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Entries in locker rooms (11)


To Boost Member Retention, Prioritize the Member Experience

This is an associate feature post, sponsored by Digilock.

March Madness is right around the corner, which means the New Year’s Resolutions crowd has probably already started waning. As the January 1st frenzy fades, many health clubs and facilities are left with empty ellipticals, unused weight rooms, and one longing question: why did our members leave?

Continue reading "To Boost Member Retention, Prioritize the Member Experience."

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Answers to Your Pressing Gym Design Questions

The success of your health club depends in part on making the most of your available space. Here are some tough questions you need to ask yourself before remodeling or designing your next gym.

Q: How often should I freshen up my health club's design?

A: Hervey Lavoie, architect and president of Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative, recommends that every health club maintain a five-year plan and re-examine it every six months. Lavoie offered that the most important thing is to not paint yourself into a corner.

Continue reading "Answers to Your Pressing Gym Design Questions."

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Create a Five-Star Locker Room Experience with These 4 Tips

Locker rooms are one of the most relaxing and rewarding areas of your club. At the same time, they’re a labor-intensive challenge for you and your staff—and that’s putting it mildly. Once simple, utilitarian changing rooms, they’ve evolved into a defining part of most clubs, the room that members tend to visit first ... and last ... and, often, in between.

Village Health Club, Ocotillo, Chandler, AZ

“Our research indicates that members want their locker room to be a place where they can escape and relax for 30 minutes,” said Alan Leach, the area general manager and head of sales and marketing for the West Wood Clubs, a group of three premium facilities in Dublin, Ireland. “It should be an experience—like staying at a Ritz-Carlton. Our members expect these spaces to be something special.”

Creating a five-star locker room involves much more than keeping the floors clean or stocking enough towels; these mundane housekeeping tasks must, of course, be performed diligently, over and over again. But a closer look reveals that a number of other factors play a seminal role. Among them: a club mission and culture that emphasize consistent attention, a sophisticated tracking system, solid communication among staff, accurate measurement of results, and employee accountability.

1. Train All Staff to Take Pride in Locker Room Upkeep

As in any service organization, clubs must commit to, emphasize, and own the pursuit of customer satisfaction—starting at the top. Because locker rooms are an integral part of a member’s interaction with the club, the entire staff—not just the housekeeping and maintenance teams—must recognize that their upkeep and operation are ongoing group responsibilities.

“When hiring staff, we clearly communicate the importance of maintaining a clean, organized, and well-stocked locker room,” said Ken Brendel, a regional general manager for Active Wellness, LLC, based in Sausalito, CA. In all, the company oversees some 120 locker rooms at the 60 corporate and community fitness facilities it manages. “Every manager and team member is expected to maintain these areas by doing such things as closing locker doors, picking up dirty towels, and wiping down countertops, as part of their everyday duties.”

Active Sports Club, Petaluma, CA

2. Diligently Track and Communicate Tasks, Issues

Due to the need for repetitive tasks, along with regular attention, savvy clubs use a variety of paper and/or software systems—e.g., daily checklists, service logs, and preventative-maintenance databases—to stay on top of things. The West Wood Clubs, which serve a total of approximately 22,500 members, utilize the Club Vitals software program, for instance, which allows staff to take note of issues, track responses, and document solutions.

“After logging a problem, the maintenance team is immediately alerted, on walkie-talkies, about the need to inspect the situation,” Leach said. “If it’s something that can be fixed—it takes precedence over everything else.”

At Ocotillo Village, a Village Health Clubs & Spas facility, weekly inspections are conducted of spa heaters, steam generators, chemical feeders, and laundry equipment to identify deterioration, gauge life expectancy, and plan for timely replacements. Quarterly preventative-maintenance service is conducted on larger equipment.

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Everything You Need to Know About Health Club Locker Room Size

Locker rooms and their amenities and features have become increasingly important as health clubs compete to attract new members and retain existing ones, but choosing the right size for your facility can be tricky—especially since there are a number of factors that should be considered in addition to the basic square footage percentage. 

An upscale locker room design by Fabiano Designs.

“Like all good design, locker planning is a case-by-case puzzle that needs specific attention and understanding of the target market,” says Hervey Lavoie, architect and president of Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative in Denver, CO. 

To help club owners and operators determine the locker room size that’s best for each facility, we talked to three experts about all things locker room. 

Locker Room Size Rules of Thumb 

Since there are no specific industry standards on locker room square footage, expert opinions are varied—but most agree locker rooms should take up 10-15% of the facility’s overall square footage. 

