Most people have an idea of what the perfect gym looks like. You might imagine a picturesque gym with brand-new equipment and spotless floor-to-ceiling windows. But having a good gym is more about what you can’t see. Functionality and environment are more important than shiny signage. But what are the functions your club needs to focus on and what are just distractions?
These are the 5 crucial ingredients for a good gym.
1. Have enough space
All gyms face a choice: fill your club with more equipment or leave more open space? When in doubt, you should leave more space. Members don’t like to feel crowded or uncomfortable, so having open floor space is essential. Core training is becoming very popular, so your club should set aside a large area for stretching and ab work. Although you might be able to jam a few more machines in, having to briefly wait for a machine is a better workout experience than too many machines all cramped together.
2. Music choices matter
It’s harder than it looks to get your music just right at your club. Your music has to motivate people, but it can’t be angry all the time. Current pop music seems like a safe choice, but you have to please older members as well. The music has to be loud enough for everyone to hear, but many members are listening to their earbuds, so it can’t be too loud.
While there is no perfect one size fits all solution, there are two major things your club can do to make members happy. First, you should invest in a quality sound system so members can clearly hear what you’re playing. A cheap sound system that handles bass poorly or cuts out frequently will annoy members. Second, you should talk directly to your members about music. Every club’s community is different, so work with your members to find genres or playlists that please most people (you won’t please everyone).
3. Quality equipment
An obvious choice, but gyms do need high-quality equipment. General-purpose gym members need the option to perform just about any exercise they want to. That means you need a variety of different machines that cater to specific muscle groups. A common mistake is not having multiple stations for the popular compound exercises- bench, squats and deadlifts. Investing in Smith Machines is essential to reducing long wait times and frustration for members who want to perform these exercises.
Even if you don’t have the space to include every type of machine you want, make sure the machines you do have are high-quality and fully functional. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a popular machine become ‘out of order’ on a regular basis.
4. Successful staff
Staffing is an underrated aspect of any gym. Without good staff a gym will never reach its full potential. Staff members are responsible for keeping the gym clean, maintaining a friendly environment, and making sure that the weights and equipment are in order. They also need to be available to answer workout questions because it’s important for new members to learn how to exercise the correct way without risking injury. Take hiring seriously, because your staff needs to be be up-to-date on diet and exercise science, technical machine knowledge and have customer service skills.
5. A real community
Every gym has some sort of community. People go to the gym to improve their own health and fitness, but you’ll notice with some gyms that many friendships are made and members frequently help each other out. You can’t force members to become friends, but if you create a friendly competitive environment at your club friendships may naturally form more often. One great way to do this is by running competitive team fitness challenges at your club. Members will push each other to work harder and build a camaraderie that will last long after your challenge ends.
Everyone’s ideal gym is slightly different, but these are five core factors that apply to just about every club. You can run a decent gym by doing well in 3 to 4 of these categories, but a great gym will execute on all five crucial ingredients.
Keith Daniels is a former collegiate athlete who now writes about fitness. You can read more articles on his blog First Rate Fitness.
A great way to build a community is through fitness challenges. Learn how to use new technology to engage more members in our Ultimate Guide to Fitness Challenges: