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Entries in boutique studio (16)


Stevenson Fitness’ Small Group Cycling Goes Head-to-Head with Boutiques

When Stevenson Fitness first began offering small group training a few years back, it was an emerging trend. Throughout the industry, clubs were promoting small group classes in order to supplement one-on-one personal training sessions, and Stevenson Fitness leadership saw an opportunity. 

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This Week in the Fitness Industry: IHRSA Members, Lobbyist Discuss PHIT on Capitol Hill

IHRSA Members, Lobbyist Discuss PHIT on Capitol Hill
IHRSA members Linda Mitchell and Kelly Beauparlant from the Newtown Athletic Club (NAC) Have a Heart Foundation spent Tuesday, February 6 on Capitol Hill with Jay Sweeney, IHRSA's Federal Lobbyist. As the IHRSA team preps for the introduction of the PHIT Act, legislation that would make gym memberships and physical activity more affordable, Sweeney and the NAC team met with members of Congress and their staff to discuss the PHIT Act's benefits to their constituents. After a full day of meetings Linda Mitchell, NAC's director of public and government relations, said, “I learned so much more about the process of getting this bill passed. The responses from our meetings were very positive, but there's still more work to do.”

(L-R: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Linda, Kelly Beauparlant, Jay Sweeney)

Mitchell then implored other IHRSA members to get involved in the very important grassroots efforts to pass PHIT, "This bill could change the "life" of your business once and for all, by reducing the cost of membership and other services for your members. Please reach out to IHRSA government relations to learn if your Congressman is supporting PHIT. If he or she is, thank them! If not, you need to reach out to them personally and immediately. Your voice will matter. The IHRSA team will walk you through the process."  

The Latest Fitness Fad: Stretching Studios
Move over barre, indoor cycling, and bootcamp—stretching studios are the newest fitness fad, according to The New York Times. However, rather than competing with other types of studios, stretching boutiques may be positioned to create more of a symbiotic relationship. “There are all these peak fitness places that have popped up,” Power Stretch Studios Owner Hakika V. DuBose told The Times, referring to SoulCycle, Barry’s Bootcamp, and CrossFit. “People go five times a week and their muscles are very overworked and contracted.” Power Stretch Studios isn’t the only boutique of its kind—there’s StretchOut Studios in Boston, Stretchlab in Los Angeles, and Stretch Zone, which appears to be the largest national chain with 31 locations in California, Florida, North Carolina, as well as other states.

Panelists Announced for the 21st Annual IHRSA Financial Panel
The annual IHRSA Financial Panel, taking place on Friday, March 10 during IHRSA 2017, will highlight the expertise of four highly-regarded financial experts and apply their knowledge to the issues impacting the health club market. "The intent of the panel is to ensure industry operators have the knowledge they need to make sound financial decisions,” says Rick Caro, president of Management Vision and Financial Panel moderator. “This year’s four panelists have researched the market matter extensively.”

This year’s panelists include: 

  • Marc Magliacano, partner, L Catterton
  • Andrew B. Hirsekorn, principal, Eagle Merchant Partners
  • Will Cowan, senior VP, Jefferies LLC
  • Steve Tricarico, managing director, Jefferies LLC 

Panelists will offer information on major club transactions across a variety of club segments and answer any additional questions during a separate Q&A session. Learn more about the annual IHRSA Financial Panel.

Blink Fitness Announces Los Angeles Expansion
Blink Fitness announced the company’s expansion to Los Angeles metro area in 2017. According to a press release, Blink says that their first location in Los Angeles is a step in their mission to alter the rhetoric of unrealistic goals of ideal body image among the fitness industry. Their goal conceptualizes this positivity over physical results in their latest ad campaign, “Every Body Happy.” “The availability of prime real estate in dense neighborhoods with comparable demographics to much of Blink's home turf in the New York area made the Los Angeles marketplace an appealing next step for expansion,” said Todd Magazine, president of Blink Fitness. Blink's first LA lease is for a former 1930s movie theater in Huntington Park, set to open by the end of 2017. Read the full press release about the expansion of Blink Fitness.

6 Ways to Be a Leader in the Health Club Industry

Our friends at Star Trac Fitness created an awesome video based on one of our blog posts on leadership!


Looking Ahead: A View of 2017 from Boutique Studios

In the first part of this series, we consulted representatives of single-club, multi-club, and franchise operations for their ideas about industry developments and trends that might emerge in the coming year. In each case, we tapped relatively new members of the IHRSA community.

This month, given the rapid proliferation of studio and boutique fitness offerings, we provide the views of both a studio owner and a studio designer.

Brent Gallgaher, Owner
Avenu Fitness & Lifestyle Studio
Houstin, TX

When it comes to studios, Brent Gallagher was ahead of the curve, having founded the 4,500-square-foot Avenu Fitness & Lifestyle studio back in 2006. He did so with a clear game plan in mind, and, today, his team of 13 serves 465 clients.

