Knockout competition with a new take on fitness centers and gyms

Americans are encouraged to exercise and eat healthy from all corners… they want to do better, to feel better. A multitude of surveys and studies show that personal health is very important to the general population. There’s nothing more motivating than having fitness-centric amenities right in one’s community! A fully outfitted fitness center offering fitness classes and personal training, a swimming pool set up for laps or water aerobics, and much more are now available to a variety of properties regardless of budget.

The data shows that apartment renters, for one, want – and are willing to pay for – these amenities. In the recent NAA report Adding Value in the Age of Amenities Wars states renters rank fitness centers as the number one community amenity, and that 46% of renters are willing to pay more for a fitness center amenity. Further, it reports that pools, walking paths, bike storage and other fitness-related amenities, are also in high demand.

With all of that in mind, how can you leverage your fitness amenities to distinguish your property from the one next door or down the street? As we know, creating value in business is the name of the game – you must set yourself apart. Make prospects see your uniqueness, and in a more favorable light than your competitors. Given the latest fitness trends and our years of experience in the multi-family residential market, here are key trends and requirements that will drive tenants and owners to your door – and keep them there:

Space is critical.
You not only need enough space to accommodate the proper volume and variety of exercise equipment for your complex and tenant/owner demographics, but also multi-purpose space and areas to accommodate stretching, yoga and other floor-based workouts. Most equipment dealers and manufacturers can work with you to determine the space needs of your community.

Multi-purpose space.
This is where you can get the most bang for your buck and ramp up resident engagement. Space activation of both individual and group workouts happens here, and is important to your property. You can implement this strategy by hiring professional personal trainers/instructors to come in weekly, or set up an “unsupervised” virtual training kiosk like “Wellbeats.” Virtual training studios will allow your residents to exercise where they want, and when they want. They can train in all exercise disciplines perfect for all ages—youth to an active senior population. Additionally, you’ll need to outfit your studios with soft goods – stability balls, TRX straps, kettlebells, battle ropes, etc. Manufacturers such as: Ziva, TRX, Prism and others offer a wide variety of these items.

High-intensity training rigs (HIIT).
These multi-functional training systems are extremely versatile and are customizable to fit any space. Functional trainers are able to accommodate a wide variety of users and exercises using battle ropes, chin ups, dip handles, cable stations and more – plus storage shelf capabilities for your soft goods. The variety these units offer is what makes them such a popular choice. Treadmills are still the number one machine in popularity, but the industry trend is squarely on more multi-functional and cross-training methods and equipment. Exercisers want more strength and core training and they want a variety of activities to keep them engaged during workouts.

A new spin on aquatics.
The Aquatic Exercise Participation Report published in 2017 notes that aquatic exercise programs are on the rise. To set your property apart from your competitors, true activation of the aquatics complex is on the rise as well–formal classes in water aerobics, deep water running, “relaxing,” in-pool workouts on special floating rafts, even spin aquatics (using actual spin bikes) are making waves! Companies like American Pool are certainly pushing the envelope in the industry, and innovating new space activation services to the pool area.

Outdoor fitness solutions.
We’re beginning to see a trend to outdoor fitness equipment in the multi-family real estate channel, whether located by the aquatics complex, on the campus grounds (stand-alone area or alongside walking paths), or even on the rooftops of high-rises. Again, a strategy geared to differentiating one’s property from another, and creating innovative methods of repurposing unused space (roof tops). Life Fitness and Xccent Fitness are industry leaders in this category.

Whether you choose one, two, three or all of these options to upgrade your fitness amenities, the key is to drive the experience they create for the customer/tenant. You can’t just outfit the fitness center or pool with all the latest bells and whistles and expect people to come and choose your property over another. You need to devise creative strategies to activate these spaces. Activation of your amenities is truly the last frontier, encouraging the customer to come back again and again.

Keeping up on the latest trends, offering variety that lets users personalize their experience in the pool and fitness center, these are what will differentiate your property’s fitness amenities from all others.

This article originally appeared in The Amenity Issue of Aquatic Leader Magazine. For more articles on emerging swimming pool trend and property amenities read our latest issue of Aquatic Leader Magazine!