The Ergonenic Fitness Center Vs. The Better Sameness Gym

TrainerSpace Boca Raton Florida




  1. (not in technical use) intended to enhance physical performance, stamina, or recovery:

After my LinkedIn Post of May 2016 “Ten Reasons NOT To Buy Into The Fitness Franchise Pyramid Scheme” I estimated that I doubled my Followers and Connections here on LinkedIn. I’m not promoting, I’m making a point that my Post resonated with developers looking for solutions to position their business models in the marketplace. For greater than two years I’ve been arguing that the fitness industry is overrun with Better Sameness, a disparaging metaphor for indistinguishable branding attributed to Guy Kawasaki former tech evangelist at Apple.

It’s my opinion that Better Sameness is an insidious disadvantage for developers endeavoring to differentiate themselves from their competition, but the rapturists will argue otherwise. Cuoco Black 2016

The rapturists are those legacy gym brands holding onto their antiquated gym models, the franchise and chain talking heads, the blingy boutique studios and their 5th Avenue PR ambassadors, the creatively bankrupt designers and architects who specify, and the media tirelessy distributing Better Sameness across digital and traditional outlets. We’re all so busy that we’ve been indoctrinated into a collective-consciousness coming to believe this is the way gym brands are created. We’ll it was at one time, but the paradigm is shifting.

Fitness Better Sameness has no allegiance. It permeates the entire industry at wholesale and at scale, indifferent to every market segment. Follow My Description Of Better Sameness Across Diverse Market Categories Below.


The Luxury Gyms that adopt design features from the hospitality industry look more like sexy department stores and hotel brands than fitness experiences. (I had one celebrity trainer tell me he went into one of these gyms and felt like falling asleep).

The Legacy Muscle Gyms trapped in the 80’s, continue employing exhausted design features such as a paint stripe around the gym (or worse), contrasting paint colors on different walls, bodybuilding posters, Home Depot/Walmart lighting, graffiti or a granite reception desk, all of this symbols of their heritage and culture. I’ve been a natural bodybuilder going on twenty years. I’ve a fondness for the legacy gym. My fitness roots were seeded at these place, and Arnold had a lot to do with that. I wish they’d come into the 21st Century. I believe they’d hand a lot of the chains and franchises their fitness-pink-slips.

The Low Price Brands with their juvenile paint schemes, edgy slogans and “Blue Ocean Marketing Strategies” endeavoring to lure non-gym-goers with fitness shaming campaigns and price points so low that it barely makes a “blip” on members monthly banking statements. Some argue these models have brought more consumers to fitness, I can’t disagree with that. However these brands are top-down-driven and it’s my opinion what value gained in price is lost in mediocre wellness outcomes for the public.

The Chain Models at the mid-price points offer that perfect alchemy and balance of equipment, design and pricing in a limited footprint. These gyms are good enough. They give those with starry-eyed fitness entrepreneurial aspirations a turn-key business model if you buy into their brand. But this market segment, more than others, is the most crowded. In addition, these clubs seem so uninspiring to train in. Shouldn’t the fitness experience be amped-up, exciting and motivating? I believe these models offer less than that.

The Functional Training Studios with almost identical branding and equipment to the CrossFit gyms. Rough, coarse, deliberately understated design, occupying warehouse spaces, garages and corporate/industrial parks. If ever there is an opportunity to upstage any one marketplace the Functional Training Studios and CrossFit boxes are potential branding Turkey Shoots.

The Boutique Studios…..I guess. I’ve seen industry talking heads, and fitness organizations, and business consulting networks, and fitness webinars, all offering up strategies on how to compete against these models. I’ve never given them much credence. Their limited footprints, redundant-repetitive-programing and limited amenities, though packaged sweetly, as far as I can see, will not be sustainable. Consumers are too finicky and will tire of the routine. It’s pretty simple. Build a better version of these studios within your gym.


A new gym model which telegraphs attributes of fitness and excitement in a highly branded environment. The strategy is a radical departure from the models illustrated above, both in marketing objectives and fitness deliveries to the target demographic. Developers must approach this effort with an open mind lest they regress to the Better Sameness strategies (and the resultant outcomes), of the competitors in their markets.

The delivery path to an ergogenic fitness center requires tailored selections of fitness equipment which supports the business model. This is in stark contrast to the sea of machines and cardio equipment traditionally installed in gym facilities. Programming selections and fitness modalities are less generic and more pliable to fit the different learning styles of fitness consumers (not everyone can do Crossfit). The aesthetics of an ergogenic fitness facility (the visual identity) is conceptually inspired, dramatic and most importantly, highly branded to reflect the culture of the developer.

Ergogenic fitness brands skillfully amplify and energize the fitness experience for consumers. This may be the strongest marketing advantage developers can employ to position themselves in the fitness landscape. An ergogenic fitness model is a tool of marketing which will seduce consumers to buy into a gym brand. Exploit the weaknesses of the Better Sameness gyms by delivering to consumers a gym environment that inspires them to train and exercise.

About Cuoco Black:

Cuoco Black is a design academic, interior designer and natural bodybuilder. He’s a former faculty member and holds a BFA with Distinction from the New York School of Interior Design, ranked #1 in the nation for superior interior design curriculum’s by the Design Futures Council. Cuoco Black is additionally the designer of the Experimental Cocktail Club, Paris France, rated one of the top 20 Bars in the world.

The designer is developing new gym models across diverse market segments including luxury brands, functional training franchises, independent gyms and residential fitness facilities.

“Brand don’t Trend”….Cuoco Black 2016

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