Ever wondered who is behind these open beautiful looking gyms in your city? Who has its plan to make India a fit-front country? No worries, we got hold off the man. A major player for nearly three decades in this space, GRANDSLAM Fitness is the company behind these open gym installation projects. This is the same fitness equipment brand that has installed open gyms in more than 1000 parks.
Unfurling more facts about open-air gyms, Prateek Sood, Director of GRANDSLAM FITNESS in an exclusive viz-a-viz with Sportz Business.
Q You are associated with a lot of foreign brands including True, TuffStuff and Landice. Can you tell us the reason behind it and the major specialties of these brands?
Unlike indoor fitness equipment space, outdoor gym business is a new concept that has come into being in the last few years and has an unpredictable future? We were the first importers of motorized treadmills in India, including other imported fitness equipment. Since then we have evolved from a B2C company to a B2B enterprise. Being into the B2B domain, we have realized that people like to have options and that’s what we try to deliver with our plethora of high-end brands. We try to cater more to luxury clients in addition to that we also have a budget brand. In our assortment of high-end brands that we offer to our clients, we have majorly American brands like True, TuffStuff and Landice. We have also other brands like Turbuster which is Made in China, Training Wall a Spanish brand, Concept2 again an American and WattBike a British brand. Besides, we have some brands which are sports-focused products while the rest deals in a full range of fitness equipment. Having said that we have True which deals in a full range of fitness equipment while TuffStuff settles to strength and training equipment. Landice deals in only cardio while Turbuster deals in a full range of fitness equipment which also happens to be quite cost-effective.
Q How has been the consumer accepting these brands apart from a few elite ones?
India is not that big a market as it seems from outside, despite being widely populated everybody is not a potential buyer. An evolution in Gyms surfaced in the early 2000s, the gym chains that used to install only Indian equipment started moving toward Chinese equipment. From a constrict window of 7-8 lakh, they have moved to 20-25 lakh bracket windows. Now, that bracket is shifting towards American equipment which is thoroughly standardized with effective bio mechanism following years of research and production. Apparently, there are a couple of brands that cherish to have more market presence across the world. For Instance, LifeFitness is known for bringing stationary cycle, Precor for elliptical and True introduced Treadmills. So, it’s about marketing the legacy acknowledging people about brand worth and its contribution to the world of fitness.
Q Efforts of Grand Slam Fitness to make aware clients about these brands?
As the segment is limited, when compared to the Chinese segment you don’t get a lot of walking clients, this is still an outreach approach to finding a client who can spend a certain amount of money over this standardized fitness equipment. I think one of the things that people don’t realize is that they need to have cost-effective gym equipment. However, when it comes to standardized fitness equipment it is not possible for every gym to purchase 1 Crore worth of equipment. Hence, there should be a segment in between which makes it worth their time and yet the best value for money.
Q Being chief gym equipment manufacturers and a dealer of major foreign gym equipment brands what do you suggest to those who want to install gym equipment?
The very first advice that I want to give gym owners is that they don’t invest an excessive amount over the interior as the interior will never give return to them but equipment and their service do. The second thing is that you plan your fee structure according to your location and fitness equipment. And the last, choose the fitness equipment brands that have R&D and have some legacy to carry forward.
Q How soon you advise gym owners to replace their machines?
The gym owners should get enough bandwidth from day 1. I would suggest not to install 4 treadmills in a gym which needs 8 treadmills bringing down the machine’s life expectancy. If you have all the apt number of machines, cardio can run up to 7 years. Strength can remain up to 10-12 years. If you still want to maintain a fresh look at your gym then 7 years is a good time.
Q Open Air Gym Installation; tell us the whole mechanism of it, including government initiative, tenders, and selections of sites.
