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The rise of the "Boutique Studio" workout

The rise of the "Boutique Studio" workout

There is one new year’s resolution that seems to always be at the top the list: get fit. After weeks of ditching the gym in December, the endless office Christmas parties and the holiday feasts with family and friends, working out seems to be the last thing we want to do around the holidays. Come January 2nd, we suddenly awaken with a strong desire to get fit, get back on track, lose weight (for some) and be the best version of ourselves in the new year.

The trend of subscribing to the gym with monthly memberships seems to have dwindled somewhat given the recent explosion of studio openings in and around Dubai. This is not a trend limited to the UAE. As Dubai has indeed followed the footsteps of LA, New York, London and other world cities that have become home to the most luxurious boutique studios and latest workout trends.

Boutique studios are by nature smaller than your average gym. They often specialise in one (or two) types of exercise and allow you to work out in a high-end and an inviting surrounding. Whilst the membership for your typical gym membership might be anywhere between AED 250-800 a month, a single class at a studio can set you back by at least 100 dirhams a class.

So what makes these studios (at the higher price-point) more attractive than the cheaper gym model?

Firstly: the pay as you go approach. Whilst the majority of gyms offer an annual membership with a joining fee, boutique studios provide pay-as-you-go classes (or packages of classes) to clients who don’t want a long-term commitment.

A second reason is size and accountability: the fact that classes are paid for individually, means clients are more likely to turn up given they have paid for the service. Unlike a gym membership, where clients can easily put-off going “till tomorrow” (we have all done it!). Classes are usually much smaller and numbers are capped to maintain a personal training experience in a group environment.

Boutique studios also offer something that large gym-chains don’t: community. It is very rare to go to a large-chain gym and talk to your fellow gym-goers. Whereas boutique studios foster a less intimidating and more hospitable setting to allow clients and trainers alike to become friends and turn their experience into a regular occurrence. This sense of community encourages clients to not just go the one time, but ensures they continue going and commit to their exercise regime.

This all culminates into the most important reason: results. Working out in a class-setting with a trainer on hand means that clients will be pushing themselves more than if they were to work out on their own in a gym. Whilst this is a generalisation and discipline does exist amongst the committed, the majority of results are achieved in tandem with accountability: both to the trainer and other class-goers. Clients feel that through their results, they’ve achieved their goal which justifies the higher price to attend a class versus going to a gym!