How This YMCA Creates Community in a Massive Space

Elevation Series Cardio Equipment at the YMCAThe sheer size and scope of the Cor Van Raay YMCA in Lethbridge, Alberta is impressive enough—more than 260,000 square feet consisting of amenities like a large field house, a massive aquatics center, an indoor playground and a well-planned fitness center.

It’s no easy task outfitting a facility as large as the Cor Van Raay YMCA, but Apple Fitness Store employed a well-planned approach.  The work started by combining three key components—space, product and the YMCA’s vision of community—and ended with the opening of the standout facility in May 2019.

“A lot of places will say they are, but the YMCA is synonymous with community,” said Russ McLean, account manager for Apple Fitness Store. “We want everyone to enjoy the space.”

Flow, Progression and Community

The YMCA in Lethbridge is based on three pillars that Apple adhered to.

  • Flow: It is important to create a welcoming atmosphere for everyone, regardless of ability or fitness level. Pathways and sightlines are open to make it easy to navigate through the fitness area.
  • Progression: Cognitive and diverse ability equipment is near the main entrance. Equipment progresses from selectorized to plate-loaded, moving on to Cable Motion, small group training, free weights, SYNRGY360 functional training and Hammer Strength Bridge.
  • Interaction/Community: Creating community builds confidence, breaks down barriers and increases member retention.
Color-Coded Strength Equipment and Thoughtful Layout

Hammer Strength Bridge at YMCA in LethbridgeApple and the YMCA chose frame and upholstery colors that help to guide exercisers.

  • White Frame/Carbon Fiber Black Upholstery is used with selectorized and Cable Motion for beginners and new exercisers.
  • “The white frame is vibrant, recognizable and inviting,” explained McLean. “The carbon fiber is premium, comfortable and recognizable to the touch. Located very close to the main entrance of the staircase and elevator.”
  • Red Frame/Carbon Fiber Black Upholstery signifies free weights, plate-loaded equipment and small group training for intermediate to advanced exercisers.
  • Added McLean: “The black and red combo is distinct, really pops out and screams ‘come lift some weights.’ It is the staple color of the floor leading into the next section.”
  • Charcoal Frame/Slate Upholstery is used with high-performance equipment like HD Elite racks.
  • “The charcoal is a matte finish and combined with the slate upholstery will bring anyone in to the space,” said McLean. “This is unique to the entire floor plan. No words are really needed. It’s intense, its raw and, along with the turf, it will draw anyone in.”
Placement for Progression

The floor plan frequently paired beginner equipment with intermediate equipment, and intermediate equipment with advanced equipment. This further enhances the idea of community, and creates motivating spaces where exercisers of different levels work out side by side.

“This was done strategically,” said McLean. “It brings the community together. This is where great things happen. Someone who is advanced will be working out with someone who may not be there yet, sharing what they know. This is where we are different than a lot of facilities.”