Feature Re-printed from: Bisnow News, Wellness Design: The Rise of the Tailored Fitness Experience.

As the economy continues to recover and more Millennials enter the workspace, unique, accessible amenities are more important than ever in making your property stand out. There’s nothing like having a coffee bar in your office, which saves your tenants a trip to the nearest Starbucks, cutting down on productivity and increasing frustration.

  

Fitness Design Group CEO Bryan Green says wellness is a significant part of today’s lifestyle, and tenants have increasing expectations of their fitness centers. Nearby health clubs still have draw, but they are incomparable to an on-site fitness space specifically tailored to tenants’ needs. We sat down with Bryan—who founded FDG and sister supply companies Advantage Fitness Products and Aktiv Solutions— to pick his brain about trends in fitness and how developers can leverage a tailored space.

Bryan tells Bisnow that developers have underestimated the effort involved in planning for and producing an appealing fitness space. While Fitness Design Group often works with progressive developers and management groups, he says, many still see a fitness center as a later stage consideration, believing equipment selection is the primary element. Bryan says such thinking ignores all the critical aspects that go into making a fitness space appealing to tenants. Everything from electrical and data requirements to acoustics, surfacing and anchoring provisions must be vetted in the planning stages of development, Bryan says, or it could be quite costly to address these down the road.

  

In addition, Bryan finds there’s often an assumed mentality to just assemble a smaller version of a larger commercial health club, using more common gym décor like black rubber flooring and poor lighting. This kind of wrongheaded thinking will often limit the offering. Bryan says developers need to realize and even embrace that they’re working in constrained space and yet still must appeal to the needs of a property’s constituency. “Trying to be everything to everyone is neither realistic nor warranted,” he says.
Moreover, Bryan says even big commercial health clubs are recognizing the need for specialized and result-driven offerings, reshaping themselves closer to specialty studios and placing a greater focus on the quality of the workout experience and client care. In other words, developers, if not careful, may be replicating an outdated model.

So what does Bryan recommend for creating a convenient, inclusive fitness space? First, developers need to embrace their properties’ unique competitive advantages. What is the theme of the property and location? Your fitness space should feel like an extension from the primary strengths and attributes.
Second, consider how much fitness equipment you really need. Open floor plans allow for more movement-enabled exercise areas, as well as popular exercises inclusions such as TRX Suspension Training and free weights, that can be done safely and without limitations on range of motion. The money you might otherwise spend on wall-to-wall equipment may be better directed towards providing an energizing space, specialized floor coverings and communal training apparatus. Finally, you must always strive to present your space as a “social, uplifting and germ-free environment.”

While this may seem like a huge undertaking, Bryan says the benefits of a great fitness space are well-documented. A strong fitness space in an office can result in increased employee productivity, reduced absences and even lower health insurance premiums.

Fitness centers will continue to grow and refine, Bryan says, and his firms are already specifying virtual training kiosks and functionally efficient equipment that are changing the landscape of spaces. The strong demand for fitness spaces will only grow stronger as more tenants look to improve their health— amenity developers, Bryan says, will need to increasingly drive value through the unique attributes of their community.