With over 82 percent of new lease holders seeking out a fitness facility in their building as a priority, a hum drum, run-of-the-mill fitness center isn’t going to help you attract top tenants. Clients have choices, and facility managers are universally trying to one-up the competition with stand-out fitness amenities that lead to long-term, lucrative leases (say THAT five times fast).

If you want to build a fitness center that inspires visitors to return, or if you want to take your existing fitness center up a few notches, concentrate on the four features below.

Start with the floor

Performance flooring can be so much more than just the surface you travel across when you work out. Visually, it can help differentiate training zones and even educate participants with workout instructions or place markers for different exercises. Turf surfaces are wildly popular, just to create a different look and feel underfoot, or for high intensity drills and sled training. Professional athletes work out on turf, so why not the rest of us?

Turf Strip and Tire Flip
40′ strip of ECore Speed and Agility Turf with a sled and a Tire Flip 180 at USC Village Recreation Center.

The floor is like a big canvas that you can paint whatever you want, so consider how to spice it up and really use the floor to communicate some personality for your fitness center, as well as being acoustically sound and safe for all users.

Color and Character are Cool

Floor to ceiling and everything in between, don’t be afraid to use colors and be bold in those choices! You don’t want to go so far as to give users a headache, but strategically used pops of color can really liven up the space. “Fitness spaces are all about energy,” said Lori Beall, fitness design consultant with Advanced Exercise, “and customers who push creativity, using color and graphics in select places, are creating unique, memorable spaces that their tenants love to spend time in.”

Play with color to give your fitness center some vibrancy.

Throw out the neutral earth tones and take some color and graphic risks in your fitness center, which is where people expect to see more vibrant visuals. “One of the easiest ways to create character in your space is to use color and wall graphics,” continued Beall. “Use creative options to make a statement that captures what your community is all about.”

“Many people are scared to make a statement with different equipment colors and room or flooring colors,” admits Rick Barbee, VP of Sales with Advanced Exercise. “When they do take a few small risks, it makes a big statement and looks fantastic. Not all the equipment frames and upholstery needs to be or should be the same color to make the room pop. Working with a fitness facility designer to figure out the best way to integrate color can set the whole project apart from the crowd.”

Add Unforgettable Equipment

For fitness enthusiasts, trying out a new piece of equipment is like test driving a hot new sports car. You can have that hot new sports car available for anyone who is intrigued enough to give it a whirl.

Beyond the standard bikes, weights and treadmills, there are some stand out products that attract attention because they are so different from the standard options. Try the Freedom Climber, an innovative rock wall option or a TRX suspension training set-up for starters. “Just adding one or two fun and interesting pieces can bring life to a fitness center and really refresh the space,” offered Barbee, “and the way in which equipment is grouped together can help elevate the fitness center experience as well.”

Rotating rock walls and TRX bridge options are rare and intriguing for fitness center visitors to try out.

Equipment can also include refreshment stations or water bottle fillers, fitness technology screen spaces for digital fitness training, and other amenities within the space that make the fitness center engaging and energetic. Erika Schnitzer, Multi-Housing News, says, “Having a fitness facility on site can influence renters’ decisions, as they factor in the money saved on gym membership and, of course, the convenience. Cutting-edge facilities get extra points.”

Claim Your Name

Creating a non-generic name for your fitness center can also propel the space forward. Catchy and memorable names can not only help build fans but also lend a theme to characterize the space. In Los Angeles, you can find “The Resort” which, as you might imagine has a great pool with fitness classes and a killer cardio space. “The Green Room” in Texas is, you guessed it, predominantly green in color with turf flooring, lots of plants and color splashes all around the fitness center. Serving kale smoothies is a bonus, and everything from the towels to the kettle bells reinforces the name. Pick a name from a music genre that always plays in the background. Be literal (i.e. The Garage), dramatic (i.e. the 9th Circle) or whimsical (i.e. P Street Playground), just don’t be boring.

Also, take a tip from the retail world. “Customers are more likely to remember you if you present your products in an interesting and thoughtful way that goes beyond telling them to buy it. Stories add value to products.” It’s not just retail shelves that benefit from making the experience “something that people will remember. A little creativity can go a long way, so surprise your customer in a way they won’t forget.”

Be creative where you can so that your fitness center is memorable.

Barbee offered one final piece of advice to those looking to differentiate their space from the competition: “The clients that try to play it too safe are the ones who end up with a functional space but it’s the same as four others just down the street. The fitness center is the most important amenity and making it unique doesn’t have to cost much more. Sometimes it’s the small things mentioned above that really make the difference.”

To explore creative customization options for your fitness facility, contact your Advanced Exercise fitness design consultant.

About Advanced Exercise
Founded in 1986, Advanced Exercise is a leading fitness equipment and facility design resource, representing more than 30 equipment brands to bring clients the best new or used equipment solutions to maximize the use of available space and meet the needs of a diverse community of fitness amenity end users. For more information on fitness equipment and facility design services, visit www.advancedexercise.com or call 800-520-1112 to connect with one of Advanced Exercise’s experts.