Open-air Gyms are largely installed for social initiatives; it is an initiative with an objective to bring reforms to society. That is why private installation in this space is quite rare and fragmented. The reason behind this is that every builder who is looking to install a gym will also have to give a full indoor gym and then additionally install an outdoor gym. So, Instead of spending money twice, they rather stick to an indoor gym! But when it comes to government parks, and land which is owned by the Government and other public spaces for that space, this is the best initiative.
First: This is because this equipment requires very low maintenance.
Second: These equipment are mostly self-explanatory as they have an informative plate that comes with them. Besides, these gym equipment don’t have many variations possible in terms of your workout hence the possibility of injuring yourself is quite low, unlike indoor commercial gyms. In outdoor gyms, the motion of the machine is very well controlled.
From the government’s point of view, the installation of an open-air gym does make a lot of sense as this is something which helps them to do something good to the people and which stays for a longer period of time. Projects like these are totally opposite to other projects of government including the building of roads as those projects consume both times as well as a whopping amount of money, ironically they don’t stand erect for a longer period of time.
As a matter of fact, the equipment which was installed at the first installation that we undertook back in 2014 in Dwarka, which also happens to be India’s first installation of an open-air gym, is still running. However, we do provide periodic maintenance of the installed equipment as they remain in an outdoor space.
In contemporary times, the Government has become more stringent rule over quality and post-installation maintenance.
This phenomenon has given manufacturers like us to sail into the market with better equipment rather than what is being imported from China. As we don’t import anything from China for this space of Outdoor gyms, we inculcate galvanized pipes which increase the life of the equipment. Following a standard procedure, everything in the government is purchased by tenders and its contracts which are applied to all domains. In the procedure, the government will set a certain set of specifications, it will invite open bids. There are five or six players in the field in but there are also many smaller ones. But the bigger the tender gets the lesser number of players to remain in the game.
In the wake to run the installation of open-air gym installations smoothly, the government likes to filter one person responsible for more number of parks rather than individual persons for each park. That is how we love to work as this gives us the economy of scale to manufacture something cheaper and better as well.
Q Are these orders initiated by the State Government or Central Government?
The Central Government would not release order for 2-3 states together. However, in the case of Delhi, the scenario is different, as some departments come under the control of the central government and are not under the direct jurisdiction of the state. In contrast to Delhi, where the state government does not have sovereignty over Municipal Corporations, everywhere else it’s just State Municipal Corporations run by the state under such projects.
Q So, talking about the whole range of installations that you have done so far, is it only supplying of equipment that comes as in your job profile or you provide maintenance as well?
We are into a solution where we practice supply installation and maintenance. We believe this is a good thing benefitting the people and the Government to issue tenders that require maintenance as well. In this process, the person who is manufacturing and supplying is held accountable for their quality. So yes, all this comes out with maintenance, however, the maintenance clause varies, it could be a year, two year or five years. But everybody wants maintenance.
Q How do you spot parks for the open Air Gym Installation?
The practice of spotting and allocation of sites is done by the Government and not by us. Our part of the role only includes checking the feasibility of the sites, once the government or the engineer in charge finalizes a respective site. In the case of DDA, the government authority spots parks in such a way that at least one JJ Colony remains adjoining to it. It makes sense to install the open-air gym closer to them so that they can have more access to these things. In other states besides Delhi, there are a limited number of parks and public spaces. So in order to install open-air gyms, authorities find open public spaces that are not parks and then rubber flooring is being done over it to dampen the fall. For Instance, in Telangana, we have followed the same mechanism and installed a number of open gyms in collaboration with the prestigious World Bank. The project is counted as the biggest open-air gym installation project in India.
Q So till the date how many gym installations have you done and can you name some of the major projects that you have done so far?
We have done for more than 1000 gym installations so far which is twice as much as our next competing brand accomplished. I will definitely count World Bank-funded Telangana open-air gym installation as the major project to date. Besides, we have worked with other reputed organizations including New Delhi Municipal Corporations, DDA, and state-run municipal corporations. There are some Panchayats also consulted us to take such an initiative.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.