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So if you want to install your own corporate fitness centre how do you go about it? If you are going to take this large step then you want to end up with a facility that you are proud of. Here are some tips to help you:

Location: Try to site the fitness centre near to the restaurant area. This enables staff to exercise and also have a meal in the restaurant quickly and efficiently.

Environment: Don't design your fitness centre just for fitness buffs, they will come anyway. Try to create a non-intimidating warm and welcoming environment that will attract the unfit and overweight. This can be achieved through good planning, well-spaced equipment, carpeting, good décor, lighting and the use of colour, plants etc.

Allow sufficient space: Depending upon the size of your workforce, a good estimate can be made of the space required. The facility should be able to provide sufficient exercise stations to allow a good flow of exercisers at peak times. Also allow sufficient space for good changing rooms and showers.

Select equipment carefully: All equipment should be easy to use and understand by the majority of users, so that exercising is enjoyable. Equipment should be provided by a reputable company with good back up.

Make all procedures quick and hassle-free: All programming and exercise sessions should be completed in 20-30 minutes. In a time-starved age no one has the time for lengthy sessions, so keep these short and hassle-free.

Provide self-help materials: Normally you would hand over the day-to-day running of the fitness centre to a specialised organisation that is experienced in these matters. Make sure that they are able to support the normal exercise programming with a full range of self-help materials that provide guidance towards following a healthier lifestyle. Such materials should be attractive and easy to read and understand.

Have a motivational programming structure: Most people cannot make lifestyle changes on their own. They need guidance and encouragement from suitably qualified staff. The programming structure should provide motivation for users that, in addition to exercising, encourages good nutrition, weight-control and lifestyle balance.

Have excellent staff: The real success factor for any good facility is that of outstanding staff. Staff guidance and encouragement is a major key to a successful operation. Good staff qualities include professional knowledge, good communication skills and a caring attitude. Normally there will always be one or two full-time staff for an average-sized centre, although for very small facilities part-time staffing may be a viable option.

A successful facility should not only be well planned, but should also include all of the above factors in order to create the sort of exercise environment that people will want to return to.


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© Wellness Managment Ltd. 2002