Although a great fitness center can help attract and retain residents, a number of multifamily property owners who have invested large sums to install fitness centers are frustrated to see them underutilized. One major development trend nationwide is an emphasis on building community, whether it be through communal spaces, on-site events or a multifunctional app with a communication platform. At the same time, group fitness classes like CrossFit, SoulCycle and yoga continue to grow their devoted bases. Savvy multifamily property managers have begun to realize that merging the two can fill their gyms. These are the top five things property managers can do to foster a sense of community.
1. Incorporate Networked Fitness Equipment
Networked fitness equipment leverages technology to integrate group classes, personal training, contests and more. Opti-Fit partners with Matrix, which has a platform with a social feed that allows members to collectively motivate and congratulate each other on meeting milestones. It can promote gym awareness, engagement and social connections. The platform can capture data from fitness trackers and smart equipment, or import fitness logs from other sites so individuals are spared manual data re-entry. Through the app, members can get guest passes, push notifications, and class and gym schedules.
2. Provide Equipment That Promotes Group Training
One of the surest ways to activate and mobilize a fitness center is to provide equipment that allows for group and class-based training, such as the customized TRX Studio Line, indoor group cycles and yoga mats. Property managers can schedule and tailor group workouts to have broad appeal and cater to all ages, interests and abilities. This can mean regularly offering beginner or introductory classes while varying the intensity, modality and targeted muscle groups of workouts. Keeping track of attendance and distributing surveys to residents can help programmers determine members’ favorite teachers and styles. Classes beamed to TVs with virtual instructors are becoming increasingly popular, especially where real trainers are in short supply. A subscription to online classes can be a cost-effective way to incorporate group fitness, though participants may not get the same level of individualized attention.
3. Employ A Wellness Director
Fitness directors are responsible for ascertaining residents’ workout preferences and designing a suitable schedule of classes. They can also help with gym upkeep and ensure it continues to meet residents’ needs. This director’s salary can be passed along to residents in the form of an incremental rent bump.
4. Offer On-Site Personal Training
Working with an on-site trainer is convenient for residents and great for beginners and people with injuries or other limitations. Trainers can help people lift with proper form, learn new exercises to do independently, create a weekly exercise regimen and, when appropriate, provide nutritional support.
5. Sponsor Contests For Residents
Healthy competition is one of the best ways to make fitness engaging and fun. Equipment like Expresso Bikes use mounted screens to offer an immersive experience, display a live leaderboard and give bikers access to a number of challenges. Wellness directors can host pushup, pull-up, plank or even hula-hoop competitions to spark people’s competitive drives. They can also simulate a “Walk Across America” race series with treadmills, or a leg-burning “climb the Empire State Building” with climbers. They can open the contest to an entire market to attract new tenants. They can also charge a nominal entry fee and donate the proceeds to a local charity.