Lower Insurance Costs
- Having an on-site gym – and employees who use it – can help you lower your company health insurance costs, particularly when incorporated as part of a wellness program that promotes additional healthy measures, including good nutrition. Reducing the number of employees classified as obese or otherwise projecting more of a risk to insurers can benefit both them and your business with lower premiums. Companies can go further by incentivizing employees to work out and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This can take the form of paying a greater percentage of workers’ health care costs if they meet specific health benchmarks, or offering a chance to win the company’s football tickets by giving an employee one raffle entry for each trip to the gym.
More Productive Employees
- Obese employees cost businesses billions of dollars — $6.6 billion in Florida alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – thanks mostly to missed work and reduced productivity. A corporate office gym encourages employees to stay in shape, and therefore can reduce absenteeism. Lost productivity resulting from employees unable to attend work for health reasons can cost a company more than the direct health costs associated with treatment.
Staying Near the Desks
- Having a company-owned gym makes working out easier — and makes employees more accessible if needed. A gym in your corporate office keeps your workers close to their desks even when they’re on the treadmill. This makes a workday workout more doable, and it means you’re less likely to have employees arrive late or leave early to get their gym time in. It also can help foster communication between employees who might work on separate floors but use the elliptical machines at the same time.
- Having a corporate office gym can also prove a tax benefit to you and your employees when compared to offering discounted memberships to an off-site, third-party facility. The difference between your company’s negotiated rate with an off-site gym and the fair market value of the gym memberships is considered taxable income and appears on your employees’ W2 forms. However, a gym owned and operated by the company doesn’t fall into that category as long as it’s utilized mostly by employees and their family members. The expenses of creating and operating the gym also can be a tax deduction for the company.
- Determine what you want to accomplish. Decide what your fitness program will involve and get your ideas on paper. Be clear before you turn your ideas into a proposal. Your proposal might be to create a fitness program at your corporation, for example, or to fund a fitness program for inner-city kids at a local school.
- Identify your audience. Ask yourself to whom you need to sell this idea and what their objections might be. Address the objections in your proposal. For instance, your employer might not want to start a fitness program because of the expense. Explain where the funding will come from and how the employer might benefit.
- Do research to determine whom your program will serve and what those needs will be. Be realistic about possible customers or consumers. What will lead a consumer to your program? Think about why a fitness program is necessary in the community you are targeting. For example, if employees already attend a gym, what would make them start using your fitness program?
- Do your homework on any facts and figures. If you are running this program as a business, you have a responsibility to funders to research costs and expected profits. If it is not for profit, costs are still a necessary consideration, and cost estimates must be as accurate as possible. Think about the costs of fitness equipment, the space you will be using and manpower for upkeep of equipment.
- Look for templates online (see Resources) to help format the proposal. Ideally your proposal will have several sections, including a summary, objectives, goals, expenses, statement of purpose, personnel and time frame. Each step should be succinct and should give the information your intended audience needs to make an informed decision. A table of contents at the beginning will organize your information and help readers to find information quickly.
- Proofread and fact-check your proposal. A messy, incomplete or error-filled proposal is unlikely to garner respect.
- Print your proposal in black ink on white paper, but use color to print graphs or charts are involved. Put your proposal in a presentation folder. You might add a graphic of workout equipment or kids working out in a gym, depending on your focus.
- Present your proposal. By presenting it in person, you can answer questions immediately and clarify any points that are unclear.
- Measure the walls, windows and doors in your gym space and record each measurement. Do it again to confirm the accuracy.
- Draw the floor plan on grid paper, scaling the measurements one square-inch to one square-foot to keep it simple. Mark where door openings and windows are, as well as electrical outlets.
- Make small-scale drawings of the equipment you want to include, treadmill, bike or multi-gym machine, for example. Cut these out so you can move them around on your floor plan until you find a configuration that works.
- Place large, bulky equipment along the outer walls of the gym, near an electrical outlet if required. Leave enough space around the equipment to comfortably work out, while leaving enough room for someone else to walk by. Position each piece to face a wall of mirrors or entertainment unit, such as a television or speakers.
- Leave the space nearest the doorway clear, with at least 30 or 40 square feet. Reserve the area for rolling out a mat for stretching, yoga or other floor exercises. Plan for a rack of free weights, shelves for extra storage of small items and a place to sit along the wall near the entrance.
