One of the most significant trends in the fitness world today is the popularity of the boutique fitness gym. According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), of the 18.5% of Americans enrolled in a gym, close to half of them are members of a fitness studio dedicated to a specific type of training.
The trend isn’t expected to die down soon, as more and more fitness enthusiasts jump on the bandwagon in search of more than just a gym; they want a community. Here’s what you need to know about the boutique fitness experience and what it can do for you.
What is Boutique Fitness?
Boutique fitness gyms focus on one type of exercise or training, rather than a slew of fitness opportunities that large gyms provide. Boutique studios, much like a boutique shop, are usually small in size. They’re also more exclusive than large gyms, creating a sense of community among its members and instructors.
No one type of exercise qualifies a gym as a boutique gym. Instead, these types of gyms can have a unique kind of training exclusive to the brand. CrossFit, for example, focuses on high-intensity training to improve strength, stamina, and core power. CorePower Yoga, however, creates a regimen of intense yoga to enhance the body and mind.
With the unique forms of training these gyms provide also comes a higher price tag for membership than a regular gym, in most cases. You might spend $30 on a one-hour class, for example, while regular gyms might charge you that amount for a full month’s membership of unlimited gym visits.
What are the Benefits of the Boutique Fitness Experience?
Perhaps the most significant benefit of this type of fitness experience is the close-knit community they create. If you have friends who participate in CrossFit, you can probably tell how involved they get with the process. Their exercise regimen becomes more like a lifestyle, and their gym becomes more like a second home. The people they meet in their classes become part of their family.
A significant draw of boutique fitness is that it lets people get involved with the exercises they love. A gym can become overwhelming, offering so many choices that your routine doesn’t feel personal enough. With a boutique fitness center, though, you’ll do exercises you enjoy, led by a motivating instructor and in the company of other people who enjoy the class as much as you do.
This brings us to another benefit: the atmosphere! These fitness centers are small and cozy, but often upscale and modern, which brings some excitement to the gym. During classes, you’ll usually have energizing music playing, with an instructor who motivates and excites you. So, you’ll benefit not only from having everything you need for your class available to you, but you’re also getting a personal trainer while you’re there.
Are There Any Drawbacks to the Boutique Fitness Experience?
Like any exercise and gym, a boutique fitness experience isn’t for everyone. Shy people may find it difficult to be in such close quarters with other fitness enthusiasts they don’t know. Some people just prefer to work out by themselves, at their leisure. If that’s you, then a boutique gym may not be your best option.
Boutique fitness can also be expensive compared to other gym memberships. Some centers have monthly charges that are significantly higher than regular gyms. Other may have a pay-by-class option, which can get expensive if you plan to take one or two classes each week.
Additionally, you may not like sticking with one type of exercise regimen. Boutique fitness brands do create classes full of different routines, but their primary focus is usually on one kind of exercise, so you may find yourself repeating moves a lot, although this isn’t true of all studios. If you’d like to, instead, move around the gym and try out different equipment at each visit, you might not enjoy a boutique fitness experience.
Finally, these types of gyms can make it difficult for people without a flexible schedule to make it to class. Often, the classes book up quickly, so you might need to schedule them a couple of weeks in advance. If your schedule for work varies a lot and isn’t in place until a few days in advance, you might struggle to find classes that work with your schedule.
How Did Boutique Fitness Originate?
It’s difficult to say exactly where the trend of this type of fitness regimen and studio originated. But, some say that it can be traced back to the origins of Pilates, named after Joseph Pilates. This controlled movement regimen has roots to the early 19th century. It focuses on movements similar to yoga that focus on core strength and wellness practices that help to heal the body and mind.
Boutique fitness studios have similar foundations, creating a form of fitness that improves not just your physique, but also your mental well-being. Most studios target core-strengthening while connecting the importance of physical health to mental health through the community the fitness experience creates.
But, the trend of boutique fitness exploded within the last few years, with several new brands popping up all over the United States. In fact, some regular gyms are closing their doors or partnering with boutique studios for an overhaul, as they see how large the trend has become.
Top Boutique Fitness Brands
Numerous boutique fitness brands can offer you different experiences. But here, we are outlining some of the top brands that have garnered a lot of attention from fitness enthusiasts over the past several years so that you can see what’s available and what types of classes different fitness boutiques provide.
Orange Theory Fitness
Orange Theory Fitness is one of the most popular boutique studios. According to Orange Theory reviews, the classes provide a fast and intense, yet super fun, workout. The goal of Orange Theory is to focus on a full body workout that targets the heart rate, basing each move on getting your heart pumping for an intense cardio workout.
