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March 13, 2017

Making the decision to open a fitness space is both an exciting and rewarding endeavor! Whether you have secured a rental property to renovate or purchased land with plans of building from the ground up – there are very special considerations required for the planning and design stages of your fitness center. As these types of projects differ greatly from the construction requirements of a restaurant or retail store, the experts at BUILD IT By Design have discovered that prioritizing the safety and functionality requirements of your prospective patrons will greatly aid your plans for a successful gym.

Firstly, consider what type of activities and services your fitness center will offer. A multipurpose facility may offer group fitness classes, cardio circuits, personal training, aquatic programs, massage therapy, saunas, as well as a variety of indoor and/or outdoor sports. With specific design requirements for each of these programs and activities, BIBD recommends that you start off your planning stages by drafting a blueprint of your center to help you determine where everything will go, as well as budget for the cost of materials required in each designated space.

Let’s look at a few areas of fitness space design and construction that have presented unique building challenges:

Flooring:

Selecting the right flooring for your fitness space will vary depending on the activities assigned to each area of the gym. As the ideal floor should provide shock-absorbing stability for the high impact of some work-out routines, this is not the case for all areas involved. A basketball court, for example, might need less shock absorption than a room used for mat exercises in order for the basketballs to bounce property. A room meant for mat exercises, on the other hand, might be better suited to a softer floor material in order to better protect against injury. To further demonstrate the variety of flooring required, a room designated for mindfulness and/or floor exercises may benefit from a carpeted floor; however finding an antibacterial carpet material (like those used in hospitals and retirement homes) may be a preferred option to satisfy hygiene and sanitization concerns.

Lighting:

Selecting the best lighting for your fitness center can be imperative to the quality of exercise routine your patrons experience. For example, fluorescent lights are a common choice as they provide enough lighting for people to safely see their equipment during all hours of the day. Although natural light may be both aesthetically pleasing and economically friendly, sunlight can also cast a bright glare that hinders a gym member from being able to safely complete their work out. East facing windows may find this especially problematic as the brightness may interfere with early morning classes and routines.
Multi-purpose rooms might also benefit from a light dimmer as opposed to a standard off/on switch as bright lights might be appropriate for a high-intensity cardio class, but too intense for a meditation/yoga class that focuses on breathing, relaxation, and concentration. Installing motion sensor lights to less-frequented rooms and/or change rooms can also help save on electricity costs as well as contribute to an environmentally friendly facility.

Mirrors:

Adding mirrors around to key areas of your gym can provide a great way of brightening up your fitness space as it allows patrons to see themselves clearly enough to ensure proper posture throughout their routines. However, it is also important to consider the placement of these mirrors as some members might be a little more self-conscious and find themselves discouraged by a fitness space that threatens discomfort. A gym owner can eliminate this risk by spreading out mirrored areas throughout the facility, thus meeting the needs of both workout preferences.

Air Circulation and Noise:

A few other areas of consideration in building/renovating a fitness space can relate back to proper air circulation and noise control. As proper air ventilation can help control humidity and prevent the smell of odors sticking to/spreading throughout the gym, ensuring proper ventilation is a priority for healthy air flow.

Planning for noise control should also be looked at in the early design stages. Acoustic control in the form of “sound baffles” are a common choice for builders looking to reduce the strength of airborne sound. Doing this will help minimize the amount of noise that escapes from clanking weight rooms, dance-party Zumba classes, or even into a yoga class that would better benefit from a quiet space.

For more information on how to best build/renovate your fitness center, contact the BUILD IT by Design team at (905) 696-0486 or [email protected] to get started!