What the Experts Know About Gym Design

Gym design is an area where professionalism shines through. The difference between a good gym and a truly great gym is obvious when you see it.

When you use a truly great gym, you’ll notice something … a bit different. What could have been a mundane workout space has been transformed into a light, bright, health and wellness space. A space which amplifies the corporate brand (if it’s an office-space), provides an area for the whole family to bond and exercise together (if it’s a home gym) or creates a unified exercise environment for a diverse group of residents (if it’s a residential gym).

And in many ways the difference is what you don’t do as much as what you do. You don’t experience annoying person-flow, dark corners, difficult-to-use equipment, old-fashioned rows of treadmills, blocked walkways and stale air.

With that in mind, let’s look at 10 things that the great gym design experts know – that you don’t. Until now!

1. Management and maintenance is as important as design

One thing we’ve learned over the 20 years we’ve been designing and installing gyms is that gym management is almost as important as design.

If you manage and maintain your gym in tip-top condition throughout its lifetime, it will ensure that it is fully utilised, always in perfect running order, and maybe even turn a profit (see below for how your gym can pay for itself).

Gym management means having the right people on-premises or on-call to check, fix, maintain or (if necessary) replace equipment. There’s nothing more disappointing than getting changed for a workout only to find your favourite piece of equipment is out of order.

But it also means having the right approach to spot problems before they arise, understand health and safety risks and have a great understanding of the gym users.

Gym management needs to be thought through before the design phase even starts, to ensure that the gym is manageable and easy to maintain.

Gym maintenance need not be as expensive as it might seem. Have a look at our article on ways to save money on gym maintenance.

2. Spaces need to be adaptable

The one constant in the world of gym design is change. Gym design experts know that what gym users want in 2020 will not be what they want in 2025.

That’s why adaptability needs to be built in from the start. The available space will need to accommodate different types of gym classes (today it might be Pilates, yoga, spin, HIIT – who knows what it might be tomorrow?)

So great gym designers will not deliver a space that can only be used for one thing. They’ll think about how gym use will change over time, and deliver an adaptable, ever-changeable space that can move with the times.

3. Residential gyms are a value-add and a sales tool

When it comes to residential gyms (gyms built into residential apartment blocks, Build to Rent projects, communal living spaces etc.) what do gym design experts know?

They know that customers (yes customers, not tenants) are looking for the best possible deal. A free gym built into the residence is a value-add which can keep customers renting for longer periods of time. This minimises fallow rental periods and the hassle of changing tenants.

But residential gyms are not all the same. Dark, dank basement spaces with old-fashioned equipment will not do.

To keep customers happy, residential gyms must offer light, bright, workout spaces, top-flight equipment, a space for residents to meet and bond with each other, and a space which caters for a wide range of users.

When done right, all these things can combine to deliver a residential gym experience that can sell your rental property and keep customers happy for years, as they put down roots and build their families.

Have a look at our article on The Essentials of BTR Gym Design.

4. Well-designed mirrors and lighting provide vital feedback and lots of extra light.

Mirrors and lighting in gyms should never be an afterthought.

Considered vital pieces of gym equipment by many users, mirrors help users get visual feedback on their workout and body-shaping progress.

But they also provide an opportunity to increase the feeling of space and light within the gym. Read our article on using mirrors in the gym.

5. Home gyms must focus on the whole family

In 2020, there is a very marked upswing to a focus on the wellness and fitness of the whole family.

During the pandemic lockdown, families who had never exercised together before started working out together. Joe Wicks’s daily workouts introduced us to the idea of the whole-family exercise routine.

But the whole situation increased awareness of the home as a potential gym space. More and more customers are spending increased time in the home and, as such, want to maximise their time and space.

Expert gym designers have known of this trend for years, but the pandemic has accelerated the trend enormously.

Home gyms are family workout spaces and need to cater for the needs of the whole family, from the youngest to the oldest.

Read more about family and private gyms.

