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Teemu Toivonen
By
May 20, 2020

Social distancing and fitness centers - How to accommodate space limitations

  gymplus

Starting with the core and the most beneficial information based on data.

 

PRACTICAL TIPS OF RECOVERING FITNESS BUSINESS FROM COVID-19 CRISIS...

 


  • FOCUS ON THROUGHPUT
    SERVE MORE CUSTOMERS WITH SMALLER PORTFOLIO
  • TRY TO INCENTIVE YOUR CUSTOMERS TO SPREAD OUT OVER THE WHOLE DAY
    FLATTEN THE PEAK HOURS
  • MATCH EQUIPMENT STRUCTURE WITH DEMAND (EQUIPMENT SESSIONS)
    AVERAGE GYM – CARDIO: 28%, STRENGTH: 66%, FUNCTIONAL & STRETCHING: 6%
  • FOR NOW FAVOR EQUIPMENT OVER FREE SPACE
    MULTI GYMS SERVES 3X MORE PEOPLE OVER FREE WEIGHTS AREA (PER SQM)
  • FAVOR MULTIPURPOSE EQUIPMENT
    SERVE CUSTOMERS TRAINING ROUTINES WITH FEWER EQUIPMENT
  • FAVOR EQUIPMENT WITH SHORTER EQUIPMENT SESSION LENGTHS
    ROWER SESSIONS ARE ON AVERAGE 3X SHORTER THAN BIKES AND 2X TREADMILL
 

Now, if you are still interested how we came up with the instructions and what is the business impact of forced capacity limitations by the social distancing guidelines, keep reading forward.

 

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES TO YOUR EQUIPMENT PORTFOLIO AND WHY YOU SHOULD CARE?

So now that you have decided to keep reading lets go through exactly why you should care about the social distancing guidelines and how it effects your fitness clubs throughput.

 

AVERAGE GYM TRAINING CAPACITY

GYM USAGE OVER DAY

 

 
Lets start the story with some background information from average gym. On the table left, the top row shows total concurrent capacity of our average customer gym. In this case, the average concurrent capacity is 132 people of which approximately 28% are resting or waiting their turn and 72% are actually training during any given moment. The next rows shows how the total capacity drops when the equipment capacity is cut down to 75%, 50% and 25% levels from the total. The table on the right shows the distribution of concurrent people training at the customer premises within a day, the capacity levels of 75%, 50% and 25%, and how the capacity levels influence the concurrent training capacity.

 

(Quick sales note: we are currently looking pilot customers for how to incentivize gym members to spread out the workout throughout the whole day, so if you are interested contact us!)

 

So now that we have understanding what the normal of the average gym is we can start to understand why it is important to accommodate capacity cut in order to give the customers best experience as possible and ensure that the customers have a safe and welcoming comeback to the gym scene.

 

The images above show how the social distancing guidelines can effect your fitness club. In the first image you can see how the equipment portfolio looks like for our average customer (each square represents one capacity unit of specific category type, and X showing a capacity unit not in use due to social distancing). Orange represents Cardio equipment, red represents Strength equipment and green represents the Stretching and Functional capacity within the portfolio.

 

As you can see, depending on the layout of the gym and how one goes about selecting the equipment the difference of the end portfolio can be huge. Based on our experience from our customers they will end up having only 70% - 40% of their previous equipment portfolio training capacity.

 

So why does all of this matter? Well here is an example calculation.

 

EXAMPLE CASE

 

Starting with setting a baseline customer workout, which consists of the three main categories: Cardio for warming up, Strength for getting the pump, then moving to some Functional training for getting the last bit of energy out of the system, and lastly some light Stretching to finalize the workout.

 

So now that we have set the baseline you might be wondering how all of this is related to the social distancing guidelines in gym? Well, based on the information from the Chinese fitness industry rebound we could see that the customer visits were back on +75% levels within 5 weeks of the opening (Europe Active Webinar - Reopening Fitness Doors: a World Tour). This means you have to serve +75% of the total customer base with equipment portfolio capacity that is most likely 80% - 30% of the normal capacity, while adhering the social distancing guidelines and having a solid cap how many people you may have at the gym at the same time. This means, even though you would have 75% of the normal capacity in use, the gym can “hold” only maybe 50% of the people that it used to. This increases the waiting time and lowers the utilization rate of the equipment. But there is more, now you also have to accommodate more frequent cleaning routines for ensuring the hygiene of the equipment, which means that you will probably loose additional 10% - 15% of the throughput of the equipment portfolio.

 

Now that we have established the difference in the total throughput of the equipment portfolio let’s see that in customers / workouts served in numbers.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF OPTIMAL EQUIPMENT PORTFOLIO:

CUSTOMERS SERVED WITH DIFFERENT PORTFOLIO CAPACITY LEVELS

3_graphs

First, lets go through what we are looking at here. In the charts above we have calculated the customers/workouts served for our average customer gym with different equipment portfolio selections and with different equipment portfolio capacity levels. In each chart you can see the number of workouts served within an average week. The green line represents the “optimal” portfolio based on a few factors: workouts served or the equipment category demand during normal week, utilization rate of the equipment within the equipment category and session length of the equipment. Next, the blue line represent the average portfolio which basically is the equipment category supply within the normal equipment portfolio, in other words the distribution of equipment adjusted to the capacity limitations in the same proportion. Last, the red line represents a bad selection, which means that the equipment are balanced using the category supply in the equipment portfolio, but randomly, which means there could be equipment with lower utilization, low customers served and long sessions within the portfolio.

 

Now that we have a grasp what the charts show and how the portfolios are constructed lets dig a bit deeper in to the numbers.

 

Lets start analyzing the importance of accommodating the social distance cut on the total equipment portfolio by first taking a look into the normal 100% capacity. In the 100% capacity we can safely say that most of the gyms do not actually have the optimal portfolio shown here, as only few gyms focus solely on the throughput aspect but also support diversified training options for the gym members. Most of the gyms are actually closer to the average portfolio (hence the name) which means that within a normal week gym with 500 to 700 m2  serves on average around 10,000 customer workout sessions, some little more, some little less.

 

Now that we know the normal time baseline we can turn towards the effect that the social distancing cut has to the throughput capacity of equipment portfolio. As we deduced earlier the equipment capacity, when the social distance guidelines are applied, will be around 80% - 30% of the normal capacity, and when taking into account the 5 weeks to 75% customer visit statistics presented in Europe active webinar we can easily come to the realization that...

without special measures gyms will most likely have a hard time
answering to the training needs of their gym members.

 

This is evident when looking at the graphs showing the customers served with 75% and 50% capacity. Only with careful selection of the equipment taken out of use the gym can maintain the relational throughput level. This is the situation where the capacity decrease is perfectly 1:1 inline with the customer decrease. Most likely this is too optimistic view and the gym will be under the normal relational throughput due to hygiene related additional cleaning needed (-10%...-15% or 10-20 minutes out of hour). The reality will be some 50% of total capacity available (with added hygiene). In this situation, the gym is actually forced to serve 75% of the customers with equipment portfolio capacity that is not optimized towards session throughput due to equipment portfolio selection bias (every second without moving around the equipment).

 

With GymPlus solution you can optimize your equipment portfolio to better match the new demand levels.

 

Written by Teemu Toivonen, CIO & Co-Founder of Indoor Informatics.

 

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