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Is Fitness First Germany moving away from gym equipment?

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Fitness First has launched a new concept club in the centre of Cologne, Germany, as the operator continues to experiment with new models and styles of offering.

Measuring around 1,000sq m, the key design features of this latest club are the extensive open-plan spaces; the industrial décor; and the very limited amount of traditional gym equipment.

To the right as you enter the club is a gym floor dominated by a large artificial turf running and sled track, plus a huge rig slung with rope nets and kitted out with battle ropes, TRX, bungee cords, rings, Olympic bars and benches. Stacks of colourful weight plates are located all around the gym, alongside racks of kettlebells, dumbbells and slam balls.

A small number of Concept2 rowers and Assault Air Bikes are positioned around the edge of the gym floor, as well as a couple of SkiErgs.

Members are free to work out independently, but this space is also used for freestyle gym floor classes – there are currently 24 of these each week – as well as for personal training, which has a high uptake in this club. A leader board on the wall highlights top scores achieved by the members in the current gym challenge.

To the left is a further open plan area, under an arched glass ceiling, with a second smaller rig, a few stations of Keiser pneumatic equipment, a handful of TRX and a couple of WaterRowers, plus plenty of empty space to stretch – or whatever else you might like to do.

A large group exercise studio sits behind this, next to a Woodway / Wattbike zone separated from the gym floor by a cage-style metal mesh wall.

The one heavily kitted out area – a Hammer Strength resistance area – is unobtrusively located in its own area, up some steps in the corner of the gym.

Just in front of reception is a lounge area with leather sofas; behind reception is a crèche, open only for certain hours each day, for which you can buy a booklet of 10 vouchers for just €20 (US$21.20, £17).

Changing rooms are industrial chic, with a large unisex wellbeing zone at the back: sauna, steam, experience showers and relaxation area.

Opened just three weeks ago, the club charges €60 (US$63.60, £51.20) a month based on a 12-month contract and usage of this club only.

The Cologne club is the first to be based on this new model, but more are expected to follow.

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Fitness First has launched a new concept club in the centre of Cologne, Germany, as the operator continues to experiment with new models and styles of offering.
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