Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years you will be fully aware that the industry has undergone a huge transition. Row upon row of two-dimensional isolation machines targeting each individual muscle are (thankfully) becoming a thing of the past. No longer do you need an entire sheet of A4 just to write your training programme. Gone are the days of having to take an afternoon off work to fit each machine in before bed time.


Nowadays, you need a 'functional' area where members can perform exaggerated 'natural' human movements. So, by getting a functional area all of your problems will be solved, right?


Wrong, because everyone has got one. Every major gym chain is sitting comfortably upon the functional fitness bandwagon, and there are more independent facilities popping up than ever before - in spite of the fact that we are seeing the worst economic situation for decades. Not to mention the thousands of personal trainers who work from the boot of their cars meaning they save on their overheads, but still provide a great service without the client needing a gym membership.


Your functional space needs to stand out more than ever. In order to make that happen, there are two really simple and obvious things it needs. Indeed, so simple that you will kick yourself if you haven’t guessed them.


Your functional space needs to be a) FUNCTIONAL, and it needs plenty of b) SPACE.


The key to achieving both of these things is having a creative, innovative team, and a well planned lay-out. In my personal opinion you want to have as much floor space as possible. This allows numerous PTs to be seen using the space at once and, gives you the option of teaching group fitness classes and group PT sessions. Plus, the more space there is, the bigger the range of exercises you can introduce. In order to get the most space, you need to be clever with the equipment you have and the way you position and store everything. Get rid of a few treadmills if you have to. Get rid of a lot of treadmills ideally. The more people utilising your functional space, the better. The more different things they can do, the more they will enjoy the experience...and the more friends and family they are likely to recommend to your facility.


Finally, never underestimate the importance of creativity. Functional equipment is fun compared to using machines, but the novelty can soon wear off if it's too repetitive. You must have access to dozens of exercises for each piece of kit, always have a trick up your sleeve to make an exercise harder or easier and use your imagination when it comes to planning sessions.


Encourage your team to constantly up-skill themselves, preferably from reputable, REPs accredited sources and not just YouTube. A good training team who are likeable and provide fun sessions will have new members queuing at your door. 


Follow me on twitter for ideas @marklaws2011 and @jordanfitnessuk.

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