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  Workout Spaces Should Entertain and Engage the Health Club Member
By: Christa Plaza, AIA - February 7, 2012  |  Originally published at www.clubindustry.com

 
If you have been at one of the newest sports arenas or at one of Las Vegas’ trendy casinos, you likely remember that those venues stimulated each of your senses, creating an almost fantasy-like experience. Now, think about your typical fitness club where a sea of gray equipment appears in monotonous straight lines, surrounded by bland wall colors and fluorescent lights dangling from exposed beams. Which environment are you likely to spend the most time in, and more importantly, which physical environment are you likely to spend the most money in? Chances are that most of you would say the casino or sports stadium, but it should not be that way. Members should rave about the atmosphere of health clubs, too. Why not create an exciting space with beautiful rolling curves where the equipment helps define the experience, the colors build excitement and the lighting creates energy?

The goal of creating engaging fitness and workout spaces is to provide a physical environment that invigorates and seduces your members so they will return. By creating dynamic spaces, your members will enjoy working out, and your trainers will be able to perform at their best. A well-designed facility should induce passion while providing good circulation, interesting equipment layouts, proper materials, visually pleasing colors and great lighting design.

The foundation of any good design is the circulation path, especially in a fitness area where many members move from the entry to the locker rooms, locker rooms to the fitness floor, and finally among the various activity spaces. Circulation is integral to a successful club layout. The design must create movement and flow, as well as present a sense of space where members are not falling over each other. Doing so creates more interest in the workout space, which in turn enhances the member enjoyment factor.

In addition to good circulation, innovative equipment layouts can create exciting visual interest in a large fitness space. A layout with a soft curve can enhance the appearance and feel that accompanies the typical layout that stacks treadmills, elliptical machines and other pieces of equipment in neat but monotonous queues. Large lines of equipment are best replaced with “mini” workout spaces (zones) that separate the equipment and create workout communities. (As in the example shown in the drawing above). One concept for arranging selectorized equipment is to lay it out in a “pod-like” formation using circles or ellipses. This provides a more socially interactive environment for trainers to work in and for members to work out in.

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