Adding extra wellness-based services to the core mission of health clubs has become more common, even for high-traffic facilities. This is partly to maintain a competitive edge, but it’s also a win/win strategy if it’s executed correctly. More services can create more value for the member, while adding significant non-dues revenue to the club’s bottom line.
Club operators are offering a range of extras, including massage, infrared saunas, cryotherapy, stretching machines, relaxation pods, and nutritional supplements.
Massage in particular was historically viewed as a service designed to pamper members, but industry experts view massage as a key aspect of a trend emerging that club operators should take seriously: increased awareness of overall wellness and exercise recovery.
Kevin Sanker, general manager of Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness, a Connecticut-based chain with 18 locations around New England, says that recovery is an important—though often underutilized—aspect of overall wellness.
“We're family friendly. We're geared towards improving wellness in a lot of different ways, not only physical, but mental and social,” explains Sanker. “Recovery doesn't get the attention that it deserves. People don't take the time to cool down and rejuvenate after cardio and strength training.”
Serious athletes, even professionals, understand the importance of recovery. Steve Saunders, head strength and conditioning coach for the Baltimore Ravens, makes exercise recovery a high priority for the players he trains.
“Insufficient recovery can stunt and delay progress. I believe recovery is vital to any training regimen, which is often overlooked,” he says. “Just like NFL players, everyday exercisers are looking for progress and seeking improvement. Exercise breaks the body down and proper recovery builds it back up stronger than before. Without adequate recovery progress is delayed and improvement is diminished.”