6. Gyms must go green and stay green

Another key trends that gym design experts know is the trend towards green and environmentally-friendly design and equipment.

This is much more than just a few plants situated throughout the gym. It’s a whole-design philosophy which can incorporate lighting, power, recycling at every stage and an overall reduction in carbon emissions.

As we move towards a carbon-free economy, gyms must reduce their footprint both in day-to-day usage and in the process of procuring and maintaining equipment.

From energy-efficient lighting through to the recycling and re-use of plastics, there are many ways of making the gym more energy-efficient.

And, as motive8 MD Nick Sadler points out:

Eco and wellness are intrinsically linked. You go to a gym to boost wellbeing, so the space around you should reflect and encourage that state of mind.’

Find out more about eco and green gyms.

7. Corporate gyms should amplify a brand’s values

When it comes to corporate gyms, gym design experts know that the gym is an opportunity to amplify the brand’s values.

Companies know that corporate values and mission must permeate all they do. The gym is no exception.

Companies are placing a real focus on employee wellness and wellbeing, in both the physical and mental health senses.

Therefore, the gym is an ideal opportunity to show employees (and the rest of the world) that caring about staff is built into the corporate mission and values.

Not only that, but the physical space can reflect and amplify the brand’s look and feel.

So, feel free to find out more about what your gym design says about your company.

8. Corporate gyms should be able to turn a profit

Talking of corporate gyms, another thing that gym design experts know is that they should be able to turn a profit.

Gym ownership should not be considered a drain on resources. In fact, there can and should be a positive ROI when building a corporate gym.

Despite the lower membership fees, building the right kind of gym for the right set of users can mean the gym is a profit centre.

Read more about how a corporate gym can pay for itself.

9. Staying on-trend is vital

The world of gym design is driven by trends.

This may sound like a bad thing, but it need not be. Look at the central trends in gym design over the last five years or so – you’ll see the move towards whole-body fitness, mental health and corporate wellbeing, fitness for the whole family, fitness for people in later life, a holistic approach to wellbeing in corporate environments, lower carbon-emissions and green gym design.

And of course, the trend towards the digitisation of health and fitness underpin the way gyms are heading. Find our more about the digital gym.

We see all these trends as highly positive for humans and for the planet. So, there’s no need to be afraid of gym design trends.

However, it is vitally important to be on top of trends and have the ability to see what’s around the corner in the next few years. That way, gym designs delivered today can be adaptable for the future and be relevant and profitable for years to come.

10. Cater to your market

The final thing that gym design experts know is that all gyms must dovetail precisely with their intended market. A later living gym, for example, will feature radically different layout, equipment and design than a corporate gym in an inner-city environment.

Getting feedback regularly from gym users is important. Listening and making small tweaks or big changes is the way to keep your gym up to date and relevant.


Gym design is a professional service which draws on many disciplines. It requires knowledge of architecture, interior design, branding, building and of course, an in-depth knowledge of health and fitness. Not to mention a great feel for the latest trends and directions in health and wellbeing.

If you are planning to upgrade a gym or turn an existing space into a gym or workout zone, contact us on 020 8481 9700 to get an idea of how, with imagination, your space can be transformed.


Victor Adegbesan

Handyman & Equipment Installation Engineer

Victor was welcomed into the logistics and gym install team team in 2023.

New to gym installation and maintenance, Victor is extensively experienced in the involved applications via previous positions, interests and hobbies.

With a long standing passion for fitness and discipline, Victor has been embedded within the gym scene for many years and was the primary attraction to his current position.

In his free time he enjoys staying fit and healthy, and spending time with his family and friends.

Ashley Wright

Head of Gym & Spa Management

Ashley Wright is the Head of Gym & Spa Management at motive8. She is a leading industry expert in gym and spa management, working with gym and spa facilities all over the UK.

Ashley joined motive8 in 2019, initially as Gym & Spa Area Manager before being promoted into her current role. Ashley’s background encompasses Personal Training, working for prestigious brands such as Nuffield Health and Digme Fitness; as well as service management.

