VanDyke, 52, who was hurt in a motorcycle crash in 2012,
works to strengthen her body with trainer Tina Stathis,
48, at Tru Pilates and Yoga Studio in Altamonte Springs,
Fla. Stathis is the owner.
ó Dominique Lowe twirled around a shiny silver pole and
struck a pose as her classmates at Allure Dance cheered her
for fun drew her to the unconventional form of exercise. The
camaraderie keeps her coming back.
hate working out," said Lowe, 26, explaining why she
chose the women-only pole-dancing and aerial-arts studio in
College Park, Fla., over a traditional gym. "Here, I donít
feel like Iím working out."
the U.S., smaller "boutique" fitness studios like
Allure have been multiplying in recent years.
small clubs, which focus on a single activity, draw 42 percent
of health-club clients, although most of those surveyed said
they also belong to another club, according to a report about
to be released by the International Health, Racquet &
donít get the swimming pools and rows of exercise machines
they would at L.A. Fitness or the YMCA, but they revel in
specialized training in niches such as Pilates, barre, yoga,
group cycling, boot camp, CrossFit, mixed martial arts and
like the personalization that Lew (her trainer) brings to
every class," said Jaclyn Smith, 27, who works out at
Revitalize Life Fitness, an indoor boot camp in Altamonte
Springs, Fla., that also offers yoga. "Heís right there
motivating and helping you, and thatís what you donít get
when you go to bigger classes."
Stephen Tharrett said boutiques tend to attract Millennials,
exercisers between 18 and 34 years old seeking a personal
touch and a sense of community.
Breed is a case in point. She started working out at
independently owned Barre Revolution in Waterford Lakes, Fla.,
about a year ago.
feel like itís a lot more comfortable, a lot more personal,
a lot less intimidating," said Breed, 29, a
psychotherapist and mother of a toddler.
entrepreneurs, boutiques require a far more modest investment
than larger gyms. Lower overhead and the ability to rely on
social-media marketing further help keep costs down, said
Tharrett, whose company, ClubIntel, prepared the report for
the health and racquet association.
studios are independent, but Orangetheory Fitness and Pure
Barre, which have locations in Central Florida, are two of the
largest boutique franchises, and are growing.
the giant chains must constantly sell to ensure a profit and
offset the loss of members who drop out, smaller studios can
thrive by concentrating on helping their customers reach their
goals, Tharrett said.
Bronstein, who owns Revitalize Life Fitness, said thatís why
he doesnít force his clients into long-term contracts.
donít want to collect from someone whoís not using what we
do," said Bronstein, who also works as an auctioneer.
"Itís more important to serve people who really are
there for a change."
defining characteristic of boutiques is the passion and
presence of the owner, Tharrett said. At Tru Pilates and Yoga
Studio in Altamonte Springs, Fla., for example, owner Tina
Stathis has been a fitness enthusiast for most of her life.
love teaching people to be strong and empowered by working
out," said Stathis, 48, who was a bodybuilder at 16 and
previously taught at large clubs. "I canít imagine
doing anything else."
Stathis guided Delyn VanDyke, who suffered a spinal-cord
injury when she was in a motorcycle crash in 2012, through a
private training session. She was there every step of the way
to correct VanDykeís form and gently encourage her.
pushes me," VanDyke, 52, said. "She doesnít let me
the country was enduring a recession, boutique fitness studios
were booming, said Jessica Matthews, a senior advisor to the
American Council on Exercise and an assistant professor of
health and exercise science at San Diego Miramar College.
boutique-studio memberships generally cost more ó sometimes
50 percent to 100 percent more ó devotees are willing to pay
for specialized training with highly qualified instructors,
Pilates and Yoga, for instance, charges $240 for 10 Pilates
classes. An unlimited monthly membership at Allure Dance costs
$129. Barre Revolution offers options including a 12-month
automatic-payment contract for $100 a month. The companiesí
single-class options range from $15 to $30, comparable to some
larger health clubsí monthly membership fees.
many owners, Elise Porter-Dean of Barre Revolution teaches
many classes herself. A professional dancer for most of her
life, she greets her clients by name and limits class
enrollment to ensure everyone gets enough attention.
not just a number," said Porter-Dean, 34, who maintains
as second career as a Realtor. "We care about what they
do and about their families."
was a word invoked time and again by owners of boutique
studios. Among them is Koreen "KK" Hart. She teaches
at the YMCA and L.A. Fitness and owns health-care marketing
and fitness-studio management companies in addition to running
Allure Dance, which also has a location near the University of
put my heart into it," Hart, 30, said. "I put my
passion into it. It never feels like work."