Fitness boutiques are popping up all over the country, and it makes sense – they have the appeal of a small studio and the benefits of a large chain. These seemingly one-of-a-kind studios are growing in popularity so rapidly, it shouldn’t be a surprise if one is popping up near you sometime soon.
These studios feature everything from more traditional workouts to exercise based on dance, and have a massive appeal because of their unique feel. Before you join up with a boutique fitness chain, here’s what you need to know about some of the fastest growing chains in the business.
David Long, Ellen Latham, and Jerome Kern opened the first Orangetheory in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in March of 2010. Now the brand has exploded into 86 locations across the country, and hopes to hit the 100-studio mark this month. Orangetheory plans to expand its fitness takeover to 250 studios within the next few years. With 60-minute interval-training classes featuring low-impact treadmills, water rowers, and strength and core training, Orangetheory is designed to maximize afterburn (burning calories even after you’ve stopped working out).
Your first session is free, and then prices are $59 for four classes a month up to $159 for unlimited classes.
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One of the most common New Year’s resolutions that people strive to stick to each year is to exercise more. It’s also the one that most people tend to give up on before January is even over, often saying, “I just don’t have enough time.” The truth is, you have time for anything that you make a priority. Our lives are super busy with work, school, kids, etc., but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find at least a few minutes each day to focus on improving your fitness level. After all, any of exercise is better than nothing.
Here’s a list of the best bang for your buck in the amount of time that you have to exercise:
Got 4 minutes?
Try a Tabata workout. The idea behind the Tabata method is to work at your maximum level for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This pattern is repeated continuously eight times for a total of four minutes of training. If you’re doing more than one Tababta drill, take one minute to rest between exercises. I would recommend doing a total of no more than six sets total, since you’ll be working at such a high level of intensity. If you only have time for one Tabata, consider doing an exercise like burpees, which is more demanding and works muscles throughout the entire body.
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Out of all of the cardio machines that I have to choose from at the gym, the treadmill is usually the last one that I would choose. It’s not that I dislike walking or running – I actually kind of like it – but to me, walking or running indoors can get extremely boring. There’s something about the other machines (like the elliptical and stairmill) that just seem to hold my interest more and make my workout more enjoyable. That being said, I know that running on a treadmill can provide a great cardiovascular workout.
I almost always run outdoors and my surface of choice is definitely dirt. Unfortunately, because of weather and other factors, that’s not always possible. Recently, I decided to give the treadmill another chance, with a different approach this time.
I’m an avid hiker and walking up an incline is often a big part of my hikes. Hiking can be a great cardiovascular and fat-burning workout because it tones your lower body and (depending on the trail) can alternate between high and low intensity.
I tried utilizing the treadmill to get the same benefits of a hike by adjusting the incline and speed during a thirty minute period, which would offer the same type of interval training that I naturally get while hiking. Walking at an incline burns more calories than walking on a level surface because your body has to work much harder to push itself uphill. You’ll definitely feel your heart pumping faster as the incline percentage increases, and it will drop as you come back down to level ground.
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When I initially decided to join a gym about ten years ago I pretty much only ever stayed in one very small area of the building: the cardio section. I would walk in, jump on the treadmill or elliptical trainer for about 45 minutes and leave. I wasn’t really sure what to do in the weight room and found it to be pretty intimidating, so I steered clear of it altogether. But then I got bored. I decided that I wanted to start doing exercise in the form of strength training to build some muscles! And then one day, as if by fate, I noticed a flyer for a new class that the gym was offering: Les Mills Bodypump.
Bodypump is described as the original Les Mills barbell class and will sculpt, tone and strengthen your entire body, fast! The classes use a specific formula of resistance training that is referred to as “The Rep Effect.” This essentially means that the classes focus on using low weight loads and high repetition movements for effective fat burning and production of lean muscle tissue. (Or, in my own words – it’s an hour of strength training combined with cardio moves that will kick your butt and re-shape your body.)
Nervously, I decided to give Bodypump a try, and I loved it! Even though the class was nearly an hour long, it went by super quickly and I enjoyed every heart-pumping minute. I immediately became hooked and found myself faithfully attending the class three times a week. I loved it so much in fact that I eventually decided to become a certified Les Mills Bodypump instructor!
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When I first heard the name “Orangetheory Fitness,” my mind immediately conjured up images of some kind of old school punk band playing a set in someone’s basement. Boy was I wrong! As it turns out, it’s a rapidly expanding fitness sensation (locations in more than 15 states and 2 Canadian territories) that is taking the continent by storm!
I ventured over to the Naperville, IL location (as I am now a Chicagoland resident) to try out a class to see what it was all about. When I entered I was greeted by a very friendly staff who explained the workings of what was to transpire in class. I was given my own heart rate monitor to wear for the workout to see how hard I’d actually be working.
The workout starts with interval training (which I am a HUGE fan of). The first part consisted of Indo Row machines (rowers with water in them for a real rowing effect) and then switching to the box area where we did various strength training moves. This persisted for about a half hour. At first, I was like “Easy Peasy!,” but by the third time around, I was sweating profusely and was feeling the burn!
The second half of the class had us on the treadmills. We did various lengths of intervals, running and jogging, mixed with recovery walks in between. I felt as though I could run a lot harder and faster because we were doing shorter sprints, rather than long drawn out runs. By the end of the second half, I had clocked more than two miles in sprints!
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