When designing a fitness studio, there are several factors that come into play. The cost associated with the design and construction of a fitness studio is highly variable and depends on many factors, the most important of which include (1) the size of the studio, (2) the scope of the work (e.g., number of rooms and level of finish), (3) the condition of the space (shell or partially finished space), (4) whether an architect was retained, and (5) the time frame for completing the work. Architect fees typically are presented as a percentage of the total construction cost, ranging from as low as six percent to as high as 12%.
A well respected architect may also charge you a flat rate per square foot (a better approach to pricing). Depending on the scope of work they perform, this should be in the range of five to 10 dollars per square foot.
From a construction perspective, a very simple single space studio (e.g., reception, restrooms and workout area) with minimal finishes (e.g., floor surfaces, lighting, ceilings) may cost as little as $20 per square foot to construct, while a more complex studio (e.g., changing rooms, group studios, general workout area, rest rooms, lounge, reception, provision of new HVAC and electrical) with quality finishes (e.g., detailed millwork, quality floor surfaces, quality fixtures) might cost as much as $100 to $ 125 per square foot (note that costs in markets such as New York and California could be 50% to 100% higher). All told, if you plan properly, you should be able to design and build a quality studio for between $50 and $70 per square foot.
5 tips for creating a dynamic and functional fitness studio:
1. Define the program for your studio space.
It all begins with understanding how you will use the studio space to fulfill your brand promise. This requires knowing exactly what amenities, programs, and services you want to provide. Knowing exactly how you will use the space will establish what must happen with the design.
2. Don’t make them sweat for the wrong reasons.
We all know that clients mistakenly believe that the more they sweat, the better their workout was. Well, you want clients to perspire when they workout, but it should be a consequence of a properly prescribed exercise regime, not a physical environment that is improperly ventilated. One of the most critical elements of design is having good ventilation that allows the studio space to be maintained at the proper temperature and humidity, while also providing sufficient cross ventilation.
3. Don’t forget about lighting; it helps set the mood.
One of the more critical elements for creating the right environment for your studio involves lighting design. Lighting is more than just providing a sufficient level of lighting; it’s about creating a mood, generating energy and fulfilling the promise of the experience you are trying to create.
4. Incorporate space to gather.
If your fitness studio will target group exercise activities, such as barre, group cycling or yoga, then it is beneficial to create a social gathering space or pre-assembly area adjacent to the group exercise spaces that allows clients to socialize prior to and after taking classes. If your studio will focus on personal training, then you want to have a location where clients can gather if they choose. The social element is important in helping clients establish relationships with other clients.
5. Don’t forget to leave space to store your accessories.
There is nothing worse that entering a fitness studio and having to immediately engage in agility movements to avoid stumbling over accessories (e.g., hand weights, dumbbells, weight plates, medicine balls) that are scattered throughout the space. Creating sufficient storage space will ensure that your employees and clients don’t have to dodge items left on the floor, and will also ensure that your studio presents itself professionally to prospective clients. Having sufficient storage space can lessen the costs associated with liability claims resulting from client’s and/or employees injuring themselves as the result of exposure to improperly stored equipment. Ideally, you want to allocate about 5% to 10% of your entire space to storage.