Americans are suffering from a flavor for fancy gyms. Attendance at specialty gyms like SoulCycle, CrossFit, Pure Barre, Orangetheory, and countless others grew by 70% between 2012 and 2015, regarding to a recently available record from the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). 25.8 billion fitness market. 40 per course, and regular goes by are more costly than memberships at no-frills alternatives significantly.
Yet boutique studios are flourishing because they’ve determined how to utilize a motivational strategy long mentioned by exercise researchers: emotions of community and owed keep people coming back. Low-cost gyms make money by selling memberships to hundreds-sometimes thousands-more people than they can actually accommodate. Most members never come.
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Meanwhile, although some boutiques offer regular monthly passes, many charge per class-which means their billions in revenue come from individuals who are actually showing up to exercise. As only 20% of Americans meet federal recommendations for exercise, that is no small feat. SoulCycle, which touts itself as having “revolutionized indoor bicycling” and claims to help you “change the body” and “find your SOUL,” opens its sign-ups for weekly classes every Monday at noon.
The famed rush to snag an area is part of what ensures that SoulCycle classes continue to sell out 10 years following the company’s launch. Boutique studios present their classes as exclusively enhanced and rigorous-not just any old class you can take at your fitness center. “Boutiques focus on an extremely specific, specialized, and passionate segment who are prepared to pay more to be part of the ‘tribe,’” said Meredith Poppler, IHRSA spokesperson. Exercise researchers have found that individuals who are motivated mainly by intrinsic factors like enjoyment, not by extrinsic factors like appearance, will work out regularly.
And being surrounded by highly dedicated people is among the best ways to create intrinsic motivation. That “tribe” notices when you have skipped exercises also, making you in charge of your behavior. “Sure, I possibly could skip a couple weeks,” said Amanda Payne, a CrossFit enthusiast in Pullman, Washington. “But when I got back again, I’m sure my coaches and the other sportsmen in my classes would ask where I had been. They wouldn’t do it to be rude or condescending, but because they considered where I was and skipped me being there really. ” When you know your absence will be noticed, you’re less likely to blow class off.
Members of traditional gyms tend to be left to their own devices, popping in and out to visit the elliptical or lift some weights independently. You can always hire a personal trainer to demystify the squat rack, but it comes at a hefty additional price. In comparison, boutique studios always offer their users immediate teaching than leaving them to their own devices rather.
Typically, there is no open workout space in these gyms. Studio guests are always in a class, small group, or fitness session, with an instructor to demonstrate exercises and describe the use of any equipment there. “Because these facilities are smaller than traditional gyms, there is usually a greater chance of staff and members to interact with each other,” said Poppler.