| By: Rachel Zabonick 

Fitness trends come and go. Some are fleeting, while others make a huge impact on the fitness industry and stay around for the long-haul.

One fitness trend that’s proved its longevity is functional training — which has transformed not only how members workout, but also how health clubs are designed.

Take Gold’s Gym SoCal as an example, which operates 16 clubs in Southern California. According to Angel Banos, the CEO and president, functional training is a trend that’s proved its viability — and therefore, is one worth investing in.

“Today, we feel functional training is a very viable offering for us, so we’re attacking it aggressively as a company,” said Banos.

Recently, Gold’s Gym SoCal partnered with Aktiv Solutions to install a number of functional training products and features in its clubs, including The Functional Training Ecosystem, “a modular dynamic training environment developed to deliver energizing and socially engaged workouts.”

At Gold’s Gym SoCal, this ecosystem is paired with programming called GOLD’S FIT, designed to offer members a full-body workout in a group environment.

According to Banos, the GOLD’S FIT program has been a hit with members. “It’s been a huge success,” he said. “Over 800 people are already in the program.”

For clubs looking to incorporate functional training into their facilities, Banos offered the following advice. “Size, equipment and layout are important,” he said. “Clubs should look at meeting the needs of their members and also what their training team can support. To do functional training successfully, clubs need space, education and hardware. You can’t just put in functional equipment and hope for the best. You have to have programming to support it.”

According to Banos, another key to success is finding the right partner to help you with functional design, equipment and layout. To find the right partner, you have to do your research. “Look at the product. Look at the team. Talk to them. See what their knowledge is,” he advised.

For Banos, Aktiv Solutions turned out to be the best partner due its vast knowledge and experience in functional design, in addition to its ability to provide Gold’s Gym SoCal with tailor-made solutions.

“Aktiv Solutions is great at creating a member experience for functional spaces,” continued Banos. “They work very closely with our personal and group training professionals, which is huge in building a space and programming. They’re very good at giving us their opinions and feedback. And at the end of the day, they’ve helped us create a great revenue stream through functional training.”

And as Gold’s Gym SoCal enters 2018, it will continue to evaluate its functional training offerings, looking for areas to improve and additional opportunities.

“Everything evolves,” said Banos. “We’re always looking at what’s next — where the puck’s going to be, not where the puck is.”