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Fitness memberships, workout classes, wellness services, beauty appointments and more.
1. a small store selling fashionable clothes or accessories.
2. a business that serves a sophisticated or specialized clientele.
3. a word used to describe a fitness studio that offers a specialized workout experience.
The fitness industry is forever evolving. From old aerobics tapes to big box gyms, how and where we exercise constantly changes. Amongst the on-demand videos and memberships, there’s one trend that is reshaping our wellness routine: boutique fitness—and it’s here to stay.
But what is boutique fitness? And how does a word that is often used to describe high-end shops and hotels become the new name of a sweat-worthy revolution? It starts with the millions of people worldwide who belong to a fitness studio (a record 18.2 million in the US to be exact) and one of the largest generations in history: millennials. All are looking for the best workout experience.
“I think people in my generation are more willing to invest in what challenges them and makes them healthy,” says Carla Zuniga, a millennial who grew bored of traditional gyms told the L.A. Times.
“This generation has created a personalized on-demand economy," said Doug Hecht, MINDBODY SVP of Consumer Products. "They seek value rather than price, and are spending more on experiences rather than things.”
Thousands of the businesses on the MINDBODY app are considered boutique—offering workouts or services with a high experiential factor, smaller, more intimate class sizes, and strong brand association. Plus, a comradery that can’t be ignored. The whole “vibe attracts your tribe” is applicable here, and a handful of these studios are totally Instagrammable. This breed of studio has become more than just a place of exercise. The great ones have transformed into community-powered lifestyle brands, which aim to exist in every part of their customer’s daily lives.
Ask anyone who goes to a boutique studio why they take classes there, and they will tell you it’s the feeling you’re left with post-class. Customers believe in the message of their favorite studio, the ‘why,’ and feel a strong pull towards the studio’s core values. Lotte Berk, who invented barre in the 1960s, had the right idea when she opened a small basement studio in London, attracting top-notch clientele.
So, what does the future hold for this sector and what are the upcoming trends that will have an impact? Emma Barry—the founding member of Les Mills International and former Director of Group Fitness Programming at Equinox—told WellToDo that she is confident we will continue to see a growth in boutique expansion.
“Boutique fitness will continue to capture the hearts and heart-rates of more consumers as the fitness and wellness purse continues to fill,” said Emma. “…Expect HIIT, bodyweight training, strength, yoga and functional fitness (all top 10 worldwide trends) to continue their presence along with boxing boutiques and recovery/stretch labs.”
But, don’t let the word dissuade you. Booking a class at a "boutique" fitness studio doesn’t have to be intimidating. It doesn’t have to be considered “luxury.” Whether you’re tapping into the Barre3 benefit, flowing hard to hip-hop at Y7, or checking out Beginners Pilates at your local spot, studios of all sizes and reach are using this idea of “boutique” to give you a great workout—and an intoxicating (fitness) experience, no matter what your goals are.