Fitting in Fitness How to Get the Most out of an In-Building Gym

The most popular amenity by far in apartment communities—whether co-op, condo, or rental—is a gym. Even in small buildings, where space for extras is at a premium, boards look for ways to add a fitness room somewhere, anywhere, they can wedge it in. With new technology and design solutions, creating an efficient space to exercise might be easier than you think.

The Cutting Edge in Gyms

Gail Hamilton, executive director at ProFIT, a national fitness space management firm based in New York City, says technology is the driving force in in-building gym design and management today. “The trend is toward computerized metrics with other exercisers,” says Hamilton. “Systems like the Peloton bike: you ‘game’ yourself against other users and the instructor. ‘Babysitting’ abilities like Netflix and Dora are popular, too. Other amenities like being able to go online when you’re working out to check email are not going away. Today’s users have grown up with technology. They need and use it while exercising. This new interactive technology makes regular TV in a gym obsolete. Today’s users want live-stream, no channel flipping. And they want it with live feed showing how many calories they’re burning at the same time. Basically, they want what they want when they want it, and that’s what we try to give them.”

“Cardio is still king,” says Hamilton of what most users look for in a gym. That means lots of treadmills, bicycles, and something called “the Mirror”—basically a giant smart-touch device that affixes to a wall and lets users customize and interact with their fitness training. As concerns interactive bikes like Peloton, Hamilton explains that the company will no longer sell its product to multifamily buildings, as they believe it cuts into their individual unit sales. However, the Mirror will, and so will Echelon—Peloton’s main competitor and manufacturer of a product akin to the Mirror called Reflect. Hamilton reports that they are putting this equipment in middle-market buildings as well as high-end properties.

Design Considerations

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