It’s no surprise that you’re considering refreshing your commercial fitness equipment in your strength and cardio areas as the busy season is in full swing.

This isn’t a cheap expense, even if you’re looking at only replacing one treadmill – let alone your entire cardio deck or strength floor.

As you start putting together your wish list of all the latest and greatest goodies you want Santa to bring your gym this year, you have to slow down for a moment and take inventory of what you currently have, how it’s treated you, how you’ve treated it, and what you expect out of your new equipment.

Typically, big box national chains replace all of their cardio around the 3-year mark and strength every 5 years. This is on the faster end of equipment replacement and not the rate the majority of clubs refresh equipment at.

Most of my clients who are independent health club owners replace their cardio every 3-5 years, and strength every 7-10 years. I do have the occasional facility I run into that is still running cardio from the late 90’s, and I’ve seen a few places with strength equipment so old, I’ve been afraid to touch it!

Here’s my suggestions of things to consider when looking at cardio or strength products:

A.   Can I maintain what I currently have for a longer period of time, and what does that cost me in labor and parts? Secondly, what does this mean to my customers that are using this equipment daily?

B.   If what I currently have is broken, can I fix it instead of replacing it? Again, what will this cost me compared to replacing the unit all together? Is my competition upgrading too?

C.    What is it going to cost me to replace the equipment I currently have, is there any trade in value in my used equipment, what features and options do my customers want and need?

Once you’ve had a chance to assess the current situation on the equipment you have, the next step you’re going to want to take is choosing the brands you want in your gym. Some things to consider when looking at the new equipment are:

A.   Is this brand of commercial cardio or strength equipment distinctive, approachable, intuitive, motivational, and rewarding to my clients?

B.   Is the product I’m offering unique and differentiating from my competitors down the street from me?

C.    What is the best value in terms of dollars spent for my investment?

I want to take a second to talk about the value behind your investment, because this should mean way more to you than dollars and cents alone. Your value should come in the way of follow up after the sale, support to maximize your ROI, and service to maintain your equipment.

Any sales rep that comes into your gym or has a meeting with you and says they have the best equipment in the industry, and sells you on price and price alone is full of shit. Pardon my language, but it’s the truth. If you sell on price alone, and lose a deal on price alone, you’re not a salesperson, you’re an order taker.

Ensure that you’re working with a true fitness consultant. One that cares about your needs and desires and is willing to ask the right questions and listen to you. Someone that isn’t afraid to stop you from spending money incorrectly if it’s going to be a bad financial decision for your business. I know too many people in the industry that cash that commission check, and you won’t hear from them again for another 3-5 years.

Here’s a secret, everyone’s equipment is great. Another secret, everyone’s equipment breaks. Last secret, the value comes after the sale.

Make sure you align yourself with the right sales consultant that will follow up with you after the sale, stop by to make sure you have all of your questions answered, is responsive when you have a machine out of order and need fast support and service and I promise you will have a relationship that could last both of your businesses decades!

In closing, it’s not just about what is fancy. Sometimes, fancy breaks and the pretty people aren’t around to help you out after you’ve spent your hard earned money. The key to finding the right equipment for your facility is making sure you’ve done your homework ahead of time, and once you’ve made your choice on brands you’re considering buying, pay attention to how your sales rep is treating you. How are they listening to you? Are they offering you advice that is in your business’ best interest, or their commission check’s best interest?

Don’t just shop the equipment, shop the person representing the brand too!

I’m Haris Akhtar and I’ve been in the fitness industry going on a decade. I started out turning wrenches and doing installs, and told myself that one day I’d be the face of a brand. With Core Health & Fitness being an industry leader with the brands of Star Trac, StairMaster, Schwinn, and Nautilus I have the perfect portfolio to offer you fitness solutions for all four corners of your gym which is built on the greatness of four legacy brands that have innovation and design at their core. I understand what your needs are and will help you design a facility that meets and exceeds all of your needs.

Please follow my blog on LinkedIn as well as follow me on Facebook. I would love to provide you with any references or referrals you need when it is the right time to start looking at fitness equipment. I can be reached directly at 541.250.9933 or by email at

Fitness Enthusiast, Problem Solver and Educator