Posted on April 05, 2018 by Gordon Smith

You’ve installed a corporate gym, your employees are happy and motivated, the space looks great and the equipment is working perfectly. Great! I guess that means you can now look at the next phase of your employee wellness strategy and forget about the gym for good. Right?

Not quite. Gyms are ever-evolving spaces that need to adapt. Just as your business needs to respond to changing market trends, so does the gym space. Equipment dates, wears out, goes out of fashion and – as technology advances so quickly – it can fail to meet the demands of the wearable tech-obsessed gym-goer.

Here are tips on how to keep your gym up to date and when it’s time to think about upgrades or changing equipment.

Why update the gym space?

There are two reasons. The first is that equipment wears out. The average lifespan of a piece of cardio equipment is 5 years but it could be less if used heavily, as the cost of repair will eventually outstrip the value of the machine. There will also be natural wear and tear, such as weights and handles eroding, or mats ripping,

The second reason is that sports science drives the understanding of sports and exercise rapidly, and this, in turn, changes the way we workout. And there has been a lot of change.

Since the fitness boom of the 1980’s, we’ve seen workouts like Jazzercise and Aerobics morph into Zumba, dance cardio and HIIT classes, and we’ve also seen a rise in boot camp-style exercising, the introduction of weights as part of a workout, which has eventually led to functional fitness.

It is important to ensure the equipment is used regularly enough to get a return on your investment, which is why it’s important to ensure you keep abreast of latest trends and respond accordingly to keep employees using the gym.

Put a gym strategy in place

Understandably, a business will want to see the gym used regularly over time, but this also means keeping employees engaged and interested.

There are loads of ways you can drive employee engagement, but if the gym isn’t providing the right equipment for your team’s needs, then they may start looking elsewhere.

As a result, it’s important to make sure you put a strategy in place going forward to ensure you’re responding to changing fitness demands. Not only that but encouraging employee feedback and consultation, as well as regularly gathering their opinions on the gym space, is a great way to ensure everybody is getting what they need.

Keeping abreast of latest analyst reports, combined with employee feedback should help create an impactful strategy.

The changing fitness landscape

The current thinking in the fitness industry is more space, less equipment. So companies are increasingly looking to gyms to become more of a multi-choice, flexible workout space.

Although cardio is still just as important as ever, we are seeing a reduction in the amount of cardio equipment in gyms. Gone are the days of rows of treadmills; instead, group workouts, multi-functional equipment, weights, core strengthening equipment and mat work are rapidly increasing in popularity.

For example, zoning is very much on-trend in gym spaces at the moment, especially functional zones that are designed to help with functional training programmes. This is very much about better movement and function on a daily level, whilst reducing injury in the long term.

High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere fast, so think about how employees can get their HIIT fix at the gym. The beauty of HIIT is that it is a quick workout, which works in bursts of high impact followed by short recovery periods, which is ideal for employees short on time.

Keeping-up with smart tech

The rise of wearable devices and smartphones is also revolutionising the way people workout. In fact, experts predict that the wearable market will be worth $25 billion by 2019. It’s a huge market that is growing in popularity by the day.

This means that gym-goers will also want to see smart technology on fitness equipment to ensure seamless connectivity with apps or online training programmes. Most, if not all, cardio equipment is web-enabled these days to help enhance the gym experience, so ensuring your space has the ability to upgrade to this equipment is really important.

Affordable upgrades

If you’re reading this and thinking that upgrading your gym is going to cost you the earth, don’t worry. There are many ways to ensure you’re not losing money on existing equipment, which can help you finance your upgrade.

There is a market for used equipment, so your current items could be sold on to be re-used elsewhere. If you’re coming to the end of a leasing contract, then this could be very timely.

Not only that, but some businesses finance their gym through employee contributions, so for as little as £15 per month, an extensive gym upgrade could become a reality for employees.

This also helps ensure employee engagement over longer periods of time as they become stakeholders in the space and will obviously want to make the most of the gym.