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Train Your Group X Staff to Create a Boutique Studio Experience 

This post is part of our Session Spotlight series, previewing just some of the extensive education that will feature at IHRSA 2017, March 8-11 in Los Angeles.   

Ask any boutique studio member what they like about the experience and they’ll likely tell you the same reasons: the classes feel personalized, instructors foster a sense of community, and the workouts deliver results. 

And it doesn’t hurt that they’re trendy. 

Improving Group X Experience Will Boost Retention 

“There are a lot of different aspects to boutique studios’ popularity, but I think the first and foremost is they provide a real social [and] community aspect to the experience, and people are really looking for that these days,” says Marisa Hoff, general manager for Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park, CA. “We’re not a big-box club, but I’d imagine the bigger gyms have a hard time providing that personal experience. When people seek out Soul Cycle and Orangetheory, they’re in a place that feels like home and it’s really appealing to a lot of people.” 

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Health Clubs Sharpen Competitive Edge by Opening Boutiques

Having been involved in the fitness industry for decades, Cliff Buchholz knows that the one constant is change.
 He’s equally aware that club operators who fail to recognize and embrace the newest trends will pay the price—most likely, sooner rather than later.

Buchholz managed tennis clubs and staged major tennis tournaments, successfully, in the ’60s and ’70s. When the popularity of racquet sports gave way to broader, emerging exercise trends, he moved on to operate full-service fitness facilities in Pittsburgh and Springfield, both in Illinois.

Capitalizing on New Fitness Trends

In 1979, he opened the first Miramont Lifestyle Fitness Club, in Fort Collins, CO, and today owns and operates four multipurpose properties in the area.

Remaining relevant has always been a big part of Buchholz’s business plan, as well as a major reason for his success, and so, last summer, he and his management team made a significant strategic move. Alert to the threat, as well as to the opportunity, posed by the dynamic studio/ boutique business model, they opened REVE by Miramont Fitness to capitalize on the explosive trend.

Rather than compete with small operations offering pricey, specialized workouts, they decided to join the party.

“The customer is asking for something different—not just here in Fort Collins, but throughout the country,” he says. “The concept of smaller studio classes is becoming more and more popular, and we’d be foolish to ignore it.”

Susan Cooper, the owner, president, and COO of BB Fitness Studios, in Austin, Texas, understands, agrees, and, like Buchholz, is a conceptual convert. “In January, we changed our name, and completely rebranded ourselves as a collection of studios with small, intimate exercise classes and lots of hands-on instruction,” says Cooper, a former member of IHRSA’s board of directors.

“In other words, we’re giving our participants an exclusive, intimate experience—exactly what they want.”

And, in doing so, they’re not alone. Cooper and Buchholz are just two of a growing number of IHRSA members who’ve opted to open studios inside, adjacent to, or near their facilities.

Boutique Studios Explained

In recent years, studios have been celebrated for offering intense, high-energy, and, importantly, personalized sessions in a wide variety of exercise categories—among them, boxing, CrossFit, cycling, yoga, Pilates, and personal and functional training.

If it seems that there’s now a boutique studio on nearly every street corner or in every shopping mall—well, that’s about right. According to IHRSA’s Comprehensive Guide to the Boutique Studio Phenomenon, a recently released free e-book, studios already constitute 42% of the U.S. market in terms of number of units—that’s double what it was just two years ago.

This comprehensive IHRSA report, which provides insights into the purchasing behavior of boutique habitués, concludes there are three psychological rea- sons why studios, also called “micro-gyms,” are hot right now. They’re social, they’re fun, and they’re trendy—all of which appeal strongly to 20-to-30-year- olds, aka millennials.

The report also notes that they’re convinced that studios can help them achieve the results they seek—quickly.

“Millennials have more buying power than previous generations, and place a high value on health and fit- ness,” Tara Sampson, the general manager of the VIDA Fitness & Aura Spa, in Washington, D.C., notes in the IHRSA report.

Continue reading "Surfing the Studio Surge" in the September issue of CBI.


Topline Findings from the IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report

This is the data, and the research publication, that the health and fitness club industry has been waiting for.

For years, there have been documents that have allowed club owners and operators to benchmark virtually every aspect of their business: best practices, programming, salaries, financial performance ... everything, that is, except what they do with equipment.

The new IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report: Spending, Utilization, and Programming Trends remedies that shortcoming of long standing.

An ‘Invaluable Reference’ for Club Operators

“This report provides owners with the vital information they need to understand equipment practices,” says Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products. “It’s an invaluable reference operators can use to compare their spending practices, purchasing considerations, and programming trends against those of their peers.”

The soundness and success of the Health Club Equipment Report (HCER) is due, in part, to the clarity of its objective, the expertise of its creators, and the active participation of club practitioners.

