Club Design with the Member Experience in Mind

ONESWEAT recently designed its new flagship facility using the member perspective as its starting point.

In September 2021, Jordan and Anabel Strouse, co-owners of ONESWEAT (formerly SWEAT 1000), unveiled the company’s rebranding and redesign at its new 2,900-square-foot studio in River Oaks, an upscale part of Houston, Texas. ONESWEAT, which currently has two clubs in the Houston area, is highlighting a new design approach with the River Oaks club.

In this case, the Strouses, to some degree, reverse-engineered the process, working from the member experience forward. What came out of it was a look mirroring social media trends and a focus on improving the heart of its already successful programming.

Tracking the Trends

ONESWEAT tends to cater to hip, young professionals, and social media is certainly a big part of how the demographic communicates and gathers, at least virtually.

In explaining the rationale behind the overall look, Jordan Strouse told CultureMap Houston magazine, “The River Oaks facility is a commitment to our customers. The room and lobby design are so customer—and Instagram—friendly, and really breathes life into the redesigned nature of SWEAT, reflecting on the strong and refined nature of our clients. We strive to continue to be an anchor in the Houston community.”

When asked about the inspiration for the design, he defers to his partners.

Equipment Club Design With Member Experience In Mind Treadmill Console Screen Technogym Limited Use Column

“You’d have to ask my wife, Ana, and our creative designer, Sarah Jawda, of Jawda + Jawda Design,” he says with a laugh. “They started using the phrase. In a general sense, the goal was to create small recognizable pockets, areas, and walls. Whether it’s a sign, LED light, our blue lighting, or even the tile we choose on the lobby walls, we wanted to focus on those items that, even in the background of a picture, feel recognizable, like ‘oh yeah, I remember that place.’ Those design cues play throughout the building and our business in general. Overall, our team did a fantastic job marrying wood, raw steel, concrete, and white walls to create a modern, inviting atmosphere.”

Beyond social media, the design accounts for members’ dependence on mobile devices. For now, and the foreseeable future, Strouse notes, ONESWEAT needs to plan for a business where 90% of transactions and bookings occur on a mobile device.

“That same mobile device travels through our lobby and into our training room—in fact, we encourage it—on a daily basis,” he adds. “Not planning for that device to be an essential part of the business and, ultimately, design is not putting the customer first. I mean, it is the second-hardest thing to replace that you carry with you daily, car keys are still really hard to replace for some reason and every business plans for those.”

Supporting the Program

ONESWEAT dubs its program the “Ultimate Workout,” and offers a single, simple promise: Burn up to 1,000 calories in 50 minutes.

Each class is evenly divided between two training components. Members spend the first half of the class on Technogym treadmills: sprinting, climbing, running, and sometimes recovering. The second half takes place on the floor, working with weights. Intervals are short and intense; each one works a different muscle group for a full-body workout.

Equipment Club Design With Member Experience In Mind Workout Room Technogym Limited Use Column

In terms of optimizing the member experience, the Strouses spent a great deal of time determining the right treadmills for the space, eventually settling on 21 Technogym SkillRun 5000 smart connected treadmills, each with a 15-inch touchscreen display and sled mode feature.

The decision, says trainer Blake Wise, came down to the ways the SkillRun supports member workouts and helps them excel.

“It’s the speed with which the equipment works,” he says. “They’re so quick in adjusting to incline, speed, and recovery. They help members achieve max effort every single time and allow them to push past their limitations.”

The Skillrun also has a dedicated, flexible “Bootcamp Mode” with a user interface that works to support the specialized workout experience ONESWEAT offers.

A Collaborative Experience

For its part, Technogym worked with the ONESWEAT team to understand its unique programming—something done with every client—along with Jordan and Ana’s vision for the future. The Technogym team determined that the features of the Skillrun could improve the trainer and member experience. For the River Oaks studio, Technogym was involved prior to its opening and supported the process with technical layouts, 3D renderings, education, and marketing.

That initial work was key to the final design.

“The great thing about working with Technogym’s wellness design team was that we could pull from their knowledge working with gyms from around the world on layout, schematics, etc.,” Strouse says. “We didn’t have to do a lot of explaining for them to get a handle on the primary goal. That said, we tinkered with the design multiple times with different configurations before we spent a single second on the design aspect. The training facility had to work first.”

Equipment Club Design With Member Experience In Mind Row of Treadmills Technogym Limited Use Column

Getting What They Were After

“Our members have been blown away by the digital display, technology, and experience that the SkillRun provides,” says Strouse. “When we couple that with our customer experience on the front end and our dynamic training methods, it creates a beautiful marriage between ONESWEAT and Technogym.”

“ONESWEAT and Technogym offer the perfect combination to achieve your best high-intensity, interval training workout,” echoes ONESWEAT member Calsie Boyd.

While Strouse, his team, and ONESWEAT’s members are happy with the end result, it all started with one concept.

“Member experience must be top-of-mind for any effort in this business,” Strouse concludes. “Attracting, interesting, training, and retaining clients daily is the business. We worked with both Technogym’s design team and a top local designer team in Houston to brainstorm diverse ways to set up our entire facility, but every decision was made by first asking: ‘How would the member feel?’”

To learn more about the Technogym Skillrun and its other products, visit their website.

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Jon Feld

Jon Feld is a contributor to Club Business International.