We are in the midst of a shift toward increased community creation – but with a new qualification. That qualification is space

Cohabitating, coworking, group exercise, and associated experiences are on the rise. People are hungry for connection and interaction in environments that offer ample space and spread.

Fitness facilities are the ultimate environment for this interaction and engagement, and people will always be drawn to that. Further, the ante has now been upped on the value placed on wellness – health is the new wealth.

To that end, fitness facilities must now reimagine how we deliver extraordinary exercise experiences within the environment we are in. We must prepare now for the rise in participation forward. 

As we build the next generation of exercise spaces that remain energizing, engaging, and inviting, they must ultimately become more purpose-driven. Ease of use and understanding are critical. Modalities from intensity to recovery must be addressed. Space for dynamic movement must be plentiful. This takes more thoughtful and careful planning than ever before. It involves an intense focus on achieving optimum balance.

In many facilities, the balance of cardio, strength, and functional are becoming increasingly outdated. Crafting the fitness space is about maximizing exercise facilitation, not equipment per square foot. 

The good news is that the biggest disparity today can be found in Cardiovascular equipment, which is consistently the most expensive equipment per unit in any fitness space. 

Consider this insight from an article in Club Solutions, “Cardio Purchasing Decisions and Data”:

“What members and traffic have told us is people want more space to workout in, and we don’t need as much cardio equipment as we have been putting in.” – Mike Feeney, Executive Vice President of New Evolution Fitness

While the cardio floor is an essential area of the club, you may be packing too many pieces of equipment into the space.

floorplan gym design balance functional training and cardio fitness equipment

Hotel Fitness Center Photorealistic 3D, Courtesy of FitnessDesignGroup

Achieving exercise balance will always remain key. You must also consider the varying interests of your user demographic. What appeals to one of your residents, guests, employees, or students, will not always appeal to the next. Incorporating larger flexibility areas and functional training zones, and adding more small but useful accessories are all natural places to begin.

It’s a greater challenge than ever today to create a fitness amenity or facility that meets the broadening demands of its members and guests. It can also be your greatest opportunity to elevate your offering above that of your competitors.

Integrating digital exercise guidance is also a very smart move. The right platform can offer significant variability in programming, and activate your space in dynamic and energizing ways.

Clearly, this will all take a bit of technology to assist.  Most critically, developing and honing an exercise experience that not only keeps your community intact but will draw new members and remain aligned with your culture and brand will require a strong intention towards design.