Recent refurbishment to the fitness suite and spin studio has created a state-of-the-art space for students, staff, and members of the community.

The University of Leeds has always been an exciting place to be active. Head of Sport, Suzanne Glavin, talks about updating a campus fitness space to adapt to consumer needs.

The Edge is the University of Leeds’s flagship centre for activity, with a vast array of services from sports halls to pitches, climbing wall and pool. Central to The Edge’s fitness offer is the fitness suite and spin studio. Membership to The Edge is around 12,000 (90% of which are students), and 7,000 sports club members. Suzanne and her team were aware that the gym needed updating to reflect new approaches to wellbeing. 

“We conducted a study of users, and combined the results with all other feedback from the gym,” she explained. “We could see which parts of the gym were underused or crowded, and realised that there’s a big demand for strength and functional training.” 

A fitness space to reflect student focus on physical and mental wellness 

Student wellbeing is a key driver for physical activity services on and off campus. University services play a big part in giving students the opportunity to engage in fitness and set patterns of active behaviour for later life. As well as offering traditional fitness offers, the University of Leeds has wellbeing programmes and referral partnerships with faculties.  

“We have to work a bit harder to reach people who don’t naturally gravitate towards sports,” said Suzanne. “This means creating different offers, making our fitness spaces welcoming, and reflecting how young people want to engage with wellbeing opportunities.” 

Creating an inclusive, welcoming campus gym space  

In 2022, the University invested in a major refurbishment of The Edge’s fitness suite and studio space, bringing in partners including zynk Design, PLAE, and Technogym. The mission was to create a space that is functionally excellent, exciting, and inclusive, with best-in-class equipment from Technogym. 

“Students want to train in an environment that’s worthy of social media shares,” said Suzanne, “but the equipment can’t just look good. We worked with Technogym to provide the most appropriate equipment for our varied demographic of undergraduates, elite sports, sports clubs, staff, and older members of the community.” 

The new gym is cleverly zoned to provide a user experience that flows throughout the gym and into the spin room. Technogym were asked to provide the best equipment for the diverse membership’s goals. It was important that the equipment was functionally advanced but user-friendly, packed with content and connectivity, and suitable for everyone from their elite athletes to casual users. 

Refurbishing The Edge gym with state-of-the-art equipment 

The centrepiece of the space is a fully customised Technogym outrace rig, which encourages people to train together and allows staff to inspire gym users by showcasing its versatility through functional training classes.  

“Members are inquisitive about functional training and excited by the possibilities,” said Suzanne. “Technogym have given our staff extensive training on the outrace rig, so they are excited about introducing new ideas into classes and training programmes.” 

In the cardio zone, Technogym Excite Live, Technogym Ride, and Technogym Skill Line products offer users advanced functionality, motivating content, and the option to track their activity through Mywellness.

More of the gym has been dedicated to strength training to cater a notable uptake in resistance training across demographics. Equipment choices include Technogym Selection 900, pure strength plate loaded machines, 13 Olympic half racks, and 3 Olympic power racks. The refurbishment focused not only on extra capacity, but on creating an inclusive environment that encourages women and beginners to engage in strength training. 

“We have increased our range of free weights, and strategically paired relevant pieces of equipment to encourage people to get more involved in strength training throughout their workouts,” explained Suzanne. 

Ultra-modern group cycle studio with linked content 

The group cycle studio had doubled in space, with advanced AV, a huge screen, and the capacity for live and virtual classes with top quality content. Technogym Teambeats allows members to track their performance, compete with others, and enjoy a boutique-style cycling experience.

The new gym layout, extra space, and incredible array of new equipment has been well-received by students, staff, and members of the community. Classes are busy, the gym is bustling, and all users are finding a space to be active in a way that suits them best. It’s a reflection of how well the university understands the shifting needs of its members, and the role gym spaces play in young people’s higher education journey.

Equipment partners with industry insights 

“We’re grateful to Technogym for their advice, support, and insights into the leisure industry,” said Suzanne. “We can never stand still, and Technogym are always willing to come on that journey of excellence with us. They’ve been our equipment partner of choice for 10 years, and this latest refurbishment is a great example of how well they understand our mission. They are true partners, always giving added value through support, ideas, and training.”

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