What super-human qualities do you bring to work with you every day? Are you the technology whisperer, the strategic planner, the creative thinker, the financial wiz, the negotiator…? Everyone has a few areas of expertise where they really shine, but it’s not possible for an individual to be the go-to expert in every area, especially where complex projects are involved.
The development of a fitness facility is one such project, involving a diverse team of experts contributing throughout to solve the problems and create the best outcome possible. “My role in the company is more on the development side, I aid with some of the construction processes and spend some time with the ‘soft touches’ around key properties, such as amenity package consideration,” said Ben Rifkin with DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners. “My expertise is in building community around and within a property, matching the components of a property to the needs and expectations of the market, creating property offerings that successfully appeal to the demographic and lifestyle profiles that are infilling the area.” Rifkin is not, self-admittedly, a fitness facility expert. He knows what the right fitness amenities can do for a property, for a community, but he needs more subject matter expertise than he has to make the best decisions and create the best fitness options for his situation.
For the El Centro property in Los Angeles, Rifkin and DLJ had a goal “to create an amenity package that was all encompassing, where you go to a lot of properties and see that the pool is great but then the gym lacks some equipment. We wanted to have the best gym, the best pool, the best yoga room. That was our main consideration — creating a wholesome package that really had no holes in it.” Rifkin called upon an expert resource he knew could make that vision a reality: Advanced Exercise. “Working with Advanced Exercise, leveraging their knowledge of the equipment, the popular trends and products for fitness enthusiasts and what made the most sense for the space kind of allowed us to manifest our vision,” offered Rifkin. “Their knowledge of the industry and ability to source the right equipment has kind of led us to what our ultimate vision was, which was to create the best gym in the area.” In the Los Angeles market, given the level of fitness interest and the customer expectations that often accompany that interest, that’s a tall order.
In a fitness-focused market, it’s not just about selecting the equipment and the layout that works for your space and budget, it’s about accessibility for any and all that want to participate balanced against creating a superior option that looks, feels, and operates better than the wide array of nearby competitors. “We collaborated around every detail to create a fitness center experience that fit the vision of the ‘best in the area’”, said Jason Pooler, the Advanced Exercise fitness consultant on the El Centro project. “Floor to ceiling, we brought a lot to the table to make sure that DLJ’s needs were met.”
Free weights took center stage alongside a variety of functional fitness options, giving the facility the most adaptable number of options to serve the widest variety of people. However, there are some challenges to creating a non-disruptive environment when thousands of pounds of free weights are being used throughout the day. Office environments and apartment communities have similar challenges to make a fully accessible fitness center available in an “invisible” way, primarily to avoid complaints about noise. “One of our main concerns with incorporating a lot of free weights was sound and vibration,” admits Rifkin. “Advanced Exercise was knowledgeable enough to provide us with a great connection on flooring. And we were able to get color coordinated highly effective flooring that will hold up to even the strongest lifters that come in.”
Aesthetics can be just as important as functionality when you’re trying to win the amenities war. Pulling in subject matter experts knowledgeable in both was key. “We work with architects, interior designers, technology vendors and others to help clients create the fitness experiences that work for their community,” added Pooler. “While I may know about those areas and how they fit with my expertise in fitness equipment, functionality and accessibility, it takes experts in each to contribute their knowledge and recommendations at the right time to pull a comprehensive project together. Interweaving equipment, technology and power needs, fitness programming options, space layout and location, community expectations and a number of other details with a separate full time job of managing a facility or community, that’s a heavy burden to balance. I’ve never seen a single person handle every aspect of a fitness facility project successfully, on their own. Even super heroes have support staff.”
Whether you’re creating a high-end fitness center in California, a voter-approved recreation facility in Washington or an active-aging center in Texas, there is an immense amount of responsibility involved as the end result includes not only the visitors or revenues generated, but also the health and well-being of the entire community. “I think our measure of success is resident contentment with what we provide and I think if we’re able to make our residents happy then ultimately we’ve covered our bottom line,” concludes Rifkin. “Given what we’ve been able to provide I definitely consider this project a success, and we couldn’t have done it without Advanced Exercise.”
The Advanced Exercise team stands at the ready to support projects of any size, knowing that a fitness facility project’s success relies on strong expertise in the fitness space, collaborating with other experts to fulfill the fitness needs for every client and their respective communities.
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.