No matter what square footage your gym has, how you optimize gym space is key. There are 700-square-foot gyms running fun, effective classes. And on the opposite end, there are massive, 20,000-square-foot gyms with an ineffective layout. Just ask any tiny house owner: You can make a small amount of square footage work.
Whether you own a CrossFit gym or a Pilates studio, there are three steps to optimize gym space effectively.
Build Your Equipment List.
When you’re first starting out, it can be tempting to picture a full gym with classes bursting at the seams. In that vision, every member has all the equipment they need, with extra options to spare.
The reality is though, you should start with just enough equipment to get rolling and sometimes people might have to share.
Start by creating a wishlist of equipment on a spreadsheet: Everything you could ever dream to own. Then copy that spreadsheet and use the copy to create a pared down list. On this one, take out the things that aren’t essential for getting started.
Finally, copy the pared down list and on this last spreadsheet, take out the things that you either can’t afford yet or don’t have the space for. Essentially, this is the list of equipment that’s absolutely necessary to start your gym.
Remember, your equipment list can grow as your gym grows. And no, a GHD isn’t on the “necessity” list at first, despite what your long-term CrossFit members will say.
Here are a few additional ways equipment factors in optimize gym space:
1. Class Sizes.
Do your best to project your average class size and set a class cap. These will mainly depend on the square footage of your gym floor and coach-to-participant ratio. Once you have these numbers, you can determine how much equipment you’ll need.
Get creative with your gym programming and you’ll find that certain pieces of equipment can be used in multiple ways. For example, wall balls aren’t limited to just doing wall balls. Try using them for things like weighted ab mat sit-ups or burden runs.
In addition, some implements like a land mine are even designed to be used for a variety of movements to work the whole body. Before you invest in each piece of equipment, examine your programming options to get the best bang for your buck.
3. Equipment Quality.
When you’re just starting out, every single piece of equipment doesn’t need to be brand new or top-of-the-line. If you can find deals on things like change plates or slam balls, use that chance to save some money. There are quite a few options out there for finding equipment at a discounted rate.
With that in mind, safety is the top priority to optimize gym space. No discount is worth it if it puts your members at risk.
Focus On Customer Experience.
After you’ve figure out the logistics of running a successful class, the next focus is member experience. Put yourself in the shoes of your community and imagine walking into your gym for the first time. What vibe are you giving off?
Does your space feel welcoming and open? Are there motivational sayings on the walls? Is the equipment clean and well-maintained?
In addition to the gym floor space, consider providing an area for members to hang out before and after class. This is a clear indicator that you value community and encourage connectedness. Joining a new gym can sometimes be fairly intimidating, so this is an extra step to show guests that they’re welcome.
Optimize Your Gym Space.
Visually laying out the floor plan of your gym is the final step. This will prevent you from having to physically move equipment around to find the right fit. It will save you a ton of time and let’s be honest: Moving weights is not fun.
While there are plenty of software programs out there to help with the visual layout, a pen and paper will also work. The key is to make sure your room and equipment dimensions are scaled accordingly (e.g. 10 square feet = 1 inch).
To optimize your gym space visually, there are three key things to keep in mind:
1. Consider Safety First.
Safety precautions are the most important factor in planning your gym layout. First, consider the equipment itself. Make sure it’s well-maintained and its use poses no threat to members. Second, be sure the layout is safe so that members can move around with ease and have plenty of space to work out. Finally, pay attention to code and safety regulations for your building, ensuring your gym isn’t in violation of those rules.
2. Determine Number Of Gym Members Per Square Foot.
Once you’ve taken safety precautions into consideration, the next step is determining the optimal floor layout. This can actually play a huge part in how profitable your gym can be. A key metric in evaluating how well you use your gym is the by the number of square feet per member. Your goal is to fit as many people into the gym as possible while ensuring that everyone has an adequate amount of workout space.
Note: Just because you can fit 30 members into the space at once doesn’t mean you have to. If you choose to cap your classes at 15 people, this leaves you additional floor to explore other revenue options.
3. Make It Aesthetically Pleasing.
You’ve ensured that your gym is safe and that you can provide adequate space for each member in class. The final step is to make it look visually appealing.
People will be drawn to a neat, clean and organized space. Work in your gym brand colors. Find adequate and effective storage options and keep clutter to a minimum. Once you’ve actually moved everything into its place, walk through the space and do a vibe check. Adjust things as necessary to give your members a welcoming, comfortable experience.
Ultimately, careful planning is required to choose the correct equipment and optimize gym space. But no need to feel intimidated. The most important factors to keep in mind include equipment, customer experience and layout. Prioritize safety and design an aesthetically-appealing space, then you’re on the right path.
PRO TIP: Once you’ve optimized your gym space, take the next step! Set up your gym management system by registering your FREE account here!
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