Club fitness centers are flexing their muscles with revamped spaces for group-exercise classes and private training that also accommodate social-distancing concerns.
Revitalizing exercise space doesn’t just benefit the members who use it; it also positions a club to be a top performer and gives a shot of adrenalin to overall operations. As member demand surges for fitness programming, facilities are incorporating more functionality into these spaces and expanding their amenities to provide users with a complete workout.
“We spent nearly two years trying to develop expansion plans to incorporate more space, spa facilities and improved room—but each time, it impacted the [aquatics and tennis complexes] adjacent to the fitness center,” Wolf says. After attempting a series of trial-and-error solutions, the club ultimately decided to integrate platform tennis into the new design and create a two-level, 13,500-sq. ft. structure that encompasses additional amenities.
The upper level of the fitness facility has three primary workout zones. The first is made up of strength and aerobic equipment, including treadmills, bikes, cross-trainers and rowers. The middle section houses a functional training area, featuring 800 sq. ft. of turf designed for resistance training, stretching and functional training, while the third area includes a custom standing rig, strength-training equipment and plate-loaded weight stations.
A grab-and-go kitchen, stocked with breakfast sandwiches, energy drinks and other refreshments for refueling, includes a sitting area where “a member can catch up on their e-mails or start the day by getting their calendar in order,” notes Wolf.
The lower level houses two locker rooms, along with saunas, steam rooms, private showers and access to a massage area. A Pilates reformer room and two 750-sq. ft. group-exercise rooms, with doors that open to outdoor patios, are also on this floor.
Built into the hillside, four platform tennis courts are attached to the patios, while an adjacent lounge and bar area accommodates up to 30 players. The patios offer year-round versatility, Wolf points out, with outdoor exercise classes, yoga and functional training held there in the summer, and firepits and cozy seating for platform tennis players coming in useful during the colder months.
To provide a safe environment for all types of workouts, Scioto’s fitness facility has been outfitted with a variety of flooring styles: from a two-layer, sound-absorbent surface on the main exercise floor, to cushioned vinyl in the group exercise/Pilates studio. Aerobic equipment with high-definition screens and Wi-Fi connectivity let members access streaming workouts, as do the group-exercise rooms containing customizable music systems.
With ample space for fitness fanatics, Scioto’s new facility hosts multiple classes simultaneously—a tremendous benefit during the past year’s pandemic-restricted workouts. Thanks to a flexible design, the club was able to pivot and use its group-exercise rooms as private training rooms.
“The size of the rooms allowed for small groups to work out together, keep social distancing and have our staff to continue to train individuals,” says Wolf. Reservation systems were instituted, as were the number of people permitted to use the facilities at any given time. In addition, rooms were cleaned hourly, which required sanitization to be factored into the room-usage schedules.
Since restrictions have been lifted, Scioto has resumed regular operations and neither reservations nor room limitations are necessary. “Our facility has the space to accommodate large groups of members at any time and still have comfortable distancing between members,” says Wolf, adding that users continue to be monitored, in the event that contract tracing is again required.
Fit and Focused
Golfers wrapping up their game may be tempted to check out Fitness at 18, a new facility overlooking the 18th hole at The Club at Nevillewood in Presto, Pa. After opening its doors in August 2020, the 5,500-sq. ft. facility has been a hubbub of activity from the get-go, offering members more than just a place to work out.
The location for the new facility takes advantage of the club’s lush surroundings—a notable selling point for current and prospective members. “The open floor plan indulges sparkling sunlight and breathtaking views of the greens, as well as the flowing waters and a glorious pond full of wildlife,” says General Manager/COO Richard W. Naumann, CCM, CCE.
Upon entering, visitors are immediately greeted by fitness staff and invited to relax in one of two seating areas, where they can socialize with fellow members or enjoy a protein shake. The seating area leads to cardio row, which is outfitted with bikes, stepmills, ellipticals and treadmills.
Downstairs leads to a fitness center containing a functional 360 rig, more treadmills and rowers, along with free weights, cable-cross stations, weight balls and other equipment. A group-fitness studio is used for body-sculpting classes, yoga, Pilates, spin classes, dance classes and private training, while a 10 x 12 treatment room is dedicated to massages.
“Fitness at 18 is an all-encompassing fitness center for all levels of fitness,” notes Naumann.
To create a secure environment for Nevillewood members, the center has been constructed with rubber flooring chosen for its safety, durability and sound-deadening qualities (tall, vaulted ceilings also help to reduce the noise level). A wireless sound system pipes background music throughout the center, and cardio machines are equipped with television/entertainment systems for on-demand programming. An automatic lighting system, another key component of the fitness center’s design, is a key energy-savings feature.
When weather permits, studio-based classes are held on the outdoor patio, just off the fitness center and overlooking the golf course. During the height of the pandemic, group classes were offered via Zoom to appeal to house-bound members.
“Our Fitness at 18 team made bi-weekly fitness videos, which were posted online and e-mailed to members,” adds Naumann. Because the center was unveiled during COVID, all equipment was spaced six feet apart from the start. As the pandemic persists, Naumann asserts, the same plan is in place to keep members safe and the facility sterile.
Sweetening the Deal
At Sugar Creek Country Club in Sugarland, Texas, the demand for increased health and wellness programming was the driving factor for an expanded fitness center.
“The improvement was a complete remodel and expansion of an original 2,200-sq. ft. space that was poorly designed and in dire need of upgrades,” says General Manager/Chief Executive Officer Gordon Wagner, CCM.
The renovated space, opened to members in April 2019, boasts an expanded group-exercise studio and new high-intensity workout studio.
Set against the backdrop of the club’s pool and golf-practice area, the 1,600-sq. ft. fitness center now houses 30 pieces of new equipment, consisting of cardio and strength/conditioning machines. A 600-sq. ft., high-intensity workout studio contains a wall system for functional training, while a 700-sq. ft., multipurpose exercise studio is used for group and private instruction.
Other areas of the fitness center include renovated Jack and Jill restrooms, showers, office spa and a 500-sq. ft. kids’ zone.
To provide adequate accommodations for gym goers, ceiling heights were raised to 14 feet throughout the primary fitness area. New lighting, HVAC and sound systems were installed, along with customized music and thermostat controls.
Electronic window treatments provide a modern touch, while a new security system features individual key fobs issued to each member. Each space also warranted its own flooring style: rubber in the primary fitness area; artificial turf and rubber for the high-intensity workout studio; and vinyl plank flooring for the exercise studio.
With a tremendous boost in the overall fitness footprint, Sugar Creek has been able to bolster its programming accordingly. The group-exercise studio can now accommodate private and group classes of up to 25 students, and the high-intensity workout studio can host circuit training classes of up to 10 students.
The expanded space also proved its worth last year when restrictions were enforced. Indoor classes were limited in size and group classes were moved outdoors.
“Cardio, strength and conditioning equipment was limited to 50 percent usage—every other piece was not available—in order to maintain social-distancing protocols,” notes Wagner.
In addition, fitness-center staffing increased to take on additional cleaning and sanitizing duties, with facilities shutting down two hours daily for deep cleaning. While Sugar Creek does not have any current restrictions in place under Texas law, the club is prepared to adjust its protocols as needed.
Summing It up
> Increased programming for group fitness and private training prompts the need for more space.
> Additional square footage creates room for new equipment and plenty of space for gym goers to spread out.
> Adjacent amenities like grab-and-go food and beverages, as well as proximity to outdoor patios, help to round out a full-service fitness package.