On any given day in New York City, there are quite literally thousands of workout classes to choose from. You can spin underwater, do Pilates in a 95-degree room, or try a HIIT circuit in near-freezing temperatures. To say that there is plenty to choose from would be like saying “holding a two-minute plank is really hard” (AKA: a pretty laughable understatement). After spending years treating New York’s fitness scene like a seemingly endless buffet, sampling nearly every menu option I could find, however, I suddenly found myself feeling really, really worn out by the studio-hopping way of life.
Aside from having to plan my entire week out in advance, making considerations for varying commute times, and totally random class needs, I would also find myself stuck in terrible, boring classes or studios without showers. Plus, since I was changing things up so frequently, I was never actually getting good at any of the workouts. So two months ago, I decided to trade my spot at the fitness buffet for a membership at Fithouse, an “all class club” that just opened its second location in Union Square.
As of late, the gap between gym group fitness classes and boutique studios has generally started to become narrower and narrower as traditional gyms have started to up the ante on their group fitness offerings. Equinox, for example, has become just as well known for its range of (really effing hard) classes as it has for its state of the art facilities, and chains like Crunch and New York Sports Club boast stacked weekly schedules of their own. And at Fithouse, I’m able to choose from a stacked roster of activities that includes sculpting, HIIT, yoga, dance, and trampoline classes. My mornings often consist of back-to-back sweat sessions, partly because the classes are so much fun (especially the one that involves a trampoline) but also because it’s just so convenient.
I know exactly what to expect when I walk in, so I don’t have to deal with the annoyance of schlepping to a class that I don’t love. On any given Saturday, you’ll find me bouncing (literally) from a trampoline class to a barre session to a third hour of hot yoga. Over-the-top? Yes. But I can’t help it: I’ve seriously fallen in love with the place. As much as all of us would like to have time to curate our workout schedules the same way we curate our Instagram feeds, in reality we’re all just trying to fit it in as best we can.
This is exactly what founder and COO Clément Benoit and had in mind when opening the studio. “We noticed that people spend too much time and money bouncing between fitness studios and by result, they feel a lack of community and too transactional of an experience,” he explained to me on the premise behind Fithouse. “We saw an opportunity to take the trend of both big box gyms and boutique studios, merge them together with a membership-based model and create a space where people can take all types of classes ranging from HIIT to Barre to Hot Yoga and more.”
And it seems I’m not the only one who has decided to swap her temporary studio flings for a committed relationship with Fithouse: During its opening weekend on January 25th, the studio reportedly sold over 500 memberships and every single class was completely sold out. Based on how full every single class is by the time I show up, people are making good use of their memberships.
At $189 a month, Fithouse’s pricing—which gets you unlimited classes at both locations—is in on par with some of the more upscale gyms in the city (to compare, Equinox’s NYC all-access pass is $260 a month, while Crunch’s is $130), but significantly less than a month’s worth of classes would cost you at most boutique studios.
While it remains to be seen as to whether or not the industry is moving toward a one-stop-shop way of life, my own routine definitely will be.
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