Thursday, May 28, 2015

10 Minute Fixes to Bring Old Gym Equipment Back to Life

Given enough time, even the most highly polished gym equipment begins to fade with use.  That's true with all things.  And faded, worn equipment is a sign that your commercial facility or garage gym is being used.  That's a good thing.

But with an increasingly competitive commercial gym market, you've got to outshine those nearby facilities - literally.  It some cases a client's choice to sign up with your gym over the next very well may come down to the overall look of your gym and the condition of the equipment.

Your curb appeal is the very first impression you give to any potential client.  No matter how great your personality and training/nutrition skills, a gym with a dirty floor and worn equipment can have a negative impact on that first impression.

At the end of a long day, the last that most of us want is to spend extra time at the gym cleaning, disinfecting and maintaining the equipment.  So here's a few ideas to keep your equipment looking and functioning well without spending hours every night long after you'd like to punch out for the day.

Keep a Maintenance Calendar - If there is anything that will make the process of keeping your gym in top shape manageable, this is it.  Make a list of every type of equipment you own - bars, bumpers, GHDs, Gymnastic Rings, etc.  Ideally, separate that list into 20 parts.  Each weekday, write down one of those parts until you fill the calendar.  Each weekday, work on one equipment piece only.  And if you don't happen to have that piece in the day's workout program, you can get your maintenance in before lights out for the night.  And with a max of 20 days maintenance on the calendar, you automatically get weekends off.  Do your best to manage time spent on that daily maintenance down to 30 minutes. Break it up throughout the day if you can but keep that time down.  Anyone can manage another 30 minutes and that short time commitment will make it much easier to stick with your monthly maintenance calendar.

Get The Right Tools - Nothing will sap your time and energy more than trying to care for your gym with incorrect or worse yet, undersized tools.
  • Clorox Cleaning Wipes - If there is one piece of cleaning equipment that you should own, it's these.  Portable, disposable and incredibly good at what they do.  Buy in bulk at the local store.
  • Soft Bristle Brush - An absolute must for removing chalk from knurling, you've got to own a few of these.  Caked on chalk makes your bars and dumbbells look unkempt and dirty.   Even if you outlaw chalk in the gym, it still can find it's way in there.
  • Spray Bottles - These are your new best friend.  
    A few of these filled with general purpose cleaner and disinfectant make short work of staying on top of keeping your gym spotless.  Buy a few, fill them up and keep them labeled.
  • 200-400 Grit Sandpaper - Really?  Yep.  Having a few sheets of sandpaper at the ready is a must.  Wood Gymnastics Rings, which are superior to plastic because of their non-slip surface, can get grimy and chalk bound within a few months of use.  2-3 minutes of sanding the rings remarkably brings them back to as-new condition and resorts their non-abrasive but grippy texture.
  • Flat Black Spray Paint - Anything made out of metal, be it sleds, wall mounted pull up bars, pull up racks, kettlebells or even bumper plate storage units all can see wear after time.  With a commercial gym operating at 100-150 clients, that's a lot of hands on those pull up bars and eventually event thickest and most durable powder coating will wear.  Armed with the sandpaper above and a can of flat black spray paint you can return any of those surfaces to like new condition.
  • Wrenches - It's never a bad idea to keep a few open end or crescent wrenches on hand, too.  Pull Up Racks either the Wall Mounted version or the Free Standing Rack are chuck full of nuts and bolts.  Once every two to three months you should take a wrench to every nut and bolt on the racks to keep them well aligned and to keep their stability to a maximum.
  • Storage Racks - naturally, the dirtiest surface in your facility is the floor.  Since all dirt
    eventually finds it's way there, storing your equipment on that surface is convenient but equipment that comes in contact with the floor will tarnish fast.  Investing a a few storage racks either for bars, bumpers, kettlebells or medicine balls will help keep your equipment looking and operating in the best condition.  And storage racks not only help to maximize the floor space in your gym, they also add a ton to your curb appeal which can mean more clients.
  • Bathroom Supplies - Never popular but always necessary is continual maintenance on the bathroom area.  For the aspiring small gym owner, make it a point to find a space that has both men's and women's bathroom spaces.  It's double the work but higher on return.  At all costs, be sure you duck your head in there after each and every class to be sure there aren't any issues.  Keep a month's supply of toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, toilet bowl cleaner, windex, etc all handy to cut down on trips to the store.  And wet mop often with floor cleaner.  It keeps the bathroom smelling fresh.  Unclean and unkempt bathrooms are a sure fire way to underwhelm your clients and bring negative comments.
Hire It Done - If you don't have the motivation but have the resource, hire some or all of that maintenance or cleaning of your gym out.  It's an investment in the growth of your gym and the life of your equipment so it's worth it even if it hits the wallet harder than you like.  Offer that maintenance in trade for a discount on a membership and invite more than one person in on the deal.  And at first, hire that cleaning done only 1-2 days a week.  That keeps your cost down and gives you a break too.  Reward your gym's success [additional memberships, t-shirt sales] by investing in more hired out cleaning days and soon your time investment will shrink to zero.

With a small time investment continuous throughout the month, you can keep your gym in top shape and prolong the life of your equipment.  And that initial curb appeal stays high to keep clients knocking at your door.  Sometimes it's not about having all the latest, new gadgets as much as it is positive, friendly atmosphere in a super clean and well kept facility.