Boutique fitness classes are all the rage. From Crossfit to Chaise Fitness to FlyWheel, specialty fitness studios are taking over the fitness market. 42% of America’s health clubs are now small, boutique gyms and branded fitness programs, like PureBarre and SoulCycle.

The trend is not surprising given boutique fitness classes offer a host of benefits to their devotees. Unfortunately, being a boutique fitness junkie can also come with drawbacks. Let’s start with the good news:

The Benefits of Boutique Fitness Classes

Added Motivation: The primary benefit of group fitness is the camaraderie that develops among participants. By routinely attending a group fitness class, you’ll develop friendships with other “regulars” who’ll likely give you grief when you slack off! Even better, group fitness creates competition. Every class has one or two participants that everyone wants to emulate. Using your new “fit friends” as motivation can be an excellent way to reach your goals more quickly.

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You May Get More Attention: Class sizes at boutique gyms are often smaller than at large health clubs. This allows instructors to provide one-on-one attention to participants. Programs such as CityRow and OrangeTheory Fitness are using small class sizes and individualized attention to leave participants excited for their next workout.

Passionate, Well-Trained Instructors: Many boutique gyms, such as Rise Nation and JumpLife, feature instructors that are well-trained and passionate about their fitness modalities. This practiced and enthusiastic approach leads to more enjoyable classes and better instruction.

You’ll Have More Fun: Boutique gyms and branded fitness programs are thinking outside the box, incorporating fun, energizing elements into their classes. New Equipment, special lighting, and unique music tracks are just a few of the gimmicks used to keep participants enthralled during the most grueling workouts. A couple of great examples include SoulCycle, which uses candlelight and great music emulate a club scene, and Throwback Fitness, which models its workouts after “old school” recess games, to keep devotees sweating and smiling.

You’ll Geek Out: Technology is a common denominator in cutting-edge boutique classes. OrangeTheory Fitness participants are equipped with heart rate monitors to help them stay in the heart-pumping “orange zone”, while Peloton fanatics can purchase in-home stationary bikes that virtually connect them to their favorite cycling classes. Boutique classes are usually the first to adopt new technology, making them great for fitness-minded techies.

This is all great news, but no fitness program is perfect. Before you run to the nearest trendy gym, let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks of boutique fitness.

The Drawbacks of Boutique Fitness Classes:

They’re Not Great for the Undecided/Beginner: If you’re new to fitness, get bored with routines, or just aren’t sure what type of workout you prefer, a mainstream gym like 24 Hour Fitness that offers a variety of classes and equipment may be the best option for you, as many boutique gyms only offer one type of workout. More importantly, beginners should consult a personal trainer or take a beginner class to learn the basics of proper form. Trendy fitness classes can be extremely intense, making them intimidating for new exercisers.

You’ll Spend More Money: On average, a typical health club membership costs $57 per month, while a single fitness class at a boutique studio can cost between $25 and $40! The exponential rise in boutique gyms demonstrates that consumers are willing to pay extra money for a unique fitness experience.

Your Routine May Lack Variety: Workout routines that lack variety greatly reduce your results. Our bodies are remarkable machines that adapt to a specific routine or type of exercise very quickly, causing results to dwindle over time. More importantly, the elements of fitness include cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. Sticking to a specific class may only challenge one area of your fitness, leaving the others neglected.

Good News, Bad News?

The rise in boutique fitness is a positive trend. Not only do these classes challenge instructors to invent new and innovative ways to move the body, but participants are having fun, making friends, and seeing great results. While there are many unique and beneficial boutique classes to choose from, remember that overall fitness involves flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular health. It’s important to incorporate different types of workouts into your routine. If you love boutique fitness classes, stick with them, but try taking at least two different classes for variety. If you’re taking an intense interval-training class, try alternating with a yoga or barre class. To save money, you can also supplement your workouts with other modalities, such as walking, swimming, or weight training. You may even ask one your new “fitness friends” to join you!

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