There’s a reason why boutique fitness has exploded over the last few years. They work. Between 2013 and 2014 the number of members doubled. And don’t let the name boutique fool you. This includes CrossFit, obstacle training, bootcamps, spin and many more.
For as long as I can remember, our workout choices were big box gym or personal trainer. Those are 2 extremes, price wise and experience. But, now we have more options.
Apparently, 67% of big box gym members never go. When you join one of these, you’re pretty much anonymous. No one is holding you accountable. There’s also the waiting in line for the benchpress or the treadmill part. They are the cheapest form of membership for a reason.
My own experience with boutique fitness has been fantastic. I just came off a 2 year recovery from knee injuries. The only way I felt comfortable working out was with a personaI trainer, so I wouldn’t go into bad form and re-injure myself. I was scared to workout on my own, but I didn’t want to go to a gym. I also didn’t want to go to an exercise class where I was jumping around or trapped into doing something that I wasn’t comfortable doing. Afterall, everything I had gone through trying to recover from my injury. I didn’t want to go through that again.
I heard great things about a local fitness boutique call DEFINE Body & Mind. They have barre, spin and yoga. All of that seemed perfect for me, but I was super nervous.
The first day I walked in they helped me through the process. The barre class had only about 15 people in a small beautiful room with great cushy mats, nice equipment and lots of people I knew! It’s super clean and not crammed with sweaty bodies.
If I was ever in bad form, the instructor would guide me. I did what I felt comfortable but also pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
By the second day, the girl at the front desk greeted me by name. And now, after 2 years, I feel like it’s my second home. All the instructors know me. I have my workout buddies that are always there too. I get to hang out with my girlfriends and have an intense workout at the same time!
The average class size is anywhere from 7-30 depending on what class it is. So, there’s a sense of community. Everyone is supporting one another along with the instructors cheering you on.
The instructors go through 60+ hours of training, studying and doing mock classes for each method. They are trained on anatomy, musicality, personalization and modifications. I have noticed many pregnant women in our classes. Something I would have been scared to do when I was pregnant. But, the instructors know how to help them modify so it is completely safe for them.
When I spoke with one of the instructors she said they really focus on form so each person can get the best possible workout. I can say from my experience, any advice they give whether it’s an adjustment an inch this way or that, it can completely enhance the exercise making it way more intense. Which is what I want!
In college, I was a health & nutrition major (through my Junior year–I switched to business–silly me) and over the years I’ve become a certified personal trainer as well as a yoga instructor. So, in other words, health and fitness is where my heart is.
I taught yoga at a YMCA. And THAT certification was just a weekend class. Scary! I’m sure my yoga instructor now would be shocked by that. For 2 years I taught people yoga. I’m cringing at that now. I needed way more experience to teach. But, I’m sure any of the big fitness places in that town that had a yoga class would have hired me.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the YMCA and it offers people the ability to exercise that might not have any other option. But, if you want more individualized help, it might not be your place.
Boutique vs. Personal Training (or by yourself)
Yes, boutique fitness is more expensive than the traditional gym, but it is less expensive than a personal trainer. With such small class sizes and the family atmosphere, it is just one step above the personal training experience. The difference is you’re in a group setting.
I have to say being a former runner, I always preferred to workout alone. But, I’ve now realized being in a group is more motivating. We cheer each other on and support one another.
We do own a Pelaton in our home, which is handy when I can’t make it to class, but I don’t get anywhere near the workout I do in spin class. Being in a group setting is more motivating. The music is awesome, the room is nice and the instructor is right in front of us, getting us to push further. I work so much harder than I would if I were by myself. And better than staring at a computer screen to see what my output is.
How to find one
Boutique fitness also offers the ability to book your classes through an app. My own place, DEFINE, has it’s own app and it makes it super easy to book my classes. But, you can also use ClassPass. It shows all the boutique gyms in whatever area you live or if you’re a business traveler, you can book a class in the town you’re visiting. Handy!
From the sense of community to the atmosphere as well as top notch childcare, the boutique fitness way is a great direction. Especially for those who are intimidated by big gyms. I have to say, I’m a fan!
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