Trends in condo fitness facilities and programs

Cater to the emerging millennial cohort with the right 'playground' and professionals
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
By Mark J. Stables

The landscape of condo fitness facilities and programming is evolving. The 1980s-era aerobics classes, stair climbers, ab-rollers, and recreation management are in retrograde, and a new generation of health-obsessed condo dwellers has ushered in the need for innovation.

Condo demographics and exercise trends

As urbanites increasingly opt for the conveniences of condo living, today’s residents seek the best in health and fitness amenities as well as challenging and engaging new programs. Although condo dwellers still aim to get healthy and fit, they are demanding a new approach to exercise in residential environments.

An emerging, younger condo demographic wants affordable group fitness classes such as yoga, Pilates and boot camps. These workout options have made exercise more enjoyable, accessible and social, marking a shift away from traditional health club memberships and fitness services such as personal training.

Though this dominant condo demographic is driving fitness and technology innovation, the aging baby boomers still hold stock in private health and fitness services. The latter demographic desires more focused personal attention for post-rehab, managing injuries, health contraindications, and disease prevention.

How recreation programming has changed

In the 1980s, a contracted recreation director who had limited fitness knowledge and facilitated bus trips or billiards clubs may have addressed the general needs of residents. But today, condo dwellers are highly educated and sophisticated and expect those working with them to have the same type of expertise in their field.

The next generation of fitness consulting companies strives to cultivate healthy communities by taking a personalized approach. It’s an approach that addresses the new era of condo ‘lifestyle,’ while remaining mindful of condo fees.

These companies tailor lifestyle programming to a building’s demographics and its residents’ unique interests. A few examples of this type of programming include celebrity chef or nutritionist-led cooking classes; a wine, whiskey or scotch tasting with a sommelier; and painting classes for kids. These are only a few programs that can help promote a social community around a condo’s particular lifestyle.

Supporting programming with the right facilities

It’s hard to address the health and fitness needs of a building’s demographics without the proper ‘playground.’ Consulting companies work with builders at the early stages of development to create condo fitness amenities that can rival big-box gyms. They also modify and redevelop existing, older spaces to better suit a building’s demographics and its specific programming needs.

With the right playground, a condo can offer an array of health and fitness programming to residents — from TRX Suspension Training to spinning and from group fitness classes to functional training. The newest generation of condo dwellers are not only seeking the most progressive health and fitness programming, they’re also demanding fitness equipment that brings exercise back to basics (think CrossFit-style training).

Achieving the proper playground is relatively straightforward. The modern gym provides ample well-lit space that addresses acoustic challenges. The modern gym is also outfitted with modern equipment set up for all ages (again, knowing the building demographic is paramount). Complementing these facilities with health and fitness professionals can help a building’s residents maximize their workout potential.

Altogether, these features make a building more attractive to potential buyers and tenants, and increase resale values. At the same time, they address the health and fitness needs of existing residents.

Since condo demographics are shifting, and exercise trends along with them, it now makes even more sense to invest in exceptional gym spaces that can be programmed to foster healthier, more vibrant communities.

Mark J. Stables is the founder and CEO of Benchmark Group & Movement Haus. A renowned fitness and wellness expert with more than 17 years’ experience in the industry, Mark collaborates with condo developers and architecture and interior design firms to cultivate healthy communities internationally. Reach Mark at or 416-428-3536.