August 25, 2017
A 35-year-old hair stylist is punching a heavy bag as if she were preparing for a title fight, although she’s really doing her regular workout.
And Carla Zuniga, like so many other millennials these days, is not sweating at some low-fee, big-box fitness chain. She favors Prevail Boxing, a 1,500-square-foot studio in Los Angeles that charges $250 for 10 classes.
“I think people in my generation are more willing to invest in what challenges them and makes them healthy,” said Zuniga, who grew bored with cheaper, traditional gyms. “It’s expensive to be healthy, but it’s more expensive to be sick.”
Costly coffee and artisanal avocado toast may be blamed for millennials’ inability to afford a house, but those expenses pale compared with what a growing segment is willing to spend on fitness, abandoning $30-a-month gyms for trendy studios where classes for cycling, boot camp or yoga can run $30 a session.
As for old-school, full-service gyms, they’re borrowing pages from the boutique studios’ playbook.
The Gold’s Gym chain, for instance, recently debuted what it calls Gold’s Studio in 40 of its nearly 740 locations, and plans to invest heavily in spreading the concept, which “allows members to experience coach-led, community-driven and individually adapted boutique-style classes.”
The Assn. of Fitness Studios noted such moves in a recent study.
“Watch some of the big box boys create studio-in-the-club environments, while others decide to open their own studios, either as brand extensions or completely new business models,” the trade group concluded in its study. “No sense letting those profitable training dollars leave forever.”