FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

 GYM DESIGN

Q. How much space would I need for a biofit gym or studio?

Anything from +/- 50sq. metres to 1000sq. metres, indoor or outdoor. Smaller spaces lend themselves to more focused personal and small group training while larger spaces open up opportunities for zoning the usage of the floor plate via the choices of equipment and materials. A larger outdoor space would mean we can build obstacles into the terrain and 'go big', 120 sq. metres is a good size indoor studio (not including communal areas) and 300sq. metres will give you a full gym with changing areas. A gym is a place for solo practice, for example in an office or apartment building, while a studio is all about group classes rather than solo practice.

Q: Are you architects / interior designers or more like Creative Directors for your gyms?

Typically we deliver 'concept designs' with a floor plan and images. The area we offer most input on is the training space / studio itself, here we will specify the flooring, lighting, wall decorations, plants and healthy technology (e.g. air purifier) as well as all the fitness equipment.

For the gym's communal areas such as reception, bathrooms, changing rooms and a ‘health bar’ for example, we offer Creative Direction services for a local architect / interior designer / general contractor (chosen to match the complexity of the project) to implement. This is ultimately a way to reduce costs for each affiliate partner whilst ensuring we deliver a gym that is truly biofit in look and feel.

Upon request, we can also work with our own European architects or interior designers to deliver a project from start to finish, however this comes with its own cost implications.

Q. Would you consider an outdoor location for a biofit gym?

Yes, we design outdoor gym spaces too, in fact this type of set-up is a great opportunity to practice what we preach by training outdoors in the open air and incorporating far more endurance work than a machinery-free indoor space could allow for. Outdoor spaces mean we cannot control the environment in the same way as we do indoors, so air quality, temperature, ventilation, shading, lighting and so on need to be taken into extra consideration.

Q. How do you select the plants in a biofit gym and how many are there? Do they need maintenance? 

We select oxygenating plants for indoor use as well as indigenous plants as a priority, it's all about purifying the air, reducing pollutants in the gym space and creating a sense of place. Generally these plants will need watering 1-2 times each week (a receptionist can do that) and we recommend a gardener visits every week or two to check on the health of the plants.

Q. Does a biofit gym need natural light or could it be located underground?

A space without any natural light cannot sustain living plants but there are ways around this, for example using preserved moss instead. Everything is possible in other words but our preference is for a space with abundant natural light for plants.

Q. What type of ceiling does the gym need? 

In terms of ceiling height, we recommend 3 metres minimum, 4 metres even better, ideally with exposed structural beams that we can use to hang ropes, bars and plants from. 

Q. What is biophilic design?

Biophilic design reunites indoor and outdoor worlds in urban architecture and interiors. Typically found in residential, hotel and office buildings, hospitals and retail stores; not previously found in gyms. Think natural plants, textures, colours, visuals, shapes, scents, sounds and materials. This means the exclusion as far as possible of everything else, meaning no metal, machinery or flashing LCD screens. We apply biophilic design to our gym concept - a world first as far as we can tell! Biophilia also gave us our brand name biofit.

Q. How much should I budget for the fit-out of an affiliate gym?

We are happy to offer guidance on budget requirements and the various costs involved in setting up an affiliate gym, it really depends on the condition of the space we inherit, what type of equipment is needed for the specific clientele, whether there is natural light in the space, and so on. Please contact us to discuss in more detail as we are able to give approximate fit-out, equipment and fee estimates upon request.

Q. What is biofit’s stance on social and environmental responsibility?

We take a mindful approach to the selection of all our materials, prioritizing the natural and sustainable wherever possible. We are especially conscious of bringing any products or materials with airborne Volatile Harmful Compounds (VOCs) into the gym space so we avoid these carefully. We therefore choose to work with suppliers who have responsible business practices. The fitness industry in particular has a long way to go in this sense but we aim to lead by example. 

TRAINING

Q. What are the benefits of the biofit training style?

It develops new skills and neurological pathways; it prompts higher commitment levels a.k.a 'sticky factor'; it improves joint mobility and it is above all else fun, inclusive, motivating and interactive. Clients feel more connected to nature, less stressed and of improved mood after training with us (see our research results here for evidence of this).

Q. What size of group class do you recommend?

Generally in terms of teaching skill-based classes like biofit (unlike say, a spinning class), anything over 15 or 16 people is difficult to control and the coach will not be able to give as much personal attention to each student. Anything is possible of course but if we're talking ideal solutions, we recommend offering some combination of Personal training (one-on-one), Small Group Training (from 2 to 6 pax) and Group Class (1-15 pax). 

Q. Where does the coaches training that you offer affiliates take place and who delivers it?

The 2 or 3-day training in the biofit method is delivered directly on-site to all of your coaching team. To economize on travel costs, we usually aim to combine the coaching session with the completion of the fit-out of the gym interiors in order to lend a hand with that process too. Whenever possible, the training is delivered by the company founder, Matt Morley.

Q. Do you offer any assistance with class programming for affiliate gyms?

Yes, putting together your first weekly schedules is very much something we can help you with, on the basis that it will likely need to be adapted over the first few months after opening anyway. We also offer a starter pack of 30 x pre-programmed biofit classes to give your new coaching team time (e.g. one month) to learn the method by following our examples. For those in need of further on-going support, we can provide additional class template packs for a small fee. 

