp within a familiar space. Inspect every wall, floor, ceiling and corner, inside and out. Now is the time to schedule minor building maintenance and upkeep projects as traffic is down during the holiday months.

Shiny new equipment in the appropriate quantity is another way you can make a positive first impression. Take a detailed look at every piece of equipment in the facility. Look for wear and tear, safety concerns, and opportunities to replenish or upgrade. Since some of your most popular equipment happens to be our specialty, here are a few specific things to look for as you inspect your accessories.

Tubing: Nicks, fraying, tears, fading/discoloration, damage to handles/handle-tube insertion point. Discard and replace damaged tubing and bands.

Exercise Mats: Tears, rips or other damage to surface; fading, discoloration.

Medicine Balls: Smoothing/worn grip pattern, cracks, worn or faded weight identification.

Stability Balls: Fading, smooth, or worn surface texture pattern/logo, scratches, over or under inflation.

Foam Rollers: Tears or cracks in foam, fading or discoloration, deformities to the shape of the roller

It might seem tedious, but this is time very well spent! Discard damaged equipment and replace/replenish your equipment inventory to ensure you have all the tools your instructors, trainers, and most importantly, your members want!


Elisabeth Fouts

About Elisabeth Fouts

Elisabeth serves as the Education Coordinator for Power Systems and is their primary content contributor for blogs and articles on a variety of subjects from personal training and group fitness programming to product spotlights and health club operations. She holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and has over 12 years of experience in the fitness industry from a personal trainer & group fitness instructor to regional level fitness management. Elisabeth is also a Master Trainer for PowerWave Master and holds industry group fitness certifications with ACE & Les Mills.