Victoria Burrows on the role of well equipped gyms and fitness centres in attracting business to hotels.

For people who travel regularly for business or leisure, the gym can be an important factor in selecting, and returning to, a hotel. Gyms need to ensure they’re up to date and in the know when it comes to fitness trends. They also need the equipment to provide the necessary fitness solutions. Here are three key trends and the equipment innovations to match.

Functional fitness

One of the most talked about recent fitness trends, functional fitness, or movement-based exercise, aims to replicate movements you do in normal life or sport, using multiple muscles at one time.

“A lot of people walk into the gym with certain body parts on their minds – they want to target the triceps, focus on the inner thighs or work their biceps to exhaustion. Isolating muscles definitely has its purpose and place, but in today’s world, it’s all about functional fitness,” says regional director of hospitality at Life Fitness, David Chioe.

“The Life Fitness team loves the concept of moving multiple muscles at once so much that we have developed the SYNRGY360 system, a small group training unit which offers nearly limitless functional training possibilities, and that will help you train smarter to better prepare your body for everyday life. It is ideal for dynamic small group training, one-on-one personal training, and for individual exercisers.” Functional fitness systems are often designed with tight space constraints in mind.

“Gym floor space is a valuable commodity in the fitness industry, and designing the best use of this space is no easy task – the last thing a hotel gym needs is a large piece of equipment that ends up gathering dust,” says Kwantae Lee, regional hospitality manager – Asia Pacific at Precor.

The gym equipment company recently acquired the functional training company Queenax. “Functional training systems like Queenax give operators the ability to utilise floor, wall and ceiling space, making them easily adjustable to suit any club, and freeing up valuable gym floor space,” says Lee. “The One can fit in the corner of a small personal training studio, while The Format and The Bridge can each fit a large space with dozens of people using it at once.”

The flexibility of functional training systems also means that if a club or facility changes, the functional training system can change to fit the new space, with add-ons, different ceiling mounts. Add-ons such as battle-ropes, ladders, punching bags and balance boards, give operators the ability to diversify their class offerings and drive secondary spend with small group classes, personal training and small group sessions.

“In addition, the ability to evolve the system with optional add-ons and adapt to new fitness trends means that operators can increase engagement and thus member retention,” says Lee.

Exercise for the older adult

Older adults are showing more commitment to keeping up with their health and maintaining strong muscles and bones, when they are travelling as well as at home. Gyms are showing a greater awareness of this market and providing fitness solutions accordingly.

Life Fitness acquired SCIFIT, a company with an extensive line of fitness equipment for active seniors and patients undergoing rehabilitation, in 2015.

“The equipment is highly accessible for any age or ability, and SCIFIT products have become staples in facilities where users are building or regaining strength, or maintaining wellness,” says Chioe.

SCIFIT equipment can be focused on the needs of the upper body, lower body or total body movements using machines that can be customised to the user’s specific needs and ability level.

Precor also has a unique fitness solution in this area. The Adaptive Motion Trainer (AMT) 885 is a versatile cardio machine that would suit gyms with limited floor space because of its multi-functional abilities, as well as being useable for exercisers of all levels, including people with injuries.

“You can climb, cycle, jog or run on one machine, with low impact,” says Lee.

“The innovative and premium design of the AMT takes fitness to a whole new level with the addition of the Open Stride feature … with an infinite range of stride paths to create a uniquely effective low-impact workout.”

Wearable technology

One of the biggest fitness trends of recent years is the use of wearable fitness technology, such as smartwatches. Gym users want to be able to monitor their progress on the go, wherever they are.

Gym equipment companies are continually refining their products to ensure smooth connectivity with a variety of personal devices.

Life Fitness recently announced its first Apple GymKit-enabled cardio equipment in Hong Kong and Japan. With this functionality, Life Fitness cardio equipment will pair wirelessly and seamlessly with Apple Watch so exercisers can track the most accurate measurements possible.

“Through a simple tap of Apple Watch to the Life Fitness console, a connection between the watch and the cardio equipment is established, and data is exchanged between the watch and machine. Once connected, Apple Watch and the machine exchange data such as heart rate, calories burned, distance, speed and incline, ensuring that the metrics on the machine match what the users sees on their Apple Watch,” says regional director of hospitality at Life Fitness, David Chioe.