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Building Health Club Revenue through Metabolic Testing

As clubs look to rebuild revenue in the coming year, metabolic testing offers a number of innovative ways to create new streams.

As the industry ramps back up in fits and starts, mirroring the ebbs and flows of the pandemic, it looks as though the horizon is clearing. With a vaccine rolling out, we might well see some stability within the first half of 2021. That potential rebound brings with it the need to build revenue streams that can quickly be implemented and work to support your operation for the long haul.

Adding metabolic testing to your facility, whether as part of your current programs or through creating completely new ones, is an effective way to build revenue streams.

“A profitable metabolic testing program in your practice, gym, or personal training center can provide a significant revenue stream, improved client retention, and result in increased referrals,” writes health and wellness program consultant Rich Farina in “4 Simple Strategies to Increase Metabolic Testing Revenues.”

Why Metabolic Testing?

As we look to bring members back into clubs, ensuring that they’re properly conditioned as they dive back into their workouts is critical. The best way to establish a baseline is via metabolic testing.

“Metabolic testing is essential to restarting fitness regimens with clients,” says Allison Law, director of marketing at KORR Medical Technologies. “With everyone’s routines out of sorts, you have no idea whether or not they’ve been keeping up with at-home workouts or if they’ve been feasting on comfort food to get through the hard times.”

“A profitable metabolic testing program in your practice, gym, or personal training center can provide a significant revenue stream, improved client retention, and result in increased referrals.”

Rich Farina, Health & Wellness Program Consultant

Metabolic testing, notes Law, can help you see exactly where members are in their fitness level and resting calorie burn, allowing you to tailor your programs around their individual needs.

Resting metabolic rate (RMR) and VO2 max testing can also help answer a range of questions regarding your members’ health, such as: Where do you start for those who have experienced unusual weight gain? Has their metabolism been affected by prolonged inactivity? Even those who weigh the same may have significant changes in muscle mass.

Among the core benefits of metabolic testing is its long-tail effect regarding keeping members engaged.

“The best way to see improvement throughout a program is to know where you started,” she says. “Accurate metabolic testing throughout programs or inviting clients to get tested regularly as they consistently work out at your gym, provides an opportunity to showcase how your facility is bringing them real results that they might not see on a scale or in a mirror. You can maintain your clients’ satisfaction with your services or give them guidance on how they can improve to see even better results.”

Here are a few strategies for adding metabolic testing to your facility to increase revenue streams.

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Adding Metabolic Testing to Current Programs

An effective pricing model can be to increase monthly profits by including testing programs that are already established.

1. Add testing as an incentive to upgrade

If you offer tiered pricing for memberships or training, this model could be a good option for your facility.

“Invite current clients to upgrade their training package to one that includes metabolic testing,” says Law. “If you want to offer a metabolic rate evaluation (with resting tests) as well as fitness evaluations (through VO2 Max tests), that can even be two separate upgrades to your training or membership package.”

2. Increase income from training sessions by including metabolic testing

This model is optimal for facilities that currently offer personal training. Adding metabolic testing to your training programs will not only help your clients to track their progress and train more effectively—it will also open opportunities for increased revenue.

Consider charging more money for the sessions that include a metabolic test or create entirely new pricing for training packages that include metabolic testing.

3. Attract new clients with free tests

If your goal is to bring in new members, try offering free metabolic testing. Advertise free resting tests to bring in clients with weight loss goals; after their tests you can pitch them on weight loss-options throughout your facility, including the supplements you may be selling. Free VO2 Max tests can bring in clients who are looking to evaluate and improve their stamina in workouts and races.

As these new clients experience your gym, evaluating a VO2 Max or RMR test will give them an introduction to membership packages and personal training packages. Once they see how valuable the information is, as well as how effective their results from your facility are, they will be willing to pay for all future tests.

Sales and marketing KORR treadmill men column

Adding Metabolic Testing as a New Program

You can also add metabolic testing to your facility as a standalone program.

1. Create a weight loss program

“Have you ever considered adding a weight loss program to your facility, but haven’t known where to start? Metabolic testing provides a unique and scientific foundation for a weight loss program that will show real results,” says Law. “Starting with RMR testing will create a baseline, showing how many calories members burn at rest. Regular RMR testing throughout the program will help you anticipate weight-loss plateaus before they happen.”

KORR’s CardioCoach provides a client-friendly printout that can be emailed directly to the member so they can better understand their calorie needs. Add VO2 Max tests to your weight loss program and clients will be able to use the CardioCoach app to see how many calories they burn with each workout, as well as their daily energy balance of calories burned vs. consumed.

2. Add a “Fitness Coaching” program

Consider offering a similar coaching program as described above: Personal fitness coaching. Many people you might have as metabolic test clients may be “first-time exercisers.” The last time they participated in a structured exercise program may have been two or three decades ago. These deconditioned adults are looking for the best way to achieve improved fitness without getting hurt in the process. What better way to be their fitness mentor than with having their VO2 Sub-Max test results to rely on and provide the foundation for achieving success?

Including the CardioCoach app in your program will allow your clients to see their personalized heart-rate zones every time they work out, enabling a more effective workout and increased satisfaction in their results.

3. Charge for individual VO2 Max and RMR tests

This model is probably the easiest to implement when adding metabolic testing to your facility—perform tests separate from any other program and charge for each test.

“If you are charging for individual tests, pricing models will vary based on region,” Law says. “For resting metabolic tests, a good rule of thumb is to look at how much money is spent on personal care—manicures, massages, etc.—and try to match that. VO2 Max tests in most areas cost an average of $150 per test.”

How to Purchase Metabolic Equipment

KORR offers multiple models of metabolic equipment to match the needs of your facility and your budget. Each model delivers accurate data to deliver effective results for your clients.

To learn more about building revenue with metabolic testing and KORR’s CardioCoach app or visit KORR.com/CBI.

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Jon Feld

Jon Feld is a contributor to IHRSA.org.