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Programming, equipment and a fitness space layout are all critical to helping your facility properly adjust to membership growth in an evolving industry. Obviously, growth is a good thing — in fact, it’s highly encouraged. But what happens when new needs and demands outgrow your facility?

The Bill Bartley Family YMCA in Wichita Falls, Texas, was experiencing success in engaging current members, but wanted to reach a wider demographic. And its programming structure and layout were limiting its potential.

“We got to a point in our organization — as do many other facilities — where we were struggling to gain new memberships while also retaining the current memberships we already had,” said Megan Gibson, the Y’s fitness and wellness director.

It was time for a change — and it started with programming and layout evaluation, to determine where the facility could best reallocate resources and transform spaces to better serve all members, current and prospective.

“We wanted to provide more resources to our community, create spaces that were multi-function training areas providing efficiency with people’s time, and covering all ages, from youth to seniors,” said Gibson.

To meet the growing need for more complete and diverse offerings, the Bill Bartley Y turned an underused area into a multi-functional fitness space that offers three different experiences:

  1. Dedicated personal training services
  2. High intensity interval training (HIIT) programs
  3. Small group training programs

All three of these programs have helped generate more revenue for the Y, but most importantly, they’ve answered the call for a larger slate of fitness offerings.

Equipment played as big a role in the transformation as the programs, and the Bill Bartley Y leaned heavily on TRX and Core Health & Fitness to round out its classes with some of the best pieces in the industry.

“With TRX’s state-of-the-art suspension equipment, we have been able to create numerous training spaces in one area,” said Gibson. “And TRX had the ability to not only deliver product, but activate it as well, through education and hands-on training.”

The facility’s HIIT equipment has also been critical to its success. “Core Health & Fitness’ new StairMaster HIIT line has been an incredible asset in our multi-function training area,” she said.

The combination of state-of-the-art equipment and the proper education on how to use the pieces have been a difference-maker for the Bill Bartley Y. And bringing together this equipment in a proper layout with a robust lineup of engaging classes has resulted in a popular and beneficial workout space for members.

Gibson has personally seen the benefit of the multi-purpose in a class she teaches, called Power Max. “It is a 50-minute, full-body circuit interval training that incorporates StairMaster HIIT pieces, turf workouts, TRX equipment and weight training,” she said. “And the space this class is held in generated over 1,500 new memberships and averages 25 to 40 people per class — all in less than four weeks.”

Through the proper blend of programming, equipment and a flexible layout, the Bill Bartley Family YMCA has successfully positioned itself as a go-to health and wellness facility for all exercisers in its community.

“Creating a space like we did has allowed us to teach on a much larger scale, and allowed members to access this room even when classes are not in session,” said Gibson. “And whether it be a CrossFitter, high school athlete or any exerciser in circuit training, TRX suspension or a boot camp setting, anyone can workout here.”

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former editor of Community Rec Magazine.

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