The heart of every fitness facility is the cardio floor. As an essential part of your space, it is crucial to make sure the best cardio purchasing decisions are being made.
A key thing to consider when buying cardio equipment is how well it will motivate and engage members.
“Keep in mind that analyzing the usage data of your current lineup could help you to understand which modalities are frequented the most and if certain features are sought after during a workout,” said Kent Stevens, the executive vice president of commercial sales at Matrix Fitness. “Factor in connectivity features such as wearable technology or app integration to build community and streamline members’ desired workout data.”
Understanding usage data of the cardio equipment in your club is vital. While the cardio floor is an essential area of the club, you may be packing too many pieces of equipment into the space. Data will help you determine what changes to make.
“I don’t want people to think because of COVID-19 they should be making changes, because they should have been making these changes two years ago,” said Mike Feeney, the executive vice president of New Evolution Ventures. “What members and traffic have told us is people want more space to workout in, and we don’t need as much cardio equipment as we have been putting in.”
This year, Feeney said he believes people are going to put in fewer ellipticals and space out their cardio pieces. Spreading the equipment further apart will create social distancing in the cardio floor area of the club, something many clubs are already doing in different parts of their facility. But again, if you are going to limit the number of machines, make sure to have the data to back it up.
“Say I typically put 100 pieces of cardio on the floor, but now I’m going to put 70 in,” said Feeney. “As a buyer or someone who is doing layout and design, you better be really sure you have that mix right. You better be sure your data and tracking information can support the reduction of equipment. I think data tracking on actual equipment usage is the biggest technology piece in my eyes, but not on the member side.”
When deciding what equipment is essential to purchase, Feeney said his data shows treadmills and stepmills are the No. 1 and No. 2 pieces of cardio that are used the most and pieces he considers essential. However, it’s key to manage how many pieces total to put out, meaning you are going to have to make hard purchasing decisions.
Stevens agreed it is up to each club to determine its best cardio purchasing decisions. “Purchasing should be addressed on a case-by-case basis in the sense that clubs need to prioritize the health of their business and the safety of their members in whatever form or fashion that is necessary at the moment,” said Stevens. “In any case, clubs can proactively begin the necessary prep for the purchasing process. Employees can survey members in-person or via online mediums to gather feedback on how they interact with their equipment and what they need to achieve their goals.”
The cardio floor is an essential part of your club that keeps many members coming back time and time again. Because of this, usage data is vital to ensure you have the pieces of equipment they want, while giving them more space to workout in.
In the end, you want to provide members with the best wellness options. If that means more or less cardio equipment, then so be it. In the end, you must gather data and show the membership your club’s purpose is to help them be well.
“That’s what it all comes down to: their commitment to their mission of providing a wellness outlet and how they can evolve to continue delivering on that mission,” said Stevens.