Heartline Fitness


Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics Center

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A case study by Crystal Capone

Equipment Used

  • Nautilus Inspiration cable machines
  • StarTrac 8CT ellipticals with embedded screens
  • Nautilus Freedom Racks
  • Octane recumbent bikes
  • StarTrac 10TRX FreeRunner treadmills

We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Truck

Consider the community rec center. Underinflated loaner basketballs, pool tables with torn felt and a missing 9-ball, indoor pools that sting your nostrils, and — my favorite — the perpetually “out-of-order” fitness machines, except for that fat jiggler belt from the 1930s (you know the one). 

Sounds more like a “wreck” center, right? Don’t tell that to the town of Huntersville, North Carolina. 

They kicked that image to the curb years ago when they hired Swim Club Management Group, with Executive Director Zach Brown at the helm, to maintain their massive community center (Full disclosure: Swim Club Management Group and Heartline Fitness are both part of The Amenity Collective.) 

“We’re not just a fitness center. We’re not just pools,” Brown said. And he’s right. Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics Center is an 88,000-square foot facility. There’s something for everyone here — whether you’re playing pickup basketball after middle school, squeezing in an after-work yoga class, training for your next triathlon, or getting in some early morning swim laps.

There are only a handful of commercial fitness vendors who can handle an equipment swap as big as HFFA’s. You can probably count the ones doing jobs in the South or Mid-Atlantic on one hand. But there’s a difference between us and the competition: We call it the “wow” moment.

Creating That “Wow” Moment

New equipment alone does not generate a “wow” factor (but it sure does help). You also have to understand the space itself. We plan our designs using 3D CAD software, but that’s only part of the equation. What does the client envision? How will you incorporate ADA compliance? Do the expectations jibe with the budget? 

“You want it to be warm and inviting,” Brown said, “especially in the multi-family market where you might not necessarily have someone who’s giving a proper tour of the facility.”

It’s like Jeff, our president and CEO, says:

“The doors open, you walk in, and it should be wow. We want to create that ‘wow’ moment.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but that’s how long it took us to swap out HFFA’s old fitness equipment for newer, technologically improved machines. 

Breaking Down the Buildup

Jamming a bunch of equipment together might be great for an OK Go music video, but neither for safety purposes nor aesthetics. Less is often more; so instead of swapping out equipment on a 1:1 ratio, leaving some breathing room between the new Nautilus Inspiration units made the fitness floor feel much more inviting. 

Before Install: HFFA's cable machine strength sectionAfter a Heartline Fitness Install: HFFA's cable machine strength section
Before / After: HFFA’s strength machine setup

Sometimes you can make do with one machine that can handle a bunch of different things. Five-station setups, like this one from Nautilus, accommodate more activity without sacrificing space or budget.

HFFA's cable machine, provided by Heartline Fitness

And maybe this is just the athlete in me nerding out, but who wouldn’t want to have their own logo on a new set of rubberized dumbbells?

HFFA's custom dumbbells, provided by Heartline Fitness

Treadmills are a go-to gadget, but not all treadmills are created equal. For example, I’m loving the new StarTrac 10TRX Freerunner treadmills. They have all the new monitor technologies that allow you to watch your catch up on your favorite Netflix guilty pleasure. But with a state-of-the-art hexagonal suspension system underfoot cushioning your every step, it’s hard not to fall in love again with running (really!)

HFFA's new Star Trac treadmills, provided by Heartline Fitness

What Our Client Thinks About The Final Result

“Easy is probably the best term I could use to define our working relationship with Heartline Fitness. I’m very proud of the team and what they’ve done, pre-COVID and in COVID … a dedicated group of individuals willing to put forth the effort and the challenges that come with a facility this size and this dynamic.”

Zach Brown
Executive Director, Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics Center


It’s not every day we get to take apart an 80,000-square foot facility and put it back together again. But I love it when we can demonstrate how Heartline Fitness can make this happen when the right client comes along. 

Perhaps your “wreck center” is next, and you don’t even know it yet. But then again, maybe you do.

“We could be delivering a bench, a $5000 treadmill, a half-million fitness facility … and it’s new, it’s exciting, and it has to work that day.”

Jeff Shipman
President & CEO, Heartline Fitness

More Photos From The HFFA Project

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