Before the throngs of New Year’s “resolutionists” come flooding through the doors with excited momentum behind their fitness goals, there are three things every fitness center leader should do. Yes, it’s the holiday season and deadlines of all sorts are looming. But, fewer people using the fitness center due to holiday vacations and general “off time” can be an advantage, allowing for less disruptive prep work ahead of the New Year’s rush.
So, you have six weeks to check off these three critical items (along with everything else you need to get done):
1. Complete Your Safety and Service Updates
“One of the most important things that our team does near the end of the year is Facility Site Evaluations,” says Rick Barbee, Advanced Exercise’s Vice President of Sales. “We work directly with clients, on site, to review the entire facility to make sure that access, safety and overall functionality of the fitness spaces is optimized.”
Advanced Exercise consultants all over the country are helping clients address the condition of their equipment, evaluating any service or repair concerns that might exist. With commercial fitness equipment, just like with any other high-use commercial equipment, ongoing maintenance is important to ensure continued safe use and durability. Involving a factory approved service provider to address any neglected maintenance or worn items can be particularly helpful to preserve performance, safety and the longevity of equipment, which can extend existing equipment investments much further. Even if facilities choose not to have a service plan or scheduled maintenance program in place, an annual inspection from a service technician should be a “must do”. Unfortunately, there’s no easy button to magically handle it all at once, but enlisting the help of fitness facility and equipment experts to pinpoint areas of need can expedite the process and help get service issues resolved quickly.
The equipment being reviewed in a Fitness Site Evaluation includes flooring, as worn patches or uneven flooring can be a strong safety concern, as it can contribute to falls or other impact injuries. A big plus, if there are any flooring issues to resolve, is that flooring repairs or installs are much easier when crowds are lower, as they tend to be during the end-of-year holidays.
In addition to fitness equipment and flooring reviewed during a site evaluation, the fitness layout is also appraised to stay in compliance with ADA and other access standards. “Equipment placement in the rooms can hamper access and, in some instances, create a safety concern” adds Barbee. “What we’re looking for, during a site evaluation, is overall functionality, and making sure that the facility and its components maximize the ability to move through and use any and all equipment in the easiest, most practical and safest ways available.”
2. Upgrade Your Equipment
New Year’s fitness resolution makers are motivated people, and they’re spurred on by new options and ways to meet their goals. To entice them in and keep them coming back, new equipment features, technology options, or spotlighting the best available equipment to help them fulfill their resolutions should be evaluated. If there are trending or in-demand equipment items that your fitness center can use, the end-of-the-year sales can often transcend from retail into wholesale environments and give you some new options to promote to fitness users. Check with your commercial equipment resource to help you find the best deals.
With the clock ticking, don’t think that you can’t add equipment if you’re inclined to do so. Even some bigger pieces of equipment can still make it into your fitness center in time for January.
Sought-after staples like an air rower or treadmill have taken on new attributes including self-powered options or even magnetic resistance as with the new Cascade Air Bike with air and magnetic resistance. The ICG bike with My Ride has been a popular option this year, allowing users to customize their bike workouts in new digital ways, is also a nice Christmas present for your facility.
Suspension training through TRX continues to be a hot, trendy product that has proven to have staying power. The TRX Studio Bay and other items like the new Life Fitness Studio Racks allow for innovative small group training options that are continuously different and invigorating for any size space.
Another attention-getting trendy product is the Tire Flip 180, which lets you bring functional fitness and high intensity training indoors during the winter months – and it ships quickly and can be an instant addition to any facility.
Smaller multifunctional training tools are also an economic addition to your fitness space. It doesn’t take substantial budget dollars to add plyo cubes, hanging spheres and other training accessories that can be used in multitudes of ways. There’s also storage rack options that can keep the fitness floor uncluttered and accessories well organized.
One last upgrade to consider doesn’t take up any space, as it’s completely digital. Fitness centers across the country are finding that digital video fitness programming and training guides are an inexpensive and compelling addition to the other fitness equipment options they make available for users. Video training program platforms like Functional Solutions are easy to implement and adaptable to a number of different “screen and menu options” depending on the fitness experience you’re trying to create.
3. Maximize Your Remaining Budget, and Your Tax Breaks
To make the most out of your fitness investment, you want to get the most for your money. Many facilities and organizations have a use-it-or-lose-it annual budget that may have unspent dollars that can be wisely invested in the upgrades or repairs discussed above. Though it might seem advantageous to carry unspent budget dollars forward into the next tax year, you can lose out on a valuable tax incentive if you do that.
The advice is timeless: “There are several steps you can take near the end of the year to put off income into the next tax year and increase your deductions in the current tax year.” You can help your business “save money almost immediately” by accelerating your purchases (and the accompanying deductions) into the current tax year, by making those purchases before the end of December.
Any fitness facility wanting to conduct a Fitness Site Evaluation or find out about equipment upgrades that can be fulfilled before the end of the year can contact their local Advanced Exercise consultant or the corporate team for assistance.
About Advanced Exercise
Founded in 1986, Advanced Exercise is a leading fitness equipment and facility design resource, representing more than 30 equipment brands to bring clients the best new or used equipment solutions to maximize the use of available space and meet the needs of a diverse community of fitness amenity end users. For more information on fitness equipment and facility design services, visit www.advancedexercise.com or call 800-520-1112 to connect with one of Advanced Exercise’s experts.