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Fitness memberships, workout classes, wellness services, beauty appointments and more.
1. a small store selling fashionable clothes or accessories.
2. a business that serves a sophisticated or specialized clientele.
3. a word used to describe a fitness studio that offers a specialized workout experience.
The fitness industry is forever evolving. From old aerobics tapes to big box gyms, how and where we exercise constantly changes. Amongst the on-demand videos and memberships, there’s one trend that is reshaping our wellness routine: boutique fitness—and it’s here to stay.
But what is boutique fitness? And how does a word that is often used to describe high-end shops and hotels become the new name of a sweat-worthy revolution? It starts with the millions of people worldwide who belong to a fitness studio (a record 18.2 million in the US to be exact) and one of the largest generations in history: millennials. All are looking for the best workout experience.
“I think people in my generation are more willing to invest in what challenges them and makes them healthy,” says Carla Zuniga, a millennial who grew bored of traditional gyms told the L.A. Times.
“This generation has created a personalized on-demand economy," said Doug Hecht, MINDBODY SVP of Consumer Products. "They seek value rather than price, and are spending more on experiences rather than things.”
Thousands of the businesses on the MINDBODY app are considered boutique—offering workouts or services with a high experiential factor, smaller, more intimate class sizes, and strong brand association. Plus, a comradery that can’t be ignored. The whole “vibe attracts your tribe” is applicable here, and a handful of these studios are totally Instagrammable. This breed of studio has become more than just a place of exercise. The great ones have transformed into community-powered lifestyle brands, which aim to exist in every part of their customer’s daily lives.
Ask anyone who goes to a boutique studio why they take classes there, and they will tell you it’s the feeling you’re left with post-class. Customers believe in the message of their favorite studio, the ‘why,’ and feel a strong pull towards the studio’s core values. Lotte Berk, who invented barre in the 1960s, had the right idea when she opened a small basement studio in London, attracting top-notch clientele.
So, what does the future hold for this sector and what are the upcoming trends that will have an impact? Emma Barry—the founding member of Les Mills International and former Director of Group Fitness Programming at Equinox—told WellToDo that she is confident we will continue to see a growth in boutique expansion.
“Boutique fitness will continue to capture the hearts and heart-rates of more consumers as the fitness and wellness purse continues to fill,” said Emma. “…Expect HIIT, bodyweight training, strength, yoga and functional fitness (all top 10 worldwide trends) to continue their presence along with boxing boutiques and recovery/stretch labs.”
But, don’t let the word dissuade you. Booking a class at a "boutique" fitness studio doesn’t have to be intimidating. It doesn’t have to be considered “luxury.” Whether you’re tapping into the Barre3 benefit, flowing hard to hip-hop at Y7, or checking out Beginners Pilates at your local spot, studios of all sizes and reach are using this idea of “boutique” to give you a great workout—and an intoxicating (fitness) experience, no matter what your goals are.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.