This article is part 2 in the two-part series. See part 1 here:
In the last 5-10 years, the thirst for diverse fitness options has been insatiable. Similarly, smaller boutique studios have emerged on every trendy street in America taking a significant chunk out of their big box competitors in the process. Consequently, forward-thinking owners and managers of traditional clubs / gyms have been motivated to pivot accordingly in order to stay relevant and keep up with demand.
In Part One of this series we discussed the external reasons behind the now ubiquitous trend towards creating wide open functional training spaces in clubs and various fitness facilities (member demand, ROI, etc). In this piece, we will be discussing real life examples and best practices for putting these principles into play... and most importantly, being successful in doing so.
Enter larger-scale companies like Hilton Head Health (H3) in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and California Athletic Clubs, headquartered in Santa Barbara, California, who have taken the plunge and leveraged companies like TRX to help update their spaces to make room for amazing functional training experiences. These companies have been successful in their transformations because they have followed all the right steps in creating a purposeful space that their members love. In this article, we are going to define what those steps are.
STEP ONE: DEFINE YOUR GOALS
Before you even consider what you want to do in your facility, you need to remember that the end goal is to maximize your return on investment. Whether that’s engaging existing members, attracting new ones, ramping up non-dues revenue, or a combination of all three, this space needs to feel right for your audience and goals. For instance, if your main goal is attracting new members, than visibility and aesthetics are imperative in creating “curb appeal” (think prospect tours and marketing imagery for your website and social media).
STEP TWO: PURPOSEFUL PLANNING
Based on those goals, you need to decide what the purpose of the space is. Are you trying to create a centerpiece area for hardcore functional training activity - or an intimate and exclusive area that’s tucked away? Either are fine depending on your goals, but it’s important to make sure that the space feels intentional as opposed to an afterthought, and above all, tied to your overall ROI.
STEP THREE: LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION
Once you define the type of space you’ll be creating, you need to literally choose your location. For instance, will you be clearing an existing area, or will you be tearing down walls and doing some construction (which isn’t always in the budget and certainly isn’t always necessary to achieve great results). Furthermore, are there spaces in your facility that are underutilized (eg old, unused racquetball courts)? Or on the flipside, are your spaces being used inefficiently - in other words, do you have an area filled with big bulky machines that only do one or two things?
As David Chesworth, head fitness programmer and wellness coach at H3 puts it, “We had a few TRX Suspension Trainers in one of our old studios and saw how well they worked with our clientele—especially those that struggle with movement, and we wanted a room dedicated to functional movement, so we thought TRX would be a great product to go with.”
So, H3 turned a racquetball court-sized room into a dedicated TRX functional training space complete with eight Studio Line Bay Units, nine Suspension Trainers, a Rip Trainer, medicine balls, stability balls, and other pieces of equipment from TRX’s Functional Training Tools line.
“Before H3 decided to take the plunge, they went through all the right steps,” says Amanda Sims, a TRX Sales Representative. “They identified an underutilized space and created a clear vision of how they wanted to activate that space. At that point, I was able to create a 3D design to show them what the space would look like, pick out the right equipment to fill and organize the area, and finally, help develop a post build-out plan.”
[3-D Rendering created by TRX (pre-build out) to showcase what the space would look like post build out.]
This activation included on-site trainer education, dynamic programming, marketing support, and tools for driving member engagement. Sims adds, “I think in the end, we were both so pleased with the results. It’s always great to work with clients who have clear goals in mind; that way we can shape the end experience and insure that they are getting amazing returns on their investments.”
California Athletic Clubs President Eric Schmitz also recognized the benefit of trading out traditional machines to create a more functional, open space.
“TRX came to mind when we were undergoing expansion opportunities,” he explains. “We’re multi-purpose clubs through California that emphasize outdoor exercise and nature. Our clubs weren’t up-to-date and we wanted to give members a small studio feel.”
He knew that it was time to evolve and give clientele the option to experience cutting-edge equipment in an intimate environment.
“To keep charging the rate we charge—and with changing demographics—we’ve had to adapt and adjust group classes and offer functional training. Studio Line is the best solution for offering the storage-related units, all of the accessories, and the foundation of suspension training with the brand recognition of TRX.”
Schmitz admits that he had shopped around with other companies, but ultimately chose TRX because of the quality of the equipment and the training he knew his staff would receive after everything was installed.
“Having all the trainers go through TRX Education and learn the programming was one of the top reasons we went with TRX,” he says. His facilities now offer TRX-infused group fitness classes, small-group training and personal training.
H3 provides similar options, and according to the facility’s Chief Operating Officer, Chad Schrempp, the dedicated TRX room gets plenty of use.
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” he says. “Some of our clientele are super fit, but most of them average 48-68 years old with varying degrees of ability and fitness. It’s fantastic to hear the responses and see the smiles on the faces of people when they realize what they can achieve with a cutting-edge tool that seems like a young person’s game. They feel so empowered. Every class we put on fills up.”
Schmitz says that California Athletic Club clientele has responded in much the same way as that of H3.
“We’ve had a great response as it relates to TRX and functional training,” he notes.
Customer happiness aside, another benefit to Studio Line, says Schrempp, was how pain-free the planning and install process was.
He says, “TRX has been a fantastic partner, from helping us select the right equipment and being patient with us as new owners to helping us with installation advice; you know, turf or no turf, who’s done what. We’re very appreciative of the overall experience. The word partnership is thrown around too easily these days, but we’re very excited about what we truly consider a strong partnership and look forward to the future.”
Is it time to give your gym a makeover? Work with a TRX Rep to create a 3D visual that will show you exactly what your space could look like after transformation.