Over the past few years, gyms have really raised their game with well-executed interior design. Architect-designed gyms, which balance great design with functionality and are now common in New York and London, are slowly making their way to Sydney.
Take a look inside some of Sydney’s most innovative gym studios, and find out how spatial design connects to your training philosophy.
Flow Athletic is a luxury fitness club that resembles a modern warehouse, with wooden interiors and exposed scaffolding. The floor-to-ceiling windows create an appealing light-filled space to work out in.
This collaboration between owner Benjamin Lucas, Kate Kendall and Siren Designs won a Master Builders Association award for best interior fit-out in 2013. “We got our inspiration from a lot of US gyms and felt that, at the time, Sydney was lacking in design-focused fitness spaces,” says Lucas. “We wanted to create a health and fitness club that feels as if it’s in a day spa.”
The gym has three single-purpose rooms for each type of fitness class. A spin room is fitted out with state-of-the-art fitness bikes and dimmed lighting. Lucas recommends the bike-asana class, perfect for those pressed for time. It’s a 30-minute bike workout followed by a 30-minute yoga class. The yoga space looks over sky-high trees and the old sandstone walls that make up Paddington’s Victoria Barracks. The functional strength room is where things get creative – ropes hang from the ceiling to support stability and strength exercises, which are mixed with yoga. Classes range from beginners to advanced.
To recharge post-workout, head to Orchard Street Elixir Bar for a booster shot (aloe vera and chlorophyll) or a nut milk steamed with rich cacao, chai and dandelion.
Cross Fit Infinitum
The space is stripped back and minimal with large windows, naked concrete floors and whitewashed walls. “Before CrossFit became mainstream, trainers would typically find a grungy old warehouse because it’s cheap and spacious,” says manager Oliver Smith. “Most places are still inspired by this layout as it allows training focus and space for movement.”
While personal training is available, the gym has a heavy focus on CrossFit classes. These involve both physical exercise and mindfulness – and can be used for high-intensity competitive fitness or as a simple way of maintaining strength. Smith says, ”You don’t need fancy things for CrossFit – TVs are only a distraction and don’t allow a functional training space.” The open and light-filled room allows for fluid movement, clarity and a fresh, positive frame of mind.
Centennial Health Club
This gym’s bold colour scheme, tropical trees and 10-metre-high ceilings make it feel more like a luxury resort than a place for heavy sweating. The design was a joint effort by manager and director Andrew Bovill and architect Anthony Dukes. “We started off with the concept of making a space to work out and hang out,” says Bovill. The resulting open space is comfortable and lifts the spirit.
There are large-panelled glass doors, which open up completely to expose the front of the gym in summer. “We wanted to avoid the usual intimidating atmosphere at gyms. We call it serious training without the serious attitude,” says Bovill.
The training area is open, with equipment used in a routine cycle. Move from a Kangoo jumps class to TRX frames and then finish at the sprint track, all within the same room.
The gym has a full cardio suite with free-weight and running machines. Bovill says, ”It’s a place for playing and enjoying training.” If you’re looking for more adventure, try the rock-climbing wall, running stretch bands or rope ladder. There's also a gravity class and Marion runs kick club classes, which involve 45 minutes of lower and upper body work.
98 Riley Street Gym
Combining exposed brick walls, large windows and raised ceilings, 98 Riley Street feels as if you’re working out in a New York loft. The design by Blainey North & Associates promotes natural ventilation, light exposure and freedom of movement.
Manager Chris Feather, who has been involved in professional sports since an early age, says 98 Riley Street is “a functional training gym”. Its flexible layout can be tailored to suit the many different classes available.
Each personal trainer has their own specialty. The coaches can either challenge and guide determined athletes or provide training support for basic strength building.