- Possession of anabolic steroids, the principle performance-enhancing drug, has been illegal in the United States since 1990. It is classified as a Schedule III drug along with opium, morphine, codeine and numerous other stimulants and depressants. The punishments for possession vary widely among states. The federal penalties range from up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine for a first offense, to three years in prison and a minimum fine of $5,000 for a third offense. All of the penalties can be increased if an “intent to distribute” can be proven. Sports organizations can also punish its members for possession.
- As of 2011, nearly all professional leagues had its athletes submit to random drug tests for anabolic steroids, narcotics, and common performance enhancers like androstenedione and human growth hormone. In the NFL, players are tested yearly for steroids and amphetamines. Violators get a mandatory four-game suspension for a first offense, a six-game suspension for the second and a full season off for the third. Baseball suspends players 50 games for a first offense and 100 games for a second even if the player is in the minors. Outfielder Manny Ramirez, who sat out 50 games in 2009 for failing a drug test, was caught again in 2011. He retired instead of serving the longer suspension.
- The International Olympic Committee uses the drug testing standards adopted by the World Anti-Doping Agency. If an Olympic athlete tests positive for any of the organization’s hundreds of prohibited anabolic steroids, growth hormones or narcotics, the athlete is removed from the competition for at least two years and stripped of any medals that were recently awarded. A second offense could lead to a lifelong ban.
College, School Sports
- Criminal sanctions apply to minors in possession of illegal drugs, and many school districts and college sports associations have their own rules and punishments. The National Collegiate Athletic Association randomly tests college athletes for steroids and narcotics. An athlete can be suspended for one year for a first offense. According to the Cato Institute, school districts and sports associations have been able to enact policies requiring random urinalysis of young athletes since a 1995 Supreme Court decision.
- As of 2009 The International Sports Federation lists 33 competitive sports, and approximately 400 events are recognized by the Olympic Movement. Even though there might be some sports that are not played at the Olympic level, such as football, surfing or golf, they are still considered a sport by many and enjoyed every year at the professional or collegiate level. Summer Olympic sports include: aquatics, archery, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoe/kayak, cycling, equestrian, fencing, gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, soccer, table tennis, Taekwondo, tennis, track and field, triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling. Winter sports include: biathlon, bobsled, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating and skiing.
In terms of games, there are several types ranging any where from horse shoes, croquet, cornhole and frolf, to pool and darts. But even if they are not categorized as sports, these physical activities are as competitive in nature and provide a fun and entertaining atmosphere.
- The physical intensity and variety of the sport or game determines the health benefits and impact on your well-being. Obesity is one of the most critical health issues being addressed today. It’s a serious problem that increases the risk of heart attack, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Sports can help combat obesity in adults and children, which, according to the Surgeon General, affects nearly 60 million Americans. The Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports of California believes that being involved in physical activities, such as sports, exercise or recreational games, can help reduce these risks.
- The mental component of team sports and games helps develop strategies, such as deductive reasoning and critical thinking, as well as fostering social skills essential to successfully functioning in society. While involved in youth sports, children can learn about teamwork, responsibility, accountability, discipline, respect, communication and self-esteem. Sports play a pivotal role in positively shaping the physical as well as the developmental skills of children and adults.
- Impacting social development classifies sports and games as essential cornerstones of this society. Participation at all age levels is important. However, if you played sports as a child, it is more likely for you to continue as an adult. With an ever increasing emphasis on health, the number of children involved in sports escalated. According to a research study published in 2000 by the International Journal of Sport Psychology and conducted by K.R. Fox entitled “Self-esteem, Self-perceptions, and Exercise,” sports can have positive influence on the outlook and self-worth of many young adults, particularly young women. Participating in such activities increases the “physical and global self-esteem although the benefits are greatest for children, middle-age adults and those with initially lower self-esteem.”
- The fiscal impact of professional and collegiate sports in a city can transform the economic infrastructure. Football in particular drives many fans across state lines for the yearly College Bowl Games held on New Year’s Day, boosting tourism in the process. The SuperBowl has the same impact, only on a larger scale as commercial airtime can cost millions of dollars and produce revenues if the ads peak interest. The 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing created sustainable sporting venues such as the “Birds’ Nest” and “Water Cube,” which, according to a United Nations 2008 Report entitled “Beijing 2008 Olympic Games–Final Environmental Assessment,” provide a “cultural legacy which benefits the community, region, host country and city.”
