In today’s instant gratification world, impressions are formed in the blink of an eye and are rarely changed over time. People judge spaces of all sorts, from houses to restaurants and colleges to backyard sheds based on how it looks and “feels” when you’re there. The same holds true for fitness facilities in any type of environment. Does it look clean, modern, spacious, safe, durable, innovative? When you’re there, do you feel energized, confident, strong, healthy, inspired? Beyond the equipment choices, the location and the design of the space, there are often-underutilized ways to create a compelling and memorable experience for fitness facility end-users, and all of them with your signature stamp on it.
The most prevalent way to customize your space is to have it look different from your competitors. From the flooring underneath your feet and equipment, to the colors in the room and on the wall, to custom touches like wall graphics – you need to decide what your fitness space says about your brand. Are you a university dedicated to excellence (including athletic performance)? Say it in your training center. Are you a high-end apartment complex attracting affluent executive couples or a local recreation center trying to attract families? Demonstrate it through customization.
One of the most overlooked and functionally important ways to customize your fitness space is through flooring choices. Not only does it cushion the workout floor and act as a sound barrier (both excellent functional reasons to consider custom flooring), but it can also proudly showcase your school colors or corporate logo. Or, to extend the functionality, custom markings to enhance the workout experience or the use of particular equipment.
Creative use of color can also affect the impression of the fitness space. Just like choosing the paint and interior colors for your new car, you can easily customize the color choices for equipment. Sticking with the standard Platinum frame and black upholstery for strength equipment may seem like the safe thing to do, but will it make you stand out? For those who really want to claim their fitness space as their own, customization offers a number of ways to do that. For example, Life Fitness allows strength equipment to be selected in as many as 14 different frame colors, 26 different upholstery colors and 6 custom shroud inlays (the covering on all of the internal parts) which allows for countless combinations. Seriously, take a look and try it out – as just by clicking around you can see what a difference color can make.
Probably the most expressive visual customization option includes wall art and graphics that can depict inspirational scenery, words of encouragement or images that fire up that “go get ‘em” competitive spirit. The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to making your fitness space really reflect your brand and its values (for the benefit of the end-users you’ll attract).
“The choices can get overwhelming if you’re really looking to customize every aspect of the space,” said Advanced Exercise fitness design consultant Franci Alberding. “There are several misunderstandings about customization that, in today’s environment, no longer apply. The ones I hear most often concern customers who think that customizing their fitness space will break the bank, but that’s not the case with today’s options. Many of the top equipment lines are built with customer-customization in mind so that you can choose the colors yourself. Some customers also assume that they have to do all the work themselves, and that’s where we come in. A large portion of my time is spent making sure that what my customers want is what they get, plus more. Once we decide what you want, I make it happen. That’s my job.”
Fitness design and equipment consultants often partner with interior designers, architects and others involved in creating a space to collaboratively bring to life the exact look and feel that a customer wants. Though you might think that one specialist can do it all, interior design is vastly different from fitness and wellness design, though the two pair well together.
Looks aren’t everything, even when you’re customizing something – and a fitness space, in this regard, is no different from a classic car, composing your own music, etc. It’s an expression of you and your brand. It says something about you and your brand every time someone uses that space.
Customizing a space to be more functional is also an option when you’re trying to set yourself apart. As mentioned above, flooring is a great functional customization option, as is design and even storage. Today, modular equipment options allow fitness equipment customers to piece together a fully functioning fitness system that is different for each customer. The TRX Training Zone® Studio Line can be configured in various ways to fit whatever wall, corner or center area you might want for functional training, all with innovative storage options that keep equipment organized and space uncluttered.
Custom options can even go deeper than the equipment and configuration. At Red Rocks Community College, they use customization options for communicating to students who use the newly-opened student recreation center. “We can brand the screens on the cardio equipment and advertising upcoming events on campus,” said Kirk Fallon, Director of Student Recreation at Red Rocks Community College. “We use the innovations built in to the equipment to get people’s attention and help spread the word when we have something we want to promote.”
Customize the experience
The unique experience you create is what people remember. Even if they only spend a few minutes with you exercising, the experience matters. In many areas, fitness facilities are broadening and diversifying the fitness options available to distinguish their facility from a competitor.
One of the most popular experience customization options happening now is in the infusion of outdoor fitness spaces, where the equipment comes outside with the user. In temperate climates, or even in areas where outdoor fitness equipment will be used and appreciated in the midst of nature’s harshest elements, outdoor fitness areas are popping up and being used by hordes of non-runners and non-bikers who want a more well-rounded workout, but they don’t want to be inside.
However you make the fitness experience you provide specific to your brand, customization is no longer just for the craftsman elite ordering hand-tailored suits. Equipment manufacturers, construction contractors, flooring companies, facility design experts and others all understand the power of customizing these assets to be distinct and outstanding, as that’s what compels people to come in and come back again and again to claim some of that feeling for themselves.
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.