It’s Black Friday and that seems like a good time to tell you about some of the exciting new things we’ve purchased for the Club. It’s an extensive list and a lot of time and effort was involved. There were lengthy deliberations and three different road trips, but the orders have all been placed. We’re now anxiously awaiting delivery of a great selection of new strength equipment, as well as some nice upgrades for the cardio area.
The big-ticket items for the cardio area are Precor’s newly improved AMTs. We have several of the original versions of this machine already in place and they are very popular…smooth, easy to use, and a great workout. The new models deliver all of this along with an increase in stride length and more versatility in stride pattern. You can do anything on these things…use it like a standard elliptical, a stair climber, or even simulate a running motion. At a list price of over $10,000 each, you ought to be able to fly them like helicopters! Additional changes planned for our cardio lineup includes the replacement of some older recumbent bicycles and the addition of two more Stepmills.
Downstairs the area that will see the most changes is the free weight/bench press room. Virtually all of the older equipment in that room will be upgraded to brand new Hammer Strength units, including the benches and the Smith machine, and we’ll also be bringing back a military press. There will be two new plate-loaded machines, an incline press and a “Jammer” that should be popular with both athletes and with those doing multi-chain exercises.
The dumbbell area will also see quite a few changes. Along with new thicker flooring under the dumbbell benches, the majority of the machines in this area will also be getting replaced. This includes the big Body Master multi-station cable crossover. It will make way for a unit from Life Fitness that is very similar but has some great additional features that make it quite a bit smoother and more functional. It will have both a single and a dual pulley lat pulldown, and a dual pulley seated row. The old piece served us well for many years, but it’s time for it to be retired and this new unit will be much nicer overall.
We will also be squeezing a few select pieces into our stable of weight machines on the main floor and replacing a few others. Lower body enthusiasts will be happiest about these changes, as among the new pieces there will be three different leg presses and a prone leg curl. We’re making space for these additions by shrinking the lounge area back to its previous (before remodel) dimensions. This won’t decrease seating capacity, it will just shift it closer to the front entry.
We sincerely feel that the addition of this new top-of-the-line strength equipment will give people using the main weight room a training experience that is unsurpassed in both quality and variety. Our hope is that these changes will also eliminate their need to use the weight room on the second floor, because major changes are going to be taking place there as well.
Deciding on a strategy to re-equip the upstairs training area gave us many challenges and was the driving factor behind the three road trips. We are replacing every piece of equipment in that room and we wanted to make sure we got it right. As our long-time members will remember, for its first decade or so we used that space as a women’s only area. It gave novice users who weren’t comfortable in a coed environment someplace less intimidating to work out. Love it or hate it, it was our imperfect solution to an imperfect world. Then a few years ago someone threatened us with a discrimination lawsuit, so we had to open it up to everyone. It wasn’t the end of the world, as the room’s users still tended to be novices and predominately female.
When our big remodel took place we made some equipment changes in that room; we moved some very good older machines in there that we no longer had space for downstairs. Memories of the past had faded and more and more men began finding their way up to use them. Gradually and inadvertently the space lost its identity and it was no longer the quiet, safe haven it was intended to be. So we’ve embarked on a plan to change that. While we realize our plan may be a little controversial, our intention is to return that room to those exercisers who aren’t yet comfortable downstairs. We plan to make it the best-equipped beginning weight training room possible.
Our search for the perfect equipment for this room was a little like the story of Goldilocks. The first line we looked at was just a little too basic and simple…we thought our members would expect more. The second was a bit too advanced…we felt like there were too many adjustments and it was too close to what we already offered downstairs. Finally on the third try we felt like we’d found the right fit, the Optima Series from Life Fitness. It’s a solid line of equipment with a good selection of the most popular machines. It will fit just about anyone with one or two simple adjustments, but it’s not quite as advanced or as heavy-duty as the equipment that’s downstairs.
The second part of reclaiming this room for beginners was determining how we could make it clear that this space was reserved for novice exercisers. We already play mellower music in that area, but obviously that isn’t enough. We joked about switching to a pink and baby blue color scheme, but that seems like overkill. So instead we’re going to give the room a new name and hope that by posting it conspicuously on the wall everyone will get the point. Once the new equipment is installed the upstairs weight room area will be called “starting strength“.
While we won’t be barring anyone from using this space, our intention in re-naming the room and bringing in a line of weight equipment more suitable for beginners is that the space will regulate itself. When you add in all the great new equipment we’re adding downstairs, there really shouldn’t be any reason for someone that’s comfortable on the main floor to come upstairs looking for more. We sincerely hope that this is the case, and that both our experienced users and our novices find a great selection of fantastic equipment that suits their needs.
All of this new equipment is coming from several different manufacturers and will start arriving the first week in December. Our hope is to have everything in place before we begin the new year. We also have several projects scheduled (pool plastering, wall repairs, additional storage and cabinets installed) so things will be a bit hectic with selective closure of portions of the building. Fortunately December is about as “quiet” of a month as we get around here in terms of Club usage, so you shouldn’t see any major disruptions. Just plan to be a little flexible as we make these improvements and be prepared for some exciting changes.