What is boutique fitness?
Imagine not squeezing awkwardly through the steel turnstile, avoiding the vacuous gaze of the receptionist, dropping your bag into a damp locker and venturing on to the gym floor under the shrouded gaze of two-dozen eyes as you select your first machine. Imagine not skulking back to the anonymous changing rooms and under the dribbling shower only to tell yourself you should have waited ‘till you got home. Again.
Instead, imagine walking in to a reception reminiscent of a small chic hotel, immaculately designed, with thought put into every detail, each light fitting and coat hook curated to create an uber-stylish experience. You’re met by a smile and offered a towel. She knows your name and why you’re here. You recognise the other people waiting in the cafe, ordering smoothies for after class. The class itself is small with just the right equipment laid-out for what you need. Afterwards, as you luxuriate under the steamy rain shower, your mind flashes to the friendly instructor’s comment about how well you did and how your fitness is improving.
Welcome to boutique fitness
There’s a reason that the latest craze to hit the fitness industry is boutique fitness: we are all sick of large, anonymous gyms. We yearn for human contact, personability, someone to tell us we’re doing ok and somewhere that integrates seamlessly with our lives. Where it’s as much about the experience as it is the workout. And what’s more, we’re willing to pay a bit more for the pleasure, it’s not uncommon for class rates to creep above the £20 threshold in some locations.
Boutique gyms are typically no more than 2500sqft with one or two studios, which rarely accommodate more than 12-15 people at any one time. Usually these studios focus on instructor-led classes such as HIIT, Yoga or Spin cycling. The size of properties required for boutique gyms and studios make it is more achievable for independent owners to take leases and transform small retail, or former industrial units, into bijoux fitness emporia. Which also means they are popping up everywhere, increasing their proximity to our home or place of work. Either way it means less time travelling and more time under the shower!
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