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Guest Column - March 2018

Fitness

The Future of Fitness: Gym Design

By Simon Mitchell


In recent times, advances in consumer technology have revolutionized our lifestyles—changing the way we communicate, the activities we try, the foods we eat and even the way we work out.

While technology continues to transform every aspect of our lives today, experts are exploring the next generation of fitness and contemplating how the gyms of the future might look. From exciting new tech integrations to drastically improved user functionality, we're giving you a glimpse into how our gyms might develop over the years and decades to come.

Greater Flexibility

With increasing focus on healthy lifestyles, hectic schedules and, of course, digital technology, there's no denying the influence millennials will have on gyms in the future. Reported as one of the largest demographics in the fitness sector by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), millennials will be instrumental in shaping the future of gym design, as fitness facilities that offer greater flexibility and improved user experience become a necessity rather than a luxury. From 24-hour gyms to more versatile workout equipment and diverse classes, the future of fitness is likely to result in more flexible, tailored facilities.

Intelligent Equipment

With so many blogs and apps now dedicated to living a health-conscious life, the powerful link between fitness and technology grows stronger by the day. It's therefore no surprise that the use of smart technology and intelligent equipment is beginning to filter into our fitness regimes, too. In order to facilitate this transition, it's predicted that intelligent gym equipment will be implemented as standard, allowing users to track their workout routine and tailor it to their own personal ability and preferences—with innovative machines paving the way for revolutionary workouts that allow users to save time without reducing the impact of their exercise.

Adaptable Apps

With the introduction of intelligent equipment, it's inevitable that mobile apps will evolve to keep pace, giving users the option to save and monitor their fitness levels in the gym and during outdoor workouts—combining data to ensure the optimal workout. With the likes of FitBit taking the fitness world by storm, this evolution has already very much begun, but there's no doubt that the functionality and connectivity of exercise apps will see considerable developments in the coming years.

Multipurpose Spaces

Today's gyms are increasingly offering members access to a more diverse range of fitness opportunities, as we continue the move toward hybrid gyms and negate the need for distinct memberships, workout spaces and exercise regimes. Providing gym-goers with a workout space where they can integrate a range of fitness routines—from yoga to kickboxing—will allow gyms to cater to wider demographics and give members the ability to consolidate all of their workouts and membership costs in one place. From group classes and open-plan workout areas to circuit training and cardio equipment, hybrid gyms are sure to be a key feature in the gyms of tomorrow.

Community Spirit

Alongside the concept of hybrid gyms is an emphasis on creating a sense of community within a workout space, as open-plan designs encourage interaction and unity between gym members—which is something millennials value highly. With that said, creating workout spaces where gym-goers can exercise collaboratively with other members and ensuring that millennials have ample access to group classes in the evenings will help you to future-proof your gym. For generation X gym members and baby boomers, a feeling of inclusion will also help to instill a general sense of unity that transcends generations.

Personalized Experiences

Whether you're grocery shopping or working up a sweat on a cross-trainer, a tailored customer experience goes a long way. This customization element is likely to become increasingly important as gym owners, designers and managers scrutinize the user experience from all angles and work to fine-tune everything from customer service to equipment functionality. From state-of-the-art storage in the form of members' locker rooms and innovative gym equipment storage spaces to streamlined member check-in and personalized greetings on arrival, these small touches can make a significant impact when it comes to improving the user experience and maximizing customer retention in the long term.

Looking to the future, it's clear that there's plenty of scope for creating fitness centers that are cutting-edge, multifunctional and user-experience-focused. From investing in the latest technology to providing safe, spacious and secure storage for every valued member, these elements combined will no doubt guarantee a bright future for fitness.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Simon Mitchell has run successful companies in Europe and the United States that are focused on delivering exceptional value to clients—while Action Storage offers a diverse range of storage products, along with the technical expertise to help clients' businesses operate more efficiently. For more information, visit www.action-storage.com.

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