“As a rule of thumb, the quick answer is in general about 12-15% of the overall club size, meaning if you have a 20,000-square-foot club, the total size dedicated to both locker rooms may be between 2,400–3,000 square feet total, or about 1,000-1500 square feet each,” says Rudy Fabiano, architect for Fabiano Designs in Montclair, NJ. “Likewise, a 60,000-square-foot facility may have between 3,500 and 4,500 square feet for each locker room. These are base numbers that should get modified depending on the various factors.”  

But keep in mind that there’s a limit to this rule of thumb—as units get smaller, the required locker room percentage may grow to accommodate the minimum fixtures and facilities required, Fabiano says. 

“Many times this will preclude the ability to have any locker rooms at all,” he says. “With smaller clubs, under 5,000 square-feet as an example, we may opt for common locker areas, with dedicated individual toilet and shower rooms.” 

It’s important to consider the types and number of fixtures required by the plumbing code, occupancy load, etc. in the club’s jurisdiction. 

Member Demographics and Membership Cost 

There are a number of factors that may cause a club owner to modify the locker room size beyond the 10-15% rule, including member demographics and membership cost. 

“To better determine the actual locker room square footage and number of lockers, the specific needs and logistics of each facility must be analyzed and addressed,” says Fred Hoffman, M.Ed., owner of Paris-based Fitness Resources Consulting Services. “If there is a much larger percentage of either of the sexes, the size of the changing areas should reflect that difference.” 

Hoffman also recommends that clubs consider the type of facility and member services; an upscale facility might choose to allot a larger amount of changing space per person to enhance the member experience. 

Consider “factors such as the demographics the club will serve, the number of member visits anticipated, and the cost of a typical memberships will affect size,” Fabiano says. “As an example, typically, the higher the membership cost, the more square feet per member should be allocated. Since personal space is a premium, higher end clubs typically provide more features, more space, bigger lockers, etc., versus a budget club, with minimum features and amenities.” 

When determining locker room size and number of lockers, club owners and operators should also consider the demographics of the surrounding community. 

“Is the club serving a residential market or a business work day market? Locker demand will be greater in a facility that is serving a work-day population,” Lavoie says. “A larger percentage of a residential-based membership will arrive dressed for working out and not need access to lockering facilities. Business-based membership traffic, for obvious reasons, has a greater need for changing facilities as they fit their workouts into their work day.” 

Continue reading "Everything You Need to Know About Health Club Locker Room Size."

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Lock Out Thieves Targeting Your Health Club 

This is a Club Business Exchange featured post, brought to you by Keyless.Co

Willie Sutton was a prolific bank robber from decades past, who was in and out of prison for almost his entire life. Notorious in his day, the famed outlaw was once asked by a reporter, “Why do you rob banks?” According to legend, Sutton replied, “Because that’s where the money is.” 

Thieves who target health club lockers share Sutton’s mentality. It’s where the wallets, keys, watches, jewelry, and other valuables are found. It doesn’t help that lockers can seem like easy pickings, since locker rooms have a unique set of vulnerabilities.  

  • Locker rooms do not have surveillance cameras;
  • Are busy during peak hours;
  • Aren’t centers of social interaction (people mind their own business, and leave and exit quickly).  

It’s not always easy for club employees and members to recognize who doesn’t belong in the gym if they’ve made it to the locker room. That makes the locks themselves your club’s last line of defense. Has a Lock on the Solution 

Some of the top health club chains in the world have realized that the key to locker security is no key at all, and have enlisted Keyless.Co, a Texas-based company, as their go-to solution for locker security. As the name implies, Keyless.Co utilizes a combination system that’s unique in its durability (the locks last decades) and security (it’s the only lock on the market with a reprogrammable cylinder). 

Keyless.Co locks also:  

  • Have zero operating expenses, with no replacement parts or maintenance.
  • Are non-battery operated, with no wires or software.
  • Have custom finishes and come with a five-year warranty.  

One recent news story on a locker room theft said that the robbers used a “shim” from a soda can to pick the lock. They wouldn’t have been successful if faced with a Keyless.Co lock. 

Low maintenance and high security is a desirable combination, and Keyless.Co manages it with a sleek product that’s easy to install. And when you need attention, customer service is a priority with Keyless.Co. 

Keyless.Co offers zero interest rate on financing and a rent-to-own program, so if you think these cutting-edge locks are out of your price range, give them a call or contact them through their website:

So keep a lock on member loyalty with top-of-the-line security, and stop today’s locker-room Willie Suttons from turning your customers into victims.  


