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This One Simple Upgrade Can Revitalize Your Entire Gym


webFor every health club operator, there comes a time to invest in new equipment and decide what will provide the biggest impact for the money. When budgets are limited, it becomes even harder to choose where to spend those precious refurbishment dollars. It may not be obvious at first, but just by replacing a single, affordable category of equipment, you can easily and cost-effectively transform a huge part of your club’s environment.

Let’s start with some basic assumptions:

1. You want your gym to look good.

Imagine giving prospective members a tour, or envision existing members entering the club and making their way to classes or locker rooms. When they pass by the free weight area (and they all most likely will), do you want them to see mismatched, unmarked, outdated dumbbells and a jumble of old rundown plates and bars? Think of how you could substantially improve the appeal of this space with new free weights, and how that simple upgrade would be instantly noticeable from so many different areas of your club.

Although you might consider upgrading décor such as floors, walls and fixtures, often you cannot easily accomplish those types of renovations on a restricted budget and without a major disruption. However, you can modernize a significant part of the environment — easily, economically and most importantly, with little-to-no downtime or disruption — just by upgrading your free weights.

2. You want as many members as possible to notice, appreciate and benefit from your investment. 

Free weight training continues to be one of the most popular activities among gym-goers. Free weight equipment is not only a core component of your gym, but it is also some of the most heavily used equipment in your facility. It only makes sense that your budget should reflect how essential high-quality free weights are to your club.

Be cautious of overspending on novel fitness trends at the expense of fundamentals. While trends can be fun and attention grabbing, remember that these efforts might only appeal to a small group of members for a limited time. Also, continually chasing trends means you will have to constantly re-invest in the next new thing. Necessities like free weights will never go out of style for the majority of your members.

3. You want the biggest bang for your buck. 

Consider that a new set of dumbbells and barbells will cost roughly the same as adding one or maybe two pieces of cardio or strength equipment. Yet a single strength or cardio machine can only be used by one member at a time. A room full of free weights, on the other hand, can be used by many members at once and allows members to perform an endless variety of exercises. Also, imagine the visual impact (or lack thereof) of adding one treadmill or stationary bike to an existing row of equipment — many members may not even notice. In contrast, a complete wall of new dumbbells suddenly transforms an entire room.

4. You want to increase non-dues revenue.

If personal training revenue is critical to your bottom line, then new free weights can encourage more of your members to seek training. Most personal trainers don’t sell packages on treadmill or machine training (areas where most members don’t need ongoing instruction); rather they sell packages based on functional and free weight-based training.

Finally, one last tip to make the most of your money… 

If you decide a free weight upgrade is right for your club, make sure you choose a reputable supplier, as well as durable, well-made equipment. While imported light-duty equipment might seem like a way to minimize your investment upfront, you will end up paying more over time due to sooner-than-anticipated maintenance and replacement costs. If you choose your free weight partner carefully at the outset, you will see better profits and ROI in the long run. Not to mention more satisfied members!


Donna McCallum is the Vice President of Sales for Iron Grip Barbell Company. She can be contacted at 714-850-6900, or by e-mail at donna@irongrip.com.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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