For your birthday, do you want a book or a toy?
“You want the new toy,” said Tammy Friedt, the owner of CrossFit TPA in Zelienople, Pennsylvania.
She explained while she spends money on continuing education, her members aren’t always appreciative of that fact. The shiny new pieces of equipment draws their attention — and their realization that Friedt cares.
“You show your members you actually care about them by replacing broken things,” she said.
In 2017, the equipment trend was determined by the Open. A number of Affiliates found themselves investing in last-minute purchases due to dumbbells appearing in the fitness competition. But what equipment pieces are owners noticing and leaning toward for 2018?
Friedt said she’d love a Ski Erg — or five — for her gym. But she also thinks the Assault Air Bike is coming soon to the Open. Ultimately, when she chooses what equipment to invest in, she asks two questions: Where will it go in the gym? And can CrossFit TPA use it on a consistent basis, both in CrossFit classes and other programs?
Jay Williams, the owner of CrossFit Hale in Richmond, California, found he invested in items like slam balls, kettlebells, sandbags and weighted vests in 2017. “While barbells are fun, it’s nice to have capacity to mix things up in the workouts with a big group,” he explained.
For Williams, 2018 means more racks and better storage, as well as investing in equipment for new programs at his gym.
However, Williams isn’t seeing trends in what specific type of equipment to buy next; rather, it’s about the quality of the equipment already purchased. He explained competitors are going to be opening with newer, cleaner spaces right around the corner. Boxes are going to have to step up their equipment game. “Replacing old equipment, storing equipment effectively and keeping the place fresh is going to be key,” he said. “Throw out old or broken stuff immediately and replace it. One broken dumbbell hanging around tells a story about your gym — and it’s not a pretty one.”
Just because something is old, however, doesn’t mean it’s lost value. PJ Menagh, the owner of CrossFit Tigard P.A.W. in Tigard, Oregon, evaluated the equipment he had by a couple factors: Was it getting used? Was it worn/torn to the point it wouldn’t last in commercial use?
The equipment pieces that didn’t pass his inspection went to Craigslist. Menagh said he recouped about $5,000. It’s a nice profit, especially since he spends between $5,000 to $10,000 a year on new equipment. Tip: Don’t buy full price and wait for sales. Menagh mentioned he has snagged great equipment deals via X Training Equipment — who acquired Again Faster in 2016.
Next up for Menagh are Assault Bikes. He said gyms have been talking about those and the new Xebex Air Bike from Get RXd. CrossFit Tigard is also looking to invest in either a Bulldog floor scrubber or Viper cleaner. Finally, Menagh did recently buy foam plyo boxes. However, he said he’s selling the lighter versions because they are not as stable as he thought. He will test out a heavier version to see if it’s comparable to a wooden box.
Utilization was the big theme among the Affiliates when asked about trends and what they would buy next. But overall, it comes down to the member. “The equipment you have isn’t as important as how — or if — you use it,” said Williams. “An Affiliate should strive to do more with less, and focus on the needs of the client before buying stuff that seems cool, but won’t help the gym.”
Menagh noted if you have one of something, it’s about as good as having zero of something. You can’t program a workout with GHD sit-ups for eight people with only one GHD, he explained. So, if you want to buy something like Assault Air Bikes, save up to buy five at a time.
When Friedt opened, her goal was to have enough equipment for a class of 10 people. Though it’s expensive, she said if a member has to wait for something, it could deter them from coming back.
Ultimately, evaluating what to buy next often comes down to the basics versus following the trends. Friedt made a final analogy when trying to decide what to spend money on in 2018: It’s like buying a sweet pair of red high heels. If you’ll only wear them once, do you really need them?