As featured in Club Solutions Magazine  May 6, 2019

Q+A with Bryan Green, Founder of Fitness Design Group®

What are common mistakes you see clubs making with club design or facility program layout?

The environment is changing so rapidly, I feel for operators who must adapt their floor plans far more frequently and substantially than ever before. Solving for trend adaptation primarily with equipment as the solution will not suffice. New tools and toys are part of the equation, but space reclamation for free-movement based modalities and variability in program offering are the keys. Simply adding a “rig” doesn’t optimize your environment for functional training. Creating spaces that are energized, approachable, smartly planned and driven by the right human or virtual guidance are the fundamental elements. And don’t try to build a nightclub. Low lighting, excessively loud music, and unyielding energy levels have limited appeal and at best are only one way to deliver an experience, and often not to the masses on a prolonged basis.

What are some trends in architecture and design you’re seeing in health clubs?

Certainly the incorporation of multiple studios or spaces within facilities dedicated to particular training methodologies is on the rise. Specialization helps better define the intent of the exercise to be performed and theming a space to be more specific — such as boxing versus aerial yoga — has a massive impact on the feel of the space and setting the tone. One-size-fits-all is no longer a defendable option for the operator. It’s also incredibly important to understand the balance and placement of higher energy zones versus those that support training recovery or restoration. This requires more planning and design intent at a time when real-estate remains a premium.

Are there any tips on design or facility layout you could share with club operators?

The client expectation today has become significantly heightened. Demonstrating depth in a broader wellness-based offering, versus simply all things HIIT training, for example, provides much needed diversity and differentiation from others who have yet to take the leap. Exercise must be delivered as an experience. Otherwise, everyone has an app today and can accomplish quite a bit at home. Create impact in your facility design that in most cases is not easily replicable. Understand the right allocation of square footage per user and how significantly that needs to flex depending upon the modality being trained. Craft zones or areas within greater spaces to drive awareness around the specific outcomes you intend to deliver. All of this will lead to setting expectations for members that you are more likely to meet or exceed.

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