5 Ways Going Green Can Transform Your Health Club

Becoming more environmentally friendly can be a boost for any gym seeking to differentiate themselves from the competition.

The world is changing, but are you? Are you responding to the evolving market as newer generations reshape consumer trends?

Those are good questions to ask, especially as one year ends and a new year comes into focus. Health club owners and operators can be so focused on the essential details—membership, revenue, costs—that they miss responding to growing movements in the marketplace. One of these big-picture trends is the expanding consumer audience for environmentally conscious goods and services.

Health clubs would be wise to pay attention. Here are five reasons going green can be a boost for any club seeking to differentiate themselves from the competition.

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1. A younger, more loyal membership

Millennials—that reliably plugged-in “woke” generation—is a demographic that responds strongly to eco-conscious brands. They are known to engage in “pocketbook activism” more than their older counterparts, and are deeply dedicated to environmental causes. According to a report by the Glass Packaging Institute: “Over 80 percent of Millennials say that being eco-friendly improves their quality of life, and three-fourths actively look for changes they can make in their home and lifestyle to be greener.”

Research has found similar results for Generation Z (currently aged 15-20), a growing demographic that is also attracted to the fitness lifestyle. According to IHRSA’s 2017 Health Club Consumer Reportyoung people under 18 years old, along with older adults, are the fastest growing group of health club members among age segments. Young people are choosing to go to health clubs and boutique gyms, and they overwhelmingly favor eco-conscious options. If you don’t give it to them, someone else will.

2. People will pay more for eco-friendly products

Nielsen online global study found that three out of four Millennials are willing to pay extra for sustainable products and services. And it’s not just Millennials—all demographics are willing to fork over more of their hard-earned cash for green products.

A study by Survey Monkey found that 35% of consumers are willing to spend more money on environment-friendly products, and a total of 56% of respondents said that they were “at least moderately or slightly likely” to do so. That’s a clear majority who will spend more on green products and services.

Having an eco-friendly gym option can make a big difference when these consumers go shopping for a health club membership. Cost is the number one barrier to joining a club, according to the The IHRSA Trend Report, with a total of  58% of non-members citing membership dues as their primary reason for not signing up. How many of them would change their minds if their choice included an eco-friendly club?

3. You can save on operating costs

Plenty of club owners have discovered that they can save money by going green. Not only can you create energy from power-generating equipment, but solar panels, water-saving devices, and other sustainable practices can also cut down significantly on everyday costs.

There are federal programs that offer savings when switching to solar energy, and many local municipalities have rebates available as well, so you can pay off your eco-upgrades sooner than you think. A small carbon footprint can mean big savings.

4. Members are more motivated to work out at green gyms

What’s great about eco-friendly gyms is that members actually want to show up to train. A survey by SportsArt found that “62.4 percent of consumers prefer to work out at a gym if it uses environmentally-friendly equipment.”

This is a win-win if your club is stocked with machines that feed power to the electrical grid of your club. The more people use eco-powered machines, the more electricity is generated for your club. It’s a twist on the old anthem “power to the people.” With energy-generating machines, it’s “power from the people.”

5. Your employees will be happier

According to a joint study by UCLA and France's University Paris–Dauphine, employees who work at environmentally conscious companies are 16% more productive than those who work at traditional firms.

“Adopting green practices isn't just good for the environment, it's good for your employees and it's good for your bottom line,” says Professor Magali Delmas, an environmental economist at UCLA and one of the study authors. “Employees in such green firms are more motivated, receive more training, and benefit from better interpersonal relationships.”

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How You Can Go Green

Becoming an eco-friendly club can be the difference that sets you apart from the competition. Even just reserving a section of your club as a “sustainable zone” can provide excitement for your community.

Over the years, one of the knocks against eco-friendly equipment was that it wasn’t as durable or technologically efficient as standard brands. It was a gimmick, not a workout, some complained. Not anymore. If you’re interesting in going green, you should make an alliance with an equipment company that specializes in eco-powered machines, somebody with a track record in green products.

Founded in 1977, SportsArt has been in the business of creating sophisticated and cutting-edge equipment for years, developing numerous patents in innovative technology. They’ve taken the lead in developing eco-friendly equipment with their ECO-POWR line, and they’ve just rolled out their two most advanced exercise machines yet: the Verde and Verso.

The Verde is the industry’s first treadmill capable of harnessing human power and converting it to utility grade electricity. Able to accommodate beginners, elite athletes, and everyone in between, the Verde has industry standard slat-belts, braking systems, and multiple resistance levels, and is equipped with an LCD screen with intuitive controls.

The Verso is a three-in-one cross-trainer with similar engineering excellence as the Verde. It allows elliptical, stepper, and cycle movements, while also delivering electricity to the grid from human-powered energy.

What makes using these machines so satisfying for eco-conscious consumers is the “watts to grid” feature that allows members to set their workout intensity based on how much electricity they want to deliver to the grid. It’s an unbeatable combination of endorphin-rush and feel-good activism that only a green health club can provide.

To learn about the Verde, Verso, and other eco-friendly products, visit SportsArt or call 1-800-709-1400.

Jim Schmaltz

Jim Schmaltz is a contributor to IHRSA.org