The latest fitness equipment innovations community rec leaders are adding to their programming spaces across the U.S.
Staff members at the YMCA of Coastal Georgia were searching for new avenues to improve and provide innovative fitness opportunities for visitors.
In their pursuit, they met with representatives from EGYM, a global fitness technology leader connecting the dots between exercise and real health outcomes.
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After learning more about EGYM, leaders at the Y saw what modifications needed to be implemented throughout their fitness areas.
“After seeing all the innovative features EGYM provides and hearing how other health centers are using it to revolutionize the way their members work out, we were sold,” said Krystal McGee, the COO of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia. “We are committed to improving the health of our communities. We knew EGYM was the tool that could support our commitment.”
After a few conversations with the fitness wholesaler, McGee said the first EGYM smart strength circuit in Georgia opened at the Habersham YMCA Branch.
EGYM is a cloud-connected system combining intelligent software with the latest fitness equipment innovations to provide a training experience that’s easy to use, fun and motivating. While using the equipment, data is automatically synchronized with the EGYM platform and is available to view via the company’s website.
The YMCA of Coastal Georgia’s addition is just one example of community rec centers across the country making a concentrated effort to upgrade fitness equipment. This trend has caught the eye of Nick Vay, the vice president of commercial sales at BeaverFit North America.
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“Because of the underlying goals and infrastructure of community recreation, we’ve seen our community recreation partners really push the needle,” said Vay. “This includes high-level studio fitness offerings, premium strength and functional training products, and specific to us, the creation/development of dedicated outdoor fitness spaces.”
When it comes to outdoor fitness, Vay said BeaverFit is seeing high popularity with its Beyond Trailers, a mobile product dedicated to providing customizable fitness anywhere outdoors.
Vay noted while the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the outdoor fitness demand, BeaverFit was already seeing signs of the industry starting to move that direction.
To meet the demand for outdoor fitness, BeaverFit’s latest products like the Shred Shed, Cube-X rigs and Performance Lockers are all manufactured for the outdoors and can train more than 50 users at a time.
Before adding innovative equipment like BeaverFit’s, Vay advised for community rec leaders not to overcomplicate or overthink ideas for their fitness spaces.
“More often than not, it’s as simple as working to effectively replicate the areas within your facility that see the greatest use and drive the most value,” said Vay. “In our experience, this tends to be traditional strength training, body weight training and, of course, functional training.”
Vay suggested using a holistic approach when selecting new equipment. While you want your workout area to look great, it needs to provide the tools and functionality to be accessible year-round.
“You need to think through accessibility and usability of the space,” said Vay. “Do you need protection from the sun or other elements? Do you need lighting, cooling or heating? Do you need music or technology available? Consider providing the right flooring or turf options. Working out on cement or asphalt isn’t ideal. Creating the right flow with flooring can take a space from good to great.”
Storage capabilities also need to be considered so you and your patrons are not carrying gear back and forth from station to station. “This sounds simple, but it’s not,” said Vay. “Not only is it a pain for members or staff to move gear in and out, but not having a dedicated area for your outdoor equipment will lead to damaged, lost or misplaced equipment.”
More to Consider
In addition to outdoor equipment, McGee said another trend being increasingly embraced throughout the industry is a wider variety of recovery equipment options. In particular, stretching labs and cryochambers are methods on the rise. But she advised community rec centers to first evaluate what the needs of the community and members are before purchasing innovative equipment.
“In today’s times, every dollar a person spends will be thoughtfully considered, so our efforts need to be focused on what will give their health the best return on investment for their dollar,” said McGee. “Our members love EGYM and may possibly be addicted to it. Not only are they able to immediately track their results, but the app also provides a leaderboard ranking system.”
One EGYM feature that stands out the most for McGee is each person can see their health improvements and their bio age through the complimentary app. She said you can see your bio age getting younger while you consistently work out, and they refer to this as the “Benjamin Button effect.”
Since implementing EGYM, McGee said her Y’s retention rate for members who use the equipment is about 80%, compared to the normal membership rate of 68%. Moving forward, she said they have already installed the second line of EGYM equipment at their Effingham Branch and have three more slated for install by early 2023.
“We must continue to be relevant in our communities,” said McGee. “That means not only being aware of trends but filtering through the trends to predict what will have sustained and impactful results for our members.”
Photo courtesy of BeaverFit North America.