Boutique or Bust: Is Boutique Fitness Right for You?

Between 2010 and 2014, the boutique fitness industry grew more than 400 percent in the US. Chances are if you live in a larger metropolitan area, you’ve seen this boom firsthand. From SoulCycle to Pure Barre, there’s studios for all modalities.

Because there are so many boutique fitness options, there’s bound to be one that appeals to you. But it comes at a cost – literally. According to Elle Magazine, SoulCycle enthusiast (addict?) Michaela Miller would spend $16,000 a year if it weren’t for discounts. Then again, she goes to three classes on some days. Since there are so many pros and cons to boutique fitness, we’ve provided a series of questions so you can assess whether a boutique fitness studio membership is right for you.

If you’re considering some type of boutique fitness, consider the following:

Is my chosen modality accessible?

Foremost, the most obvious question is whether your chosen modality is available near you. Unfortunately, if you live in a small or mid-sized city, boutique fitness studios may be limited or nonexistent. While CrossFit has over 13,000 affiliates worldwide, not every modality has that kind of volume. So you may have to resort to one of your local gyms for more generalized yoga, cycling and dance classes.

And if it’s accessible, is it convenient?

Secondly, if your chosen modality is available near you, does it fit in your schedule? Or rather, can you make the classes fit in your schedule? If the answer is yes, then boutique fitness might be something you should consider. Investing money in your health is one of the best investments you can make.

But if you are someone that has a chaotic schedule or finds it hard to make time for workouts, you may want to consider investing in at-home equipment. Although you’ll be missing out on the group aspect of boutique fitness classes, the important thing is that you will be able to make time (hopefully) to work out because it’s conveniently located.

Is the atmosphere just as important as the workout itself?

With boutique fitness, you’re paying for the atmosphere. You’re paying to be around like-minded people who enjoy the activity enough to pay a lot of money. To an extent, you’re also paying for the glitz and glam. If this is what motivates you to push yourself to be your best self, then by all means, boutique fitness is right for you.

But if you’re the type who can find gumption through other means, perhaps you should save money and opt for a gym membership. Many gyms offer group classes, but they may lack the personal, studio feel.

Do you bore easily?

When you invest in a certain modality or boutique, you’ll be limited to those classes for a while. So it needs to be something that you really enjoy. If you have a feeling that you will need a variety of modalities to keep you fit, then perhaps a gym membership would be the best option.

On that same token, if you live in a large city, you may have access to ClassPass. With ClassPass, you can pay a monthly rate to access a variety of boutique fitness studios. The rate depends on the city, and it will be pricier if your city has a higher cost of living.

Ultimately, only you can make the choice on whether boutique fitness is for you, but hopefully these questions help put things in perspective.

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