The idea is that the more you use your heart during a workout, the more calories you’ll burn. Orange Theory tries to get everyone involved by having alternative moves and equipment in place for people who haven’t worked out in a while or have issues with certain parts of their bodies that prevent them from completing some exercises.
Each class is 60-minutes long and uses various equipment, like treadmills, bikes, lifting benches, dumbbells, workout balls, and more, for a full-body workout.
Orange Theory prices are structured in a somewhat flexible way. You can choose from three different plans that offer you a specific number of classes, up to unlimited classes, per month. Plus, there are no contracts needed to sign up, which makes it an excellent option for someone who just wants to try out a membership for a month or two.
Membership fees vary based on the studio and location, but prices start at about $59 per month and can range up to around $200. Orange Basic gets you four monthly classes, Orange Elite gives you eight, or get unlimited monthly classes, if your location allows it, with Orange Premier. Orange Basic and Orange Elite will also give you discounted prices for classes that go above your monthly limit.
Another bonus is that the Orange Theory cost is free for your first class. Anyone is welcome to try a class to see if they like it before signing up for membership.
Orange Theory Locations
Orange Theory studios are available all over the United States, as well as in other countries, like Chile, Germany, and Mexico. You can find a full list of available locations here.
This studio provides some of the most variation for a boutique studio. You’ll use a lot of different equipment in just one class, so it can be a good option for people who prefer varied exercise routines. Additionally, if you have issues like back pain or leg pain and can’t complete an exercise regularly, you can use different equipment or alternative moves during class, as explained by your instructor.
Orange Theory Fitness also takes steps to ensure that your heart rate is monitored appropriately during your class. Every member wears heart rate monitors provided by the studio to track the results of your workout in real-time, which can also help alert you to any problems. After your class, you can even get your results emailed to you so that you can keep tabs on your performance and adjust future workouts, if necessary.
Get the Most Out of Your Membership
One of the most important things to remember as a member of Orange Theory Fitness is to arrive early. The company suggests getting to the studio at least 30 minutes before your scheduled class to get hooked up to the heart rate monitor and prepare your fitness goals. This way, you won’t waste any minutes of your class time doing anything but exercising. You can also use this opportunity to get acquainted with your instructor and ask any questions you might have.
You might also consider downloading the two Orange Theory Fitness apps to your mobile device. With OTF Booking, you can quickly book a class on-the-go and view information about your classes. With the OTbeat App, you can see your heart monitor results, create workout goals, view class schedules, and more.
Town Sports International (Formerly BFX Studio)
Town Sports International has taken over the former BFX Studio, bringing new types of classes and new locations to the popular fitness boutique. Each Sports Club focuses on using your interests to suggest classes and workout regimens that are perfect for you to stay in shape and have fun while doing it.
Sports Clubs for Town Sports International have everything from pool workouts to kids’ classes to get everyone moving, regardless of their age and fitness level. And, like other similar fitness studios, Town Sports International is all about connecting you with your instructors and other fitness enthusiasts to build a community-based gym experience.
The Club still focuses on BFX training and principles. What is BFX? The fitness regimen is based on core training and strengthening that improve posture, endurance, metabolism, and more.
Before you join the Sports Club nearest you, you can try a class for free. After that, the membership costs can be a bit confusing, as there are annual and monthly fees.
You can reduce your cost to around $50 for signing up if you commit to a one-year subscription fee. After that, you’ll get charged monthly, about $70 to $100, depending on the package you have. If you don’t want a yearly subscription, your monthly costs could be more.
The annual fee is charged yearly and covers maintenance costs for your membership.
BFX Studio Locations
Town Sports International has over 100 locations in New York, Washington, Boston, and Philadelphia.
A Sports Club membership is unique from other boutique fitness memberships in that the studio tailors your workout regimen to your needs and interests. It’s a personalized form of exercise, much like you’d get from a personal trainer, but with the additional benefit of having a community feel from classes with motivating instructors.
Sports Clubs also have almost 200 types of classes to choose from, depending on your location, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find the perfect one that matches your needs. And, much like a regular gym, these studios offer several types of equipment to change up your workout routines as needed.
Get the Most Out of Your Membership
You’ll get a 10-day money back guarantee when you sign up for a Sports Club membership with Town Sports International. Be sure to try out as many classes as possible during this time to get a feel for what the club is all about. If you’re not into it, you can cancel your membership within your 10-day trial period.