Q. Is biofit only a class-based concept or can it function as a more traditional gym? 

Personal training and group classes provide an efficient means of communicating a coach’s expertise and a cohesive method with long-term skill-development in mind; this guarantees the highest levels of motivation, engagement and fun factor for clients. Wherever possible, we therefore advise incorporating at least an element of teaching into a biofit space. Equally, by adapting the equipment selection to suit the planned operational strategy, the space can also function as more of a gym without group classes.

Q. Do you operate any gyms yourselves?

No, our business is about providing a complete turnkey solution to a network of business partners who open their own biofit gyms and fitness studios. We design the interiors, select the equipment and train the coaches in our class method, then offer ongoing assistance and input during the year. So it really is a partnership but ultimately, the gym/studio is yours to own and operate. 

Q. Do you help with the recruitment of coaches at an affiliate gym?

Yes, we provide a 1-page document with specific advice on what to look for in potential coaches in terms of qualifications, training experience and so on. We are also happy to offer our affiliate partners honest feedback based on our review of a coach's online profile. The good news is, we have very clear ideas about what to look for, which makes things much easier!

EQUIPMENT

Q. What equipment would I need to buy for my affiliate gym?

We work with each affiliate to select the right equipment to match the size of the space, the demands of the local target market and the particular vision / preferences of the gym owner. A smaller space will need to be multi-functional with as much open floor space as possible meaning large wooden strength equipment would be less appropriate, while a hotel or office gym set-up would of necessity include some cardiovascular equipment and free weights. When wooden equipment is part of the package, we collaborate with a local carpenter using indigenous, sustainable wood chosen for its smooth finish. As a general rule, wherever possible we source from local suppliers in order to reduce costs and environmental impact.

Q. Would you be open to including weights and cardio machinery in your equipment selection?

In order to maintain a cohesive concept, we do not use metal weight machines however we understand that a hotel, residential or office gym in particular needs to be relevant for as wide an audience as possible rather than too specific so yes we would incorporate free-weights made of natural materials and no-tech cardio equipment in keeping with the biofit ethos via our preferred suppliers.

Q. Do you use any technology or machinery at all?

We like the no-tech approach but we are not technophobes, we love our iPhones! We also appreciate a serious sound system and streaming our own playlists from Spotify. Equally, there are a number of excellent wellness-tech products on the market such as iodizers, humidifiers and aromatherapy vaporizers that can all make positive, unobtrusive additions to a biofit gym.

Q. What kind of maintenance does your natural gym equipment need?

A biofit gym removes all gadgets, technology and metal parts, meaning there is far less that can go wrong than in a gym full of machinery and wifi-enabled touch screens, etc. The strength and conditioning equipment we source from trusted suppliers is all pretty much bullet-proof, not much can go wrong with a sandbag, rope or wooden beam and, even if it does after five years of hard use and abuse, they are easy, low budget items to replace. For cardiovascular equipment such as rowing machines / bicycles / treadmills again, we buy from a trusted network of professional suppliers that offer maintenance services and guarantees. Generally though, by focusing on bodyweight training, this reduces the amount of maintenance the gym will require.

Q. How much should I budget for the equipment in an affiliate gym?

A. We are happy to offer guidance on budget requirements and the various costs involved in setting up an affiliate gym. Please contact us to discuss in more detail.

 

BUSINESS

Q. How do you charge for your services?

We charge a fixed fee for our time working on the interior design of the gym, as well as sourcing, selecting and in some instances designing the most suitable equipment for the gym once we have understood the local target market, the owner’s vision / background and the size of the space available.

The third deliverable is a 2 or 3-day on-site coaches training session where we introduce the biofit training method in detail and hand over the training manual.

There is an annual affiliate fee that secures access to use of the biofit name, our scientific research, music playlists, training methodology, class formats, discounts on biofit equipment and regular updates to the training manual, plus monthly training tips and business advice.

Q. Is biofit a gym or a fitness studio?

We interpret a "gym" to be a general fitness facility where clients workout largely independently, perhaps with the occasional personal training session; examples of this include most hotel and office gyms. A "fitness studio" on the other hand is based around coaching, whether one-on-one or in larger class formats. Biofit can flex in either direction according to each affiliate’s requirements but we always recommend some kind of a coaching / class component if possible.

Q. What type of clientele does biofit appeal to most?

One of our strongest selling points is the wide appeal of the concept, far wider than a classic gym environment with its rows of machinery, poorly chosen music and uninspiring atmosphere. Everybody connects with nature on some level, our equipment is easy to use and our training method is fully scaleable, from absolute beginner all the way up to advanced. This opens the door to attracting those who prefer training outdoors rather than in an underground box for example, or those who simply dislike the atmosphere of most standard gym experiences. Equally, biofit appeals directly to anyone who participates in outdoor activities by offering them an alternative gym concept that talks their language.

Q. How long will it take to set up and launch a biofit gym from start to finish?

If you have your investment lined up already, a space that is in good condition that does not require any structural changes and you are prepared to start work, we could have a gym in place within 6-8 weeks but we generally recommend planning for 3-4 months, or more if the gym is part of a larger project. 

Q: What local suppliers or services will I need to engage with when creating a biofit gym?

As with any business, a good lawyer and accountant is essential but for this specific project you will also need a resourceful carpenter to help with the joinery / woodwork and potentially building some wooden equipment; a gardener or landscaping company to supply and maintain the plants, moss or living wall systems in the gym; a freelance architect / small architect firm should there by any structural changes to make to the site you have chosen for the gym such as removing walls, installing new bathrooms or creating additional windows; and finally a general contractor to source local workers who will lay flooring, paint walls, install lighting, fix plumping and so on.