“Before kicking off this project with IHRSA, we sat down with club operators to learn what they wanted in a report,” says Brian Kane, the senior manager for commercial management and consumer insights for Precor, Inc., the sponsor of HCER. “We showed them a variety of industry reports and asked them about the usefulness and approachability, and the reaction we got was consistent. ‘Great data,’ they told us, ‘but how does it help me make better decisions?’”

HCER’s Topline Tips

Click to enlargeSome of the topline findings contained in the report, based on responses from 93 companies representing 437 health and fitness facilities, are intriguing and illuminating.

The responding clubs indicated that they spent an average of $84,000 on equipment in 2015, and there was a distinct link between spending and revenue growth. The top-performing clubs spent an average of $90,000, achieving an annual growth rate of 10.2% versus 3.8% for the entire sample.

Some 50.6% of the respondents were multipurpose facilities, 45.1% were fitness-only clubs, and 4.4% were studio/boutique operations.

In terms of space allocation, cardiovascular equipment claimed the biggest share (20.1%), followed by traditional strength (15.7%), group exercise (12.1%), and functional-training (8.2%) offerings.

“Cardio is still king,” says Molly Kemmer, the regional manager for EXOS/Medifit, based in Florham Park, NJ.

Digging a bit deeper into the numbers, HCER stipulates that 33.9% of clubs’ cardio inventory consists of treadmills, 25.6% of elliptical, and 14.7% of upright and recumbent bikes.

Comparing his own club’s metrics with HCER’s stats, Jason Reinhardt, the founder and owner of Go M.A.D. Fitness, in Monroe, MI, says, “I think we have a good blend when it comes to this report. We understand the value of a large cardio offering, group fitness classes, and personalized training. ... We offer seven lines of equipment, and at least three of everything, so people can come in and work out rather than waiting for equipment to become available

Continue reading about the IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report in the September issue of CBI.


Download IHRSA’s Free Guide to the Boutique Studio Phenomenon

Boutique studios—offering everything from cycling, yoga, Pilates, and personal training, to boxing, CrossFit, and functional training—now constitute 42% of the U.S. club market, according to a CBS News report. That’s double what it was in 2014. 

There are a number of reasons boutique fitness studios are hot right now—they’re social, they’re trendy, and they help members achieve fast results. The rapid growth of boutiques has changed the landscape of the fitness industry, causing concern among health club owners and operators. 

IHRSA’s Guide to the Boutique Studio Phenomenon provides a broad view of this trend, digging into the root of this particular consumer purchasing behavior, the elements behind the appeal of boutiques, and a number of ways health clubs can leverage boutique strategies to improve member engagement and drive revenue. 

This free resource includes:  

  • The Root of Boutique Studio Members’ Purchasing Behavior
  • The Rise and Rise of Boutique Clubs
  • Maximize Revenue by Leveraging the Growth of Studios
  • 4 Expert Tips for Successful Fitness Studio Design
  • Further Reading 

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This Week in the Fitness Industry: The Most ‘Instagrammable’ Fitness Studios

Shape Ranks Most ‘Instagrammable’ Fitness Studios in U.S.
Like it or not, social media is having an increasing effect on the fitness industry. Last week, we reported on the impact of social media on the growing popularity of inversion yoga poses. This week, a article ranked the most “Instagrammable” fitness studios in the U.S., which indicates the degree to which photo-centric social sharing may be affecting health club décor and design. “In the age of Instagram, studios are outfitting their spaces with must-'gram decor like neon-lit mantras, graffiti walls, and personalized equipment,” the article states. “It sets their space apart, and send our motivation through the roof. Not only will we get a good sweat, but we'll get to do it in a place that looks as good as we'll feel.” Among the top-ranked: 305 Fitness, a dance studio in New York City; Air, an aerial yoga boutique in L.A; and EverybodyFights, a boxing club in Boston.

IHRSA President and CEO Signs UFIT Marseilles Declaration

Dr. Oliver Murphy and IHRSA President and CEO Joe Moore signing UFIT Marseille Declaration in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. The declaration represents a commitment to inclusion by and for the fitness sector, in full alignment with UNESCO’s International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Consumers Are Purchasing More Fitness Bands and Smartwatches
In the first quarter of the year, the shipments of wearables increased by 67% over the first quarter of last year, according to research firm IDC, CNET reports. Researchers suggested this growth was influenced by new strategies brands implemented to capture wearable customers, including exhibiting at tech shows and cutting prices following the holidays. Additionally, while fitness trackers such as Fitbit and Garmin continue to outsell smartwatches, smartwatches are beginning to catch up in terms of market share without eating into the sales of fitness bands. "It's shortsighted to think that basic wearables and smartwatches are in competition with each other," Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers, said in a statement. "Right now, we see both as essential to expand the overall market. The unique feature sets combined with substantial differences in price and performance sets each category apart, and leaves plenty of room for both to grow over the next few years."