- Manage your employees fairly. You will make the final decisions when it comes to hiring and firing, and employees will count on you to resolve problems. Choose people who will be assets to your gym. You can ask current employees for referrals, take walk-in applicants or even look among your gym’s members for dedicated potential new employees. You can also advertise that you are hiring in local fitness publications or on fitness websites. You can also list jobs on your gym’s website. Take a class in people management or conflict resolution at a local community college or university extension to sharpen your skills in these areas. If a corporation owns your gym, it should provide you with a software program to maintain your employee records and payroll. Ask for training so you know how to use this software well. If you don’t have your own software program, invest in one to help you keep accurate records.
- Maintain your gym’s equipment. Make sure it is in good working condition and that you’ve posted signs on how to safely use each machine. Check the equipment each morning before you open, or each night before you close, to be sure that nothing is broken or malfunctioning. If something isn’t working properly, immediately remove it from the gym or put a sign on it that tells your members not to use it. Get it fixed right away. Your gym’s locker rooms also need to be in good, clean condition. Delegate maintenance tasks to your employees to help keep your gym safe and clean as a team.
- Develop a budget for your gym. You are responsible for delegating enough money to employee payroll, fitness classes, new equipment and other expenses. Work with your gym’s membership coordinator to set a goal for how many new members you will need to get each month to keep earning a profit. Software programs and business management classes can help you manage your budget.
- Member recruitment is another big part of your job. Advertise your services in different types of media. Offer specials, such as a discount for any current member who brings in a friend. Survey your current members to find ideas for improvement that could bring in new members. Send a thank-you note when a member makes a referral.
Between smartphones, computers and video game systems, modern children are inundated with ways to entertain themselves through technology. Because of these changes in pastimes, physical activity is in decline and childhood obesity is on the rise. According to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention study, the obesity rate in children has more than doubled in the past three decades.
- To find a gym that connects with children in a unique and innovative way, you need to understand what kids are interested in and what they find fun. Spend time with kids to see what activities they enjoy, but don’t limit yourself to physical activities. Even non-active hobbies can lead to inspiration for the fitness center. Research other child-orientated fitness centers to see what the competition is doing so you don’t repeat their efforts.
- When searching for an appropriate venue for a kid friendly fitness center, choose a location where the lease — and landlord — allow you to paint the interior and exterior. Paint the outside of the gym in vibrant colors, such as primary colors, to make it stand out from the surrounding buildings and appeal to kids.
- Permit and licensing requirements vary from state to state, but your local chamber of commerce is a helpful resource for guiding you to the necessary paperwork and registrations. Generally, you need to obtain a business license, business insurance and apply for an Employer Identification Number.
Since there are children in your facility you’ll also need to check the requirements for keeping children for over a certain amount of time, typically three hours. You may need to obtain some day care licenses and permits as a result.
Find a Theme
- Finding a fresh angle for your child-orientated fitness center is the most important and most challenging aspect of launching the business. Use your research to determine what has been done and what appeals to the kids you are targeting.
For example, if you find most children prefer to spend time playing video games, integrate this into your fitness center concept. Model your gym equipment and color scheme after a popular video game, such as Nintendo’s “Mario Brothers” series. You could use the classic mushrooms and blocks as obstacles within the gym for the kids to tackle. You could also create life-size game controllers for the kids to bounce and jump on.
- Classes are a popular and effective way to foster memberships in adult gyms, and can be equally effective in a kid orientated fitness center as well. Create classes that play off your gym’s theme.
For example, with a video game theme, you could have a kick boxing and martial arts class that correlates with the “Mortal Kombat” game franchise. Interview martial arts trainers and ask if they would dress in costume as characters from the game for the classes. You could also have dance classes using popular game music, such as the “Mario Brothers” theme music, or classes that become large scale versions of the arcade game “Dance, Dance Revolution”.
Child Friendly Amenities
- Most fitness centers offer amenities for the guests to enjoy. Recreate this with kid friendly options. A smoothie bar or fruit and frozen yogurt station is both appealing to kids and helps foster healthy eating habits. Use colorful, plastic cups and festive straws. Create study centers for kids to do homework before or after their workout by filling a room with desks and school supplies, such as computers, paper, pens and reference books. Establish a dance zone with speakers and a dance floor where kids can have dance parties with their friends.