A whopping 67% of gym memberships are never used, according to a recent study done by Berkeley undergraduates. While the first of every new year sees resolutions made and spikes in gym membership purchases, by mid-March most of the enthusiasm has died off and the monthly cost of belonging to a gym is pushed aside and ignored.

It’s basic psychology – still having the membership speaks to the future possibility of working out regularly, and cancelling it would be to admit failure – therefore people continue to pay the monthly or annual fees even when they haven’t set foot in a gym for months.

However, there’s a new game in town, and it’s changing how people look at fitness. Specialized studios are springing up by the dozens in every major city, offering a “boutique” option that requires greater commitment and enhancing each workout experience. This trend is not just providing an alternative to a standard gym membership – it’s actually helping people work out more regularly.

There are several reasons why boutique gyms are becoming the fitness wave of the future.


While the price tag for a membership, class bundle, or drop in fees may exceed that of a mainstream gym, the value of each class in a boutique setting can be significantly higher. Small classes – or even one-on-one training – specialized instructors, and actual number of sessions completed can make the trade-off of a low monthly rate worth the extra cash.


With the aforementioned smaller classes and focused instruction in a favored discipline comes faster results and a higher level of proficiency. Working with instructors who can take the time to get to know each client’s body, skills, and weaknesses allows for more tailored workout plans.

Customer Service

The attention to detail and personalized service offered by boutique gyms are another reason clientele are shifting to smaller studios with smaller class sizes and a personal trainer – client relationship. Many boutiques offer a comprehensive training program with one or more disciplines combined with a nutritional approach, massage, and other aspects of whole body wellness.


In contrast to “work-out any-time” mentality fostered by 24 hour fitness centers and traditional gyms that require more effort on the part of the customer to get themselves up and out to the gym, boutique studios with specific session times and a set schedule can foster more commitment. When classes are set for a specific time and lost if not attended, attendance becomes more of a priority.


The smaller circle of people using a boutique facility can become more personal. New friends can be made, and with regular session times finding a dependable workout buddy is easier. Staff and clientele feel more like a family than the impersonal environment of a massive commercial gym.

It’s safe to say boutique gyms are here to stay – whether the clientele preference is for tai chi, Pilates, barre, or bodybuilding. Finding a spot at a boutique gym could lead to a better future for fitness trainers seeking an upscale, committed client base. However, boutique gyms are even less likely than commercial gyms to offer comprehensive trainer insurance, so ensure your coverage stays intact with a customized policy that will cover your shift from traditional gym to boutique studio.

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