Evolution of the Boutique Fitness Industry

Any customer or instructor will tell you, one of the things that makes BECYCLE so unique is the genuine sense of community that can be found within these walls. Boutique fitness studios like BECYCLE are often loved for their specialized nature, which is probably why more than a few of you have found your new best friend in the studio! But how did boutique fitness become so popular? When did working out evolve into a social activity? The institution of the gym dates back 3,000 years to Ancient Greece... so here's a short history of how open-air gymnasiums in Athens have paved the way to butt-burning barre in Berlin.

 

980 BCE: Athens, greece

 © Alamy

© Alamy

The two famous Athenian gymnasiums were the Academy and the Lyceum. These were outdoor, open-air spaces exclusively for men. No equipment, no clothes(!) and the focus was mainly on training for javelin, running, and discus competitions. 

Although this might seem like a far throw from BECYCLE, historian Eric Chaline says that there was another main focus of the gymnasium: socialization! Men of different ages and social status would come to the gymnasium to discuss philosophy... sound similar to your post-workout musings over at the cafe? 

 

1811: berlin, germany

 © Promo

© Promo

After the Greeks, and the Medieval time (which was pretty much gym-free), the revival of the gymnasium happened in the birthplace of BECYCLE itself... Berlin! Napoleon's defeat of the Prussian army was enough of a national humiliation to push schoolteacher Friedrich Jahn to create the open-air Turnplatz at Hasenheide. He designed the parallel bars and the vaulting horse for the local community to increase their physical fitness, in the name of national defence.

 

1847: paris, france

 © Scott Kirby

© Scott Kirby

Taking training indoors, French strongman Hippolyte Triat was the founder of the Grand Gymnase, also known as the world's first commercial gym! He used ropes and barbells to teach what was essentially a modern day circuit class. Who knows, Sven might even been teaching you some of Triat's techniques in his HIIT classes!

 

 

1980's & 90's: Across the western world

 © Warner Bros

© Warner Bros

The large commercial gym structure was falling out of style as people began to crave a more personal experience. Those who preferred to sweat it out solo could follow aerobics videos at home, made by celebrities such as Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda. Others who wanted a group session started heading to smaller, stand-alone yoga studios that began popping up. These studios offered a community of like-minded individuals, which began the shift of fitness being seen more as a lifestyle, than just a means of staying in shape.  As these small yoga studios found success, other entrepreneurs started specialized studios of their own, which led to.... 

 

today: worldwide

The boutique fitness revolution! It all started in the early 2000s when the Bar Method was founded, Pure Barre in 2001, and Soul Cycle in 2006. Since then, boutique studios have been a force to be reckoned with! From 2013 to 2014, participation in boutique studios doubled from 21% to 42%. And why? Because they have the community vibe that is impossible to find at a large gym.

 © Nomadic by Choice

© Nomadic by Choice

And let's be honest, what's not to love about a place like BECYCLE? With small class sizes and a well-trained team, your instructors get to know you personally and can motivate your progress. So Kate will call you out if she sees you slacking in her Barre class, and Joey will push you to your limits because he cares about YOU getting fitter and stronger! Since boutique studios offer this highly tailored experience, experts assure us that boutique fitness is not just an industry trend.

Manhattan data collection company Bloomberg has predicted that boutique studios will continue to expand until the health clubs of the past are practically extinct! People nowadays have embraced fitness as a lifestyle and many are seeking out others who also believe in maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit. From our view here at BECYCLE, it's this holistic approach that brings us even closer together. From motivating your neighbours on the bike, to making friends over a smoothie, or even finding love on a luxury wellness retreat (it has happened!)... we're here to build a community where you belong.

 

Article written by Amanda and Steph

 

 

LifestyleGundula Coellen