The  Olympus Gym and Fitness Centre at Grand Hyatt Muscat. The Olympus Gym and Fitness Centre at Grand Hyatt Muscat.

Hotelier Middle East gets the lowdown on the many recent trends in gym equipment design and functionality and highlights the biggest concerns of the region’s health club managers today

(Click through to last page for expert bios)

What are the main considerations when designing, or choosing, your new gym equipment?
Arthur W. Hicks, Jr., president and COO, Cybex International, Inc.: First and foremost we answer the questions: Does this equipment provide the best results possible for users, and are the motions optimal from a biomechanical perspective? We always start with our medical heritage in mind and are driven by science, so we spend a lot of time verifying designs from a medical and anatomical standpoint.

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Miles Rimell, director of marketing, Precor EMEA & APAC: Our product development team conducts extensive research into exercise trends and facility needs to inform the design of new equipment. Once they’ve identified the requirements and how to meet them, it’s a question of combining reliability, ease-of-use and the smooth motion that Precor is renowned for.

Panos Panagis, general manager, The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa: You need to know what the client actually demands. In order to satisfy our guests’ needs we talk to them and ask for their suggestions. Also, the price has to be reasonable and the equipment needs to have a long lifespan as it is under stress every day.

Mostafa Gaber, recreation manager, Mövenpick Hotel & Resort Al Bida’a Kuwait: We always go for well-established brands, even if they are more expensive than the new entrants, because they meet all our needs and standards, in addition to providing the best warranty and maintenance services. Firstly, we look at the safety features, then the simplicity and ease of use, and finally its durability under heavy daily use.

Dominic D’Costa, recreation manager, Grand Hyatt Muscat: When selecting equipment we look at user friendliness of the machines for our guests, latest technology and after sales service plans offered by the vendor.

Carole Aoun, marketing manager, Al Kamda: We look into latest innovations, and choose the most reliable machines, with a proven record.

What are the biggest challenges when designing or buying your gym kit?
Miles Rimell: It takes years to develop and test new equipment, so anticipating exercise trends that far in advance can be a challenge. Also, creating a great design is one step, but then producing it at a cost that offers good value for facility operators, balanced with Precor’s sustainability commitments, takes time.

Arthur W. Hicks: Trying to develop all the great ideas we have, given time and capital constraints that all businesses face. Also, staying on top of the display technologies, as this area changes so quickly and varies by country — for example, transmission standards for TV — it would be best for manufacturers to have more convergence of global standards.

Mostafa Gaber: The biggest challenge we face is the availability. It really is hard to find top-notch equipment in a market such as Kuwait, so we always have to get them from countries such as the UAE, and the customs fees are extremely high.

Andy Staines, general manager, Raymond Sport: Technology. Precor’s software development team has gone from six to 53 people in three years. That makes a difference when it comes down to training our sales guys, who have to learn new skills for when they are selling the products.

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