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Is Your Rec Center Ready to Meet Current Demands and Capture the Next Wave of Trends?

Whether you manage or operate a college recreation or municipal recreation center, you know the challenges in trying to evolve your space to meet the ever-changing fitness and wellness trends sweeping America. Since many of these facilities may be 10, 20 even 30 years old, accommodating todays’ workout enthusiast is an ever-changing battle. This becomes an even bigger challenge when you combine these trends with the fixed amount of space most facilities are working with.  
The fitness experts from Advanced Exercise have decades of experience in helping clients navigate these challenges, while bringing the latest in fitness trends to your facility. “Spring is a busy time of year for us in the fitness industry” says Jeff Paxton, a fitness consultant from Advanced Exercise who serves clients in Kansas and Western Missouri and has been helping college and municipal recreation customers for over 20 years. “As customers look to replace equipment over the summer, I spend a lot of time in facilities in the spring talking to customers about their unique challenges and how we can evolve their space to accommodate current fitness trends. This is one of my favorite aspects of my job. I love going into these facilities and talking about ideas to help transform whatever space they may be dealing with and solving their unique challenges”. 

Here are 5 of the top current trends that facilities are working with Advanced Exercise on currently:

1. Finding More Space for Olympic Lifting

Specifically, in college rec, “you cannot have enough Olympic racks and platforms to meet the demands of students these days,” says Erik Hillestad of Advanced Exercise. “Selectorized areas continue to shrink as more students are looking to train with racks and platforms and do more traditional Olympic lifting movements. We also are getting away from more of the fixed Olympic flat, incline and shoulder press stations in favor of the more versatile Half Rack or Power Rack solutions, where all of the lifts can be performed from one station. Hammer Strength makes some incredible, customizable solutions, and they even make rigs, bridges, and low-profile perimeter units, that allow these types of units to work in almost any space.”  

2. Space and Organization of Functional Training Areas
One key trend is facilities wanting to have a variety of unique and effective training tools that can be utilized in open functional training areas. This creates two challenges: the first is the space to use these training tools and the second is how to keep all of these items neatly organized. According to Lisa Miceli Standage of Advanced Exercise, “There are so many innovative training aids that my clients love offering their members, including Slamballs, TRX straps, Tire Flips, and even new products like the Escape Barrow or the YBells. All of these cool training tools can really help bring a functional training space to life, but they do need dedicated space. For storage, many customers like solutions like the Life Fitness SYNRGY 180 or the Escape Fitness storage products which offer a MARS 2.0 touchscreen, with hundreds of virtual on-demand workouts at your fingertips. Some clients have elected to pull all of these items into one user package with a product like the FitBench, which combines the training tools and portable storage all into one unit.”  
3. Outdoor Training Solutions
Outdoor training is a huge trend for both the college rec and municipal recreation segments, notes Hillestad. With the Olympic Lifting trend impacting the college market, many customers don’t have the space to accommodate this demand. At that point, they may be looking at expensive facility additions, or as an option, using an underutilized space like a racquetball court, and expanding outdoors is often a better alternative. “I am working on several large outdoor projects and renderings with clients right now, where customers are budgeting for solutions from BeaverFit, which allows clients to take their Olympic Lifting and functional training outdoors,” offers Erik “One great aspect of the product from BeaverFit is that, at the end of the day, all of the bars, weights and accessories can be conveniently locked away in the container that is part of the outdoor solution. Many times these projects can take years to come to fruition, but we are here to help and get involved in the space evaluation, virtual renderings and of course the budget planning to make sure the whole journey goes smoothly.”  
4. Flooring Upgrades
Fitness flooring has become as sophisticated as many of the other fitness products you find in the gym these days. According to Bob Dicandia of Advanced Exercise, “I have worked with many recreation centers here in Arizona that have replaced old, underperforming flooring material to upgrade to a more ergonomically-enhanced and safer training product for users.” Ecore International manufactures a range of best-in-class performance flooring products consisting of rubber, woven vinyl, sheet vinyl and turf, all engineered to mitigate injury and protect the body as well as provide support in the form of force reduction and energy restitution. Ecore’s product lines also offer aesthetically pleasing visuals without giving up the performance aspect. “We also have been selling a lot of indoor/outdoor turf for college and municipal recreaction centers for all types of functional training. GrassTex is another vendor partner of ours that offers some great turf options like V-Max, in all sorts of colors, that I think is an incredible product and value for many of my customers,” says Bob. 
5. Relaxation and Recovery
“Relaxation and recovery areas are gaining a lot of momentum” says Katie McGarvey of Advanced Exercise in Colorado. “I have been working with a lot of my clients to create spaces for equipment like massage and recovery chairs, Theragun massage gun carts, and even compression sleeves.” These areas not only focus on the physical side of recovery, but also allow for end-users to relax and focus on their mental wellness, which is a current critical element.. Therabody has a new concept called the Reset Suite which combines Compression, Percussive, and Sound Therapy into an autonomous solution that can be created in 150 square feet or less and can be a great addition to any student recreation center or municipal recreation space. 
About Advanced Exercise

Founded in 1986, Advanced Exercise is a leading fitness equipment, performance flooring and facility design resource, combining more than 30 years of design expertise with access to top fitness, wellness and recreation equipment brands to help clients create fitness experiences specific to the needs of their distinct communities. Advanced Exercise fitness consultants work with clients to maximize the use of available space in any facility, sourcing the best new or used equipment solutions for diverse ranges of fitness amenity end users. For more information on fitness equipment, wellness flooring and facility design services, visit or call 800-520-1112 to connect with one of Advanced Exercise’s experts.

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