IHRSA Behind the Scenes Article –  September 2021

Impactful gym design could mean many things. Different Operators seek to achieve different outcomes for the use of space. Studios and gyms all have their own branding and theming. With the shifting and trending nature of modalities, the end users certainly utilize training space in all different ways now and will continue to do so into the future. 

In short, guiding impactful gym design takes a deep understanding of and intention toward the desired outcomes. This takes careful planning and design.

Jim Schmaltz, Editor in Chief of CBI Magazine recently asked some compelling and important questions of Bryan regarding design trends of the future. 

CBI: When you design spaces, what facilitates the best exercise experience, and how do you approach it?

Bryan Green: We begin with the end user in mind. When we’re working with either a large club or a boutique, we start with the outcomes they’re looking to specifically achieve. Our design process initiates with the understanding of the type of experience, branding, and training modalities the client would like to offer. We next move forward by conceptualizing the space, then extend into our schematic design phase, and from there, begin to build and equip. The majority of our time is spent more deeply planning and theming the environment. Equipment selection is the easy part.

CBI: What are some of the common mistakes you see clubs making with design and facility layout?

Bryan Green: Unfortunately, operators sometimes simply are inclined to repeat what they’ve seen from competitors. If you’re going to build true value today, you really have to get people’s attention; you need to get them excited about spending time in your space versus others’. That’s the first step. Next, inclusiveness and results-driven programming are the keys to getting them to stay. With those macro levels of focus, we help clients attract and retain members.

CBI: What are some of the trends you’re seeing in architecture and design?

Bryan Green: Spaces for fitness have largely, almost stereotypically, been too cluttered. There’s too much equipment, too much single-purpose space, and not enough variety and flexibility in floor planning. Now, operators must transition to meet the end users where they are. They want to do things that are more fun, more experiential, more dynamic, and guided. That guidance is always best live, but it can be very effective digitally as well if it’s integrated the right way within these spaces.

CBI: There’s a lot of talk in the industry that it’s imperative to have a hybrid model. How do you design spaces for both guided and unguided workouts?

Bryan Green: Maintaining flexibility in floor planning is coveted. We see a greater preference for a multifaceted approach with increasing depth of program and digital experience integration. Impactful spaces that we design maintain the ability to transition from live to virtual coaching or integrate both within the training experience. Typically, this is where the fun factor matures and the environment remains variable and welcoming many sessions down the road. This process drives the overall theme and excitement for our team at Aktiv Solutions, because there’s an abundance of opportunity to meet the end user where they live, work, or play.

To learn more or to speak to a Fitness Design Consultant, contact us here.