How Your Boutique Fitness Class Impacts Your Community

Do you feel like you’re suddenly spending a ton of cash on fitness classes? Or maybe you’re paying high monthly fees for a luxury fitness studio just to stay fit? 

You’re not alone. Prices for boutique fitness classes like SoulCycle, services like ClassPass and even membership to gyms like Equinox have steadily been rising over the years, and our spending is keeping up. According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, in 2016, Americans collectively spent $83.1 million on the industry. 

Corinne Wainer, co-founder of Brooklyn barre and yoga studio Shaktibarre attributes the rising prices of fitness classes to increasing real estate prices. 

“Socially speaking, the politics of the times are experiencing a re-oppression where financial resources are ripped from many and given to few, making fitness class costs go up as they include only a tiny, elite market (for example, 44% of yogis in New York make over $75,000 annually),” she said. 

As Corinne pointed out, the problem with the high cost of boutique fitness is a systemic one. As Goop has exploded in popularity, health has become this commoditized product that’s tied to our finance in a frustrating way.  

Fitness studios themselves can work within communities to keep prices accessible for clients, though. According to Corinne, they can create multiple revenue streams to stay afloat while keeping class prices low. 

“These hybrid models allow for a natural ebb and flow in seasonal attendance as well as a lower per-class cost, such as adding a cafe or non-profit within the space itself,” she said. 

Shaktibarre, for example, has partnered with YoGirls, which offers yoga to low income young women in the community. The space also offers a cafe. 

Clients, too, can advocate for lower prices by supporting studios that may not have every amenity, but that are doing good work in their community. 

You can also look for ways to cut back on fitness spending, by offering to work a shift at a local studio in exchange for free classes. Beyond that, apps like FitnessBlenderMapMyRun and Blogilates are all low-cost or free options that allow you to avoid high gym fees. 

Check out more options for saving money on fitness classes here

Tweet at us @she_spends your favorite low cost fitness options in your area. We’d love to feature studios and spaces outside of New York that are doing work similar to that of Shaktibarre. 

- Alicia McElhaney / She Spends Issue #13