The Legal Issues in Locker Room Privacy and Safety

The locker room is a central feature in most health clubs, offering members a convenient place to shower and dress, and somewhere to store their belongings during a workout. But locker rooms are also host to some of the most sensitive legal issues facing clubs, namely personal privacy and security. However, good locker room design and clear policies can prevent potentially heated issues.   

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OJMAR Continues to Update and Improve

First established in Elgoibar, Gipuzkoa, in Spain’s Basque Country, in 1918, OJMAR began as a weapons manufacturer. In 1945, the company went public, and, after two wars and more than 25 years in weapons production, it shifted its focus to manufacturing locks and bolts. Ten years later, OJMAR narrowed its focus yet again, specializing in the manufacture of locks for cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

In the 1970s, the oil crisis took its toll on auto manufacturing and related companies in both the U.S. and Europe. OJMAR responded by developing a line of locks and locking systems for furniture. That move turned out to be a game-changer, with the company expanding its sales to more than 40 countries.

In 1998, OJMAR moved to a new plant in Elgoibar, and charted yet another new direction by launching an innovative range of mechanical and electronic locks geared specifically to the health club industry.

Read on to see more on where OJMAR came from and where it hopes to be in the future.

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IHRSA 2013 exhibitor profile: Foreman Locker Systems

Watch out, Foreman Locker Systems could soon be taking the U.S. by storm. But I am not talking about its quality lockers, benches and locking mechanism.  

I am talking about the representatives who will be at booth 172 at the 32nd Annual International Convention & Trade Show in La Vegas on March 19-22. With “charm and attention” as its giveaways, according to the Q&A below, who knows how far they can go?

Seriously, though, Foreman, at the trade show for the second year, hopes to impart on attendees the importance of lockers and benches, both for the club owner and the members.

Click here to read more.


Locker rooms can make or break a membership

It is easy to think of locker rooms as an after-thought. They are a place to change, keep your jacket or a change of clothes, and to shower.

But like a bathroom at your home, the return on investment - membership, retention, etc. - could be huge with a clean, updated and spacious locker room.

We talked to clubs and a fitness industry designer who agree that the right locker room can certainly differentiate your club the one down the street.

Check it out here.


Proper locker room size can vary

Mark Stevens, Rudy Fabiano, Fred Hoffman, Hervey Lavoie and Bruce Carter discuss the issue of how big should locker room space be, in relation to the overall size of the facility. 

Q. "What is the industry standard on locker room square footage?  What is the ratio of lockers to members?"

A. Based off of our past construction and a bit of trial and error, we have found the best for our members' overall enjoyment in our locker room facilities to be in alignment with the American College of Sports Medicine Facility Standards. Those standards are noted below: 

“A facility should provide 10-20 square feet of space per person in the locker room area, based on the number of individuals that are expected to use the locker rooms at any given time. As a general rule, a facility should expect that no more than 50 percent of the individuals using a facility will occupy the locker rooms at any one time. In most instances, the total square footage allocated to the locker room area will be between 25 and 35 percent of the total space in a facility. “

“A facility should provide either daily-use or permanent lockers for users. IF the facility provides daily-use lockers, there should be enough to handle about 20 percent of the facility’s users. If the facility provides permanent rental lockers, there should be enough to handle about 70-85 percent of the facility’s users.”

Mark Stevens
Regional Director
Houstonian Health Clubs and Spas


A. That’s a question we get asked often. Because of the various types of facilities, the demographics they serve, and the membership amount, the number can change significantly. Each club needs to be evaluated independently and we can only offer basic rules of thumb.

The quick answer is in general about 12-15 percent of the overall club size. Meaning if you have a 20,000-sqare-foot club, the overall locker rooms may be between 2,400–3,000 sqare feet total. Likewise, a 60,000-sqare-foot facility may have between 3,500 and 4,500 sqare feet for each locker room. 

Toilet fixtures count, including showers,which are delegated by the national plumbing code, and they specifically base the number of total fixtures required on how many people the space may hold. This will vary depending on the different programming offered. 

Other factors such as aquatics will affect the proportions as well. If you have kids taking lessons or using the pool, you may want to add kid’s locker rooms or aquatics specific locker rooms which will increase the overall square footage needed.

The higher the membership dues, the larger the locker rooms due the added personalized space and the added amenities usually found in higher priced clubs.

Lastly, the area of the country directly affects the locker rooms sizes. Warm weather states such as Florida and southern California, typically have more people who come dressed to work-out and ready to go.  As opposed to the northeast in the winter, where that is simply not practical.

