SoulCycle, Barre, Crossfit — boutique fitness is taking over. We’ll look at the promises, the community, the obsessions, when fitness goes boutique.
Once, working out meant sweatpants and jumping jacks. Or running shorts and the open road. Then came Jazzercise, Zumba, hot yoga, Pilates. Today, for a growing number of Americans, fitness has gone more grueling and more glam at the same time. Boutique fitness. High-priced. Intense. Quasi-spiritual. With followers who are almost religious in the fervor. SoulCycle. Core Power. Flywheel. Barre. This hour On Point, the boutique fitness craze, and what drives it.
— Tom Ashbrook
Angie Thurston, master’s of divinity student at the Harvard Divinity School and co-author, with Casper ter Kuile, of the report, “How We Gather.”
From Tom’s Reading List
Washington Post: Sweat equity: What’s behind the rise of intense boutique fitness programs? — “Forget the Y, or even the bespoke gym. Boutique fitness programs — extreme versions of yoga, spinning, CrossFit, whatever — are America’s current urban exercise obsession, selling community, self-improvement and $90 leggings. And plenty of people are buying, not just in the predictable places such as New York and Washington, but in cities as seemingly low-key as Minneapolis.”
Harvard Divinity School: How We Gather — “Strikingly, spaces traditionally meant for exercise have become the locations of shared, transformative experience. This raises a question about the responsibility of class instructors, and how they can best prepare for the increasingly pastoral role they may be asked to take on.”
Shape: Are You Too Dependent on Your Workout Studio? — “Obsessing over an awesome fitness instructor or class is a fantastic motivator to exercise. When a particular yoga teacher or spin studio rocks your world, it’s easier to say ‘no’ to after-work drinks or reschedule a date for your fave sweat sessions. But what happens when your dream trainer and/or class skip out on you?”