This Week in the Fitness Industry: Health Clubs House Boutique Studios to Meet Demand

Health Clubs House Boutique Studios to Meet Specialized Exercise Demand
Increasingly, consumers are expecting their exercised to be specialized—a trend reflected in the growth of boutique studios. And now health clubs are responding to that demand by housing boutique clubs within their facility, The Wall Street Journal reports. “More health clubs are inviting specialty studios—even competitors—to set up shop inside their walls,” the Journal states. “Typically, members receive a discount to these studios and nonmembers are drawn into gyms they might otherwise ignore. The idea is to blend a boutique’s allure and expert instruction with the foot traffic and existing infrastructure of a larger facility.” 

Study: 60 Seconds of Strenuous Exertion Yields Same Benefits as Longer, Moderate Exercise
One minute of rigorous exercise may be as beneficial for health and fitness as 45 minutes of moderate exercise, according to a study by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. For the study, researchers randomly divided 25 out-of-shape men into three groups: one group changed nothing about their exercise routines, the second began an endurance-workout routine on stationary bikes, and the third began an interval training routine on stationary bikes. After 12 weeks, researchers found that the exercisers saw identical gains, whether they had completed the lengthy, endurance workouts or the short, intense intervals. “The upshot of these results is that three months of concerted endurance or interval exercise can notably—and almost identically—improve someone’s fitness and health,” The New York Times reports. “Neither approach to exercise was, however, superior to the other, except that one was shorter—much, much shorter.” 

New York Classpass Members Outraged by Another Price Hike
Classpass, the fitness company that enables members to attend different types of exercise classes at multiple health clubs and studios, sparked outrage among its New York users on Wednesday when it sent an email alerting them to a yet another price increase, according to Business Insider. Members who currently have Classpass’ unlimited plan will go from paying $125/month to $190/month for the same service. Members shared their outrage on social media, where many pointed out that Classpass, which initially offered its unlimited plan for $99/month, raised its price nearly $100 over the span of 10 months. “As our community of members has grown, it’s become clear that our business must evolve to meet their needs,” the email stated. “Studio drop-in rates in the New York City metro area are as high as $35, and in order to build a membership that’s best for our customers and for our business, we can no longer sustain a one-size-fits-all Unlimited membership at our current rates.” 

Can America’s Doctors Lead Us to Better Health?
While fitness is a proven path to better health, just 9% of doctor’s office visits include physical activity counseling—a disconnect that may be caused by the way physicians are trained and paid, according to Helen Durkin, executive vice president of public policy for IHRSA, and Edward M. Phillips, MD, assistant professor, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School, and director, Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, in a Medical Economics article. “Historically, the focus of the U.S. medical system has been on treating illness. And frankly, doctors tend to view their role as deliverers of the cure—with relatively little time or training spent on prevention or health promotion,” the article states. “But with often-avoidable chronic diseases now the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, doctors need to start seeing themselves less as mechanics applying a fix once disease appears, and more as leaders of our country’s wellbeing. It’s time for our healthcare system at large to rethink what it really means to heal.” Read our ‘Can America’s Doctor’s Lead Us to Better Health?’ blog post.


The Rise and Rise of Boutique Clubs

The following was originally published and written by Paul Bedford, Retention Guru. 

It started before Soul Cycle—an underground movement with small groups of exercise enthusiasts turning up to workout together. They shared a common desire to train hard, suffer together rather than alone, motivate each other, and recognize individual and group achievement. They shared a common goal—maximize the workout and share the experience. 

The industry looked at it as a fad, something on the periphery, a small group of enthusiastic spinning participants, yoga devotees, and Olympic lifters. 

Then, when Soul Cycle revealed $112 million in annual sales, people took notice. On the surface it looked easy to replicate. Take a small space, give it a funky appearance, coin a unique training approach, and charge by the class not by the month. 

Create a quality workout and user experience, make sure you can deliver those same high standards over and over again, price it above the norm to create some level of exclusivity.  

SoulCycle Washington D.C. (Picture P. Bedford)

In the past six months I’ve tried these sessions for myself. Soul Cycle in Washington D.C. was my first real boutique experience. 

When it was time to ride, my first observation was the amount of participants still hanging around from the previous class. They stood in reception talking, laughing and sharing stories, dressed in this season’s workout collection. A few even wore Soul Cycle New York or L.A. tops to show they’ve been riding in various locations. It was a tribe, not just a group of people who happened to do the 5 p.m. class. A community. 

I chose the class based on two things: the time slots available and the instructor’s music choice, posted on the website, which meant I knew ahead of time the music I could expect. Not only was it a great workout, but riders that recognized I was new asked how I got on once it was over. 

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