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Blink Fitness Invests Millions in Its Top Gyms Amid Membership Growth

Blink Fitness Invests Millions in Its Top Gyms Amid Membership Growth

Blink Fitness is undergoing a renaissance. With a newly announced, multimillion-dollar investment in its most heavily trafficked gym locations and the launch of a certified personal trainer program, the NYC-based fitness franchise, founded by Equinox in 2011, is living up to its new mantra: ‘Blink Boldly.’

The new investment will see Blink upgrade 30 of its most-trafficked locations, equipping them with over 1,700 new pieces of cardio and strength training equipment, including hack squat machines, as well as recovery technology from Hyperice and WellnessSpace Brands, along with refreshed interiors. 

The rollout will begin in some of Blink’s New York and New Jersey locations.

Blink has also teamed with Focus Personal Training Institute (FPTI) to provide a certificated personal training program exclusive to the fitness brand and its staffers. The partnership sees Blink sponsor the training for new employees, creating opportunities for those eager to become certified personal trainers.

With over 600 trainers across its locations, Blink president Guy Harkless told Athletech News that it’s important for the fitness brand to have a partner that keeps up with the latest trends and state-of-the-art techniques.

“They’re highly accredited, and they’ve been a really strong partner,” Harkless said of FPTI, which is based in New York. “They’ve launched the careers of a number of individuals who are interested in getting into fitness in some way, shape or form. They’ve done a tremendous job in terms of bringing really strong trainers into our model, and our members have benefited from that.”

The new CPT program is another way that Blink is supporting its communities, as the fitness operator says more than half of its current employees were members first. 

Women & Under-30 Membership Growth

Harkless, who’s held leadership roles at Champs Sports, Eastbay, Foot Locker, Nike and Puma, was appointed president of Blink less than six months ago. Since then, the affordable fitness franchise has already experienced impressive numbers, including a 26% increase in new members under the age of 30 and a double-digit increase in join rates for women.

Blink’s achievements are likely due in part to Harkless’ proactive, hands-on approach. 

“I made it a mission when I first joined the business to get to each and every one of our locations within the first six months,” Harkless said, sharing that he’s about 98% of the way through his Blink gym tour that will see some stop at all 101 of the gym brand’s locations.

“What I’m really encouraged by is that the engagement of our members is at a very high level,” he said, adding that check-ins for this year continue to be elevated. “We’re essentially at the same level that we were during the pre-COVID period in terms of check-ins per location, and we continue to see growth year-over-year.”

Guy Harkless (credit: Blink Fitness)

While Blink’s business model is carefully crafted to deliver ‘fitness for all,’ it’s worth noting the double-digit increase in women joining Blink.

“We’ve been very intentional about focusing on things to cater to our female members,” Harkless said, pointing to Blink’s ‘Women in the Weight Room’ series, which launched a little over a year ago.

Blink also added a ‘Girls in the Weight Room’ event to the series, recently attracting over 500 attendees ages 14-17, with Blink donating more than 300 free year memberships to interested participants.

The fitness chain has also been intentional about providing a solid representation of both male and female trainers.

credit: Blink Fitness

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Leaning Into Recovery & Personalization

As for Blink’s partnerships testing FitBench and EGYM products in some locations, Harkless reports he’s been pleased with the early results. FitBench, in particular, has been rolled out to additional locations.

“Individualization is really important, particularly as you get into personal training,” Harkless said. “So that integration we’re doing with FitBench with our certified personal trainers offers a one-stop area that an individual can get into and have something catered specifically to them.”

Blink will also continue testing items in the recovery space this year, an area Harkless says is vital to the gym brand as members embrace post-training recovery. Hyperice massage guns will be tested in some locations as well as products from WellnessSpace Brands, the maker of HydroMassage.

Optimism Around GLP-1s

Although Blink doesn’t offer specialized programming for GLP-1 users like its parent brand Equinox, the fitness franchise does feature a 360-degree training program that includes weight loss, cardio, and strength and vascular training. 

Harkless noted that Blink has discovered some encouraging news in exploring the GLP-1 space and related weight-loss studies. 

“One of the things that we’ve found is that folks that are using some of the GLP-1 medications are actually more active in fitness, so we think that that’s really important for the industry,” he said. “For whatever reason, it’s led to much more engagement for people that do want to come in.”

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