Of course, personal trainers and serious athletes have always understood the body’s need for recovery from hard training. This combined with the proliferation of wearables have made people more aware about their body’s reaction to stress, whether it’s from exercise or everyday pressure. But even as the awareness of the need for recovery has increased, most people still have difficulty defining it or knowing exactly what recovery is best for them.
This is where health clubs can step in. Recovery has the potential to be a perfect complement to your HIIT and FT group training, but also as a wellness stress-relief service. And, if part of a well-marketed “recovery zone,” it can become an added revenue stream.
Creating a Recovery Zone in a Health Club
So what does a recovery zone look like in a health club setting? According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), there’s two ways to go: active recovery and passive recovery.
The “post-workout cooldown” has long been a part of fitness culture and falls under active recovery. This includes stretching, foam rollers, light exercise, massage, and myofascial release, among others. Passive techniques are more in line with self-care and stress management: sauna/steam rooms, hydrotherapy, compression technology, cryotherapy, hot/cold packs, meditation, and even napping. Any recovery zone in a health club should have elements of both.
Mike Feeney is EVP of New Evolution Ventures (NeV), a high-profile player in the industry that’s innovated a number of significant chain concepts, including UFC Gyms and Crunch. He’s seen the learning curve of mainstream consumers arrive at the notion that recovery is an essential part of the workout process.
“We build fitness centers for the public with a performance-based mindset, but recovery is a hot topic for everybody these days,” says Feeney, who also helps create NFL-branded fitness centers for the public (e.g., Cowboys Fit, 49ers Fit, etc.). “People who go to health clubs know the benefits and are looking for ways to recover, whether it's a workout or a long week on the road. And as we get older, we want to find a way that can help our bodies recover quickly. Some people just want the ability to feel better.”