Over the past decade, there has been a massive shift in the fitness industry. Emerging technologies have taken fitness innovation to the next level with on-demand classes, live streaming, and smart wearables. One thing that has continued to reshape the wellness industry is boutique fitness.
Unlike big box commercial gyms, boutique fitness studios target the fitness elite who demand much more than the traditional gym. Fitness boutiques have re-defined the fitness industry, driving membership growth over the past several years. From 2012 to 2015, boutique memberships expanded 74%, compared to just 5% for health clubs according to IHRSA. Boutique fitness isn’t just a fad; it’s growing into a big-money industry. In this article, we will talk about why boutique fitness is here to stay and why isn’t just a trend.
What is a Boutique Fitness Studio?
Boutique fitness is usually defined as a small, community-based fitness studio or center. They typically focus on one or two types of fitness in a group setting, for example, spinning classes, dance classes, or even cheerleader-based classes.
Fitness lovers are abandoning their traditional gym memberships in favor of more lucrative and trendy fitness classes. Boutique fitness is booming with Equinox Holdings becoming a force in the industry. The company is the epitome of luxury health clubs and boutique fitness, owning a collection of brands including SoulCycle, Pure Yoga and Blink Fitness. It landed at number four of Club Industry’s Top 100 Health Clubs of 2019 with an estimated revenue of $1.3 billion in 2017.
According to the 2017 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, 18.2 million Americans belonged to a studio, a 15% increase from the previous year. In comparison to traditional health clubs, there was a decline of 3% from 2015 in members to 32.3 million Americans.
Boutiques appeal to a generation of fitness addicts who are willing to pay more for a committed method of exercise. Popular boutique studios include Peloton, CorePower Yoga and Barry’s Bootcamp. With boutique fitness, comes smaller classes and a more tailored, personalized experience. To stay on top of the industry, check out our five key trends for boutique studio owners in 2019.
3 Amazing Boutique Fitness Brands
With boutique fitness, you can pay to go to your favorite class with expert trainers without having to sign up for a gym membership. These days, people’s expectations of what they get from a workout experience are higher. Here are four incredible boutique fitness brands that have built a successful brand and provide a unique experience.
Performix House, New York
Peformix House is a high-end, exclusive gym and studio. The swanky members-only club takes personal training sessions to the next level and encompasses wellness into the mix with recovery treatments like physical therapy and cryotherapy.
Orangetheory Fitness is all based around heart rate training. They effectively use heart rate monitors so that you can get the most out of every workout. The brand has over 1,100 studios all over the world and still growing. With passionate staff members, a warm and friendly environment and killer workout, the brand have created a successful boutique fitness business that’s dominating the fitness world.
Solace is a combination of boutique fitness and CrossFit box. They cater for all different levels of fitness and goals with a close-knit community that keeps you motivated. Classes include yoga, HIIT, CrossFit, and more as well as intensive workout programs across several weeks to help you achieve a specific goal.
9 Reasons Why People Love Boutique Fitness
With thousands of boutique studios that specialize in everything from yoga and cycling to boxing and dance, there’s a fitness studio out there for everyone. Boutique fitness has captured the hearts of fitness lovers and here are nine reasons why the trend is here to stay.
1. Personalized Fitness
One of the major attractions to boutique fitness is personalization and tailored fitness. Studios tend to specialize in a particular type of fitness and usually have small classes of around 12. This means that the instructor has more time to give you individual attention.
Smaller groups give instructors the space to adjust form and pay closer attention. Something that they might not be able to do within a bigger class or gym environment. It usually takes around three classes to get up-to-date with any unfamiliar technology and catch up with class lingo. Studios provide that coach-member relationship in a way that’s not intimidating
The community vibe or tribe keeps clients coming back again and again. Just the size of a smaller class makes it feel like you’re already a part of a supportive network. The majority of boutique studios place a strong emphasis on community and camaraderie.
One way to support a community culture is to create an online community. It’s an absolute must in today’s world. By maintaining an online community, you can improve the customer’s experience. Here are a few ways to create one:
- Set up a group on Facebook
- Photo sharing
- Fitness challenges
Boutique studios understand the importance of community, and having a sense of feeling connected is one of the top reasons why it’s so popular. To help you have a better understanding of the importance of community and how you could build a community for your fitness studio, we’ve put together a small guide.
