T Nation

New Gym

I’m trying to gather as much info as possible on opening my own gym. Things that I’m looking for are experience, ideas, problems with current gyms, anything. Thanx…

Are you looking for lists of things we like and don’t like about our gyms? We’ve had long conversations about this before, but I’ll gladly rant about them again. The WORST things about my gym are the sissy music they play (oldies, dentists’s office waiting room easy listening–why not have a jukebox? Really!) and the lack of hygeine (poor cleaning in the showers and bathrooms, lack of sanitizing sprays for memebrs to use on nasty machines, old guys who spit in the sauna floor drains or lean naked against the sink conuters, and people who walk barefoot and sweaty around the gym floor). Other minor gripes are when we sign up for an expensive membership “deal” and then within days an ad for the gym comes in the mail with a better offer…parents who use the lap pool as “kiddie care” so nobody can exercise because of floating toddlers…some of the stuff that bugs me are things I’m not sure management could fix, like yuppies who leave tiny cell phones on the floor in front of the squat rack, or people who use the record-keeping writing counter as a library cluttered with Elle and GQ magazine, or stack their giant gym bags on the conuter instead of stowing them in lockers, or use benches for their notebooks and towels while others are waiting to use the bench.

OK, now for things I LIKE: trainers who are hired as much for the fact that they're helpful and not arrogant as for the fact that they know how to train; dumbbell racks that are compartmentalized by weight instead of being one big rack where the weights are randomized and missing; waterfountains that are actually cold and pressured enough; vending machines that sell real nutrition (it kills me to see Cokes and Recees' in a gym machine!); our gym hires retired elders to wander and spray-clean the vinyl machine pads throughout the day; a public bulletin board for fitness-specific items.

At my gym there is only one of each piece of equipment. This works out ok most of the time, but there is nearly always a bottleneck at the incline bench as it is used for so many different exercises. Months of repeated requests for a second incline bench from numerous members have passed without one arriving. There’s space too. Very frustrating!

Glad someone asked about this. I just moved to a town of 4000 people, and they have no fitness center. The only option is the high school weight room which the public can only use fro 7-10 am M-F. They had a place before but it was really half-ass. The lady who owned it wanted to move out of the state to be closer to family so she sold her equipment, but the people who were going to buy the building backed out so now she’s stuck. I smell an opportunity here. I definitely want to do something, but not sure what all I need to do. I don’t need a multi-million $ facility, but at the same time I want something nice. I also want to focus on free weights w. a few cardio machines. The two really nice things I want to have is a good reverse hyper machine and one of those Cybex assisted dip/chin machines. Remember, there are only 4000 where I now live. I came from a town of 40,000 and two gyms. Any suggestions on a rough estimate startup cost and what brands of equipment? I also might be able to lease the building instead of buying it.

Power racks-as many as you can afford. Multiple free standing benches. Healthy dumbbell selection. Platforms for power lifting and rubber covered plates. All of this begs the question-is there a specific clientele you are hoping to appeal to? My recommendations might have been different if you were wanting to appeal to middle aged housewives.

I hate to say it but you will have to have enough cardio equipt- otherwise you will not sign up enough members.
The one thing I would like to see a Gym try is to have some group classes. Gear them to teaching people how to do different lifts,diet, and or put together their own workout program. This personal trainer deal is a joke. Most people can’t afford personal trainers and newbie members falter because the employees in the gym don’t offer advice unless they are paying for a session.

My gym pet peeve is a nasty locker room. Very few gyms have a nice looking locker room, and I would go the extra mile to stand out if I were about to open a gym. Another good thing would be a suggestion box. Very few gym owners use this, maybe because they’re insecure… I dunno. But a suggestion box is simple and and that way you always get good feedback and ideas .

why ANYONE that is seriously trying to concentrate on building mass in the gym wants to hear this rap/jigaboo/disco nonsense is a mystery to me. yeah, ok… i want to hear “nelle” or brittany spears on my squat day when i’m coming up from the floor with 400lbs. with three gym’s and counting now that i’ve actually had to get my money back from because of this silly, little, feminin, distracting, problem… YES – i’d have to say this is a magor problem in alot of gyms. be different. go for it. play some MOTIVATIONAL MUSIC for your clientel!!!
whats wrong with a little bit of heavy metal guys. come on.

I have kicked around the idea of a gym for awhile now. I totally understand what features I would want in a gym but you have to appeal to the public. That doesn’t mean you have to sell out and go totally machine-weights but the majority of your clientele will probably want them.

If your fortunate enough to have a large enough population to have a successfull hardcore gym then that’s great. I live in a town of about 20,000 with a “Wellness Center” that is lacking in the free weight area and a totally machine-weight facility that is a joke.

To get started you might try and check towns nearby with gyms. For some reason gyms fail quite often and you can buy their weights at a discount. It doesn’t matter if a 45 lb. plate is used or not, still weighs the same.

I would like to hear of gym owners experiences and estimation of what it would cost to get in.