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How to Guide: Gym Design

How to Guide: Gym Design

When it comes to purchasing fitness equipment, there is one area that is frequently neglected; Gym Design. Working with Origin Fitness will ensure you not only buy the best equipment but the right equipment.

We know that your main goal is to deliver the best possible experience, and therefore the best possible results, to your members and clients – and we are here to support you on that. 

In some cases, this might mean focussing on creating more space for members and clients to workout, rather than fitting in more equipment, and to develop and grow over time.

Whatever is key to your business, this gym design guide will take you through each stage; from where to start, to key considerations and, of course, how to choose your key pieces.


Understanding your Goals

Whether building a gym from scratch or looking to refresh an existing facility; it’s very important to understand your own goals.

If you already have a gym and are looking to add to it then you should consider the following questions:

What equipment do you currently have?

And how long have you had your equipment; there is a lifetime value for everything. Equipment is worn with use and it is important to replace frequently adhering to the warranty guidelines. This helps avoids user disappointment.

What works well within your facility?

Your customers will have their own training schedules and preferred pieces that they use. Your user needs must be taken into account when reviewing any change. Don’t just follow trends – your customers will be with you a lot longer than passing fads.

What challenges are you currently facing?

Is there a new competitor in your area? Taking advantage of an area you don't offer? Does your facility lack anything in particular? Or has the opportunity for more revenue arisen? Classes are one of the easiest ways to bring in new customers and keep existing ones. Offering clients that little bit more added value could make all the difference in their experience at your facility. They allow you to target different demographics based on their needs.


If you are considering opening a gym, there are two questions we would start with:

  • What type of gym are you looking to open and who is it for?

What type of user are you trying to attract; should you consider a performance gym built for athletes that have specific training in mind. Are you developing a group training space, or are you creating a space accessible for everyone regardless of their fitness interest such as one of our customers The Gym Group.

  • What is your local competition?

This would give us an indication of the local market and support you in developing concepts that will attract customers. What's missing in your local area, the demographic and what would maybe encourage others to train with you instead?

With any facility and gym design there is a list of practical implications you need to consider before you start:

  • Limitations of space: don’t overcrowd your facility – people need space for training, particularly when users like to create their own solo training areas.
  • Height of ceilings: particularly important for building rigs and racks from our Performance and Elite Series.
  • Sub-floor: see our flooring buying guide on how to choose the best flooring for your facility. The requirements of each flooring type; tile, roll, and turf, require a specific sub-floor to ensure the best fit and the protection of both the user and the equipment.
  • Parking: gym design is not only about what happens inside your facility, consider how your clients will get to the gym – do you need a space with car parking for convenience?
  • Windows: often forgotten about, the placement of equipment may involve a shuffle to ensure that natural light isn’t blocked and the gym area is well ventilated.
  • Access & Flow: your clients should be at the forefront of your mind, how does it look and feel as you enter the gym and does it draw you in to want to train – big pieces of equipment at the entrance can block the view of the rest of your gym.
  • Power: for lighting, machines, music and timers. Make sure you review where your outlets are before you start moving zones around.
  • Facilities (water and waste): Being one of the most expensive areas to move or develop, considering where these are or where they will go (and their size) will impact your overall layout and design.


Once you have your facility and have decided on the key points from above, the next stage is zoning. Zoning dictates not only what equipment you can have within your gym but also the number of members you can welcome.

As a business, you will already know how many members you will need to ensure a profitable business. This number must be taken into account within the design of your gym as it will dictate the amount of equipment as a minimum you might need.

How much space will you need for the number of members you’re aiming to have? How much equipment will be enough for the class numbers you are aiming to take? These are just some basics to start with when considering zoning within your facility.

Your space can be zoned into four main areas:

  • Free weights: fast becoming the busiest area of any gym, ensure you have enough racks, plates, dumbbells, and storage units for them on the gym floor. Functional storage units are a good consideration to keep the gym floor clear, allowing you to store all of your free weights and accessories whilst being a usable piece – take a look at our Elite and Performance Series storage rigs.
  • Cardio: depending on the size of your gym you can create a large offering for multiple users. If you have a smaller space then focus on how you want it to be used; our Storm Range is a great example of HIIT cardio as seen in Club 300.
  • Studio: not just for classes, use these spaces to allow your members to create their own solo workout space when classes aren’t running. Unique product solutions such as the FITBOX Studio Bench can help create class concepts and dedicated workout solo workout zones.
  • Functional: often combined with studio training, but if you have the space, you can create a separate area for it. You avoid losing your functional area by making an additional open area when classes are taking place. Allowing members to continue to train the way they much prefer to.

What Do you Need?

Decide on your flooring first. This is an important step, that is very often overlooked!

Flooring will not only protect the user and equipment, it can also be used to define areas for further equipment placement.

Flooring needs to be arranged according to use and traffic. Thinner tiles and rolls are excellent choices for high traffic areas, such as entrances and general areas around cardio and single-use machines.  These areas require hardwearing options without additional impact support as heavyweights should not be dropped here.

For functional, free weights and studios, however, you need to consider the impact of both the weights being used and the protection of the user. Consider the impact on knees and joints for explosive or plyometric work that needs a lot of energy. Secondly, evaluate where weights will be used and if a thicker floor will be needed to protect both the equipment and the sub-floor beneath What type of flooring will you need?

From there, everything else is a matter of space and budget. Our expert team works with customers according to their individual needs so that the best user experience can be delivered.

When deciding what types of equipment to incorporate, keep the longevity of each area in mind. Equipment will need to be replaced, we’ve included below when you should budget to invest further:

  • Mats: consider renewing every year – many people use these products on a regular basis. These products should be replaced on a regular basis for health and safety reasons alone.
  • Free weights: dumbbells, plates and bumpers should last between three to six years as long as they are being used correctly and not mistreated – our new Series 3 range of dumbbells come with an industry-leading three and five-year warranty respectively.
  • Racks & rigs: these are built to last but can be adapted and can grow or change with you as your facility does.

Check out our guide to cleaning and maintaining our fitness equipment for further information.

Key Considerations

It's not only about the space and equipment at your gym; there are a number of methods to improve your facility so that you can provide the best training experience:

  • Training and education: we work with Excelsior Training to deliver monthly overviews of key areas such as integration of wearable technology, successful lifting, the returning exerciser and much more.
  • Sustainability: the cost of electricity is on the rise so we have brought in a powerless treadmill, the Origin Storm Curved Treadmill. This energy-saving product will help keep your costs down.
  • Lighting: flooring is not the only way to segment your zones, clever lighting can help showcase your space to its full potential. Chat with us on getting suggestions on how best to light your gym and who to use.
  • Future-proofing: if you are not sure what you want, buy your equipment in stages and extend your offering over time. We work with…a variety of finance solutions to help support you as a new or expanding business.  

Want to discuss how to improve your gym and make your space deliver a better training environment? Speak to a member of our team about where you need support. Click here to get in contact today!

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