Guest Column - February 2008
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From Design to Technology

Individualizing the Fitness Experience

By Curtis Moody

Taking it to the Floor

Just as this trend of personal monitoring systems is growing in popularity, so is the movement toward integrating free weights into workout routines to further personalize one's workout. Surpassing the usual clanking barbells and selectorized equipment so often thought of in reference to a weight room, the recently expanded Baldwin Wallace College Student Fitness Center in Berea, Ohio, is an illustration of this development.

With high ceilings and large windows, the workout room provides an abundance of natural light and open space between the cardio and weight equipment, giving members room to breathe and space to stretch, use free weights, resistance bands, and balance and medicine balls. Breaking down the walls of a previously male-dominated activity, these open fitness areas encourage guests to leave self-consciousness at the door and step into spacious areas where members of all physical capabilities can find their comfort zones and take part in a collective journey toward personal health.

Research has demonstrated that health issues such as osteoporosis may be staved off with simple weight-bearing exercises. With a focus on strengthening core muscles, significant effort is being dedicated to reduce health risks and strengthen muscles and bones, and female participation in fitness programs has subsequently increased.

Structured programs, classes and clinics are another popular addition to a workout regime—in addition to building strength and endurance, participants can build camaraderie with classmates, trainers and instructors. For community participants who prefer walking for their cardio workout, the Cincinnati Recreation Commission's College Hill Community Recreation Center and Hadley Park Recreation Center, for example, incorporate open walking tracks and exercise areas above and overlooking the fitness rooms below.

Regardless of whether members are following a strict diet and fitness schedule or exercising just for pleasure, options are essential for facilities to help members find the workout routine that works best for them. Fitness areas should be designed to allow for an array of fitness equipment, classes and focused one-on-one personal training to be offered, allowing individuals to tailor exercise routines to fit their physical aptitudes. This, combined with the influx of personalized technology, allows a fitness regime to be truly customized and tracked every step of the way—from the treadmill to the bench press to Pilates class.


Curt Moody is president and CEO of Moody-Nolan Inc., an architecture, interior design and civil engineering firm specializing in higher education, sports/recreation, healthcare and public service facilities. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Moody-Nolan is the largest African-American-owned and -operated architecture and engineering firm in the nation. For more information, visit