How to Integrate Trends in Fitness with Hospitality

Reprinted: Hotel Executive | By: Bryan Green, Founder-CEO, Fitness Design Group

All Things ‘Fun’- ctional

Incorporating functional training into the hotel fitness center isn’t nearly as difficult as one might think. Largely the first step in re-balancing the fitness space is to thin the herd. Most notably, an abundance of single purpose strength training equipment crowds many of today’s space-challenged fitness centers. These machines can typically be utilized by only one user at a time, and the usefulness of the exercise itself is often limited as compared to equipment or accessory designed to support the increasing demand for compound movements.

For example, a bicep curl machine will provide guests with great focus towards the training of a key muscle in one’s arm. However, a rowing movement (performed today with a plethora of various and often lower cost equipment) will provide arm, shoulder, and back muscular recruitment. This approach to training more closely simulates activities that we do in everyday life. Think picking up a small child or pulling groceries out of the backseat of the car.

A skilled functional design specialist in fitness can assess your existing facility and make recommendations in line with today’s requirement for exercise balance. Guests are far more knowledgeable about what makes for a reasonable attempt at a “state of the art” fitness center vs. one that is simply packed with equipment. Functional Training requires space to move. It further requires a diverse offering of small equipment accessory such as medicine balls, stretching mats, and resistance tubing. Reducing larger format strength training equipment, while at the same time incorporating space saving functional storage for accessory, is a basic but fundamentally necessary step in this direction.

Equally important considerations when implementing functional training modalities into your fitness center, are safety and inclusiveness. Functional training is broadly defined, and for many, this may also include olympic based movements that require the use of large barbells. It is important to understand that without supervision, the fitness center remains a restricted environment and thus will never be everything to everyone. Suppress the urge to integrate equipment that may please some, but intimidate others where space is shared. With strong planning, even the most serious of workout enthusiasts can be satisfied without risking the alienation of other guests.


Technology Applied

When increasing space or supervision is a possibility, do not be afraid to consider equipment such as squat racks or kettlebells that otherwise might have been a no-no from a risk management perspective in years past. Once again, the average guest is more knowledgeable about exercise today and is increasingly seeking diversity in the equipment you offer, and the fun factor it presents.

Integrating technological advancement within the fitness industry is by no stretch new. Personal viewing screens have long and abundantly been added to treadmills and other cardio equipment. Many versions are now touch screen and offer web browsing, and even user account profiles that when established can be digitally transferred from venue to venue. However, for the most part, the fitness industry has significantly trailed at the rate of integrating technology readily available to most consumers in the form of their very own smartphones. At last, the times are changing.

One of the biggest opportunities to include the value of technology in fitness comes in the form of On-Demand services providing instructional guidance – just when you need it and where you want to use it. There is no place better than the hotel environment to prove this out. Those that travel and frequent hotel fitness centers would know that the last few years have witnessed an overcrowding of exercisers trying to hold up their smartphones during workouts to gain support of content that they presumably have downloaded or stream as part of a fitness App. At home this content can more easily be mirrored onto larger displays via devices such as Apple TV or Google Chromecast. However in the hotel gym, it can become quite a burden for those trying to workout via mobile device instructors, and at times, an annoyance or intrusion for those that are not.

Various platforms have emerged that serve to solve these issues in one of two primary ways. The first, are systems that provide virtual training classes for small groups (i.e., commonly found within a small segmented studio adjacent to the fitness center space that displays virtual classes from Yoga to High Intensity Interval Training). Second, via new personal training focused stations. Here guests receive one-on-one instructional workouts with equipment and displays that further weave in data from popular wearable sensors, thus customizing the experience for each user.

These new approaches often deliver the added benefits of a lower cost structure, with a higher accommodation of guests in limited space. When designed well, these areas can be tailored so that all equipment required to perform the guided functions are in the immediate proximity of where the exercise need occur. Whether creating ways for guests to interact socially, or allowing for them to more privately exercise without creating negative impact to others, the hotel can now begin to leverage many of the more traditional outcomes driven by larger health club operators.


Next Week: Part III: Where to Next? | Hotel Executive

Discover technological advancements in Fitness On Demand services. 

Read previous post:   Part I: How to Integrate Trends in Fitness with Hospitality


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