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.

Finally

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.

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Alice Ward

Operations

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.

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.

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

DIRECTOR

Jenny’s specialism’s are fat loss and endurance training, she has a proven record in helping clients to lose weight, change their body image and simply feel amazing about themselves! Having seen what we can achieve with clients on a 1:1 basis, Jenny transfers these skills to be able to impact the health and wellbeing of corporate clients and groups.

A keen duathlete and triathlete, Jenny has recently started representing Great Britain for her age group. So, if she isn’t at work she will be cycling, swimming or running somewhere!

Sarah Cleland-Smith

DIRECTOR

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

DIRECTOR

Richard has headed up the motive8 maintenance team for the past 12 years and became a Director and co-owner of the business in 2016. He provides service contracts and maintenance for all motive8 equipped facilities to ensure longevity and value for the client. The maintenance department currently services in excess of 200 sites in the UK. He works with the client and their onsite team to provide H&S best practice which includes daily checks of the facility. Richard also manages motive8 gym installations, ensuring equipment and design are delivered on time, safely and to a high standard.

Rob Clarke

DIRECTOR

Rob has worked in the leisure industry all of his working life and brings with him a huge amount of experience from the commercial leisure sector. He has provided consultancy to the majority of the country’s leading developers, architects and property management companies and is widely considered as one of the leading experts in residential leisure facilities.

Rob’s role at motive8 is a varied one and involves business development, overseeing the maintenance and management departments whilst also consulting on a variety of client projects.

Outside of the office, you will often find Rob walking his beloved Labrador in Windsor Great Park. Rob also enjoys travelling and spending time with his family.

Nikki Spratley

IQ coordinator

Nikki has always had a passion for helping people and after spending a number of years working in and running the Gym & Spa department, an opportunity to develop and grow motive8’s training division presented itself and so Nikki moved from overseeing the Gym & Spa team and managed sites to developing the training of our own team along with those from outside of motive8.

Outside of motive8, Nikki continues to work at a sports massage clinic helping her clients with various injuries along with making time for her own fitness and wellbeing.

Margaret Hamya

Bookkeeper

Margaret is our bookkeeper and joined the company in March of 2017.
She enjoys working on multiple projects within the finance department and uses her professional qualification in Finance and Accounting to generate the financial reports used by different stakeholders within the company.

In her spare time she gets involved in different life activities like spending time with family and friends and enjoys cooking.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Emma Jackson

ASSISTANT DESIGN CONSULTANT

Emma has recently joined the Gym and Spa Team, after graduating from the University of Nottingham with a masters in Product Design and Manufacture Engineering.
She is experienced in CAD, creating 3D visuals and has extensive design knowledge, which she’s now using to design gym and spa facilities.

In her spare time Emma enjoys travelling, cooking and spending time with her family and dogs.

Ashley Wright

Head of Gym & Spa Management

Ashley moved back to the UK after working as a singer in production shows around Europe. Starting in the fitness industry as a Personal Trainer, Ashley joined Motive8 as an Area Manager in 2019 before moving into the role of Head of Gym and Spa Management. Ashley oversees the Gym and Spa Department ensuring a high standard of service is met for the residents and motive8’s clients.

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

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.

Lauren Alford

Gym & Spa Area Manager

Starting in the fitness industry as a Personal Trainer with a specialism for pre and post-natal exercise, Lauren moved into management and now oversees the running of several of motive8’s fully managed gym & spa contracts. Lauren deals with the day-to-day operations of these sites whilst ensuring a high standard of service is met for the residents and motive8’s clients.

Away from work, Lauren is a holistic therapist and yoga teacher. Having previously competed in multiple martial art disciplines, she still enjoys practicing them as part of her weekly workout routine.

Will Thompson

GYM & SPA AREA MANAGER

Will has worked in the leisure industry for 12 years. During this time, he has held many different roles all over the country in many different sectors of the leisure industry.
Will joined the motive8 team in August 2019 as Gym and Spa manager where he excelled and has since been promoted into the area manager role.

In his spare time Will enjoys spending time with friends and family and open water swimming in Shepperton lakes.

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.”