You’re opening a gym or health club. You need a few things like a physical location, the right personnel to man the front desk, and cool concept that will get people in the door. But before you get ahead of yourself with those things, you need to make sure you’ve got the basics covered.
The Right Trainers
Every gym needs trainers. Not just any trainers. Qualified trainers. What’s a qualified trainer? It’s someone who has demonstrated that they understand human physiology, understand how to make people strong, have a basic understanding of diet and nutrition, and they practice what they preach.
But credentials aren’t enough. It’s sad, but many professional trainers don’t follow their own advice, have a very subjective idea of “what works,” and don’t give enough attention to proper diet and nutrition. For example, some trainers advise clients to come in 4 to 5 days a week. This kind of strategy is not only detrimental for clients, it’s not going to produce results. Why?
Because the body needs time to heal. More time in the gym doesn’t translate to an increase in fitness. The purpose of going to a health club or gym is to break down the muscle. Then, the client needs to eat and rest to recover properly. The next time they come in, they need to lift more (or do more work) than they did last time. This is called “progressive overload” and it’s the only scientifically validated way to become stronger – which is what people want when they come to a gym.
Trainers should understand how to design a systematic training program for progressive overload that will match the client’s current skill and fitness level.
The Right Software
Once you’ve got people to train your clientele, it’s time to get software to help you manage your business. ABC Financial club management software is one example of good software. What you’re looking for is something geared specifically towards gyms and health clubs. Why? Because gyms have special needs – like sorting out and managing a large clientele that may change their membership options over time.
For example, your client may come into the gym and start a training program consisting of 3 times-per-week sessions. That client may eventually drop down to 2 times-per-week or even 2 times-per-month. Clients also need to have their performance tracked over time because most people won’t track it themselves – that’s why they’re hiring you.
Software should also help you decide whether to raise or lower gym fees as your gym grows. In the beginning, you may have to charge a higher price to cover your overhead. As you grow, however, you may find that you can afford to charge clients less. Your software should help you make these determinations based on profitability.
The Right Equipment
The type of equipment you use is important. While most gyms have treadmills, do you know which ones your clients are demanding right now? What about free weights? Do you want to cater more to the bodybuilder crowd or the general fitness enthusiast?
In general, getting your equipment used is fine – especially for free weights. This equipment doesn’t really “wear out.” For treadmills and other machines that do have wear components to them, a mix of used (but serviceable) and new machines is probably best.
Jeremy S is a health club manager. He loves to share his best tips for managing an exceptional heatlh club by writing for business blogs.