Over the past few years, multi-purpose functional training spaces in fitness facilities have gained popularity. Members are now eager to return to their fitness facility with renewed interest in living a healthy lifestyle and reconnecting with others after the extended social isolation brought on by Covid restrictions. For those members who feel comfortable, participating in group activities will afford them both physical and social benefits.

If you are a personal trainer or group exercise instructor and your facility offers a functional training zone, you have a great opportunity to impact members by offering fun new training programs. These are also ideal spaces to build clientele and increase your income with group and personal training. Most facilities charge for personal and small group training differently than group exercise classes. You may see different pricing models, which could range from tiered membership to multi-class or session packages, as well as drop-in offerings. Programs can also drive community-building and retention, so you can promote some classes or sessions as a member amenity at no additional fee. Either way, these spaces give you a way to increase your hours and your impact.

There are several types of training to choose from to fill a timetable in a functional training space; these include large group (or team), small group, 1:1 personal training and self-service offerings for members during times where assisted exercise is not being offered. Many facilities will offer multiple, if not all, training styles. Implementing multiple types of programming using the same equipment helps you to serve multiple demographics throughout the day. Think about what specialty groups you would like to work with and which format would best suit these people. Perhaps you want to work with athletes in the early morning and evening, aging or deconditioned folks in the mid-day, and teens and/or teams during the after-school hours.

To ensure that members are able to maximize the benefits of your functional training zone, it’s best to balance the mix of equipment made for strength and flexibility exercises, as well as cardio. There are lots of user-friendly, functional equipment pieces that target multiple muscle groups and exercise modalities. These will make your functional training zone a favorite spot for clients to work with you either 1 on 1 or in groups.

Designing an attractive training zone is also important to draw member attention. If the area is offset and separated from your other offerings, differentiate the aesthetics to provide a unique and exclusive experience for participants, while still considering the importance of presenting an organized space.

Once you are ready to launch any new offerings, you will want to plan and promote each to the member demographics that may be interested. You will need to define the pricing model, determine the registration system, and plan class schedules and demo plans. As you market programs geared towards multiple participants, be sure to promote the benefits of working out with a group, such as accountability, community, camaraderie and motivation. Invite participants to “try before they buy” and host demo sessions. You can also expose people to the new functional training offerings by creating challenges that incorporate several offerings available and encourage them to try them all.

Educating members on the value of the program and building excitement behind the launch will drive sign-ups and attendance. Putting effort into choosing the best fee structure, equipment variety and program design to increase your impact in a specialized functional training zone is sure to benefit you and your members!