Setting up any type of professional gym can be a huge struggle. Not only do you have to fit the equipment your clients want and need into whatever space you have, but you have to ensure that there’s plenty of room for them to move and train comfortably. Training gyms can be extra tricky because of the need for private training and group training space alike. Here are a few tips to ensure your fighting gym is set up for optimal functionality.
1. Office Space
Before delving into the nitty-gritty of the public access area of the gym, you need to make sure you’re setting aside space for an office. When you have limited square footage, it can be tempting to eliminate the office so you can have more room for equipment or sparring areas. But a gym office is a necessity. In order for you to run your gym effectively, you need space to take calls, do admin work, and just focus on the task at hand. Whether you take calls on your private phone or use a virtual phone number, having a quiet place to do your business is something every gym owner needs and should prioritize.
2. Plenty of Light
You’ve probably been in fighting gyms or seen ads for ones that have a dark, moody vibe. That looks really cool on-screen and might be fun for the occasional sparring match. But the majority of the time, your clients are going to need to be able to see what they’re doing. Part of the training process is observing yourself in the mirror to check on your form, and if the room is dark and shadowy, that won’t be easy to do. Try and have a combination of natural and overhead lighting, installing skylights if possible. You’ll be surprised at how much more motivated and energized your fighters are when they have good lighting.
3. Keep It Sparse
It can be really exciting to start buying equipment for your gym once you have the space secured. Whether you’re looking at punching bags, treadmills, or pro-style fighting cages, you may need to take a step back and remember what the necessities are. Only you will know what your clients are looking for in your gym, and it’s important that they have whatever they need to train well. But other than the necessities, try keeping lots of space open. It might seem counterintuitive, but clients are often happy with a clean, well-maintained space to train in over a gym jam-packed with a bunch of novelty equipment.
4. Know the Flow
Once you have fighters showing up and using your gym, try to figure out what the “flow” of their training sessions looks like. Do they warm up first, and what do they warm up with (i.e. running on a treadmill or jumping rope)? Try setting up the equipment according to what it’s used for (warming up, cooling down, cardio, etc.). Are your clients able to progress from one space to the next efficiently, or are they running into things and wasting time winding around the equipment? Nailing the flow of your layout comes down to knowing how your clients like to train and using that as your guideline.
5. Encourage Friendships
The best and most popular fighting gyms tend to be the ones where everyone knows each other and feels like coming to the gym is like a break from the real world. Encouraging interactions can be as simple as running friendly competitions and getting coaches to pair up different fighters every week. Get everyone to know one another, and they’ll be excited to show up and train – and they’ll tell their friends to come along next time.
Setting up a gym for optimal training and sparring can be difficult, but using these tips should get you to a good place and make your gym an open, inviting environment for anyone looking to learn how to fight.
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