The Growth of Boutique Private Fitness Studios & Gyms in NYC

The fitness industry has been undergoing a sea change—large franchise gym chains have been blanketing big cities like NYC for the past few years, forcing many trainers into their employ to maintain relevance and a steady paycheck. But these chains are so large and so unregulated (a $24 billion industry!) that they are paying their trainers less and less, around $34,000 per year even on the high end—$20,000 below the average household income. Trainers, consequently, are increasingly underpaid and overworked, forcing them to rethink their careers and take their business into their own hands.

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City residents, always eager to take up new trends, should look in the direction these trainers are going—not towards chains like Equinox, Class Pass, Cross-Fit, Soul Cycle, or Fly Wheel—but to boutique trainer-run fitness studios dotting little-known locations throughout the five boroughs.

More to the point, trainers are increasingly opening their own private studios to exercise more control over their schedules, clientele, and pay, and city residents are noticing. More and more, fitness hunks, cycle meetup members, pure strength training enthusiasts and more are joining these tight-knit fitness communities to receive greater attention from their trainers and benefit from personalized service.

Clubs like Equinox and others have been underpaying and overworking their trainers for years, so trainers are taking their business elsewhere. Savvy and dedicated New Yorkers are taking notice, opting for a different kind of experience: getting their fitness fix at boutique trainer-run fitness studios popping up increasingly all over the 5 boroughs.

Unlike fitness chains and residence-based fitness facilities, which are essentially cash farms that offer little opportunity for meaningful interactions with trainers, these trainer-owned fitness studios gyms are non-membership and subscription-based, and offer regulars consistent 1-on-1 opportunities with expert trainers to construct and implement customized training regimens.

One example, On Your Mark, gives regulars the chance to train 1-on-1 with top fitness coaches, every session, every time they attend. This arrangement works much better for coaches as well. In contrast to offering trainers who are overworked, underpaid, and expendable at gyms like Equinox, which are hemorrhaging trainers, On Your Mark offers full-service, personalized training, clinical massage, and health action programs. This gives clients ample opportunity to train on their own schedules commensurate to their individual needs.

Organizations like Belleon Body Gym are an excellent example of how individual trainers are taking their skills and schedules into their own hands to create excellent experiences for their clients, driving value in the small training studio market and empowering both clients and trainers. On the whole, private fitness studios like it allow trainers a more entrepreneurial, self-scheduled, low-pressure, bespoke environment where they can interface with their clients on a case-by-case basis. Trainers, in this arrangement, work with their clients to construct customized training schedules, which benefits both trainer and client.

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Savvy New Yorkers are seeing the value of these kinds of studios, and are leaving gyms like Equinox for a more personalized experience. To the reader: never settle for less! Subscribe to a boutique fitness studio today.

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H. Caleb Simmons

Staff Writer

H. Caleb Simmons is a writer, startup community organizer, and blockchain enthusiast. With a background in politics and government, Caleb is highly interested in impact investing and hopes to make a positive impact on the world. (All writing is my own; does not reflect the preferences of my employer)