My daughter Katie and I love to shop and are especially drawn to small boutiques offering
unique, upscale items that can’t be found at local big-box stores.

Boutiques are more limited in size, scope and inventory, and often evolve out of an owner’s
desire to pursue their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.

Just as retail boutiques cater to a niche crowd, so do boutique fitness studios. They were born
in the early 2000s. (before we called them “boutique” -don’t I know it!) They’re based on the
same premise, and continue to grow exponentially. Smaller in size, boutiques target the more
hardcore fitness fanatics who are well beyond the low-cost, judgment-free and traditional big-
box gyms.

They also differ in size, offerings and price. A boutique fitness studio is generally smaller than a
gym and specializes on group exercise in one or two fitness areas. Boutiques also charge a
premium price tag and give more attention to clientele. The popular group cycling studio, Soul
Cycle, for example, charges roughly $35 per one-hour group class, and other boutiques average
$20 or more per class.

Why would anyone pay that kind of money for just one class? It’s all about the experience,
participants say.

“Imagine going to a class that specializes in your favorite type of exercise or blends a couple
types of exercise that you love into one,” writes LifeFitness.com. “You’re surrounded by
energetic people in a social atmosphere where people know you. The space itself is attractive
and upscale. The class is led by an amazing instructor. They’re playing motivating music, and for
an hour, you’re pushed to your limits in a unique blend of fun, intensity, and camaraderie (and
maybe a little group pain).”

In addition to Soul Cycle, other popular boutiques include MAXX CHALLENGE Fitness Studio
which focuses on a variety of bootcamp classes – but for us “normal” physique folks; Orange
Theory, a coach-led total-body workout; Pure Barre offers four low impact, high-intensity group
class formats; and one of my favorites, SPENGA offering a variety of SPin, strENgth and yoGA in
one session.

Boutique fitness studios and wellness-oriented eateries also are playing an important role in
filling empty retail space once inhabited by apparel, books and electronics stores. Taking a
group fitness class, it turns out, is one of the few things you can’t order from Amazon.

If you’re intrigued by the boutique fitness trend and would like to know more, give me a call –
we can even talk standing up to burn a few extra calories!


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