Boutique Fitness: Big Business for People with Big Budgets

Boutique fitness has taken the fitness industry by storm over the past few years. With SoulCycle really leading the charge, to ClassPass, which has raised $54mn, people and businesses are spending bundles on the boutique fitness experience. In fact, IHRSA’s most recent health club industry report indicates that boutique studios now contribute to nearly 1/5th of the industry’s revenues. 

And for people who pay to go, here’s why it’s boutique fitness has become such a big business, and for those who have the money to spend on it. 

“When you break it down,” the New York native says, “it’s $35, give or take, per class, and then you have to go four times a week to really see results.” On top of that, there was the cost of transportation to classes outside of her neighborhood: a MetroCard, but also, unavoidably, some cabs. That’s when she realized she was really spending closer to $700 each month on her workout habit.

Fitness has become a luxury item. There are leggings that cost in the three figures, (organic! soy-free! superfood-packed!) smoothies creeping up into the $20 range, and, of course, Ubers to take home after a grueling 45 minutes of boxing. But at the center of it all are the classes.

Think of the girl at a $2,400 week-long yoga retreat in Tulum who casually mentions she goes to Barry’s Bootcamp every day and spends around $12,000 a year on exercise classes. Or the front row regular at SoulCycle who the instructor shouts out for doing a triple—that’s three back-to-back classes, totaling over $100 on one single day of spinning. With studios keeping credit cards on file and offering seemingly endless scheduling options, it’s easy to buy class packages (and bottles of water and cute tanks) and never pause to think about how it’s all adding up.

Jenny asked that her name be changed partly because she recently bought a package of personal training sessions at Equinox (on top of the boutique classes she already attends) and is keeping it a secret from her boyfriend “so he wouldn’t judge me for spending my money frivolously. It is by far the most indulgent part of my budget.”

Full Story: Why Fitness Classes Are Making You Go Broke

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