It’s best to start with a month-to-month membership if you’re not 100% sure about your commitment yet. You can still cancel your annual one within ten days and it won’t auto-renew for another year, but you’ll still be a member for 12 full months. Your monthly membership, however, will end after that month when you cancel.
Be sure to get your free fitness assessment that comes with membership. The assessment will gauge where your fitness level is and help you decide what type of workouts and classes will best suit you.
Core Power Yoga
CorePower Yoga (which you might see referred to as CorePowerYoga or CPY online) is a motivating yoga fitness company that encourages people of all ages to learn and perfect their yoga skills to challenge the mind and body. This isn’t your typical yoga class, though. Instead, CorePower Yoga focuses on high-intensity yoga training that gets your heart pumping and every muscle working together for all-over fitness.
CPY is meant to both energize and relax you. You can take different levels of classes, depending on your experience and fitness goals. Each level gets a little more intense, but instructors are there to guide you along the way. CorePower Yoga is just as much about providing a sense of community among its members and instructors as it is about strengthening the body.
CorePower Yoga is one of the few boutique studios that offer a full week of a free trial so that you can get a feel for the classes and if this experience is right for you.
After that, you can buy class packages or opt for the Black Tag membership, which is available for those who want to pay for an auto-renewing monthly package. Single classes are about $23, but the more you purchase, the cheaper they’ll become. You can also buy 1-month unlimited classes for $200, or save on a 3-month unlimited package for $479.
The Black Tag membership has a monthly fee of around $150, but there are discounts for teachers, military personnel, students, and seniors. CPY also often has specials where you can save money on your first month of classes.
CorePower Yoga Locations
CorePower Yoga has over 170 locations throughout the United States, mostly in large metropolitan areas, like Seattle, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
CPY is an intense form of yoga that could help you reach your fitness goals faster than with regular yoga. When you sign up for membership, you’re not only getting access to a modern studio, but you’ll also have unique classes that meet your needs, delivered by instructors who have been trained explicitly on CPY yoga techniques.
Most classes also function in heated rooms, which are intended to help you stretch your muscles even more, improving flexibility and blood circulation, which can help your tissues repair faster. You’ll also sweat more and burn more calories!
CPY also allows kids 12 and older to participate in some classes, so this can be a good option for parents who want to exercise with their children.
Get the Most Out of Your Membership
CPY classes are locked once they start, so you can’t be late. It’s recommended to arrive at least 5 to 15 minutes early to prepare for class and be there before the doors lock. Also, be sure to bring your towel, yoga mat, and drink to have with your during class. Or, you can rent a towel and mat if you don’t have them available.
Check to see if your studio has online reservation availability. If so, you can sign up for classes in advance using the website or mobile app. Make sure you sign up for an online account to have access to the online reservation system.
Also, consider signing up for a low-level class to start with. You can always work your way up if it’s not intense enough for your needs.
Shred 415 began in Chicago, Illinois, by two leading fitness experts who wanted to bring a boot camp-style, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to regular people. The classes are an hour long and use 5, 10, or 15-minute intervals where you’ll switch from treadmill work to strength training for an efficient way to burn fat and strengthen your body.
Shred415 keeps the lights dim and music loud and energized during classes for everyone to get the most out of their workouts. This studio also has varied classes that can meet the needs of just about all fitness enthusiasts, from casual exercisers to runners and athletes.
Membership and class pricing varies by Shred415 locations. You can choose to pay for a class, class packages, or a monthly membership.
As an example, the Lincoln Park, Chicago studio charges $18 for a single class during off-peak times and days, which is relatively low compared to similar boutique fitness studios. Normal class prices are $28. You can opt for a 5-class package for $125, 10-class package for $280 or 20-class package for $440. All class packages will expire in one year from the date of purchase.
There’s also an option for a full month of unlimited classes for $210. If you’re a new client, you may qualify for discounted pricing on your first month.
Shred 415 Locations
Shred415 currently has several locations in Chicago, Illinois, and studios in St. Louis, Missouri and Indianapolis, Indiana. More locations are on their way in the United States.
Shred415 is one of the best options for athletes and runners in training, although anyone can join and get something out of their classes. Keeping in line with the popularity of HIIT workouts, Shred415 is right on par with everything you need to burn fat, strengthen the body, increase stamina, and more, which is perfect for those who need to keep in shape during off-seasons.
