When it comes to designing outdoor fitness spaces, a thoughtful approach is paramount in creating an environment that motivates, inspires, and caters to the diverse needs of users. Merely relocating indoor equipment outside does not suffice. In fact, creating an outdoor fitness space involves many variables and considerations beyond the realm of indoor gym design.

However, with smart planning, gym owners, hotel operators, corporations, and multifamily operators have the opportunity to establish an environment that not only attracts users but also actively supports their fitness aspirations. A well-designed outdoor fitness space has the potential to elevate brand identity and distinguish it from competitors.

Here are six key considerations essential for designing an exceptional outdoor fitness space:

1. The Elements

Mindful consideration of climate-related elements becomes imperative. Whether the space is covered or exposed, a well-devised plan for equipment storage during inclement weather is essential. Opting for durable and weather-proof structures that withstand the test of time against the elements is critical. Outdoor-specific pieces tailored for the environment should be preferred over the mere relocation of indoor equipment.

2. The Surrounding Space

Delicately harmonizing the fitness space with its surroundings significantly influences the user experience. In scenarios where the fitness area coexists with other amenities, such as in hotels or multifamily facilities, thoughtful transitions and privacy measures become essential. For example, avoiding the placement of grills or food services near the outdoor fitness area enhances the overall ambiance.

3. Programming 

Similar to indoor gyms, programming serves as a driving force for usage and engagement. Incorporating digital guidance or dedicated personnel to curate activities in the outdoor space not only activates it during specific workout sessions but also inspires higher utilization during other times, as users witness the possibilities and explore the area at their convenience.

4. The Flow

Understanding traffic and energy flow patterns is crucial. Deliberations on multiple entry points or a singular gateway to the outdoor space are pivotal design decisions. Tailoring accessibility from the gym specifically or opening up to a larger amenity deck depends on the desired user experience. The space should accommodate various scenarios, such as large groups, small gatherings, or individual workouts.

5. Equipment Choices

An artful balance between the intended fitness experience and equipment selection is vital. Diverse equipment options cater to users with varying fitness levels and interests. Additionally, the outdoor setting can be a great space to incorporate wellness-focused elements, such as saunas and cold plunges, enriching the overall fitness journey.

Outdoor fitness space designed with amenities.

6. Aesthetics

Creating cohesion between branding and the overall experience ensures that the outdoor training space seamlessly extends from the indoor training space. The goal is to design the outdoor space so that even in the absence of lots of equipment, it communicates its purpose for exercise. Striking, natural structures like a bridge will convey the space’s intention. More subtly, smart storage solutions for outdoor-specific accessories can signify to users that this space is to be used for fitness.

FitnessDesignGroup functional designers have unique expertise in crafting outdoor training spaces that align flawlessly with the vision and needs of operators.