Club Insider

About Bruce Carter

Bruce CarterBruce Carter

Bruce Carter is the president of Optimal Design Systems International. He has 43 years of successful experience in the fitness industry. In addition to starting Optimal Design Systems, Bruce also was the founder of Optimal Fitness Systems International.

Phone: (954) 888 - 5960
Email: bruce@optimaldsi.com

Previous Articles

Showing 1 - 22 of 22 Articles

About Our Authors

Club Design and Décor
A New Key Ingredient for a Club To Be Successful


March 2011 - Having at one time worked for a national chain, the magic word was "sales." "The health club business is a sales business" was the overriding mantra to the point that they would even bring in hypnotists in the morning to hypnotize us to sell more. Talk to a personal trainer and the formula is clear. Great equipment and trainers are what a club needs to succeed. Yet, talk to a finance person and strong financial administration makes all the difference. Read Article...

De-Clutter Your Club for a Better Member Experience

March 2013 - On the cover of a recent issue of "O," Oprah's magazine, the heading was "De Clutter Your Life!" It must be a major issue for people to be the cover story. One thing is for sure; it is a major issue for so many clubs. Read Article...

Design and the Profitable 21st Century Club

August 2006 - Read Article...

Does a "Green" Design Equal More Profits?

October 2011 - Being eco-friendly is the practice of making educated choices that result in less damage to the environment while using fewer resources. Going green seems like an obvious focus for any health club owner, especially since the business is all about being healthier. The sustainability movement can be incorporated in various parts of a club, including a club's design. Read Article...

Environmental Psychology
The Powerful New Competitive Advantage for Clubs


October 2009 - Take off your shoes. Now, imagine putting on the shoes of someone who is inactive, out of shape and overweight. You are not at all pleased with how you look, constantly thinking you have to do something, especially every time you eat something you should not have. Read Article...

How A Club Keeps Changing To Stay The Best in Their Market

March 2014 - The need to renovate a club is like the need to renovate your body. No matter what, if you do not keep up with the latest exercise and nutrition, your body ages and becomes a shadow of what it once was, and you are not able to effectively be the most productive you can be. So it is with a club. Not renovating lessens your competitive ability, and slowly, your club can "whither" away. Oh sure, maybe you can hang on... but the profits are never the same. Read Article...

How to Best Use Space for a Great Design

April 2016 - No matter what the size of club we have dealt with over the years, whether it was 5,000 square feet or 200,000 square feet, there always seemed to be a need for more space. Therefore, getting the most successful use out of your available square footage is an optimal goal. However, it is common to try and "put four quarts into a 3-quart container." When this happens, the result is often an inefficient and non-functional operation. Read Article...

How to Create a Great Kids' Area for Your Club

August 2014 - The question on whether to offer a kids' area is a continuing one in the health and fitness club industry. Some say very few members use the area, so why waste the needed space and add to the payroll? This is especially true if a club is offering lower prices or if it is smaller in size. Read Article...

How To Create an Inexpensive Facelift For Your Club

September 2013 - You know you need to keep your club inviting and exciting. It is so easy for people to get bored with exercise, and we must face the fact that many people hate exercise in the first place. It is so important to keep thinking of ways to keep your club stimulating and motivating people to join and keep coming back for more. Therefore, the question is, "What can I do to make positive changes to my club without spending much?" Read Article...

How to Create Dynamic "Studio Clubs" Within Your Club

October 2017 - One of the more significant trends in the club industry has been the growth of studio clubs and major chains such as Soul Cycle and Orangetheory. Studios can often be just 2,000 - 4,000 square feet, yet generate monthly dues of $100 - $200 per month. This can obviously be frustrating to a large, full-service club in the same marketplace offering similar types of programs, yet only charging $20 - $50 per month or more for their entire club. Read Article...

How to Design a Boutique Club Within a Club

June 2015 - One of the most significant changes in the fitness industry in the past ten years has been the growth of personal and group training. As a result of this, smaller clubs that specialize in this type of programming have become more popular. These clubs, often called "boutique clubs" usually range in size from 1,500 square feet to 7,500 square feet and offer one or more classes, such as cross training, yoga, hot yoga, Barre, Pilates, spin, group exercise and personal training. Read Article...

