|By Bryan Green, April 24, 2007
It’s all too common to oversimplify the process of developing or upgrading
a fitness center. Too often the assumption is to get a few exercise bikes
and treadmills, a couple universal machines and some free weights, and
voila!...We’ve got ourselves a fitness center!”
Unfortunately, this perspective leads to one costly challenge after
another as the life of your fitness facility advances. You may be
surprised that I’ve used the term “life” to describe a facility full of
expensive inanimate equipment. But make no mistake...a fitness center is
a living and evolving environment, subject to the ever-changing trends
and technologies that shape the fitness world. By underestimating the myriad
of considerations involved in developing a successful fitness amenity,
you are certain to set yourself up for increased expense and administrative
overhead down the line.
As one of the largest worldwide suppliers of commercial fitness facilities,
Advantage Fitness Products focuses on five primary areas developed through
our years of specialized experience. We work to create effective solutions
that minimize short-term and long-term costs while maximizing our client’s
investment made in fitness.
Like any investment, a fitness center brings inherent risks and significant
opportunities. Whatever the scope of your investment in fitness, do yourself
a favor and don’t underestimate it as merely an “exercise” in simplicity.
Whether a Spa Director charged with upgrading the facility’s fitness
amenities or a Developer creating a fitness center from scratch, you must
plan for the evolving nature of fitness. From routine placement of electrical
wiring and power sources, to the choice of proper floor materials, fitness
facility planning allows you to anticipate unavoidable changes and adjustments
in advance, saving considerable costs when these changes are executed in
The design of a fitness facility should reflect the look and feel of
the environment in which it resides. A modern hotel or metropolitan condominium
complex, may call for a more futuristic look with high-tech equipment,
featuring digital monitors and panels, sleek in style and sporting clean
silver and black tones. Whereas, a destination resort with a Mediterranean
theme may require softer and warmer styling, with less techno-glitz and
a more comfortable feel. The design should not stand in contrast, but rather
complement the identity of the entire facility. One size does NOT
fit all in terms of fitness equipment.
The equipment and amenities featured in any fitness center should support
the needs of its clientele and assist in the achievement of their goals
in wellness. Guests at luxury resorts will expect a significantly higher
level of quality and quantity of equipment, entertainment integration,
and other items that may enhance their fitness experience. By contrast,
guests at hotels designed for the typical business traveler may require
a more practical facility with simply the essential elements to maintain
a baseline level of fitness while grinding it out during their hectic business
trips. They would gladly trade bells and whistles for durable and functioning
equipment....The necessary elements to break a sweat in between meetings
and corporate dinners are essential here.
At the end of the day, a fitness facility is a significant investment.
That investment needs to be managed carefully in order to maximize its
value and its potential returns. Look for ways to anticipate future costs
and thereby reduce and control their amounts and mitigate facility interruption.
An extended-service agreement is something that will pay dividends again
and again and can easily be measured in the elimination of costly operational
expenses and equipment downtime. All too often these expenditures
are rarely budgeted for or anticipated, but most certainly will occur.
Arguably the area in fitness that’s most often overlooked is making
money. At AFP, one of our most valuable areas of support is in helping
customers generate revenue opportunities from their investment in fitness.
Personal training packages, specialized group-exercise offerings, boutique
retail, and in-room fitness accessories from yoga mats to exercise balls...these
items allow your customers to enhance their experience on property and
often well after they’ve returned to their own homes and daily lives.
Green is President and CEO of Advantage Fitness Products, a company dedicated
to the design, supply, and ongoing care of specialized wellness environments
world-wide. For information regarding Advantage Fitness Products visit