These studios also offer members a lot of perks, like a refreshment bar with healthy snacks and drinks and retail spaces where you can purchase t-shirts and other Shred 415 gear. As a paying member, you can even benefit from the Kids Corner, which is a childcare spot to drop the kids off as you take your class. They’ll be entertained by certified caregivers, books, games, and even a TV.
Additionally, Shred 415 prides itself on its community. One person, every month, gets chosen to be in the spotlight for his or her hard work. You can even become a part of an elite club when you’ve completed 415 classes at your local studio.
Get the Most Out of Your Membership
With Shred415, the off-peak classes are priced so affordably that it’s a good idea to purchase one or two before opting for a larger package to give yourself time to try a class. If you love it, you’ll need to figure out what type of package will make the most sense for you.
The 30-day unlimited class package is an excellent deal, but only if you think you’ll attend at least eight classes a month, or two a week. Otherwise, you’re better off going with a class package that gives you a full year before it expires. While you’re in the studio, take advantage of the amenities, like showers and skin products offered free-of-charge.
You might also want to download the free mobile app for Studio415, available for both iOS and Android devices. The app lets you schedule classes from your device, stay up-to-date with current promotions, purchase packages, and more.
Barry’s Bootcamp (you may sometimes see it referred to as Barrysbootcamp on the web) was founded in 1998 by L.A. trainer, Barry Jay. The fitness studio focused on intense cardio and strength training that delivered a full-body workout to burn calories, lose weight, strengthen the body, and build stamina.
It’s since evolved into a global boutique fitness studio and has welcomed other top trainers to improve workout routines and bring more results to members consistently.
Barry’s is unique in that it claims to help you burn 1,000 calories just from one class and focuses each day of the week on a different muscle group. And, unlike the name suggests, the classes aren’t run military-style. Instead, you’ll receive help and encouragement from certified trainers who want to see you succeed.
The prices for Barry’s Bootcamp classes and packages vary by studio. For this example, we’ll use the pricing of the Downtown Boston location, which has classes set at $30 each, but you can pay $20 for your first one. Barry’s also offers packages of classes, sometimes with promotions to save more money, where the more you buy, the more you’ll save.
Alternatively, you can choose monthly memberships to Barry’s. Barry’s Star gives you 12 classes per month for $300, or $25 per class. Or, pick Barry’s Legend for 30 classes per month for $400, or $13 per class. The only downside is that your classes expire after 30 days with a monthly membership. However, class packages have a one-year expiration period after the date of purchase.
Barrys Boot Camp Locations
Barry’s Bootcamp has studio locations scattered throughout the United States, as well as internationally, in countries like Sweden, Canada, and Italy.
Although Barry’s Bootcamp doesn’t typically offer classes for beginners, it does create an environment in which all fitness levels can thrive. Instructors consistently check on beginners throughout the class to ensure that they’re completing a fitness routine that meets their needs while remaining safe until they gradually can fall in line with the rest of the class.
Additionally, Barry’s focuses on targeting different areas of the body with each class. This method is meant to provide the most safety possible by preventing muscle fatigue from consistently targeting the same areas. You’ll benefit from having each muscle group repair and strengthen itself as you move onto workouts for different muscle groups on other days of the week.
Barry’s also offers classes that utilize a treadmill and classes that don’t, so you can choose the one that better meets your fitness goals.
Get the Most Out of Your Membership
Barry’s suggests signing up for at least three classes per week so that you can zone in on different muscle groups. One week, you might want to opt for arm, leg, and abs classes, while the next week you target your arms, chest, and full body. It’s up to you what combination you choose, but to see the best results, you should aim for at least a couple of weekly classes.
It’s a good idea to arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled class to get prepared, meet your instructor, and receive an overview of what the class entails. Don’t forget to bring a water bottle with you for class, but you won’t need a mat, towel, or any equipment. Barry’s also offers Fuel Bars at some studios for you to purchase healthy snacks and protein shakes for refueling after your workout.
You may have heard of Soul Cycle NYC, but Soul Cycle is a boutique fitness company available in other states and Canada. What is Soul Cycle all about? This studio focuses on intense indoor cycling in 45-minute classes. But, you won’t just be riding a stationary bike. You’ll cycle with coordinated, rhythmic, upbeat movements along with energizing music to create a strengthening and cardio-boosting workout that burns calories and builds muscle.
SoulCycle has “soul” in its name because it prides itself on moving beyond fitness and reaching into the soul to also improve the mind. All Soul Cycle classes happen in dimly lit rooms to set the right mood and create a pack-like experience with all members moving together, sweating it out, and having fun at the same time.