Ashley’s on the ground knowledge of the industry coupled with service management experience allows her to take a holistic view of motive8’s corporate and residential offerings. Ashley works closely with Area Managers to support them and their onsite teams in all aspects of running motive8’s managed residential facilities, ensuring residents receive a bespoke service at each of motive8’s gym and spas.

A key aspect of Ashley’s day to day role is to ensure a true community feel is achieved across all of motive8’s sites, creating more opportunities for residents to enhance their wellbeing journeys through events, workshops and specialist classes. She works closely with the Area Managers to support them and their onsite teams in all aspects of the running of motive8’s residential facilities.

Away from work, Ashley still teaches spin classes at a number of gyms across London and enjoys cooking and travelling.

Nick Sadler

Managing Director

Nick Sadler is the Founding Director of motive8 and has worked in the industry for 18 years. He has worked as the lead Gym and Spa consultant on projects across all sectors on a number of prestigious schemes with developers, architects, interior design agencies and managing agents. His expertise and consultancy on projects have ensured that the original design concepts are always met or exceeded whilst maintaining the future operational efficiency of the facility.

Jenny Cromack


Jenny is a leading expert in personal training and service delivery, with over 20 years’ experience in the gym and leisure industry.  

A driving force within motive8, Jenny set up motive8 North alongside motive8 Founding Director, Nick Sadler, in 2011, before merging with the wider motive8 brand in 2018.

A key facet of Jenny’s role is to run the motive8 Personal Training studio in Leeds. With extensive experience as a Personal Trainer, Jenny leads motive8’s inductions; working across a range of motive8’s portfolio including unmanned sites and placing a focus on first rate, bespoke service delivery as a key priority.

Jenny has also been instrumental in the development of motive8’s flagship commercial gym in York, Supersonic Fitness, which opened in 2018; as well as working with developers to enhance the functionality of motive8’s own booking system, which is used in both unmanned and manned facilities to manage classes and gym attendance to offer an affordable and effective solution for clients. Jenny brings an informed, progressive approach to business development and innovation for motive8, strengthened by her broad on the ground experience.

Before becoming a Director at motive8 Jenny owned and ran a personal training company for nearly four years, and has previously held positions as Health Club & Spa Manager, working within the Radisson Edwardian for Fitness Express, and Assistant Gym Manager for corporate law firm, Addleshaw Goddard.

A keen duathlete and triathlete who has represented Great Britain for her age group, outside of work Jenny loves spending time with family and friends, alongside her much-loved sports of cycling, swimming and running.

Sarah Cleland-Smith


Sarah has worked in the fitness industry for 17 years and is a co-owner of motive8. She has worked across all areas of the business, predominantly the day to day operations of the Gym and Spa facilities we currently manage on behalf of our clients. She has a key understanding of how design must meet operational requirements, ensuring the client and end user receive the best possible service and ongoing running costs are considered in the design. Her current focus is project management and financials.

Richard Moon


Richard is a leading industry expert in gym and spa maintenance and has been a Director and a co-owner of motive8 since 2016. He was responsible for setting up the maintenance department 15 years ago, starting with just one maintenance contract, to now, over 250 and has supported across multiple different roles throughout the company over this period.

Richard’s key responsibility at motive8 is to head up the maintenance division, which provide service and maintenance contracts for all motive8 equipped facilities to ensure longevity and value for the client. The maintenance department currently services in excess of 250 sites across the UK. Richard and his team work with the client and their onsite teams to provide H&S best practice, daily maintenance checks and aftercare packages.

Richard enjoys working at motive8 and within the leisure industry. Internally, he enjoys the people he works with and being part of a team. Externally, he finds it fulfilling to provide a service to his clients that makes him happy: “I am in a fortunate position that the decisions I make have an impact”.

