Once upon a time, gyms were intimidating spaces that were the exclusive domain of elite athletes and bodybuilders. But not anymore! From office workers to tradespeople, students to executives, stay-at-home mums to shift workers, gyms now attract a wide variety of people.

There are now also many different types of gym fitouts, with specialised spaces being created for different training types. From boxing gyms and CrossFit boxes to Pilates and yoga studios, there’s a training space for every specialisation.

All of this means that the modern gym goer is spoiled for choice. Whatever features they want, however they want to work out, they can find a place that suits.

It also means that, as a gym owner, you have to go above and beyond to attract members. Your offering needs to help you stand out from the crowd and connect with your target market. A great gym fitout is a critical component of this and can help establish and reinforce your brand.

With this in mind, there are a few important things you should consider when designing your gym fitout. Focusing on these key details will help you create a space that is both aesthetically pleasing and functionally practical.

Here are the 10 things you need to think about when planning your gym fitout.

Finding the perfect venue

Designing a great gym fitout starts with selecting a suitable space. Where your gym is located will dictate everything from the clientele to the space you have to work with. It can even affect the service you can offer and – ultimately – how successful your gym will be.

When choosing your location, practicality must be front of mind. If there are specific activities you want to provide, you will need enough space to safely conduct them. You may also need particular architectural features, like extra high ceilings or a reinforced floor.

It is also important to consider how much space you need to comfortably fit your target membership base. Traditional thinking is that you need about one square meter of gym floor per member, though this has increased slightly thanks to heightened hygiene standards. This calculation also only applies to active areas and does not include common spaces (like change rooms and reception).

Other things to consider when selecting a site for your new gym include:

  • How members will get to the location: Convenience and accessibility are major deciding factors when people choose a gym. The perfect location should have great public transport links or ample parking (or both!).
  • The broader community around the location: The neighbourhood a site is in will dictate the type of member you will attract. Make sure the area suits the services you would like to provide.
  • Local interest in getting a gym membership: Are there a lot of other gyms in the area? If so, how will you carve out a niche for your facility? If not, is there a reason for that?

Planning your “member journey”

It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of the equipment you need and activities you want to provide. Before getting into this, think about how you want your members to use, and move through, your space.

Many traditional gym fitouts will have members enter via a reception area, where they will be required to check in. They will then pass by the change rooms, where they can get into their workout gear and store their stuff. They then move through to the actual gym floor, where they can choose the area they need.

But it doesn’t have to be done this way. How your members experience the space is entirely up to you and you should design your gym fitout however you want. Just be aware that non-standard designs may not be for everyone and your members may need extra direction (signage, etc.).

Separating your runners from your lifters

Even if you’re not planning to specialise in a certain type of training, zoning your gym fitout is still important. This will help keep similar machines and equipment close to each other. It will also make it easier for your members to plan and complete their workouts.

If you are going to have a mix of fitness and experience levels at your gym, zoning is particularly important. Beginners are often intimidated by the energy of heavy weights areas and will need to build up their confidence. Separating cardio, weighted machines, and free weights can help with this, allowing your members to slowly expand their workouts as they become more comfortable.

Planning your electrical outlets

Many modern exercise machines have internal computers that require mains power to run. As running power cords under your flooring creates a trip hazard, such equipment should be located near a power outlet. Including in-floor power outlets in appropriate areas of your gym fitout should help mitigate this issue.

Alternatively, you may want to consider self-powered machines. As these do not need to be plugged in, they can be placed anywhere within your gym fitout.

Choosing the right flooring

Certain parts of your gym fitout will require specialised floor covering to protect the building’s flooring. These products are usually made of plastic or rubber and help cushion both sound and vibrations. Generally, you get what you pay for with gym flooring, so spending a little more upfront may save you in the long run.

It’s also worth noting that not every part of your floor needs to be covered in this material. Some areas, like walkways and communal spaces, can feature more traditional flooring materials (like wood and polished concrete). Picking more designer materials for these spaces could help make your gym fitout feel more comfortable and expensive.

Managing security

With an increasing number of gyms offering 24-hour access, security has become a top priority. Unless you have an extremely large membership base, having your facility staffed around the clock simply isn’t practical. However, a good security system will help you control (and keep track of) who is in the building.

As part of designing your security system, you should also think about emergency management. If something happens and no staff are around, your members need to know what to do. As part of this, make sure basic safety features (fire blankets, first aid kits, defibrillators, etc.) are readily available.

Reducing noise

A gym can be a noisy place. Between the clattering of weights and the grunts and groans of exertion, a workout usually has quite the soundtrack. This can be very off-putting to prospective members, particularly if they are new to the gym.

One of the best ways to manage this is to include sound breaks between different areas in your gym fitout. For example, having a solid wall or screen between your cardio and heavy weights areas can minimise noise transference. Similarly, certain cardio machines (e.g. stationary bikes and cross-trainers) can actually help mask other noises.

A great sound system is also an essential part of a great gym fitout. In addition to masking some of the noise, it can help create atmosphere and inject energy into the space. You can even use it to reinforce the personality of your gym by matching your playlist to your brand.

Providing non-gym facilities

The additional facilities are the main things most potential members look at when considering joining a gym. These not only make the member experience more enjoyable, they can also help set you apart from the competition. This is particularly important if you’re setting up in the inner city or an area with many existing gyms.

While you do not need spa quality facilities, there are some basic requirements you should aim to provide. Specifically, your gym fitout should include showers and a private dressing area. It’s also best to have lockable storage where members can keep their valuables while the work out.

As cleanliness is the most important thing in a gym change room, it’s best to keep the design simple. It also pays to choose materials that are easy to clean and maintain, and are stain and scratch resistant.

As exercise and nutrition go hand in hand, you could also include a café in your gym fitout. Recovery services, like hydrotherapy or massage, are also highly valued. Even a small shop stocking a range of gym essentials can help bring in additional members (and extra income!).

Using colour to shape the space

As with any other commercial space, colour is a big consideration when designing your gym fitout. The colour scheme you choose will have a big impact on how the space feels. It can also help create a sense of personality and reinforce your overall brand identity.

While white walls can help make the space feel bigger and brighter, they can be hard to keep clean. This is particularly true when you have multiple members moving around heavy equipment and big weights. This is one of the reasons gym fitouts so frequently feature a lot of colour.

Keeping your design flexible

Finally, you should futureproof your gym fitout by designing it to be easy to adapt. This will allow you to reconfigure the space to bring in new or additional equipment. It could also enable you to adapt your offering as fitness trends and member interests evolve.

The best way to keep your gym fitout flexible is to minimise the number of specialised fixtures. Unless absolutely necessary, try to avoid affixing things to walls or permanently mounting any equipment in one area. Also, where possible, choose equipment that is portable or, at least can be put together and taken down as required.

Need help planning your gym fit out?

At Cyclo Group, we specialise in creating custom gym fitouts that get customers through the door. Our expert team understand the intricacies of designing a gym and can work with any type of space. Give us a call today to discuss how we can help bring your dream gym fitout to life.