Many health club operators don't give much thought to the design of their strength areas, but that needs to change, according to Rudy Fabiano, owner of Fabiano Designs. Fabiano was one of four presenters in a free webinar, "The Strength Game Has Changed: Insights to Stay Current with Strength Equipment Purchasing," sponsored by Precor.
"The free weight and strength area has been the least focused on area in terms of design," Fabiano said. "It's time we start looking at that area."
Fabiano said that health club owners often think people who use these areas of the gym are mostly men who are all business and don't care about design, but these days, more groups of people, including women, teen athletes and seniors, are picking up weights and using strength machines—and consumer in every segment are focused on aesthetics more today than in the past.
John Meeks, who owns two CrossFit locations, agreed that the time to focus on the strength area is here.
"It's important that we look at the strength game," he said in the webinar. "Weightlifting, Crossfit — they are moving into mainstream. … Now that it's becoming more popular and mainstream, you need to have a nicer area."
Three design issues are of special importance in strength areas, Fabiano said: lighting (lights shining in eyes of those lying on benches), acoustics and spacing between equipment.
This growth in popularity of the strength area means is seen in several areas, including a growth in popularity of Olympic weightlifting and functional strength, Meeks said. Millennials are also making their presence known in the strength area. They expect their health clubs to have functional strength equipment because their university rec centers had these, they like to do strength training in groups, and even though their income is more limited, they are willing to pay more for a quality experience and/or better results.
Meeks recommends that to create a stronger strength area, gym operators need to embrace the fact that the face of strength training is changing, invest in quality equipment that withstands the test of time, offer additional training for coaches and trainers, and market your programs to more demographics, including women, youth and baby boomers.
To hear more of what Fabiano and Meeks had to say as well as what the other two presenters had to say, you can view the webinar for free on-demand by going here.