Your Complete Guide to Hitting the Right Boutique Fitness Class for You

Photo: Row House

Boutique fitness studios are like universes unto themselves. Each has its own distinct brand, from the look of the sweat box to the vibe of its classes to what the workouts are actually like once you're in them. Because of this, boutique fitness can feel hard to navigate and, let's be honest, intimidating if you have no clue where to get started.

It doesn't have to be such a scavenger hunt, though. To make finding the right fitness class feel breeze, we've broken each out by its very specific specialty. Are you into restorative yoga flows, or do you prefer quick-hit vinyasas? Are you a barre person or a Pilates person? Would you prefer dance cardio over spinning, or would you choose running over anything else? Keep scrolling to find your sweat match, based on your favorite way to get your heart rate up. And hey, maybe you'll even find a new fave way to sweat at one of these nation-wide studios.


If you like: HIIT or heart-rate training

If you can't live without your tracker and are constantly trying to work out near your max heart rate, Orangetheory is right up your alley. It's essentially a HIIT class that's broken down into a treadmill segment, a weight training segment, and a rowing segment, so the hour goes by fast. The entire time, you're using the studio's heart rate-tracking device so that you're moving between the right heart rate zones to achieve the maximum amount of effort while class is in session.


If you like: Your workouts to be low-impact but to b-u-r-n

SolidCore uses a riff on the Pilates reformer to activate your slow-twitch muscle fibers. The name of the game here is to go really slowly, moving only an inch or so at a time, but that certainly doesn't make the workout easy. Despite being super low-impact and friendly to the body, hitting up SolidCore on the reg will give you a level of core strength you've never realized that you could have.

CorePower Yoga

If you like: Classic vinyasa yoga in a group setting... heated flows optional

For those who prefer working out on their trusty yoga mat, CorePower Yoga is where to get your vinyasa fix in a studio setting. Though regular vinyasa is offered, the studio also has hot yoga and even sculpt yoga, which blends vinyasa with strength training.

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Looking towards 2020 like...

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If you like: Ballet-inspired fitness that uses tiny movements to burn out muscles

Maybe you took ballet as a child, or maybe you just really like plié squats and pulsing—either way, PureBarre can boost strength and flexibility. Expect moves that lift the body, including plenty of squats (and holds), bridges, and core work.

305 Fitness

If you like: Workouts that feel more like a dance party than a sweat sesh

Try 305 Fitness if you love dancing in front of your mirror at home. The studio brings you really good music, easy-to-follow, high-intensity dance moves, and instructors with really magnetic energy for a fun workout that'll just feel like you're on the dance floor at a night club.

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Find yourself hunched over at your desk or catch your reflection in a mirror noticing your poor posture? If this continues, you can find yourself experiencing upper and lower back pain, headaches, poor balance, and other complications. Pilates will strengthen your core and properly align your spine, defaulting your #posture to its natural position. Strong supportive abdominal muscles allow you to sit down and stand up straight with greater ease.⁠ ⁠ Pilates trains your #core, unlike any other workout. You are able to strengthen your abdomen as well as eliminate muscle imbalances between the right and left sides of your body. Every #Pilates movement engages your core muscles. This includes all of the supporting muscles that help protect the spine, pelvis, and the rest of the bones and joints of the body.⁠ ⁠ #plank #reformerpilates #reformerplank #coreworkout

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Club Pilates

If you like: Something that strengthens your core, boosts your flexibility, and helps your posture—without that much sweat

From a classic Pilates practice to Reformer-slash-cardio hybrid classes, your core work will never be boring again with these slow-and-steady sweat sessions.

Barry's Bootcamp

If you like: running, HIIT, and strength training under one roof

Barry's Bootcamp is one of the OGs in the boutique fitness world. If you're into sprinting, lifting weights, and high-energy boot camp classes, you'll love the exhilarating feel of a Barry's class—an hour in the studio is sure to use everything in your gas tank, but you're guaranteed to walk away stronger.


If you like: Spinning and getting lost in the music

This spinning studio is all about losing yourself to the beat of the music as you pedal harder/better/faster/stronger with the entire class. The workout turns cycling into more of a party than a chore.


If you like: Weight training and quick-paced workouts

F45 originated in Australia, but has quickly become widespread across the U.S. In just 45 minutes, you cycle through stations of strength training (or cardio) intervals focused on functional moves (that's where the "F" in the name comes from), and the HIIT class is over before you know it.

Row House

If you like: HIIT workouts that are easy on the body

Boutique studio Row House has built upon the staple workout of rowing (rowing machines are the studio's focal point) and blended it with resistance training so that you're not on one machine for 45 minutes straight. This way, you get the low-impact cardio perks of rowing and strength training.

Side note: Here's your guide on the types of yoga you can choose from. And these are the 5 basic Pilates moves that *everyone* should practice for better mobility. 

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