North Point Fitness, Roswell, GA, just north of Atlanta, was created in 2005, but owner Rick Mayo has operated a training studio in the same space for the past 20 years. Last year, North Point Fitness generated about $1.5 million in a 6,000-square-foot space, a 10 percent increase from the previous year, Mayo says. The club is scheduled to complete its expansion to 8,000 square feet this month, and Mayo hopes to add 50 new members to the 350 members already at the studio.
Mayo licenses his North Point Personal Training Systems to such brands as Gold’s Gym, Anytime Fitness and World Gym. More than 50 gyms worldwide have the North Point training systems, Mayo says.
“It’s just a huge advantage to be in the smaller space that we’re in, doing what we’re doing, because we really are the anti-gym,” Mayo says. “If somebody really wants to get results and get a little bit of coaching, which I think everybody wants, then that’s what we do. It’s almost a complete opposite of what you would find in the larger clubs.”
The larger clubs are recognizing that difference, which is driving the growth in the licensing side of Mayo’s business, he says. When Mayo visits a gym in which 100 of the 4,000 members are participating in personal training, he knows that many more members would like the extra coaching.
“They just don’t want what they’ve been offered,” Mayo says.
Mayo consulted Todd Levine and George Schaffer, owners of the 25,000-square-foot Gold’s Gym in Webster, NY, just outside of Rochester, when they implemented a small group
training system in their gym last April. The owners already had a strong large group team training system in place, Schaffer says. Once the small group training system was added, the investment began to pay off. Training revenue is up about 25 percent, says Schaffer, who calls the move a “game-changer” for the gym.
“We’re actually making fitness fun again,” Schaffer says. “This is what the consumer is interested in. The old days of … being in the gym for two hours is gone. We can do everything that people want to accomplish in about 55 minutes. Fifty-five minutes is the perfect workout.”
The goal for the partners is that by June 1, the club’s personal training revenue will match its membership revenue.
“And we’re headed in the right direction,” Schaffer says. “If we do that, we can really bulletproof ourselves from any competitor.”
Susan Taylor made a similar change at The Woman’s Workout Co. in Hyannis, MA, which at 13,000 square feet is not exactly a big-box club but had been more of a traditional club. Taylor owned the club, sold it, then bought it back three years ago. At that time, she closed the swimming pool and expanded the floor footprint of the women-only club to provide more space for private and group training.
The goal for The Woman’s Workout Co. is to get 45 training memberships per month at an average of $249, which would equate to about $11,000 per month, Taylor says.
“It was a perfect fit,” Taylor says of the change. “Women like the group environment, the energy, the support. It was just simply a natural. Good music and hard workouts bring such an incredible energy to the gym. And they started seeing results, whereas sitting down on the selectorized [equipment] just wasn’t happening. They’re flipping tires and pulling sleds and hanging from rings. They’re working harder than they probably ever have but having the best time that they’ve ever had, too.”
Personal training, group training and cycle studios may not completely replace the traditional fitness club model, but they are having enough of an impact to make big-box clubs and others like them take notice.
“We’re seeing a gradual shift away from the big-box clubs to the microgym, or what we do with Orangetheory Fitness,” Long says. “How big? I’m not sure, but we definitely see that people are gravitating toward the smaller, more convenient model.”
Editor’s Note: To learn how these microgyms are changing the sales strategies of health clubs, purchase Club Industry’s “Health Club Sales Strategies 2012” report by going to http://clubindustry.com/expert-advice/club-industry-reports.