The actual trend to get around the size is more space is being given to larger amenities such as showers and personal grooming areas as opposed to growing the actual number of lockers.

Rudy Fabiano
Fabiano Designs


 A. Although there are recommended guidelines from reputable sources in the health club industry, unfortunately (to my knowledge) there are NO specific industry standards on locker room square footage or the ratio of lockers to members. The general rule is that changing areas (locker rooms) should be at least 10 percent of the total square footage of the entire facility, and the amount of lockers needed should be approximately 10 percent of the total number of members (ex. 1,500 members = 150 lockers). These ‘10 percent' formulas provide a base for getting started, but to better determine the actual locker room square footage and number of lockers, the specific needs and logistics of each facility must be analyzed and addressed. Following are some key issues to consider:

1. The size and type of facility, and member services. For example, in an ‘upscale facility’, a larger amount of changing space per person may be offered to enhance the customer experience.

2. The number of men and women. If there is a much larger percentage of either of the sexes, the size of the changing areas should reflect that difference.

3. Peak hours versus off-peak hours. Changing spaces and locker availability should be adequate for peak hour usage.

4. Dimensions of the lockers, and if they are full or half size. When ordering lockers consider how much space they will occupy, if benches or seating is necessary, and if they are functional in their design (shelves, hangers, easy to clean, locking system, etc.).

The bottom line is that club owners should guarantee that there will be a locker available for every member who walks through the door at any given time of the day, and that members can change comfortably in the space provided.

Fred Hoffman
International Fitness Consultant, Speaker and Author

A. There are no hard and fast rules. Just clues. The planning of locker rooms is an act of predicting future patterns of behavior in a building that does not yet exist for a membership population that is only a number on a feasibility spreadsheet. The  rule of thumb in the industry is one locker for every 10 members, but this ratio needs to be dialed up or down based on other factors, which can be considered clues to member demand patterns.

Clue No. 1: Is the club serving a residential market or a business work day market? Locker demand will be greater in a facility that is serving a work-day population. A larger percentage of a residential membership will arrive dressed for working out and not need access to lockering facilities. Business based membership traffic, for obvious reasons, has a greater need for changing facilities.

Clue No. 2: Quality expectations can influence locker room usage rates. A dismal locker room experience will send a subtle message to members: “come dressed to work out because you will not enjoy using our locker rooms.”  You will not need many lockers under this scenario.  Conversely, a wonderfully comfortable and enriching locker room environment will encourage use and you will need to increase your locker capacity.

Clue No. 3: Types of lockers need to be understood. Day lockers, rental lockers, express lockers, kit lockers, etc., all have varying demand profiles.

Clue No. 4: Amenity offerings. Clubs that offer unlimited towels, user friendly locker security, grooming consumables, sauna, steam, whirlpools, etc will experience higher rates of locker demand than clubs that expect members to provide their own towels, padlocks and soap.

Clue No 5: Regional differences will have an influence. Areas where casual dressing styles are more accepted (California and the west) will see less lockering demand. The more formal dressing styles of the northern eastern seaboard will generate more locker demand.

I could go on, but hopefully you get the picture.  It is a case-by-case puzzle that needs specific attention and understanding.

Hervey Lavoie
Architect and President
Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative


A. The ratio of locker room square footage to club size is approximately 10-15 percent.  If a club is 20,000 square feet then the locker room would be in the range 2,000–3,000 sqare feet, or 1,000 to 1,500 sqare feet for each locker room. The larger the club the lower percentage would apply such as a 50,000-sqare foot club would be good with a 2,500 square foot locker room for each. However many variables effect this based on the type of facilities a club has – and therefore the mount of members. A large club with indoor tennis would have less members using a larger space, thus effecting the size of locker rooms. The general ratio of lockers to members is to have 1 locker for 10 members. 

General rules for space allocation for locker rooms are to leave a minimum of 5 feet of clearance for any traffic flow from one area to another.  Toilets and sinks, lockers and showers all be in a separate areas.  People should be able to go into the locker room and use the bathrooms and sinks and not have to flow through either the locker or shower areas. This allows for more privacy within the locker room. Entering a locker room should be an easy flow and it is best not to use doors, but allow for enough space so people can’t see into the locker rooms.

Bruce Carter
Optimal Design Systems International


This post is a part of our weekly Best Practices series. We post a new question and answer every Monday. If you have a question you'd like our Industry Leaders to answer, submit your question today.

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