Ask an Expert on the Equipment Buying Process
You have questions, we have answers. This month we spoke with Mitch Batkin, the senior vice president of fitness for Sport&Health, on his equipment buying process.
You just went through the equipment buying process at the Rockville, Maryland, location. Did you purchase anything new that isn’t at your other clubs?
MB: Concept 2 standing rowers and Fluidity bars for mind-body classes.
How has equipment buying at Sport&Health changed over the years?
MB: The trend towards open spaces with functional “toys” is still very significant. Less pin-loaded strength equipment and more movement-based equipment (adult playgrounds), where rope pulling, bodyweight exercises and ball tosses, for example, are more pronounced.
How can owners maximize equipment purchases on a limited budget?
MB: We all want to preserve our capital. We look for equipment with a proven track record of longevity, ease of maintenance and that’s multifunctional, when possible. There should be more emphasis on machines that use multi-joint movements, as opposed to an attempt to isolate one joint.
The fitness landscape is constantly changing — how do you keep abreast of rising trends so that your clubs’ equipment is cutting edge?
MB: New ideas are constantly evolving. We look for concepts that logically make sense — and avoid ones that attempt to look flashy, yet have no substance. A new exercise or machine needs to have a purpose to help the human body move better — with less chance of injury. Look for things that are simple to understand, fun and efficient, to help accomplish our members’ fitness goals. Some of it is experience, other times simple intuition.
What type of support do you look for in an equipment manufacturer?
MB: Amazing products, amazing service — plain and simple.