Step Up Your Fitness Facility Game

09/12/2018 | By Sarah Kloepple

If designed properly, fitness facilities can become an important and vital part of your building. Commercial and multitenant buildings, as well as hotels, are increasingly using these spaces to attract those who live, work and visit there.

However, it requires more than just adding a few treadmills and dumbbells.

Westport Plaza Multi-tenant fitness room
(Photo: Westpoint Plaza multi-tenant fitness center. Credit: Advanced Exercise)

Fitness facilities should be designed purposefully, says Advanced Exercise consultant Vaughn Marxhausen. Advanced Exercise consults, designs and furnishes fitness equipment for a host of different markets, including multitenant, multifamily, commercial, schools and hospitality.

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Marxhausen adds that at least 10-12 years ago, an office or building gym was considered a popular amenity. Now, to be considered Class A or even just sought after, on-site fitness facilities are a staple.

Haywood Office Park Multi-tenant Fitness Room“Twelve years ago, it was, ‘Wow, you have a fitness center. That must be a neat place to go,’” he says. “Now people are saying, ‘What do you mean you don’t have a fitness center?’ Times have changed.” (Photo: Haywood Office Park multi-tenant fitness center. Credit: Advanced Exercise)

A fitness facility can also demonstrate your building’s commitment to health and wellness, promote connectivity between tenants and create a sense of community.

In the 2018 Work Environment Survey conducted by Capital One, full-time office professionals shared their opinions on how workplace design and experience affects their productivity and satisfaction. When asked which aspects or “perks” would be most likely to make them stay if they were considering whether to stay or leave a company, nearly 40 percent said health amenities.

“It doesn’t have to be an expensive cost to put in a fitness facility,” Marxhausen explains. “Obviously it depends on what you’re looking for, but it’s really about being able to offer the right items and the right products for the tenants.”

Fitness Industry Trends

He says that building owners are beginning to look at trends in the fitness industry as a whole as a way to glean inspiration for what fits the goals and personality of their occupants.

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He suggests asking yourself: What are the things I’m trying to accomplish in my building? Who am I trying to attract? “Make it so [your fitness facility] is welcoming, not intimidating – but up to date,” he says.

Most popular for fitness facilities:

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

This comprises a combination of four or five different exercises, completed nonstop before taking a break. The exercises could include manipulating battle ropes and reps of crunches and lunges.

“You can actually cut down your workout time considerably to 20 minutes but still get the same benefits out of a full-hour workout,” Marxhausen says. If HIIT fits with your type of tenant, make sure a gym design includes mats and a dedicated space for it.

Westport Plaza Multi-Tenant Fitness Center
(Photo: Westport Plaza multi-tenant fitness center. Credit: Advanced Exercise)

Virtual Fitness

This could include workouts – matched or geared toward equipment in the room – that are projected onto a screen or on a TV, allowing occupants to follow along. Maybe it’s a group video dedicated to yoga or Pilates or some kind of training that can pair to an occupant’s phone or watch.

“There’s a whole technology side that’s starting to come out, but it has to be purposeful to match the demographics, space and budget,” Marxhausen says.

Rowing and Cycling

Two pieces of equipment that Marxhausen has seen become more popular recently are rowing machines and air bikes. Both can be utilized during HIIT or can be used as their own separate workouts.

Fitness Facilities Benefit Tenants

For those considering upgrading or adding a fitness facility to their commercial building, concerns of distraction at work might arise. Marxhausen, however, explains why it shouldn’t be a fear or deterrent.

Cherry Creek Plaza Multi-tenant Fitness Room
(Photo: Cherry Creek Plaza multi-tenant fitness center. Credit: Advanced Exercise)

“If I’m a company owner, I’m going to choose those buildings with those amenities,” he says, “because I want to keep [employees] there. I don’t want them to go five miles down the road to go work out, because that now is taking time away from them being at work. I don’t see [fitness facilities] as a distraction, as taking away from productivity of those employees. By offering them, you are actually improving work productivity.”

In addition to fitness facilities, creating a more health-conscious building could also include employee wellness rooms dedicated to downtime or mediation, more nutritious food options and human-centric lighting – all of which can contribute to the health and wellness of a building, a commitment that can now be demonstrated by health and wellness certifications. Combined, they can improve and sustain employee retention.

San Felipe Multi-Tenant Fitness Center
(Photo: San Felipe multi-tenant fitness center. Credit: Advanced Exercise)

“If I’m a building owner, I can look at getting employees or tenants to be in an environment that is now healthy and provides wellness to the individuals that come there,” Marxhausen says. “After all, we spend most of our waking hours in the office.”


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