Functional fitness is a growing trend that Aktiv Solutions knows a lot about.
As such, Andrew Gavigan, the director of education at Aktiv Solutions, dives into this topic below. He shares on everything one needs to know to make their fitness floors more engaging, inclusive and functional:
How can we update our fitness floor plan to become more engaging and inclusive to a wider span of students and faculty?
Andrew Gavigan: Current fitness floor plan best practices encourage replacing approximately 15-20% of traditional cardio and selectorized strength equipment allocations toward increased movement space for functional training modalities. This trend aligns perfectly with creating a more effective and accessible facility for a wider variety of users. Leveraging an open functional design — with just the right amount of guidance and selection of equipment — allows students and staff to move between different training genres with ease. HIIT workouts, yoga, weight lifting or personal training sessions can all take place within the same footprint.
Are there smart ways to implement more guidance and atmosphere without increasing overhead?
AG: Consider leveraging environmental design aspects such as floor markings or wallscapes. Color schemes and training variety help deliver mood and motivation. Leveraging digital guidance in some form or another is now a must have. And it’s not to replace your existing staff but to amplify their value and service at relatively low cost. These integrations can be implemented with more limited budget by shifting the focus toward design and planning.
How can we ensure our students and staff are successful, motivated and safe in their training environment?
AG: A functional training playground is the recipe for setting the stage of energy, engagement and socialization. The ingredients to create this are as follows:
First, the space needs to be approachable and easy to navigate. Everything should be stored in its proper place and easy to find. The area should be clean and inviting, the movement space needs to be clearly defined, and participants need to have enough space to feel comfortable yet still be part of the group community.
Next, layer in easy and intuitive guidance, and a variety of both novel and recognizable exercise equipment for the best user experience.
What are best practices that campus rec professionals should keep in mind when it comes to creating a great functional fitness space that will stand the test of time?
AG: Begin with the experience you want to create, and then design and add products to facilitate that. Be mindful of future shifts in trends. Design and build toward being easily able to flex and accommodate. And finally, communicate and share the values of the space to faculty and students. Use this messaging to drive engagement.
What can we do with our existing space to increase usership and engagement with our campus population?
AG: Get functional. Modernize your spaces in-line with the demand trends of a growing population of movement-based enthusiasts. Add specific training tools and digital guidance to your facility to serve as incentive to recruit new members and provide novel and exciting new exercise experiences. It’s also a great marketing opportunity for outreach by offering signature programs, or new on-ramps to populations who would benefit most from starting new healthy habits.
For more information, visit aktivsolutions.com.