Functional fitness training can make every day living and activities easier for your fitness clients. The benefits to your clients go way beyond what traditional cardio and strength training can achieve. It is easy to add a functional training space allowing a wide range of exercises to build functional fitness benefits that go beyond the workout. Let's discuss the ways to optimize your functional training space with the VertiMax Raptor and learn how to Get Raptor Fit.
In a 2015 article titled ‘International Fitness Industry Trend Report: What’s all the rage?’ written on behalf of ACE, Club Intel and IHRSA, described the difference between a Trend and a Fad to be: “Fads are events; short-term phenomena that arise quickly, take the world by storm and just as quickly fade into obscurity.” Fads span every aspect of human culture. In business they have created mercurial success and mercurial failure. In social spheres, fads have created short-term changes in social consciousness that just as quickly became forgotten. Fads are a virus that can quickly take over business thinking, sometimes generating short-term profit and more often than not, causing permanent harm. As business operators, it is vital to see fads for what they are and not incorporate them into your business strategy.
Trends are events that evolve into movements. Trends have the ability to gain momentum and create long-term societal and business impact. They have vitality, often ingraining themselves within the cultural roots of society, whether it is a social trend or a business trend. The power of a trend can manifest itself in the attitudes, values and behaviors of its audience. Bill Clinton, former President of the United States, said “Follow the trend lines not the headlines.” Consequently, trends are movements that business leaders need to focus on as they map out strategy for their business and not follow fads.
Across the globe, performance and fitness facilities alike have embraced the concept of functional-fitness training spaces to adapt to the latest trends.
Reasons to Adapt to Functional Fitness Trends
- Functional fitness spaces are more cost effective
- Functional training appeal to a wider consumer base (fitness enthusiasts to pro-athletes)
- Functional fitness creates more functional members in their every day life.
I remember when I first started working in this industry and I would spend a lot of time in clubs, both working out and educating. The performance/fitness facilities I attended had the latest and greatest strength training and cardio machines on the market.
Members seemed to have loved and continue to love equipment. I can only assume it is because the machines look fancy and were mostly easy to use. They are essentially ‘press a button and go’ or have a seat with weight selections and lift.
For as fancy as these machines are, we know as coaches and trainers that most of these pieces of equipment don’t promote ‘function’ or ‘replicate the daily environment’ that our athletes/members play and live in. Functional fitness encourages people to use their bodies as they naturally would, so these pieces of equipment (Chest Press, Leg Press, Leg Extension, Hack Squat, Pull-Down Machine which are mainly single-joint, Fixed-Plane Equipment) actually promote the opposite, working limited muscle groups in isolation. I think we can all agree that creating ‘solution-based’ spaces is very beneficial for everyone involved.
Functional Spaces Provide A Fun Environment
Regardless of the goal of your athletes/clients/members, it’s important to design spaces that promote the concept of solution-based training. By investing in these spaces, it will not only encourage active-thinking, more engagement and play, it is a great retention strategy as well. By creating spaces that allow for play, it will inherently make training more fun. When people have fun, they stay longer, achieve more results and tell others! And to add, I have seen these functional training spaces become a central point for forming community in clubs that otherwise didn’t exist in the club before. How is this not a great ROI?!
We also can’t forget that if you have a facility that appeals to a broader membership base, this ultimately can be great for your business. I’ve seen some amazing spaces that have had professional/amateur athletes training on the same piece of turf using the VertiMax Raptor for speed & agility on one end, a small 4 person boot camp on the other end, and a one-on-one personal trainer working with a client in the middle. How cool is that?! Talk about a functional training space that is generating great revenue per square foot.
Functional Training Space Cost
What also comes along with these fancy pieces of equipment can be fancy price tag. Functional-fitness zones cost around $5-6 per square foot compared to up to $50 per square foot areas filled with machines (ACE, 2013, May) So from a purely cost perspective, facilities can save money on equipment by investing in functional equipment and spaces and then reinvest saved dollars into upgrading amenities and/or what I think is more important, investing in their people.
Functional Training Space Equipment
I have seen some clubs, both big and small, convert what were non-functional, somewhat blah training spaces into some absolutely amazing playgrounds both indoors and out! Once you decide to invest and transform your training space into a functional playground, you then need to decide what functional training equipment you will invest in.
As for the equipment itself, the list of popular functional strength is long. Some of the staple products in my training regime are the VertiMax Raptor, TRX suspension devices, kettlebells, medicine balls and sandbags.
Functional Training Space Design
What I love about the VertiMax Raptor is not only its functionality, but its portability as well. At home, I can mount it to the portable mounting device and train strength, core and mobility on my deck. I can take it off the mounting device and take it to the baseball field on the corner at the high school and attach it to the chain-link fence when I need more space for sprints.
I have seen the Raptor being used in several key areas of some amazing functional training spaces. For example, the club I teach indoor cycling at has two Raptors side by side on mounting devices at one end of their turf zone. Two Raptors allow you to have up to four people training at the same time depending on exercise selection. I love turf zones because they essentially say, “we are here to play!” and they create a great central point in your gym that essentially becomes advertising for functional training.
If your facility doesn’t have a turf zone, you can still use the Raptor around your gym floor because we can mount it on a wall or a squat rack.
Functional Training Spaces Create a Positive ROI
If we think strictly about Return On Investment (ROI), the VertiMax Raptor is one of the more invaluable pieces of functional training equipment because we can use it both indoors and out with most populations and it has several anchoring options. In terms of functionality itself, not too many pieces of equipment available today can train all aspects of the movement continuum: speed, power, strength, endurance, mobility, accuracy & adaptability.
As strength & conditioning coaches, personal trainers, and facility owners you need to be thinking not only about ROI in the short-term, you need to think about what does my current & future member want in the years to come? Research shows that your members and fitness enthusiasts alike are more aware of the benefits of functional training spaces and the equipment options than in previous years. So what are you doing to keep your customers and attract them away from the competition?
I think gone are the days where rows and rows of fancy machines are a key selling feature to a membership. I wouldn’t say those machines are completely obsolete because in certain cases, they do have value. That being said, it’s all about education. There are those members and prospects who don’t know what that they don’t know. If they ask, “Hey, where’s your Leg Press machine?” We need to educate them as to the ‘why’ you don’t have one.
It’s a fine art in our industry being able to give them what they want and giving them what we know they need. It seems to be a dance that never seems to end. Frankly, as a Fit Pro, I love the dance! I love the challenge of ultimately educating a client/participant to the ‘why’ to help empower them to make better informed decisions as it relates to their overall health and well-being.