SoulCycle does not offer membership packages, so there’s no long-term commitment to make. Class costs for SoulCycle vary by studio, so we’ll use the NYC locations as an example. Here, you can purchase one class for $34, or $20 for your first class. Packs of classes vary from $75 for three to $850 for 30, with different expiration periods in which to use them. One class, for example, expires after 30 days of the date of purchase, but three classes expire in 60 days.
SoulCycle NYC also offers a Super Soul 50-class package for $3500. These classes work out to be more expensive than other packages, but you’ll even get perks like full concierge service, priority on class waitlists, and the ability to have first-pick advance signups for classes. Your 50 classes will also have a 12-month expiration period.
SoulCycle studios are available in several states in the U.S. and two Canada locations. SoulCycle NYC studios are among the most popular, offering 21 locations in the state alone.
Soul Cycle bikes can fit the body of just about any rider. You can adjust the seat height, handlebars, seat distance, and more, for maximum comfort during your class. You can even pick your weights to add to the bike before your class starts, allowing you to personalize your workout even further.
Staffers are available to help you adjust anything you need if you’re new to the experience. Some studios also offer SoulCycle 101 classes for beginners that introduce you to the world of indoor cycling, SoulCycle style.
Soul Cycle can also burn up to 700 calories per 45-minute class and focuses on the full body, not just the legs and core. Each class even has an arm series to target those muscle groups.
Get the Most Out of Your Membership
You should arrive about 15 minutes early for class. Instructors will only hold your spot for a few minutes after the class begins, after which you’ll lose your place. Also, come prepared with water to drink during class, or you’ll need to spend up to $3 for a bottle of water.
Be sure to have your waiver filled out, signed, and on file with your studio before you begin your first class. The waiver is good for a specific period determined by your studio, so you won’t need to fill one out for every class.
Consider purchasing your first class by itself, since most studios offer a discount for you to try the class to see if it’s right for you. After that, choose a package that you know you can commit to until you start getting into the SoulCycle routine that works for you and your schedule.
If you’re a person who loves a varied workout to keep you excited and motivated, Spenga may be the best choice for you. This fitness company combines spinning, strength, and yoga training all within each of its classes for an intense and fun full-body workout.
Spenga classes start with a cardio workout using exercise bikes to upbeat music. This portion will take about 20 minutes and gets your heart pumping to burn more calories throughout the rest of your workout. Then, you’ll move to 20 minutes of strength training using various equipment and moves to target arms, legs, the core, and more. The last 20 minutes are for yoga, which also builds strength while letting your muscles repair and rebuild.
Spenga offers both class packages and memberships. We’ll use the Broomfield, Colorado location as a guide for membership and package costs since they vary by studio.
Memberships start at $69 per month for one class per week and go up to $139 per month for unlimited classes. Alternatively, you can choose packages of classes, from 10 to 30, ranging in price from $225 to $525. The more you buy, the less you’ll pay per class. All class packages expire in 12 months from the date of purchase.
Spenga currently has locations in the following United States: Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas.
Spenga is one of the most varied workouts you’ll get from a boutique fitness center. Classes here let you benefit from three types of exercises – cardio, strength, and yoga – to give yourself an efficient, calorie-burning workout in one hour. And, each class will offer different types of exercises, so you’ll get a lot of variety from Spenga.
Each studio also has unlimited filtered water for people attending classes. You can bring your refillable water bottle to class and won’t have to pay for a refill if you run out. Some studios also offer lockers for you to place your belongings, yoga mats, and showers to freshen up after class.
Spenga also offers some of the best pricing for class packages and memberships among boutique studios, especially considering the varied types of exercise you get from each class. This studio could be much more affordable for some people than others, especially those who want to attend classes frequently.
Get the Most Out of Your Membership
Spenga usually has promotions for people to sign up for their first time to find out if this boutique experience is right for them. Take advantage of the offers available at your local studio before purchasing packages, since you can save a lot of money if you find out it’s not your best choice.
If you think you’ll be attending a few classes a week, you may want to consider an unlimited class membership. The cost is very affordable compared to other unlimited memberships; you may not even pay as much as you do for your regular gym membership. Plus, you’ll benefit from certified instructors during each class who are there to help you along the way.
Conclusion: Get into Shape with Boutique Fitness Gyms
Boutique fitness experiences are likely a trend that won’t dwindle anytime soon. With new studios popping up all over the world every year, there indeed is a market for them. One of the most significant benefits of these fitness studios is the community you’ll find when you join