Rob Clarke


Rob has worked in the leisure industry for nearly 20 years and brings with him a wealth of experience from the commercial leisure sector. He has provided consultancy to the majority of the country’s top developers, architects and property management companies, and is widely considered as one of the leading experts in residential leisure facilities.

Rob has been with motive8 for nearly seven years, having previously held a long-term position at The Hogarth Group’s The Park Club as Facilities Manager and Health & Safety Manager, before transferring to The Weybridge Health Club & Spa as Operations Manager. At motive8, Rob has been a key member of the team as a Gym & Spa Consultant, Pool & Spa Maintenance Manager, and latterly, Head of Operations, before moving onto the company’s board of directors in 2020. 

Rob’s key responsibilities at motive8 involve business development; overseeing the maintenance and management departments; and consulting on a variety of client projects. A values-driven professional, 2021 saw Rob work with the motive8 team to produce a series of social initiatives including the Empowering Performance ambassador programme, supporting athletes to reach their goals; carbon offsetting with Make It Wild; and creating a Wellbeing Committee for employees.

Sheena Sudera

Office Manager & HR Coordinator

Sheena joined the motive8 team in 2024, with over 15 years’ experience as a PA, her position is essential to the smooth running of the office. From managing office operations to supporting the heads of departments, Sheena’s role is to provide administrative support and develop relationships across all departments within the company.

Away from motive8, Sheena is a keen runner and qualified personal trainer, championing women in supporting them with their physical and mental health.

Nisha Hansewraj


Nisha graduated from university with a BA Hons in Accounting and Finance. Since then, she has gained significant experience and knowledge in all aspects of accounting and finance. She has joined our accounts team and is responsible for managing our books and preparing relevant financial reports for the business. She is very productive in challenging roles and as a self-motivated and meticulous person is willing to learn new skills and develop existing knowledge.

Outside of work, Nisha enjoys spending time with her family and exploring nature, especially taking scenic countryside walks. Cooking and baking is another of Nisha’s passions. 

Rolstone Langmead

Logistics & Gym Install Manager

Joining motive8 back in 2013 with the Gym & Spa department, Rolstone brought his experience from the customer service industry as well as 8 years’ experience as a personal trainer, the knowledge of which was spread into the department.

Rolstone now manages motive8 gym installations, ensuring equipment and design are delivered on time, safely and to a high standard. Providing H&S best practice and service support to our customers for all our products with the aid of our team of engineers. Rolstone is also working with our Maintenance team that currently services in excess of 200 sites in the UK to ensure longevity and value for the client.

Albert Spangenberg

Refurb and Technicians Manager

Albert started his career in facility maintenance and operations; he is now motive8’s Refurb and Technicians Manager. Albert launched a new department providing refurbished gym equipment to rent or buy which his background in mechanical engineering and manufacturing perfectly suits. He has worked in the fitness industry for the past 17 years. Albert is meticulous about how the equipment is maintained and is always looking at ways to improve the service motive8 can offer to their clients.

In his spare time he likes spend quality time with the family and work on mechanical projects.

Monika Blaziak

Gym Maintenance Co-ordinator Manager

Monika is the Gym Maintenance Co-ordinator Manager for all gym and pool/leisure equipment and has a background in maintenance and accounts administration for property development companies.

Monika’s skills include accounting, IT and of course the backbone of all busy administration roles, multi-tasking!

In her spare time she likes to spend her free time with her dog Cezar, walking through parks and forests and also likes to relax with a good book at the end of the day. Monika is also interested in psychology, which she is currently studying.

Kamil Reyad

Maintenance Admin Assistant

Kamil is a recent law graduate with a background in customer service and sales, working within the maintenance administration team. His skills include IT, Multi-tasking and customer service.

In his spare time he enjoys going to the gym, boxing, practicing MMA, playing guitar, reading and gaming.

Kim Mead

Gym & Spa Design

Kim’s career began in the property industry, where she spent a number of years working for both estate agents and developers, giving her a broad spectrum of experience and knowledge of how the industry functions.

