Top Tips For Effective Gym Design

Did you realise that the overall look and feel of your club can have a massive impact on your success? Here’s how you can gain an edge over your competitors, simply by evaluating the design of your club. Co-founder of Designbx, Kerena Berry explains.

The health industry is every bit as competitive as the serious athletes you find stacking weights on barbells, but as fitness becomes an important element of most people’s daily schedule, the design of your gym becomes an increasingly critical factor. With such a diverse customer base, here are a few tips to help boost your appeal to your members.

You need to separate your weights area and classrooms, making sure you minimise contact. Some members won’t want to walk past muscle-bound members to get to a cardio class or be studied as they wait for a class. For the same reason, glass walls shouldn’t be gym-facing. Also, if possible, create a separate area with smaller weights for women or beginners.

While solid sets of squats get heart rates as high as cardio classes, there’s generally more downtime for users in the main weights area.

Experiment and adjust temperature in each area as necessary to make sure everyone is comfortable.

Cardio equipment should be near windows due to the repetitive nature of the exercises, and equipment involving unique poses must face the wall so members feel comfortable. Gym-goers will also tend to perform better when there’s a visible source of natural light.

Mirrors need to be high enough to stop rolling weights hitting them, and when considering ceiling height, you don’t want one of your taller club members swinging a kettlebell overhead and finding out – the hard way – that your ceiling is too low.

Acoustics are critical, especially if there are people on the floor underneath you! Cardio and weights areas can be particularly noisy so make sure you set them up with the right acoustics at the beginning to avoid costly changes down the track.

Ideally, the location of your change rooms should be as close as possible to the entry point of the gym as you don’t want people in incorrect gear (e.g., inappropriate footwear) walking through the gym floor or distracting other members.

Ideally, provide hairdryers, quality shower gel, shampoo and conditioner in both the men’s and women’s change rooms, hair straighteners in the women’s and if you’re a wet facility, offer an auto wringer for swimmers to help you avoid the accumulation of pools of water.

If possible, create separate areas for drying and makeup in the women’s rooms, position the toilets as far away from the change and shower areas as possible (to reduce anti-social smells from toilets to other communal areas), and be sure to provide plenty of mirrors to accommodate for peak times.

Ensure all areas of your change rooms are well ventilated, and since there’s nothing more annoying than a short locker that doesn’t allow pants or dresses to be hung, always offer at least one compartment for delicate items to be stored.

It’s great if you can provide plenty of automatic air fresheners around the club, but make sure they’re not overpowering, especially in the cardio and weights areas. Opt for more natural, cleansing smells like eucalyptus and tea tree rather than artificial smells.

Free Guide For Designing Your GymSometimes the beginners among your members don’t need much of an excuse to opt out of a workout, so keep in mind that undercover car parking or a covered walkway to the entrance of the gym may reduce those excuses on rainy days.

Put equipment guides everywhere! Some people are naturally timid, while others are too proud to ask. Ensuring guides are available to help members use the equipment correctly will not only help your members, but they’ll also increase the longevity of your equipment.

With so much sweat around, hand sanitisers and towelettes are a must. Make sure there are multiple areas for dispensing water. For optimum sanitation, the design of your water dispenser should prohibit members’ bottles from being able to come into contact with the dispenser itself.

To create an even spread of light, opt for more lights that use lower wattage globes, and use floor lighting wherever necessary to highlight paths and safety hazards like stairs or ramps.

If you must play music, be strategic by offering different moods in each space, and avoid playing your music too loudly.

Finally, colours are highly emotive. Energy-enhancing colours include orange, red or bright greens. For high energy release workout areas (RPM classes) you may want to use cooler, deeper colours to help mentally make the space feel relaxed.

Covering these foundations will put you on the path of success by ensuring the comfort and safety of your diverse customer base. Being inclusive will not only boost your business’ bottom line but also guarantee your members’ long- term wellbeing.

Get your free detailed guide to designing the ultimate gym or health club…


Article written by Kerena Berry for the What’s New in Fitness Magazine – Autumn 2017 Edition.

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