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How to Choose the Right Cardio Equipment Mix


One of the toughest decisions a health club has to make is deciding on the right blend of cardio equipment. Picking the perfect mix isn’t easy. Guessing can be pricey, and you don’t want to have a row of empty treadmills, while exercisers wait impatiently in line to use the one or two ellipticals that you have.

Of course, your exercise equipment selection depends a lot on the demographic of a fitness facility—exercise bikes can appeal more to new exercisers and active agers, while more treadmills and cross-trainers may be needed to accommodate a club with exercise regulars.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has handy guidelines for choosing overall equipment, regardless of the exerciser demographic. 

  • Have at least two machines in any single cardio category.
  • Provide enough equipment to accommodate at least 25% of the exercisers expected to use the facility during any given two-hour period. For a facility with 2,000 members, this equates to roughly 40 pieces of cardio equipment.

The ACSM speaks to overall cardio equipment, but determining the mix of product is more complicated. A recent study of a medium-sized fitness facility by Life Fitness found that cardio workouts over a three-month period broke down accordingly:

This is just from a single study, but it still provides a general idea of what exercisers are looking for. The research was done using Life Fitness connected equipment and, which takes the guesswork out of determining the perfect mix of cardio. provides details about what equipment is being used the most and when it is being used. This information makes it easy to rotate equipment and keep exercisers moving. 

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