Elements of Boutique Fitness (Part 1)

Elements of Boutique Fitness (Part 1) - Athleticum Fitness
The modern terrain of fitness is a very different look to 15 years ago and a world away from the Crunch, Karen Voight studios and Joe Weider Gyms of old. But when looking at the historical creation of the industry we can see some similarity and we can use elements of the old ways to our success in the new vision of BOUTIQUE FITNESS for any long-standing clubs.
The ultimate elements of a successful fitness facility harp back to the days of the member demand rather than the corporate delivery of think tanks. This is reflected in the last five years of industry trending toward the preferred boutique that members love to invest time and money in. In short, members want to be made to feel special, members want to be involved in the process of their own fitness and members want to take control of their journey.
Luckily, “we have an APP for that” spring’s to mind but how on earth can this be made real. What elements do you, the operator, truly need to create that boutique feel whilst maintaining your own club identity.
Create a plan: Let’s take two activities, Indoor Cycling, and Functional Training. In many gyms this is what we most generically offer. There are a tonne of options on both due to the successes of the pioneers of both categories. Now lets AMP these up and focus on the creation and delivery of both. This first of a two-part article take on the INDOOR CYCLING 25 year king; SPINNING®.
SPINNING®, a brand that spans the ages, fitness levels and backgrounds. It can appeal to all and can fill classes over and over again if done right. It is basically personalised training on the bike with music to lift you, work you, or chill you out based on your own intensity.  It aids in standardising the safety and member benefits of your indoor cycling offerings without losing the personality driven class.  By way of the use of Energy Zone™ training it can easily provide the member inclusion within the process and the feedback craved-for using the clients own wearable apps available on the smart phones on within your own club tracking solutions. Mymoves, Strava, Myzone to name just a few.


  • Spinning® Success - Create the Boutique feel within your club. Design your studio to transport the rider to a higher state and really tap into the science of sport psychology of the rider. Create the experience and deliver it to the highest quality every time. This includes the look and feel of your studio.
  • A welcoming clutter–free entrance with a beautiful info board on the outside of the studio to greet members waiting for the next awesome class. Make it fun, informative and tip-based too. Letting members know about special rides and events for the future too is a great way to promote. Include member group photos of previous events too to really create that social bike club feel.

  • Cleanliness and the way a studio smells is key in this. Fresh air, great air conditioning and scents of bergamot will give a lift and dry out the room after the beats have faded into the sweat filled air. Make sure you help this along by providing the means to clean following your member’s own ride if you don’t want to hire a full time post class cleaner.

  • Wall graphics that both fit your brand and motivate the rider works but again, keep this annually refreshed if possible to really stay ahead. Café’s, Clubs and Bars do the same so why not take on their successful strategies.

  • Lighting is a key ingredient in positive mood generation and also a source of member aggression if you get it wrong. Flashing lighting is to be avoided and can end up with an over stimulated cortex leading to headaches or irritation. So go for ambient mood lighting with a slow change rate and its not expensive to put some colour change LED bulbs into the studio ceiling to create affect. Even a couple of wall up lighters will do the trick on a budget. Do remember that the instructor needs to be able to see the members and visa-versa. Pitch-black studios are to be avoided due to safety.


  • Spinning® is instructor led, so spend the time on vetting and auditing your instructors on an annual basis. If necessary hire a consultant to help you get this right. Ensure that they are certified to teach SPINNING®. You can also benefit and freely become a licensed SPINNING® Studio and gain the value added support this provides to you and your instructors. When an instructor claims that they are SPINNING® trained, check with Spinning® that they are indeed trained and up to date so that you stay on the right side of your regulations and insurance. It also ensures that the instructors are on point when structuring new and innovative classes with the latest sports and cycling science all packaged in the experience.


  • Sound advice. It’s not usually enough to stick a boom-box in the corner of the room, and have your instructors shout at the top of their voice to convey a simple message within the class. Invest in a quality sound system and head-mics and keep this in tip top condition, as without this, you are on a slippery slope with member and instructor dissatisfaction.
  • Create a STUDIO GURU to take care of that space, the bike maintenance rotation and member interactions on your own dedicated social media group. Someone needs to drive it and lets face it, club managers are busy people so delegate the awesome job out to someone who really loves cycling and motivating your members.

All in all, to really create the boutique effect and retain your club members they need to feel cared for, listened to, engaged with and loved!

Take on some of these ideas and let us know if you need help in designing your very own Boutique Studio within your clubs.  Spinning® has the experience and knows the pitfalls after 25 years since creating the indoor cycling category that has exploded into what it is today. Get the basics right and you cannot go wrong.

Love your Ride  #spinningoriginals


About the Author: 


Sarah Morelli is Senior Master Instructor and Power Specialist for the SPINNING® Program, Master Coach of Precor’s Queenax and Director of Athleticum®, Education Representative for SPINNING® in the UK and Ireland and partnered with Precor UK. www.athleticum.co.uk


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