Traditionally viewed as an additional commodity, recovery is now a more prevalent offering as members seek complete health and wellness.
In fact, according to Tim Forrest, the president and founder of Zone Fitness Clubs, with locations in Florida and Colorado, the brand’s recovery zone services are necessary in today’s fitness landscape. “When you look at the latest group training, personal training and modalities people use, they’re taking their bodies to the extreme limit to lose weight, tone up or build more lean muscle mass,” he said. “Building a recovery zone can help people recover quicker, get their body back into a reset mode, and allow them to live a stress-free life.”
Recovery services are now crucial to the concept of being a full-service facility — or a “360-degree provider of fitness and wellness,” according to Forrest. But when building a new recovery zone or upgrading an existing one, what elements make it perfect?
“Much of this depends on what your club considers to be recovery, and what you believe your members want and will use,” said Paula Neubert, the president and general manager of Club Greenwood in Greenwood Village, Colorado, which recently opened its own recovery zone in February.
In order to build the perfect recovery zone at your club, focus on the layout and design of the space; amenities included; whether or not to staff the space; and the pricing structure.
First impressions mean a lot, especially in a recovery area. This area should be a departure from the loud clanging of weights and pumping music. “The design and atmosphere of a recovery zone are critical,” said Forrest. “You want to create this nice, zen feel.”
There are several ways to accomplish a peaceful atmosphere, such as calming music, low lighting and soothing scents. The more you can make members feel immediately relaxed when they enter the recovery zone, the more effective it will be.
Another consideration is how much of your club’s square footage a recovery zone should occupy. This number will vary based on a club’s size and the amount of emphasis being placed on recovery services.
Neubert’s ideal recovery space would be roughly 1,500 square feet. However, due to space restrictions in the current building, Club Greenwood wasn’t able to accommodate an area that large. “The space we’ve built is 800 square feet,” she explained.
Across Zone Fitness’ locations, the recovery zone’s square footage is based on facility size. According to Forrest, the recovery zone areas in Florida are roughly 1,000 square feet in size, while the Colorado club has a recovery zone of 2,500 square feet.
However, depending on how they’re being offered, recovery services don’t have to be limited to a specific area, according to Forrest. “Some of these recovery zone modalities can be in an open space out on the floor,” he said. “You can actually put some services on the fitness floor and integrate them that way.”
The design and layout of your recovery zone set the tone for the experience, but the amenities you integrate will often be the main selling point for members.
There are several products you can use in a recovery zone, from water massage beds to cryotherapy chambers, all of which leave members feeling refreshed after a tough workout.
“You could use HydroMassage lounges and beds, you could do massage chairs like Infinity or Human Touch, or Theragun stations where you can get a nice sport treatment,” said Forrest. “You could also offer Pulsar compression therapy chairs, and even cryotherapy if you’d like.”
Zone Fitness has emphasized stretching as part of its recovery services, incorporating stretching cages, foam rollers and stretch tables.
The recovery area at Club Greenwood also has several top-of-the-line amenities, including HydroMassage lounge chairs, NormaTec boots and recliners, Gym Source TRUE Stretch Cages, Hyperice compression sleeves with synthetic ice, and several TriggerPoint accessories.
“Recovery zones can be excellent profit centers, as well as an awesome experience for members, because it helps them achieve the wellness and image they’re looking for with their lifestyle,” said Forrest.
In order to maximize labor costs, Club Greenwood’s recovery space is not staffed for most services. “We looked at the recovery zone as a revenue generator without the corresponding labor expense,” explained Neubert. “There will be some up-front labor costs to put members through an orientation on how to operate each service, but nothing ongoing.”
According to Forrest, educating members on using recovery services themselves is a good way to enhance their experience. “Once you teach a member the first time and they understand the process, they like the convenience of being able to access those services and go,” he said.
While some recovery services can be self-administered, such as TriggerPoint foam rollers or HydroMassage beds, there are some services that should have a staff member present before usage.
“With cryotherapy or red light therapy, for a member to be safe and truly get the benefit of it, those are the areas I would have a staff member assist in that session,” said Forrest.
In the end, if all your recovery services are self-service, Forrest believes it’s still wise to have at least one staff member on hand to answer questions or concerns.
The price of your recovery services depends on how it’s integrated into your membership options. A recovery area can be an additional service for an existing membership, part of a premium membership, or available individually from a menu of services.
At Club Greenwood, recovery services are a value-add for any type of membership. Members who signed up during January’s presale got a discounted rate.
“Members can pay a monthly membership fee of $50 to belong to the recovery zone, and are able to access the space via their membership access card or mobile device,” explained Neubert. “Anyone who joined the recovery zone before opening pays a monthly fee of $40 per month and are considered charter recovery zone members.”
The additional fee gives Club Greenwood members unlimited access to all recovery services, with one exception. “The only limited service is the HydroMassage lounge chairs — they are available one time per day for 10 minutes,” said Neubert. “All other services are available at any time.”
According to Forrest, the Zone Fitness recovery space is bundled into a premier membership, while individual recovery services are also available a la carte in all membership packages.
“Our premier membership runs anywhere from $20 to $40 more per month, depending on the location, but you get daily access to HydroMassage, massage chairs, foam rollers and lots of different things,” explained Forrest.
Certain services at Zone Fitness — primarily services that involve a staff member — are available only a la carte. If a member has a premium membership, these services — individually or in a package — are cheaper than they are for a basic membership.
According to Forrest, this structure helps encourage members to upgrade to premium memberships. “Create an a la carte menu where people can buy a package or single session,” said Forrest. “Similar to how we sell personal training services, if you buy a larger package, you can get a preferred rate over time.”
Whatever pricing structure you choose, you have to ensure your recovery area is a true value-add for members. It must have an innovative and spacious design, the best amenities, and an appropriate amount of staff members available.
Having these elements creates an effective and potentially profitable recovery zone, while delivering a great member experience.