Building a gym in the right building

Building a gym, no matter what kind or style of fitness center it is, requires a proper location. Make sure you know the kind of gym you want to have before choosing your building as there’s many different kinds of gyms to choose from, such as…

  • a coed membership gym
  • a 24/7 gym
  • a personal training studio
  • a MMA gym,
  • a community fitness center
  • an employee fitness center

Or any other type of gym. When building a gym, the owner already has a concept for their new gym. How it will look, where it will be, the color scheme, design and the room layout are all factored in. These aspects combine to create the atmosphere that makes your new gym a special place for your members to train. None of these factors can come into play until you find the right building for your new gym.

Choosing the right building is easy if you understand the correlation between location and type of gym and how it affects membership. Your New Gym Specialist is well versed in the different types of gyms and preferred locations. They will be your most valuable source of information and guidance. Making it so that you can choose the best location for you and your new gym.

Building a gym in the right building is the challenge

WARNING – When building a gym

It is a common mistake for someone who wants to open a new gym to get bogged down trying to find the perfect location. The lack of (what really are) insignificant features are often seen as insurmountable and deal breaking obstacles for a particular building. The person will then cross that building off of their list and continue to search for their perfect spot. However always finding one reason or another as to why a certain building isn’t just right. When this happens, the end result is always the same – you never open your gym.

To Avoid Making This #1 Mistake, Remember This – Successful gyms are found in all kinds of buildings. Don’t get hung up on any one location. Research what is available and choose your best option. Remember that the perfect building is the one where you can realize your dream of owning and operating your own gym today.


Always secure your building BEFORE your New Gym Specialist puts together an equipment Package for you. GET YOUR BUILDING FIRST AND THEN GET AN EQUIPMENT PACKAGE TO FIT THAT BUILDING. Do NOT do it the other way around and try to find a building to fit an equipment Package.

That’s like buying all of your furniture before you have a house and then trying to find the perfect house that fits all of your furniture. The proper way to do it is to get your house (your building) first and then fill it up with the appropriate amount of furniture (your gym equipment).

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It’s true a building’s size and location play an important role in determining if it’s right for your gym, the old adage of the singular importance of “location, location, location” does NOT apply to most type of gyms. Proper marketing and word of mouth gives many gyms benefit from being a bit removed from the standard locations.

In order to get a better understanding of this fact, we need to look at the two fundamental types of gyms – Thoroughfare Gyms and Destination Gyms.

Thoroughfare Gyms

Thoroughfare gyms are gyms that require a location where traffic patterns are both heavy and regular. Small, midsize and large general coed membership gyms that rely on proximity to the public for their membership are usually best positioned as a thoroughfare gym. Because traffic patterns are integral to the membership growth and retention of a thoroughfare gym, they are best suited for a location on a busy stretch of road with free access points from at least two directions.

Thoroughfare gyms rely on a membership base that is looking for convenience to their home, business, shopping or other frequented places. This requires a location with an approximate 7 mile radius from where you are targeting your membership base. This radius can be increased in situations, where gyms are in smaller towns with a wide spread population.

Visibility is key to a thoroughfare gym. Strip mall locations and stand alone buildings that are located on a well travelled street are great considerations for this type of gym.

Thoroughfare gyms also require a well-rounded Complete Equipment Package that is user friendly and allows for quick workout sessions. A circuit of selectorized equipment coupled with a strong cardiovascular component provides a good basis of equipment for thoroughfare gym.

Destination Gyms

Unlike a thoroughfare gym where building proximity to high volume traffic and visibility are key ingredients, a destination gym relies upon marketing and word of mouth for its membership base and growth. Destination gyms are gyms that are focused on specialized training, such as personal training studios, MMA studios, boot camp style gyms, crossfit gyms, and others. Although these gyms can benefit from the same types of building locations as a thoroughfare gym, destination gyms can also benefit greatly from a less visible building.


Destination gyms can be enhanced by the mystique that it can create from being in a more remote location. The lure of specialized training style at a destination gym found nowhere else acts as an enticement. People will seek out a destination gym for what it has to offer and be willing to travel a bit further for that training.


Visibility isn’t a key ingredient for a destination gym and it may not be readily visible on a main street. In that case marketing becomes more important. Initial marketing followed by strong word of mouth can carry a destination gym to great success.

Specialized training requires some specific equipment, it’s important that a destination gym also has sufficient standard equipment. Making it so it has the capability of catering to a general membership crowd. This allows a destination gym to increase their profits by increasing their membership base. While providing the owner with an easy way to handle overflow by allowing those not in the training class to work out on their own. During off session times the gym can still be used by members who choose to train and keep fit.

Besides standard gym locations, warehouses and other “off the main drag” buildings are ideally suited for a destination gym.

Building a gym also depends upon the type of gym that you are wanting to open and your budget. By speaking with your New Gym Specialist, you will be able to determine what building will work best for you.

Follow these four Easy Steps to get the right building for your new gym:

  1. Find out what buildings are available to you, even if they don’t seem to be the perfect spot. Eliminate those buildings that are not available to you within the next 3 months.
  2. Find out what the costs are for each suitable available location. Eliminate the buildings that are out of your budget.
  3. Get the size of each of your chosen locations in square feet.
  4. With your finances secured and your building in place, contact your New Gym Specialist. They will create a Custom Gym Equipment Package to fit your room size and your budget. Together, you will come up with the ideal gym to fit your building.

Written by Bill at BAMPSCO International Inc. / Gymstarters