Getting in-shape is now in-style

The world of fitness is changing; changing in a fast-paced, house music, neon lights kind of way. The idea of gym memberships, treadmills and trying to find the motivation for another set of crunches is now a thing of the past, as those who want to get fit are looking toward instructor-focused fitness classes and training sessions. These classes, however, are far from a traditional workout. You can now find boutique fitness classes not only focusing on yoga, pilates and indoor cycling, but less traditional forms of exercise, ranging from self-defense to Zumba and even pole dancing. There has also been a boom in “fun runs” around the country, where you can choose to be covered in paint, chased by zombies or taste different beers at every mile. All of these “new-age” forms of exercise promise one thing – you will sweat and you will have fun doing so.

Post-run hues at the Color Run, New England.

Boutique fitness classes are popping up around the country, but they don’t come cheap. Courtney Rubin of the New York Times found that clients will pay $35-$40 per class for a 1-hour boot camp or barre workout. But why? Simply because this is no longer a trip to the gym with your iPod. The moment members walk into a studio, the lights dim, the music blasts and they begin to forget they are even working out.

If the music, light shows and motivating instructors aren’t enough to encourage you to join, celebrity endorsements may do the trick. Vanessa Grigoriadis of Vanity Fair took a look at the “cult-like” following of Soul Cycle, one of New York’s most popular indoor cycling studios. Grigoriadis reported Soul Cycle has a high-profile crew including “die-hard followers such as Chelsea Clinton, J. Crew’s Mickey Drexler [and] Katie ­Holmes”. Lady Gaga reportedly threw her birthday party at one of Soul Cycle’s Hollywood studios and brought two $2200 bikes on her tour.

Southwest Airlines’ Spirit Magazine published their feature article on some of the wildest runs taking place around the country. The story reported that costume-required races and runs that will leave you covered head-to-toe in paint have been drawing in a crowd of people who had never had an interest in running or exercise before – all because they’re a lot of fun.

Through this blog, I hope to look deeper into these boutique fitness classes and studios. What makes them as successful as they are? Who is coming back day after day? And why? I plan to look into the Boston fitness studio culture, as well as those in other major cities across the country and even internationally. There are many advocates of these trends, but also a lot of professionals who disagree with them. I look forward to investigating what health and fitness experts have to say about the safety of some of these classes.

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