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.

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Scott

    May 18, 2015 at 11:13 am

    bulletin:i hate to break it to the so-called authorities and experts,but hey….lets give it a go…:
    to start:
    ______________________________
    “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.”
    _______________________________
    these words are basically a mixed up mess of business-savvy hot air,and so is most of what is written;….why do i say this? The fitness industry has been on a path of finding the easiest way to get people to perceive exercise as something thats only useful if done with a smile…vs…the goal of trying to maximize results/productivity with time spent in a gym…
    Traditional strength training: slow,controlled,resistance based movements with machines and free weights have superior benefits over EVERY other mode of training out there: to start (and rarely mentioned) is the whole concept of bone health/density and avoiding osteoporosis later in life;doctors have been recommending strength training to prevent bone problems,for decades;also, the tendons,ligaments and cartilage and the body’s overall strength,vitality and capacity to withstand uneven forces and strains is most effectively improved with strength training;all other modes of training are mostly just added random stresses that do little to evenly build collagen and other tensile tissue support that serve to resist injury of sport or daily living- but again,you almost never hear from experts about this either. Metabolism??? better blood sugar control,better overall insulin control,better control of enzyme activity to assist with the body’s use of energy systems like carbs,fat…;better endocrine (hormone) function overall,and YES,BETTER! functional ability from being stronger. believe it!
    And,of course,the biggest no-brainer,added lean muscle tissue for burning calories 24/7…….the list goes on and on.
    HOW IS IT….that there are so many fitness/equipment experts,that sound SOOO out of touch with exercise science and fitness reality??
    Strength training,(again) slow and controlled,full range of motion movements, using both single and multi joint exercises,in a circuit style (little or no rest b/n sets)…is THE MOST result producing mode of exercise,in existence,and this FACT was discovered a loooong time ago. But gyms dont talk about it,because they dont want to scare away business with stories of muscle building,which supposedly gets away from training more functionally (absolute GARBAGE)…;its all such nonsense; most trainers actually have no idea how badly off course they are with the information they pass on,and this goes right back to gym owners+managers who are so desperate for maintaining membership with such heavy competition,there is no time or patience for risking the explanation of science truth and fact to people. These are problems nobody wants to hear about,or talk about..because yes, it can be difficult to stick with strength train 2-3 times a week- DESPITE science saying that is exactly how you GET……healthy.
    Somewhere along the line in the past several years,there was some kind of bizarre (business-driven) idea created where people IN THE fitness business started mysteriously believing that any EXERCISE movement that was not similar to or “comparable” to a movement that is used in everday life,or activities of daily living……..was counterproductive;this theory is horribly,horribly wrong and has wreaked havoc on the effort to apply science most effectively. The expression “first get strong and you will then be better prepared for all other activities in life” is one of THE MOST accurate statements in physical fitness EVER created. When/If you hear a fitness instructor talk up the benefits of core/functional training,they are HONESTLY,HONESTLY MISSING the point about the more comprehensive benefits of proper strength training….:achieving the SKILLS OF A PARTICULAR SPORT,are done BY DOING THE SPORT;achieving BEING STRONG and BUILDING the strength and vitality of all the major tissues of your body (to support every conceivable physical action)…………..is done ONLY ONE WAY most effectively: strength training.
    I would love to hear some comments.

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