three treadmills against a wall with mirrors

Top things to know before opening a gym

With the global wellness economy currently valued at $4.2 trillion, and interest in health and wellbeing at an all-time high, starting your own gym now will prove to be a lucrative business opportunity in the long-term.

Before opening a gym, there are a number of things you need to consider. We’ve listed out some of the top things to do to ensure the new gym business will be a success.

Define your proposition

Having a targeted proposition is crucial to any fitness business. What are you offering, why and to whom? How is your offer different and what will set you apart from your competition? Whatever it is, you should be completely invested in your operational model before you move forward.   

Know your target market and shape your offer accordingly

Understanding your target market inside out is key to success. Who will be using the gym? What is important to them? Where and how can you reach them? 

For example, if the plan is to open a gym targeting millennials, the marketing strategy should account for ensuring the service is attractive enough to be shared across social media and promoted through word of mouth. Try not to be all things to all people as this will dilute your offer.

Communicate your brand values

Communicating your brand values at every touchpoint is crucial. Everything that your members see, hear, smell and touch should say something about your health club and operation.

Develop your space plan 

Considering how much space you need to allocate is essential to make sure you have the right location and equipment to service your membership. Our top tip is to ensure the spaces relate to each other in a coherent way so that the customer journey is both defined and controlled.

Define your Brand Personality

What your gym will look like is key to attracting your target market and fulfilling your brand promise. Develop a brand personality aligned with your proposition and positioning, and keep in mind that things like lighting, graphics and finishes all help build your personality.

For example, the design of the gym targeting millennials may want to incorporate a modern, hip and minimalist interior. Similarly, a dramatic arrival is important and will help create impact with the right texture and light.

Consider the long term appearance of the gym to ensure a consistent consumer experience.

Choose a unique interior design

To ensure repeat business from loyal customers, creative interior and graphic design will help develop unique brand experiences in line with your mission statement. 

For example, the correct lighting is crucial as it creates an exciting and dynamic work out environment. But be careful not to create over lit flat spaces or too much glare. Similarly, the correct specification for flooring will mitigate against long term damage to the floor’s substructure, and ensure that acoustic issues are kept to a minimum.

Another great way to stand out is to create what’s called hesitation and orientation spaces: spaces that allow members time to adjust to the surroundings and to act as holding spaces for group congregation. You may also want to encourage member interaction, in which case hub points and recovery zones are essential. 

Finally, incorporate the latest tech trends and safety measures to make people feel comfortable. Virtual work out zones will allow members to use online apps during their workouts and contactless environments will allow hands free access to things like lockers and hand sanitisers.

Source the right equipment

The gym equipment required depends on the type of gym being set up.

Some equipment, such as Lat Pull Down Machines and Power Racks, can be relatively tall, so ensuring the ceiling is high enough is crucial. It is also advised to ensure enough space between the equipment so that exercises can be performed safely.

Be sure to allocate enough space for Functional and Free Weight training zones as well. Creating specific zones, or workout pods, can help with the customer traffic flow and improve the overall safety of the gym.

Understand the boring (but essential) bits

An important component of the business plan is to have the right permits and licenses in place depending on the gym’s location and the services offered.

Although planning regulations have been relaxed recently, it’s important to ensure the facility has the correct Planning Class for Health and Fitness (D2).

Any type of refurbishment works will require Building Control Approval before you can operate and all works should be undertaken in line with Construction Design Management Regulations for Health and Safety.

Also if any of the gym’s fitness classes will use copyright recorded music, an ‘Exercise to music’ license has to be obtained from PPL. And if TV programmes will be shown in communal areas, an MPLC (Motion Picture Licensing Company) license is required.

Unique and creative venue designs for gyms

Starting and running a successful gym takes a lot of time, money and effort - and there is no better way to ensure success than by working with professional gym designers and interior architects.

Professionals in the gym design space will be able to help with space planning, interior concept design, lighting design specifications, furniture and equipment specifications, planning applications and much more.

Here at zynk Design, we’re experts in gym design and interior architecture and have over two decades of experience in the health, wellness and fitness industry. 

We offer interior architecture, graphic design and fitness operation consultancy services to ensure thorough support through every stage of a project - from concept to execution. 

For more information, have a look at some of our previous health and fitness designs.

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