Video Killed the Radio Star, but Digital Won’t End the Reign of Boutique Fitness

December 02, 2019 by Well + Good

Cheers had the bar, Friends, the coffee shop, and Seinfeld put diners squarely on the map. None of these ’90s shows have been rebooted, but if they had been at some point in the last decade, it’s likely their crews would’ve been popping in and out of a spin shop or yoga studio (or at least hitting the smoothie bar) instead of their OG signature haunts. In the last 10 years, boutique fitness studios have become the place to work out and hangout, and as early-morning wake-up calls to sweat have become integral to spiritual, mental, and physical health, there has been a boutique fitness boom.

Because of this, fitness enthusiasts have shifted away from big box gyms to boutique studios like Orangetheory, SLT, and Y7, where they can do hyper-targeted workouts as part of a community that believes in the same core pillar of sweat. When Well+Good launched in 2010, SoulCycle and Barry’s Bootcamp (which were founded in 2006 and 1998, respectively) were the only mainstream options to speak of, but as wellness became the gospel of the decade, the number of studios quickly started to grow. In fact, in the five-year span from 2012 to 2017, boutique fitness membership increased by 70 percent, according to the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association. The rise of wellness certainly propelled the adoption of boutique fitness forward, but community and convenience were core to studios’ staying power.

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