Gym Design


Gym design, as a concept, began with designing spaces to hold exercise equipment. The most successful gyms in the world design based on culture, exercise trends, gym member interests, and fitness experiences. Is your gym designed to direct your culture, purpose, and gym brand?

gym design

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Gym Design 


Gym design involves bringing concepts related to your facility purpose, and company brand, to deliver architectural, aesthetic, and functional requirements to your members. This is an ambitious process. We begin by developing a detailed model of your key value drivers, spacial requirements, and limitations, and value propositions. We define your core values, and express them in textural, scalable, and virtual terms. We build and render 3D gym design models that present your company culture, customer interests, and gym concept.

Design is often confused with “decoration”. Gym design is not a process of simply making an environment look a specific way — it is the systematic and pragmatic development and expression of your unique selling proposition, and brand. Design is as much science as it is art. Your fitness facility design must capture both aesthetics and functional purpose. In order to remain relevant amongst competitors, you must redesign, redevelop, and renovate your facility to meet changing needs and expectations of people whom you serve – your members and customers.

Please take a moment to review the following gym design concepts. These images reveal important details to consider when researching gym design. Notice how the design of each exercise space is deliberately in line with the focus of each gym. One-size-fits-all concepts have been defeated by clear, focused, exercise concepts. Trends in group training, social fitness experiences, and profitable utilization of space, now lead design efforts in the commercial gym arena. Gone are the days when a gym simply housed exercise equipment. These images represent the core values of each gym owner — each concept focuses on purpose, utility, member experiences, and gym branding.

  • Cuoco Black is a trusted and respected master fitness facility designer, former design academic and natural bodybuilder. He is the creator of the Concept Club which is a new gym design model that helps developers create unique brands that dominate their marketplace. His work includes independent gyms, personal training studios, women's only facilities, residential fitness centers and new franchise models.
  • This grey and earth tones design concept is perfectly suited to serve as an entry or gathering area in any high-end gym or luxury fitness facility.
  • This design project was completed for VP Fitness featuring architectural balance, symmetry, and health club equipment layout.
  • This high-end, luxury, group fitness concept was designed for ASANA developed to integrate the business of fitness with the atmosphere of an upscale health club, chiropractic facility, and group exercise environment.
  • This design project was created for In-n-Out Fitness to help them make use of all available square footage and provide exercise experiences for their group fitness members.
  • Adding a sports conditioning concept to any health club can be challenging; this design was created for Field Fit to help them create as much usable square footage for their athletic training services.
  • We wanted to convey a grand presence within the available space of this gym; and by using the circular cut out mirror to open up the block wall and reflect light, we accomplished our mission on this project.
  • Our approach to this gym design project was to show how deep the customer experience can be by integrating design elements found outside of typical fitness facilities and incorporating the scale and grand experience members feel when visiting this space.
  • With this Nobis entry way design project we wanted to create light and use texture to be fearless in our effort to welcome people into the space by adding value to the reception area.
  • Its important to design a function training area wherein guests and members can exercise and follow the natural pattern layout with purpose and ease.
  • This Crunch flagship, grand location, needed geometry, angles, and lines that best represented the exercise opportunities and member experience offered by the facility, staff, and vision of Crunch.
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Independent vs Franchise Gym Design

Gym franchising is big business. Franchise gym concepts make up the greatest volume of fitness locations worldwide. According to International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), among the top gym franchise concepts[1], including CrossFit, LA Fitness, Life Time Fitness, Anytime Fitness, and Planet Fitness, among several others. Gym concept franchisors factor design into the franchise package. Each gym franchise concept offers a scalable gym design, build-out, layout, equipment offering, and brand association. If you’ve visited any of these types of gyms, something universally connected grounds the gym design. Some of these gyms do offer ambitious services, and unique design features within their gyms. Others do not. What design elements do you believe differentiates each of these franchise models?

Alternatively, independent gyms are designed based on individual owner/operator interests, and purpose. Although the gym franchise model is driving the largest marketshare of gyms by number of locations, it is the independent gym owner who founded the original gym movement (e.g., Gold’s Gym, World Gym, Powerhouse Gym). It is interesting to note that according to Forbes, franchise businesses fail at the same rate as independent businesses. “Some franchise chains have failure rates as high as 80% to 90%, while others have almost no failures [2].” Among the worst franchise gyms to buy, Curves and Fitness Together make the worst franchise businesses to buy[3]. It is an interesting side note, both Fitness Together and Curves have low value propositions, require little investment, and do not incorporate trending gym design into their concepts. More successful franchise gym operations value design, and as a result, provide more value in their franchise proposition. Remember this when reviewing either independent or franchise fitness facility projects and gym design strategies.

Do you trust your brand identity, and investment, with a franchise model or will you be creating your own brand identity? Both have dramatic design implications associated. There is reasonable debate regarding joining the crowd, to be another me too gym. Regardless of the business origination, as a gym owner, you must be willing to be a leader in your community by generating support for fitness and exercise trends that your gym members crave. Although large chain-gyms outnumber independent gyms — we are learning that guests and members are leaving generic gyms, of all sizes, in favor of gyms that cater to strong, sustainable, progressive exercise trends — based on purpose.

Gym Design Concepts: 2016 and Beyond

New design features, and trends, make use of wall and floor space to complete the vision of independent gym operators. You will see a surge in specialized training areas within gyms, as well as entire gym concepts that focus on training modalities suitable for small and large group training. Making a strong entrance into the gym marketplace, 2016 marks the dominance of dynamic training. Calisthenics, strength & conditioning, olympic lifting, and timed exercise competitive events, are topping fitness trends and gym member interests. We now see how important it is to align technological advances in metabolic and exercise metrics, sustainable flooring, indoor turf, wall utilization, storage solutions, and progressive exercise. Dominant in progressive gym design, brands are designing experiences based on top exercise trends. Group exercise classes, including pole fitness, aerial yoga, Antigravity® fitness, acrobatics, and aerial pilates, now set new standards for relevant gym design.

Gym design, as a concept, is created by identifying and displaying purpose, intent, and market relevancy. Our gym design strategy embodies a combination of gym branding, the deliberate planning and appropriation of features and amenities, thoughtfully developed to shape social and exercise experiences for your gym members and clients. Our mission is to design gyms people love. We purposefully study market trends, fitness industry data, and successful independent gym and franchise gym models alike. Your gym must remain relevant amongst larger gym chains, likely offering larger footprints and locations. What separates your gym from the competition? We believe it is a deliberate expression and execution of niche gym branding, purpose, and commitment to relevancy for many years to come.


1. “IHRSA Global 25 Highlights World’s Top Health Clubs.” IHRSA, 22 June. 2015. Web. 01 Jan. 2016.
2. “13 Mistakes New Franchisees Make — And How To Avoid Them.” Forbes, 27 May. 2014. Web. 01 Jan. 2016.
3. “Complete List: The Best And Worst Franchises To Buy, 2015.” Forbes, 17 June. 2015. Web. 01 Jan. 2016.


Gym Design Value Drivers


Purpose Driven
99%
Member Focused
98%
Gym Branding
97%
Marketplace Relevancy
100%

Would you like to speak with a gym design consultant? 

If so, we want to hear from you. To learn more about how we can help you design or redesign your gym, please use the form below to express your interest or any questions about gym design, or gym branding and marketing, expressed through technical and aesthetic fundamentals of exterior, and interior gym designing.

After you contact us – don’t forget, we can support your facility, website, personal training, and group exercise programs. Yes, it’s free – always. Simply click on the blue triangle, above to the right, to register.


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gym design was last modified: September 24th, 2017 by Derek Curtice