How to Design Spa-Like Locker Rooms For Less

December 2013 - People come to health clubs for many reasons. One reason often overlooked is that it can be an escape from a person's normal day-to-day life. Studies show that lockers rooms are one of the most important areas that people respond to in a club, good or bad. Whether designing a new club or renovating an existing club, providing a beautiful upscale spa-like locker room can be a strong marketing asset to any club. Read Article...

How To Design The Perfect Club Entry

December 2016 - Imagine someone new walking into a club, and the moment he steps through the door, he is surprised. This is not what he expected. He feels comfortable but excited. This place could be the answer to his dream of improving his life with regular physical activity. This should be the goal for designing a health club entry. Read Article...

Profit Designing
Designing the New Club Model for Maximizing Profits


September 2016 - There are substantial changes evolving with clubs, and this is affecting design significantly. The old standard model was primarily dues-based, where clubs offered everything for one price, and the goal was to get as many members as possible. This model usually involved some variation of cardio, free weights, machines, group exercise, and possibly, spinning. The new model is to get as many members as possible, but equally importantly, is to maximize revenue per member through results-based, tiered memberships and fee-based personal training programs, thereby maximizing the average amount of dues per member. To achieve this goal, a new design model is necessary where a club has the optimal space and programs enabling it to charge extra for a variety of different offerings. Read Article...

Renovating a Legend

June 2012 - After winning a Super Bowl and having a perfect season, Coach Don Shula, along with his partners, the Graham Companies, opened a spectacular club in Miami Lakes, Florida in 1982. They hired a General Manager, Bill Higgs, whose objective was to achieve the success with the club that would live up to its namesake heritage. The 45,000 square-foot Shula's Athletic Club opened with beautiful facilities, including fitness, racquetball, basketball and tennis. Read Article...

The Great Untold Secret About Exercise

February 2009 - Why is it that there are more health clubs than ever yet more overweight people than ever? With all the focus on exercise and all the efforts clubs have put on retention, why is it still one of the main problems in the fitness industry? Why is it that 9 out of 10 people know it is better to take the stairs instead of the escalator, yet only 1 out of 10 actually take the stairs when given the choice? Read Article...

The New World of Lighting for Health Clubs

March 2017 - As you are aware, the club industry has been going through major changes in the past few years. What you might not be aware of is that the lighting industry has also been going through major changes, and if the right choices are made, this can have a powerful effect on achieving a motivating and energy saving environment for any type of club. New lighting standards created by Congress and the Department of Energy have been phasing in since 2012. These require that any bulbs sold need to use a minimum of 25% less energy, and certain types of incandescents can no longer be sold in the United States. Read Article...

The Power of Design in Making a Club More Successful

July 2007 - Read Article...

The Top 10 Keys For A Successful Club Design

October 2015 - Successful club design is the creative process of combining layout, facilities, mechanicals, materials, finishes, lighting and colors. There are key things you should and should not do to better insure success with design, whether it is a new design or renovation. What is described here can be looked at as a checklist to keep things on track for an optimal end result... Read Article...

What Is The Relationship Between Club Design And The Prices It Can Charge?

January 2015 - There's a purchase psychology saying that the "Eye Buys." In other words, what someone "sees" strongly determines what he buys. Relating to clubs, things like facilities, programs and price are all key. Yet, what a club looks like plays heavily in someone's decision to join or not. Read Article...

Why The Right Health Club Interior Sells More Memberships

October 2008 - Having given seminars in the fitness industry over the years, a question I commonly ask is, "Do most people love or hate exercise?" The answer is always the same. Most people hate exercise. It is also accepted that some people love exercise, but most don't. Read Article...

Why You Need to Redesign Your Workout Space

April 2012 - Recently, an individual who moved to a new area went shopping for a new club. At her previous club, this individual had been introduced to newer types of training, so she was looking for certain specific things in a club. Off she went from club to club visiting national chains and local clubs. Read Article...

About Our Authors