3. Expert Coaching and Guidance
The coaches and instructors that teach at boutique studios are renowned for knowing precisely what they are doing. They are well-trained and fully understand every part of the workout they are teaching and how to help you make the most of it. Having an expert in charge takes the guesswork out of your workout. An excellent instructor knows how make the workout enjoyable while keeping clients committed to their health and fitness.
It’s common for instructors to go through days if not weeks of training to earn certifications from highly skilled master trainers within their community. For example, with barre3, you take part in a three-day intensive course with master trainers followed by several weeks of shadowing fellow instructors and teaching practice classes before becoming a certified barre3 instructor.
4. Find Your Passion
Boutique fitness studios give you a chance to find your passion and what workout is best for you. If you’ve been hopping between classes at the gym or even hired a professional trainer, boutique fitness is a great place to find a workout you love with expert guidance from instructors. You never have to worry about getting through the crowds as class sizes are limited and booked in advance.
You not only get to try out different workouts, but you can also find a place that has the energy and community that you love. Community and atmosphere are at the forefront of why boutique fitness is so successful. With the majority of studios offering a pay per class system, you can try out a few different studios until you find the one that’s right for you. The type of workout, the staff, atmosphere, and feel of the place all contribute towards the love of boutique fitness.
5. Focus On One Type of Workout
The reason why one person may love boutique fitness can also be the same reason another person might decide it’s not for them. Focusing on one type of workout means you can properly hone a specific skill and really see how your fitness has progressed. Although there’s less variety than a say a multipurpose gym, it also gives a level of focus.
If you’re in love with a particular type of fitness like dance, yoga or cycling, you’re more likely to find your tribe and commit to a studio that’s going to enhance your love even further. A specialty studio is a great way to find other people that also love the same thing, further deepening that sense of community and creating the right atmosphere.
6. Fitness and Fun
With boutique fitness evolving and expanding, fitness is becoming a lot more fun. Long gone are the days of running on a treadmill alone at the gym, group fitness brings back the fun factor to fitness. One of the most commonly mentioned reasons for joining a group fitness class is for the fun it brings.
With something like trampoline fitness, you can channel your inner-child while taking part in a high-energy workout that’s softer on the joints than running. Some studios even combing circus-inspired exercises to combine fitness and fun into one sweaty hour. Boutique owners understand that the more enjoyable the experience, the more likely a client is to stick to regular exercise and classes.
7. Variety of Classes
From spin classes and aqua fitness to cardio dance and barre, boutique fitness brings with it a new range of classes. If you want to combine nightclub music and energy with cycling, then you head to SoulCycle, or you want to up your treadmill game but hate doing it alone, then head to OrangeTheory or Barry’s Bootcamp for treadmill-based workouts.
You then have the option to stick to your favorite studio or use a service like ClassPass, so you have regular access to multiple studios and fitness clubs in your local area. Although a boutique studio tends to be specialized, the emergence of boutique fitness means these types of workouts are available for you to try.
8. Group Fitness
When it comes to fitness, there are benefits that come from working out in a crowd. When you’re trying to nail the last round of drills at bootcamp, watching your friend finish it off often gives you the motivation to complete it.
Research shows that the healthy actions of others tend to rub off on us. One study found that participants move towards the exercise behaviors of those around them. Another study found that overweight people were more likely to lose weight if they spent time around their fit friends. Group fitness classes radiate positivity and social support that you can’t get from working out alone.
9. Innovation and Technology
Boutique studios use technology to bring a completely different user experience. Take the likes of F45 who provide 45-minute high-intensity circuit training for studio members. The brand uses sets of large displays to guide members through classes in case they get lost at any point. They use a combination of heart rate tracking technology, a branded app for easy class booking and innovative use of tech to bring boutique fitness to the next level on a global platform. Currently, there are more than 1,300 outlets around the world.
By making use of current technology and adapting to consumer demands, boutique fitness can deliver a unique experience. From live-streaming classes in the Peloton Studios to making full use of wearables and tracking members progress and fitness levels, technology allows boutique fitness studios to innovate and disrupt the industry entirely.
To keep on top of innovation and technology in the fitness industry, listen to the Fitness Industry Innovation Podcast. Check out this episode on Automation and AI in the Fitness Industry. It focuses on what some of the critical applications could be in the industry and what future developments we might expect to see.
The fitness industry is always evolving and trends come and go, but, boutique fitness looks like it’s here to stay. Nowadays, consumer demands and expects more from most industries and fitness is no different. With a global demand for personalization and an environment that emphasizes community, tribe, wellness, and fitness, the boutique fitness industry will only continue to grow.