Kim has worked alongside Nick for the past 11 years and transforms his ideas & designs into 3D visuals and 2D floor layouts via CAD & Visio in line with the architect’s requirements. She brings together all project documentation including equipment specifications, quotes & project drawings. Once finalised and agreed, Kim procures all the required equipment.

In her spare time, Kim loves playing tennis, cooking and travelling.

Sally Ottewell

Gym & Spa Consultant

Sally has over 10 years’ experience in sales. She has worked within the communications industry for 12 years and made the move to motive8 because of her love for all things fitness.

Sally is passionate about gym and spa design and takes pride in each individual project, whether that be residential, corporate, commercial or within the hotel market. She consults, designs layouts and provides product advice on schemes nationwide with a range of developers, designers, project managers and private clients.

She enjoys being active, is a regular gym goer and has practiced yoga since being a teenager, qualifying to teach it in 2014.

Josh Remedios

Gym & Spa Area Manager

Josh has worked for motive8 since 2013 after graduating from University of Portsmouth. He has worked his way up through the gym and spa department from Spa Operative, to Supervisor, Manager and now Area Manager. Josh works with the managers he oversees to provide facilities residents can enjoy as an extension to their homes as well as working closely with the estate management companies to ensure the standards at all sites remain high.

Outside of motive8 Josh is a keen on his travelling and adding to a growing list of countries he has visited as well as being passionate about his own fitness and football.

Lily Lamthong

Assistant design consultant

Lily joined the Gym & Spa design team in 2023. She is an architecture graduate with years of experience in architectural practice, now transferring her architectural skills into her role at motive8.

With her love for the gym and all things design, she provides creative and administrative support to the design team. This includes tasks such as creating 3D visualisations, 2D design drawings and quotes.

In her free time she enjoys cooking, travelling and weight training. She also volunteers her time to the Lao Association in the UK. 

Sarah Humphreys

Gym & Spa Area Manager

Sarah has worked in the leisure industry since the age of 17, starting out as a Fitness Instructor initially, then working as Sales Manager and then progressing to Club Manager. Sarah joined motive8 in January 2020 as a Gym and Spa Manager of our first Manchester gym & spa facility before being promoted into the role of Area Manager to oversee our growing operation in Manchester and the North West. Outside of motive8 Sarah enjoys running, Personal Training as well as spending time with family and friends.

Bradley Dixon


Bradley has worked in the leisure industry since the age of 16, starting as a Lifeguard and progressing through various management roles which also took him to working and living abroad both in Dubai and Australia. Bradley joined motive8 in June in 2020 as a Gym and Spa Manager before being promoted into the role of Area Manager.

Outside of motive8 Bradley also enjoys teaching various group exercise classes as well as spending time with friends and travelling.

Kate Halsall

Personal Trainer & Biomechanics Coach

Kate is an enthusiastic personal trainer, and qualified biomechanics coach, who specialises in posture and back care. She has worked in the industry since 2009, and her other specialisms include weight/fat loss, group exercise and working with specialist populations.

On top of that, Kate loves working with groups of pregnant ladies as she is also pre and post-natal qualified! Exercise is a real passion of hers, and she can often be found riding her bike, going to fitness weekends, walking in the lake district – and she’s recently started participating in cycling sportives.

When it comes to advice, she claims “give it a try – what’s the worst that could happen?” is her greatest piece.

Emily Forbes

Personal Trainer

Emily is motive8’s in-house nutritionist, and doesn’t stop at just being a great personal trainer. Her effective programming and nutritional advice is highly popular and aimed at helping clients achieve a variety of fitness goals.

Not only is Emily passionate about nutrition though, as she also loves strength training and Yoga. She takes a holistic approach to exercise, nutrition and health as a whole, which no doubt makes for a recipe for success across the board.

Her greatest piece of advice is simply “consistency…this will help you achieve your goals for the long term.”

