Boutique vs. Gym - The Power of the "Micro" - By Holly

"The latest trend sweeping across the fitness industry is the rise of micro-gyms. These clubs generally specialize in one or two types of training - often group exercise - offering customized attention. And it's working." - Les Mills International.


So what is a "boutique fitness studio," anyway? That's a question that I've been asked throughout the development of Aspire. 

I've been an employee as well as avid corporate gym member for 20+ years. After having my second child, however, I purchased a 5-class package for $90 at barre3 (which was more than my monthly membership dues) to help strengthen my core and to see what the hype around "barre fitness" was all about. After just one class at this "micro," fitness studio, I was hooked. 

I was was greeted by the instructor who wanted to know if I had any injuries, questions about the class, and walked me into the studio to show me around. At my second visit, the Manager, "Kimmi," knew my name. I received a card in the mail less than a week later, thanking me for joining their studio (handwritten, not an email). The class had 20 people, and the workout was effective. It was an experience that I had never had with a gym, even after all of the years that I worked for one as a group fitness instructor. The $90 price tag for five classes was no longer a concern; the value and service that I received was worth more than the cost in itself.

I still go to the local gym now and again, although for some classes I have to show up close to 45-minutes beforehand to reserve a space because the classes tend to fill up with 50+ people. I feel rushed in and out, it's hard to find parking, it's loud and there's a lot of people. I have been ready for something new locally. Something fresh. 

So, how do you know if you'll want to join Aspire if you can't feel it, see it or touch it quite yet? I'll do my best to paint the picture of what we desire to offer our members. 

Take yourself through your favorite clothing boutique in the Pearl, San Francisco, or one of my favorite's, Sublime right here in Happy Valley. How does it make you feel, compared to a large department store? It's warm, inviting, it smells nice, and you receive personal attention, right? Aspire will be no different. We'll have an on-line portal so you can sign up for classes right from your iPhone or computer. An easy-to-use app can be downloaded for free via MindBody (Aspire will show up after our March opening). You'll receive a warm greeting from our instructors and staff, and possibly browse through our boutique fitness apparel before heading into our studio, which holds 30 members per class. We'll limit our membership to avoid overcrowding, and make every effort to provide superior customer service to our members and guests. We'll have a child care room that will be supervised by a family friend and babysitter to our children (Ally). We'll have organized activities in the child care, unless you choose to enroll your child in a dance or fitness class of their own. We've aligned our children's class times with the adult classes, so families can workout at the same time. Being free of the corporate environment also allows for creativity! We have so many incredible classes to offer from weights, cardio, barre, dance and yoga. Members can offer input that will affect change, and enhance the overall experience. (By the way, our schedule will be posted within the week to our website, and emailed. Be sure to join our mailing list!)

I could keep going on, but I want to leave a few surprises to share come March. Micro fitness studio's are becoming the new trend among many large cities, and I'm thrilled to be opening one here in Happy Valley. I hope to provide the same positive experience for you, that made me fall in love with this type of fitness environment. 

Be·Empowered ... 




Examples of boutique studios across the nation:

Mint Studios, San Fran (locally owned) -

StudioX, Portland, OR (locally owned) -

Physique 57, New York and LA (franchise) -

Pure Barre (franchise) -

barre3 (franchise) -