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Boutique fitness studios make a run at being your gym

Kate Bohner of Flybarre
Flybarre, a toning and sculpting class, rounds out the fitness program at Flywheel Sports


Irony alert: Many of the popular studios that spawned the boutique fitness craze are now broadening their offerings in attempts to become all-inclusive fitness destinations.

The evidence? Spinning studios now have barre classes, yoga studios are adding sculpting classes with cardio and weights, and boot camps are offering yoga.

They’re not quite Equinox, but they don’t want you to join Equinox either.

Exhale was an early expansionist, creating cardio, sport, and boot camp versions of Core Fusion, its signature barre class, lest you leave for a cardio workout. Then, it launched a full-fledged yoga program this fall.

In the spinning world, Flywheel created Flybarre to keep its clients who might have otherwise saddled up to someone else’s ballet barre for toning and sculpting.

Even yoga studios have branched out, with YogaWorks adding non-yoga classes like Danceworks, Barworks, and Sculptworks to its schedule, and Pure Yoga entering the barre market with Figure 4. “This supplemental programming adds value to the students’ memberships,” says Maeve McCaffrey, YogaWorks’ director of specialty programming. “And for many, the yoga studio does replace their gym membership.”

as one fitness workout
As One felt its clients could use some yoga with their several weekly servings of whoop-ass

But as studios expand their offerings, they’re trending away from the specialized boutique concept, becoming more like the something-for-everyone model they’re the supposed antithesis of. Talk about having one’s cake and eating it, too.

On the other hand, there are ways boutique studios could be better equipped to serve the additional fitness needs of their devoted clients.

As One, for example, added a yoga component to their intense boot camp program last week. Previously the trainers were sending their clients out for the complementary practice. But with their own class, As One keeps the business—and makes sure yoga sequences support the muscle groups that are being hit hard. (If the trainers are pushing squats, yoga will be heavy on hip openers.)

“We also use the yoga class to reiterate proper movement mechanics to make what we do in As One more efficient and effective,” says co-founder Mark Merchant. “We can make sure that our clients are being taken care of and provide them with a comprehensive training approach.” —Lisa Elaine Held

Do you think your boutique fitness studio should be more of a one-stop shop? Tell us in the Comments, below!