Warren Killeen

Head of Maintenance

Warren started his career as an Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration engineer servicing a wide range of commercial and industrial systems. He has over 20 years’ experience in the FM industry working for major players across the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. With his technical and hands-on experience, Warren has always been happy to roll his sleeves up and get involved with works on sites when needed. In Warren’s spare time he enjoys DIY, quizzing and country walks. He is also involved with helping at his local Irish club organising charity fundraising nights and other events.

Alice Ward


Alice has been in the fitness industry for over 15 years, one of her first places of work being motive8! Since then, Alice has gone on to work for some of the leading U.K gym providers and most recently managed a large corporate gym in Surrey, implementing innovative fitness trends and overseeing the health and wellbeing of the clients, alongside opening a second corporate club and managing a team of personal trainers and instructors. A keen interest in health and fitness drives Alice outside of work, spending regular time working out in the gym, outdoors or at home.

Jo Hunt


Jo has worked within the fitness industry for 11 years, starting as a fitness instructor to personal trainer working her way through to being a general manager for the UK’s largest gym operator. 

With Jo’s extensive knowledge and experience within the commercial fitness industry, she is working with our managed London sites to maintain & build processes to streamline our operations alongside ensuring our sites are hosting events throughout each month to build a sense of community. 

In her spare time Jo enjoys going out for long country walks with her dog, playing rugby and teaching dance at her local dance school.

Maintenance and servicing

Protect your investment, meet compliance regulations and prevent costly breakdowns. Our experienced pool engineers schedule regular maintenance visits or can attend as requested for events such as preparing an outdoor pool for summer. Our maintenance covers all kinds of pool, spa and water features for:

Repair & Refurbishment

Keep your facilities looking fresh, modern and in pristine condition. motive8 can advise you on the latest trends in design, sustainability and efficiency to make sure your pool and spa continue to give your site a competitive advantage.

Emergency Response

Keep disruption to a minimum with our emergency call-out service. Our engineers will quickly run diagnostic tests and carry out repairs during the visit if possible. motive8 know how important it is to get your pool, spa or water feature back up and running as soon as possible.

Albert Spangdenberg

Rental and refurb manager

Albert started his career in facilities maintenance and operations and is now a Senior Engineer. With Albert’s background in mechanical engineering and manufacturing, he has recently headed up a new department within motive8 providing refurbished gym equipment to rent or buy. He has worked in the fitness industry for the past 17 years. Albert is very meticulous at how the equipment is maintained and always aims to improve on efficiency of how this service is provided.

In his spare time he likes spend quality time with his family and work on mechanical projects.

Filip Kozlowski

Services manager

Filip is responsible for the day to day running of our Inductions Department, and assists residents across our un-manned gym facilities with arranging their inductions and personal training sessions, as well as managing the group exercise schedules delivered across different schemes.

Outside of the day time job, Filip also delivers Personal Training both in-house as well as on a self-employed basis, which is how he originally entered the Fitness Industry space in 2016.

Always taking the opportunity to promote health and wellbeing whenever possible, a bit of advice from Filip– “The easiest way to always stay fit is having a kettlebell at hand!”



After working as a professional actor and dancer for almost a decade, Adrian moved into the fitness industry in 2015. He has moved through various fitness management roles within Operations and Customer Service, as well as being a fitness instructor. He joined Motive8 in 2020 as a Gym & Spa Manager before being promoted to Area manager.

Mental health is as important as physical health for Adrian. Outside work, he likes to meditate daily and also still dabbles in theatre through Movement Direction and Choreography.

Lily Lamthong

Assistant design consultant

Lily joined the Gym & Spa design team in 2023. She is an architecture graduate with years of experience in architectural practice, now transferring her architectural skills into her role at motive8.

With her love for the gym and all things design, she provides creative and creative support to the design team. This includes tasks such as creating 3D visualisations, 2D design drawings and quotes.

In her free time she enjoys cooking, travelling and weight training. She also volunteers her time to the Lao Association inn the UK.