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6 Trends in Strategic Fitness Facility Design

[fa icon="calendar"] May 19, 2016 5:00:00 AM / by Justin Honas

Justin Honas

Designing a fitness facility is no small task, and it can be tough to balance all of the different factors involved particularly in a corporate wellness setting. Your space needs to be attractive while still being functional, and it needs to be able to support a variety of different types of equipment while providing plenty of room for the people using the space to move around. On top of all that, the design needs to be affordable and cost-effective. Certain design flaws can result in a fitness facility that's more expensive to operate than it should be. Take a look at some smart fitness facility design strategies that will result in a more appealing, more attractive, and more affordable facility, and see if you can incorporate them into your fitness center design plans.

Natural Lighting

Active Wellness, The Zone Newport, Corporate wellness
The Zone at Newport Beach shows how natural lighting is easier on the eyes and can make clients more comfortable.

There are any number of reasons why fitness center design hasn't made much use out of natural lighting in the past. Depending on the position of the sun, glare from the windows can make workouts difficult, and what's more, ordinary windows that can be easily broken are a risk in any building where the occupants are engaging in strenuous physical activity.

However, harsh industrial lighting can be a turnoff for some gym-goers, and there are ways to incorporate a more aesthetically pleasing natural light if you wish to do so. Skylights are one solution, as are solar tubes that direct light into a room from another part of the building. Solar tubes are a terrific option for buildings that aren't optimally placed to receive natural light.

Another option that works well and is more similar to traditional window placement is to install translucent fiberglass panels instead of ordinary window glass. This cuts down on the risk of breakage while still allowing natural light into the room. Whether you opt for skylights, solar panels, or fiberglass, using natural light gives you the benefit of an improved aesthetic experience and may help keep your electricity costs down.

Fewer Mirrors

If you choose to include windows or fiberglass panels, one thing that you may find is that you have less room for wall mirrors. However, that may not be a bad thing. The conventional wisdom is to include as many mirrors as possible, allowing members to observe their form while exercising and using the machines. However, not everyone enjoys this feature of the gym. Some people find that the wall-to-wall mirrors found in many fitness facilities contribute to feelings of self-consciousness and embarrassment. There are popular chain gyms that operate mirror-free to appeal to this demographic.

You don't have to go entirely mirror-free, but you may want to think about limiting the number of mirrors you put in place. For example, if you have separate rooms for classes that will be led by instructors, you may not need to install mirrors in those spaces - instructors can help guide participants and ensure that their form is correct. In a main room full of machines, strategically placed mirrored dividers can help members observe their own form while limiting the amount of other members who can see the same reflection, which can help minimize anxiety for those who are self-conscious.

Earth Tones
Active Wellness, Tri-City, Corporate Wellness
Without mirrors to look at, you'll need to ensure that you pay attention to the interior design of the facility. Your members may appreciate fewer mirrors, but they're still likely to be turned off by unappealing color schemes or blank walls.

Wood (or synthetic material that resembles wood) is still the most popular choice for gym floors. You can create an attractive design scheme by choosing earth tones for your walls and furnishings. This matches well with wooden floors. Complete the look by adding artwork depicting nature scenes or inspirational designs.

Green Features

Another thing to consider is the environmental impact of your fitness center. Green features are often money-savers in the long run. The same features can also help increase your revenues. As the general public becomes increasingly environmentally conscious, facilities that incorporate green features are becoming more attractive to clients, precisely because they allow clients to feel that they're participating in their desired activity without adding to their carbon footprints.

There are many ways to design and build a greener fitness facility. Use solar energy and lighting. Seek out sustainable building materials. Start a recycling initiative. Use passive energy techniques to ensure that the temperature in the building remains stable without relying as much on air conditioning and heating units powered by fossil fuels.

Electronic Integration

Electronic exercise machines require fitness facility owners and operators to be very careful about smart electronic integration in their buildings. You will need to ensure that the wiring in your building is up to date and capable of handling the power needs of all of your machines operating at once, and you'll also need to make sure that there are plenty of outlets for all of those machines. What's more, outlet placement is important. The last thing that you want are wires running across the room for clients to trip over.

As fitness goes increasingly high-tech, you'll need to account for the integration of internet-based additions as well. Ipod and MP3 charging stations, WiFi access, and smart device compatibility are all issues that should be taken into account when designing a fitness facility.

Open Spaces

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For some activities, it's very important to have room to spread out.

Exercise is something that definitely requires plenty of space. No one wants to try navigating large rooms jammed with too much equipment and too many people. If you plan to offer a full range of fitness options, you'll need to allow extra space for weightlifting areas, yoga areas, exercise ball areas, and any other activity that requires room to spread out. Group similar machines and activities together. You may need to leave more space between yoga mats than between spinning machines.

Of course, if you're not operating a large facility, you can maximize your space by minimizing the types of workout options that you offer. Fitness facilities that specialize in one or a few different machines or classes can be quite successful, providing a more tailored experience for clients.

When designing a fitness center, it's important to get input from the industry experts who know how to create a successful facility. For personalized information, contact us today.

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Topics: Fitness Center Design

Justin Honas

Written by Justin Honas

Procurement Manager, Active Wellness