Imagine a regular day at the box. Carol and John are stretching close to Ben who is dropping weights on the ground. Jack is hanging over the front desk, dripping sweat on the floor. Jenny just threw her tank top over a set of gymnastic rings. Kristy chalks her hands with a piece of chalk from the rig, and Jane and Patrick are chatting next to the dumbbell rack. Instead of lashing out at your clients for how they act at the gym, learn how you can use their behavior patterns to optimize your gym space for a better experience.
Start With Observation
As humans, we all act according to certain principles. There are numerous mechanisms that control our behavior and though everyone is different, many of those schemes are universal. Choosing a place to set your bag or throw a t-shirt during a workout is not as random as it may seem. Here’s an interesting experiment to conduct. During rush hours, brew your favorite coffee, grab a notebook and find yourself a good observation spot. Choose a place where you can see “all” of the gym, but won’t be disturbed by clients or colleagues. Take at least two classes to watch how your members act. What do they do once they enter the gym? Where do they walk to and where do they stop? Where do they look for the equipment and how do they put it down? How do they mark sets? You’ll certainly notice some patterns. Once you define how people are acting in your space, you can change the way it’s arranged and alter how people use it. Say you find chalk left around the floor after day work. That tells us a few things:
- Your clients love to use it.
- They like to keep it close.
- And they can’t find an appropriate place to put it down… so they create one!
After identifying repeated behaviors, you can think about how to optimize your gym space for a better client experience. Can you arrange your gym so that chalk is within reach during metcon but can easily be put back and kept tidy? Imagine cloth cups positioned close to pull up bars, dumbbells, barbells and rings. Would it solve the problem? If so, it might be worth a try.
But that’s just one example and probably the most obvious. Imagine being a new client who isn’t accustomed to your gym. Go over all the steps this person might take when they first start coming to class. Where would you set your bag? Are collars close to the platform or at the other end of the floor? Where and how would you set up your personal timer? Is there any way to write down your WOD? Answering these questions will give you an insight into the things that can be improved upon or redesigned to suit your clients’ needs better.
5 Ideas to Consider If You Want to Optimize Your Gym Space
Streamline the route to the changing rooms.
In most clubs, corridors lead from the entrance to the reception desk and through the gym to the locker rooms. In this case, clients have to step on the mat before they change their shoes. Breaking this barrier makes it easier to step to the center of the gym to greet a friend and may make it hard to keep the mat clean. Try using different floor colors or laying down grass or an entrance mat on the way to the changing room to make this barrier more visible.
Optimize your gym space with extra storage.
Does your gym have a reception area that’s directly connected to the workout space? Do your members leave their shakes, water and towels on the countertop? If so, there’s just one simple reason – they can’t find anywhere more suitable to set them. Creating some shelves where they can store their belongings is a personal task for you, but it pays dividends.
Create a chill zone where members can hang out.
Clients need to interact with coaches – that’s a given. However, if a coach can’t lead a class due to a nagging client from the group before, that’s a problem. The good news is that it’s a problem you can avoid if you optimize your gym space to keep classes and hangouts separate. Use the main desk or a separate room as the designated chill zone where members can chat with gym staff and friends off the mat.
You want your clients to talk at the gym, just not while you’re coaching a class.
Optimize your gym space with existing equipment.
Looking for a way to add extra seating at your gym without breaking the bank? Look no further than the equipment you already have. For all of us, ply boxes seem to be made for sitting and holding our stuff. However, that’s a problem when you need to move someone’s dirty napkin or towel to get to your equipment. On the one hand, you can add additional shelving if you’re looking to increase storage at your gym. On the other hand, you may figure out a way to organize your boxes and plates so they are accessible for workouts and functional as extra seating.
Minimize mess with racks, labels and organizational tools.
Is there any place in your gym that gets messy all the time? Most often it’s not your clients’ fault; it usually comes down to the space. It’s much harder to keep equipment organized when the space isn’t arranged well. Here are some ideas for how you can optimize your gym space with organizational tools:
- Label your equipment. Whether you keep your kettlebells on the ground or in a rack, label them from lightest to heaviest using different colors or icons, or by marking the wall. When there’s an organized system, there is a lesser chance that a 50-pound dumbbell gets mislabeled as a 35.
- Buy different colored equipment. Did you know you can buy the same rope model in different colors? Set green to 4:11, red to 5:5, blue to 5:10 and so on. Then place them on a rack that is labeled with corresponding colors and descriptions. There you have it – no more tweaking or wondering which rope to grab in the middle of class.
At the end of the day, nobody knows your clients like you do. When you devote time to observing your members’ behaviors, you can identify opportunities to optimize your gym space to improve their experience. Comment below with some of your best tips for optimizing your gym space.