23 Sep 2021 World leisure: news, training & property
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Health Club Management
2021 issue 1

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Leisure Management - David Gutstadt


David Gutstadt

Fitler Club is Philadelphia’s newest private lifestyle club, boasting premium health and wellness facilities, along with a hotel, workspaces and refined culinary venues. Steph Eaves talks to the club’s founder about his creation

Gudstadt envisioned Fitler Club as a second home for a new generation of leaders
The three-lane lap pool is available for those learning to swim and athletes training for a triathlon
Fitler’s fitness club is fitted out with Life Fitness, Peloton, Concept 2 and Woodway equipment
Gutstadt designed Fitler Club to offer everything members could want
The premium fitness facility spans 25,000 square feet
Members can train in the club before working or taking a meeting
The club is designed to be a ‘home away from home’ for members
Art from local artists is featured in the club
The contemporary style of the club aims to appeal to its young, diverse demographic
Fitler contains a multitude of different spaces for members to enjoy
Members are drawn to the premium look and feel of the club

What was your original vision for Fitler?
When I first envisioned the dream that was to later become Fitler Club, it was a second home for a new generation of leaders. A space with a fresh focus on diversity and culture, and where all needs could be met under one roof, with amenities like world-class health and wellness facilities, elevated dining options, co-working space and much more. I wanted to enlist professionals who are renowned in their field.

In what ways is the club designed to enhance wellness and fitness?
The Field House at Fitler Club unfolds over 25,000 square feet and is one of the best equipped gyms in the US. It offers a multitude of fitness classes, private training – all trainers have earned college-level degrees in exercise science – and the best fitness equipment members could want, all under one roof.

We have state-of-the-art studios for spinning, meditation, Pilates and other cardio classes, a climbing wall, a 75-foot three lane lap pool with hot and cold plunge pools, HD golf simulator, giant turf training area and a lounge. A fully equipped spa and salon also reside in the Field House, offering body work and men’s and women’s grooming services.

Which equipment suppliers have you chosen to use in the fitness centre?
The Field House is equipped primarily with Life Fitness, Peloton, Concept 2 and Woodway equipment. We have a state-of-the art ‘connected’ spin studio with ‘Coach-by-color’, a boxing studio and a fully outfitted turf training area with sleds, battle ropes, kettlebells and more.

What makes Fitler stand out from the competition?
We present The Club as what the city looks like today, with a focus on diversity and culture. The Club reflects a new generation of urban sophisticates who don’t want to separate social life, work and wellness. Our members can find everything they’re looking for here, from a weekday morning workout class to a weekend date night at The Dining Room followed by our speaker series.

Our 24/7 work/stay/play atmosphere is unlike anything else in the world and it’s led by the best in the business, like internationally-renowned chef Marc Vetri who oversees our culinary programme and certified personal trainer and nutritionist Jayel Lewis who spearheads the extensive health and wellness programming.

Your membership fees increase with a member’s age – why?
Our target audience isn’t so much a demographic but a psychographic. We’re looking for individuals who are seeking a community and who live a modern-urban lifestyle. Younger applicants often fit the bill for membership, but don’t have the financial means for it. Our decision to offer a cost break is to allow them an equal opportunity for membership.
This is part of a larger Fitler Club initiative to help people who should be a part of the community but don’t have financial means. We are constantly looking for ways to bring people in from the community for mentorship and job opportunities. Our most recent initiative is our Artist in Residence programme, which features work from 19 artists who have strong ties to Philadelphia.

How many members will you take on?
We reached our initial membership goal in under six months and currently have a waitlist of applicants that we are starting to review. Our membership process is intentional and deliberate to ensure our community is diverse in background, profession and thought, and includes established leaders, emerging leaders, up-and-comers and intriguing, high-achieving people. The membership process starts with an online application and includes an in-person meeting as well as an orientation with other prospective members.

How are you dealing with the pandemic?
We launched several initiatives under the ‘Fitler Comes To You’ umbrella to keep our members engaged and connected. These programmes offer continued value by creating a ‘community beyond the club’. They include extensive virtual programming – including culinary events, fitness classes with our trainers, speakers series, kids programming, etc. There’s also Fitler To Go, which is take-out dining, and Field House To Go, which provides our members with weights and other exercise equipment to keep them moving during this time. Our team continues to develop content and look for creative ways to stimulate participation through email as well as through our social media platforms.

The team is focused on supporting employees and our members to get through lockdown with initiatives such as the Fitler Club Family Food Pantry, which we launched to alleviate the financial burden of groceries for both current and laid off employees.

The programme provided employees with a US$100 credit every two weeks to use at The Pantry. They could shop hundreds of at-cost items on the pantry website, ranging from produce to dairy and everything in between.

Thanks to the at-cost prices, this was comparable to over $200-worth of groceries at a traditional grocery store. Once their orders were placed online, they could schedule to pick up their groceries from The Pantry (which we set up in Fitler Club’s Ballroom) within a four day window.

The first pantry pick-up had over 160 people who placed orders. The programme was designed and regularly reassessed to see how best to support the community.

Fitler facts

Location: Philadelphia

Opened: 2019

Gym and spa: The Field House, a 25,000sq ft facility

Hotel: The Rooms at Fitler Club (14-key)

Coworking space: 34,000sq ft, including private office suites

Restaurants: The Dining Room restaurant, The Back Bar, the Bar & Lounge

Art @ Fitler Club: exhibitions which are updated each month

Originally published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 1

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