Jay Blahnik offers rare look behind the scenes of the Apple Fitness+ studios


The Apple Fitness+ service launched in December, giving Apple Watch users a new way to workout using pre-recorded digital classes. A new story from Men’s Health today offers a rare look behind the scenes at Apple’s “next-generation” studio where Fitness+ workouts are recorded.

The Apple Fitness+ studio measures in at 23,000-square feet with a three-story design. Located in Santa Monica, California, Apple’s senior director of fitness Jay Blahnik says the building was designed as a place where the company can create “incredible workout experiences that are also beautiful.”

“We want these workouts to be magical. We’re creating a piece of art, a piece of inspiration, a piece of motivation,” says Blahnik. “Many people might not think about the importance of lighting a cycling class differently than a yoga class, but we think it makes a difference. Fitness+ creates incredible workout experiences that are also beautiful.”

As you’d expect, the design of the studio is very Apple-like. “We built the studio in a way that would allow shooting all the angles to make the right choices to show just the right angle at just the right time,” Blahnik added.

The interior is Apple-modern, all-white everything, wood accents, lots of glass, lots of screens. All the screens show whatever is going on in the wood-walled and wood-floored fitness studio, which has three sliding glass doors opened to reveal a verdant garden. Outside the door to the studio, there’s a quote that reads: “Please be responsible for the energy you bring into this space.” (A different team member selects a quote or mantra every month.)

There’s also a rehearsal room, which is where trainers and programmers create workouts, prepare for their classes, and brainstorm together:

“This is where they ideate, collaborate, and get feedback from each other to create the best workouts,” says Blahnik. A key personality trait for the trainers was wanting to be part of a team, he says. Each lead works with the trainer team and the programming team to create each workout. They rehearse that workout to dial in modifications. “We needed trainers who are open to feedback from experts who know their stuff in that workout type, as well as fitness experts not in their space,” says Blahnik.

And finally, the control room:

As the tour winds down, we dip into the control room, where a team of three direct the workout, control the lights, and direct the cameras. The instructor is now spinning away, talking to the camera, and seemingly cloned, as we can see him from many different angles on the screens.

The report notes that Blahnik wouldn’t comment on what’s next for Apple’s work in the fitness industry. “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” he said. “We’re excited about the product that we’re launching and excited about the future. This isn’t a hobby for us. This is something we’re really committing to and investing in.”

The full piece can be found on the Men’s Health website, and it’s well worth a read for Apple Fitness+ enthusiasts.

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