“We’re seeing a big change in the philosophy of high-end home gyms,” says Brian Biglin, the founder at Calabasas, Calif.-based Biglin Architectural Group.
“It used to be that you’d get free weights, a multigym, a treadmill and you’d be done, but we’re seeing a shift to functional and specialized training.” Today, in addition to the usual cardio machines and dumbbells, there’s increasing demand for specialty areas such as Pilates, spinning, yoga, stretching, workout balls, kettlebells and kickboxing bags.
“The trend is toward having lots of specialized spaces,” Biglin says. “The key is to design it as a space where you want to spend time—natural light, mirrors and a great sound system are imperative. With cardio equipment, since you’re spending a lot of time doing a repetitive motion, set yourself up with a view looking outside.”
In addition to the design and equipment, the specialty add-ons are where you can truly create a unique environment.
“Honestly, it’s really becoming a spa as much as a gym,” Biglin says. Dry saunas, steam showers and indoor whirlpool baths are popular options.
One of Biglin’s clients created a Bikram yoga studio (humidified and heated to a steamy 105 degrees). Others request hyperbaric chambers, which pro athletes use to heal their bodies after they play.
A few of Biglin’s latest projects include halotherapy rooms, a concept popularized in Europe in which equipment blows in microparticles of salt to treat asthma and other internal problems. But what really takes salt therapy to the next level is the design of the rooms themselves—possibly including comfortable chairs and backlit, pink Himalayan salt blocks as decor on the walls.
Ideally, the gym can open to a courtyard. “Even though you’ve got a nice gym, it’s great to do some of your strength training outside, whether it’s doing push-ups and kettlebells, or hitting a big tire with a sledgehammer.”