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Group Exercise Rooms are Changing

group X

With people wanting to be entertained, technology costs coming down, and more on-demand sources providing better content, your group exercise room is probably beginning to look like a rock concert. In the past, it was simple: Cycling — dark and moody; Group X — bright and energetic; Yoga — calm and serene. But now the lines are blurred. Cycling classes are integrating Group X components that require you to see what you are doing. Group X can take on the life of a night club. And yoga can vary greatly from serene to more high energy.

Consider the following when designing or renovating these types of rooms.


You want as much control as possible. During a typical Group X class, you might want it to be brighter. However, if you provide on-demand monitors, dimmers enable you to bring light levels down, allowing members to see the monitors.


Energy codes are making it important to pull more natural light into studios. However, not all classes want natural light. One way to accommodate both is to provide full or partial blackout shades on the windows, which gives you ultimate control over converting spaces from dark to bright in minutes.


The no-brainer is putting monitors or video screens at the front of the space; but keep in mind many programs prefer mirrors up front, or even a stage. It’s imperative to find the right placement of monitors allowing members to see them, while not hindering instructors. One solution is to provide the option for the instructors to teach from the side of the space.


As you consider adding more technology and video options in your studio, remember the content you project reflects your brand. Most clubs don’t realize it requires someone to vet the content before it is allowed in a class. This is especially true if you are allowing instructors to bring in their own. It is easy to forget that when you take a normal video and project it onto a 10 foot by 10 foot format, it can become grainy and unprofessional looking. The other challenge is making sure what instructors want to incorporate is in line with what you would consider appropriate and a good representation of your club.

These studios can be very cool and add to your member experience. If you spend some time focusing on them, it will ensure you are delivering all that you and your members are hoping for.


Bryan Dunkelberger is a principal for S3 Design and has designed health clubs for over 20 years. His firm specializes in designing clubs that maximize the member’s experience. For more information, email bdunkelberger@s3design-inc.com, call 781.848.8804 or visit s3design-inc.com.


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