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I have been going to gyms and working out consistently since I was 14 years old. This means that fitness has been a part of my life for over 10 years. Since I have moved around so many cities in the past years one could say that I have become really savvy at finding a new gym and fitness routine to incorporate into my new lifestyle. When I moved to New York for me the obvious thing to do was join Equinox since it is a large fitness chain that has locations all over Manhattan and it offers a really wide variety of group fitness classes as well as top-notch personal training and locker room with amenities that could put a lot of hotels to shame.
However in my first few months in New York I noticed something that really sparked my curiosity: Small specialized studios that offer the same type of classes as large gyms (think Spinning, Barre, Yoga) but at a much higher price and sometimes in a single location. I discovered this when one of my really close friends told me that she was going to ditch her gym membership because she would rather do Soul Cycle. To me this seemed really bizarre, I mean why would she ditch her gym membership that includes multiple classes that range through a variety of disciplines for a smaller, more expensive studio that only offered one class? So I decided to investigate.
After a year and four months of trying around 40 boutique fitness classes here are my conclusions: Usually when people have a gym membership they are loyal to only one or two classes and only take class when they are available. At a boutique fitness studio you can take the class you like every day of the week and it is offered multiple times a day so you don’t have to adapt your schedule around it. Boutique fitness studios are small, therefore they provide a community feeling that a large gym does not. At a boutique fitness studio the classes allow a limited number of people so the instructor is more likely to remember you and give you pointers on how to tailor the workout to your specific needs. Since most of these classes need to be pre booked, pre-paid and have high cancellation fees, you are less likely to skip a workout than if you are a member at a gym where the classes are included and you feel that they are “free.” At boutique fitness studios they really pay attention to the client experience. This means that most of them have a nice and welcoming waiting area, friendly front desk staff who remember you and locker room amenities that are comparable or superior to the ones at Equinox.
Of course boutique fitness classes are expensive, but they also keep you more honest. The pay as you go model makes you really evaluate how often you want to work out and what is a realistic plan that works for you. It also makes you more likely to pick an activity you really enjoy and look forward to, which is the whole point of working out anyways!
Reviews of my favorite boutique fitness studios coming soon!
Check out how women worked out back when SLT was just a couple of letters, Physique sounded like a foreign word, Equinox was a time of the year and Barry was the dude from the deli across the street.
By Adriana Herdan
I’ll admit it; going to the gym can be a hassle. Whoever says that they genuinely enjoy going to a sweaty smelly gym everyday when they could be hitting happy hour with their friends is either BSing you or lying to themselves. Gymming is an acquired taste that is usually driven by the fear of getting fat, a desire to look good, and a need to be healthy (yeah, right). However going to the gym doesn’t have to be a total nightmare. If you find an activity you enjoy, going to the gym can be something you actually look forward to.
With the amount of group exercise trends such as zumba, bootcamp and yoga that have become increasingly pop
ular across the country, your gym routine can also become a way of socializing. I myself was one of those gym haters who was extremely afraid of graduating college with a degree in changing pant sizes, yet I wasn’t a jogger and I definitely wasn’t a weight lifter either. I tried all the fitness trends of the moment until I finally found my exercise soul mate- SPINNING!! In the past years spinning has become increasingly popular in the US due to the fact that you can torch off close 700 calories in a 45 minute session.
Cycling is great for your body. According to a study from Harvard University women who biked as little as five minutes a day gained less weight than those who didn’t. If that isn’t good enough, consider the fact that you will have a tight tush and core and also work out your legs and improve your cardiac rhythm. Plus the upbeat music and the cute spandex shorts are a definite plus. Need I say more?