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Designing An In-Building Fitness Center? Here Are The 2019 Trends Tenants Want

The Les Mills bike by Stages

The number of Americans with gym and health club memberships has bulked up by a third in the past decade, and that growth isn’t expected to slow anytime soon. Hotel and residential project owners and developers hope their in-building fitness centers will be a draw for prospective tenants. But, what tenants want from their workout space is changing fast.

Bisnow sought out fitness center design consultant Kathleen Swift of enerG Wellness for some insight into 2019 trends, and how best to leverage fitness spaces in order to attract tenants. She had three key pointers for owners and developers working on fitness amenities.

1. Plug In To Tech Trends

With the soaring popularity of wearables and fitness apps on the rise, these days, Swift said, a gym isn’t a hot amenity without a little tech.

“Right now, interactive fitness tech is where it’s at,” Swift said. “We’ve seen fitness app usage more than triple in the past few years along with the craze of integrated workout platforms like RunTV, a screen-based interactive workout set to video of different scenery. These innovations are having a huge impact on the way people work out, and they should have just as big of an impact on the way your gym is designed and equipped.”

Swift said bringing the latest tech to a fitness facility can be done in virtually any size or type of space. The most critical element is cardio equipment with networked consoles, which allow exercisers to track their workouts, use Bluetooth headphones, and integrate directly with apps like Netflix, Hulu and Spotify.

“Connected consoles are simple to use and they let exercisers incorporate their favorite apps into their workout time” Swift said.

Swift added that the virtual experience of being transported from a familiar workout setting to beautiful scenery can relieve the monotony of a stationary bike, treadmill or elliptical. On that note, she said, interactive bikes are smart additions for facilities that want to capitalize on the frenzy around interactive bike brands like Peloton — for example, the Les Mills Bike by Stages.

“The best high-tech bikes on the market give exercisers a set of workouts and group classes that are constantly updated, meaning you can offer basically the same amenities as a staffed gym right in your residential building,” Swift said.

“Wellbeats is another great way to get this benefit: It’s a platform accessible via interactive touch screen or mobile app that allows you to offer a range of fun, challenging on-demand workouts, so your exercisers can experience a group fitness class in an unstaffed facility. These are great selling points for any small spin, yoga or residential building multi-use room.”

Swift added there are a range of phone apps that can enhance the experience of the equipment on-site, such as the TRX app, which provides users with streaming workouts and instructions.

Queenax Unit

2. Fit In Some Functional Training

Another major influence on gym design Swift named is the rapidly growing popularity of boutique fitness centers. Between 2012 and 2015, brands like SoulCycleCrossFitPure Barre and Orangetheory grew 70%, and boutique brands now make up over a third of the fitness market.

“While tech is on the rise, going back to the basics with functional training is another one of the most popular forms of exercise,” Swift said. “We have found it is crucial to include a functional training area in every facility.”

For facilities limited by square footage or budget, Swift’s team recommended a combination of functional training accessories: kettlebells, plyometrics boxes, mats, medicine balls, slam balls and other fitness accessories by companies like Escape. If space permits, functional training structures — from companies like TRX, Queenax or Torque — can provide big opportunity, Swift said.

“Functional training structures can be custom tailored to fit in any space or budget, and they’re a great way to store all your functional training accessories in a visually appealing way while providing a structure for body weight exercises like TRX or monkey bars,” Swift said.

Escape fitness accessories

3. Don’t Forget The ‘Wow’ Factor

The last recommendation Swift’s team makes to clients is: Include a "wow" factor — a special feature like a fully accessorized functional training set-up or HydroMassage bed that sets a workout space apart from the competition and turns prospective tenants’ heads.

“Ultimately, you want your offerings to demonstrate to clientele that you are clued in to how people want to work out in this new option-rich and increasingly high-tech world of fitness,” Swift said. “You’ll stand out if it’s clear you have your finger on the pulse of today’s fitness culture.”

This feature was produced by Bisnow Branded Content in collaboration with enerG Wellness. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.