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Feature Article - November 2008

Keeping Up, Reaching Out

Outfitting Fitness Facilities

By Richard Zowie


F

or many Americans, staying fit is a way of life. Some see it as a way to regain their youthful physiques while others see it as a way to stay in shape. And for recreation centers, fitness centers and other facilities, making sure you provide space—and motivation—for exercise is a critical mission. But when it comes to outfitting your fitness area, questions, abound: What kind of machines are must-haves? What else should we include to inspire people to be active? How do we outfit our facility to ensure the best options for our clientele?

There's always something new on the fitness scene, and as fitness options evolve, the equipment changes as well. Some exercise machines are given upgrades, and new machines and tools are introduced. Manufacturers have to stay on top of what customers want, and fitness facilities need to include these latest and greatest offerings to stay ahead of the competition.

State-of-the-Art Centers

Fitness facility managers realize that in order to keep customers coming in, they must provide quality services. Sometimes that means staying on the cutting edge of technology as America delves further and further into the computer age.

Keith Worts, Crunch Fitness' executive vice president of operations, said their facilities are using some of these tech-enabled pieces of equipment. Stationary bikes come with modern gaming software that puts patrons in a scenic biking course with resistance changes to make it feel like a true outdoor ride.

"It gets harder as you go uphill and easier as you go downhill," Worts explained. "You can create an account to race against your previous rides or other riders across the country."

Crunch also recently acquired treadmills that are iPod-accessible. Goodbye, silent workouts. Hello, working out while watching Van Halen perform "Jump."

Another recent acquisition for Crunch is an update to its Netpulse bikes, which connect to the Netpulse Internet platform, allowing patrons to check e-mail, read articles or watch TV shows while exercising—multi-tasking at its best.

Where does Crunch get its great ideas for keeping things updated?

"We listen to our member requests and feedback, and are always looking for the newest innovations in equipment to meet their needs," Worts explained. "We're in a constant dialogue with equipment manufacturers providing feedback and learning what they have in the works."