When it comes to fitness, many people default to paying for memberships in big gyms because it’s the most obvious, commercial and widely accepted solution to meeting fitness needs. However, just because you’re paying your bill each month doesn’t mean you’re getting the proper fitness training and exercise that your body needs. By the same logic, just because the equipment is there in front of you it doesn’t mean you’re going to use it correctly or at all. Big, corporate-run gyms may be alright for some, providing plenty of machines and classes, but they do not account for one of the biggest factors in fitness: your mind.
Many fitness gurus will tell you that it is not your body you must conquer when pursuing fitness goals; it is actually your mind. It is extremely challenging and rare to achieve major fitness goals without some sort of help. Results depend heavily on the right workout, the right diet, consistency and the right form. Without someone there to check you when your form is off, help you develop a routine and an appropriate diet, and hold you accountable for when you miss a workout, you could easily lose your focus, momentum and motivation. To combat this, big gyms do offer trainers, but these trainers are not always certified and often have so many clients that they are forced to apply a one-size fits all approach to keep up with their clientele.
As more and more people have become conscious of these facts, small, local fitness studios have seen a steady uptick in memberships over the past few years. More people are realizing that a more focused, private setting will allow them to work smarter, not harder, and will give them the results that they’re looking for quicker. Boutique fitness studios offer more lazer-focused, small group classes which are more cost effective than a dedicated trainer but that give you much more personal attention than simply working out on your own in a big gym.
Gyms can often be filled with people having conversations, chatty friends and acquaintances who will want to talk to you, TV screens, showboaters who enjoy strutting their stuff and well, let’s face it – distractingly attractive people. All this takes your focus and attention away from finishing your workout fast, keeping your heart rate up and keeping your form. Smaller gyms offer more privacy and more ease for you to focus on the machines that you need to be on for your specific fitness goals.
Remember those showboaters we mentioned earlier? For some people, these showboaters work as motivation; but for others, it may be a source of intimidation, making them feel like they are not fit enough to be working out around them. This could mean many things, from you losing your form, exaggerating your movements, or doing more or less reps than you should. All of this will drain the effectiveness out of your workout. A smaller gym feels more comfortable and private, where you will have less eyes on you; the people that go to smaller gyms are not there to show off – they’re there to get results and you will feel this sense of focus when you’re there; it will inevitably rub off on you.
Smaller fitness studios often specialize in specific methods and equipment that can deliver better results in a shorter amount of time. Specialized methods like the Power-Plate system offer more efficient workouts than many traditional options. This particular choice is a machine that gives muscles a high-speed workout using vibrations that stimulate contraction and relaxation. In a normal exercise session, human muscles contract once or twice a second, but by standing on the Power-Plate, the vibrations cause an automatic reflex muscle contraction of 30-50 a second. Because of this increased intensity and effectiveness, the Power-Plate is a big time-saver. Many muscle groups are activated at the same time. Just 30 minutes on the Power-Plate will have the same results as 90 minutes of conventional strenuous training. This particular method even helps your body to continue burning calories after your session.
More focused attention
One thing you’ll definitely see a difference in is the attention you get; your instructors have a smaller group to watch as you do your workouts. In big gym classes, you’ll get lost in the shuffle, as just another face in a sea of sweaty faces. In smaller fitness studios, they’ll be able to spot you faster if you’re doing an exercise with the wrong form. They’ll catch you if you slack. Best of all, you’ll get more one on one time with the instructors and more customized attention which will be closer to personal training, without the expensive monthly price tag.
The Philosophy on Equipment: Quality over Quantity
Mega gyms have so many machines that working out on your own in a sea of contraptions you’re not sure how to work could be discouraging and overwhelming. Smaller gyms tend to have just the right mix of machines that are targeted at different areas of the body; there are often a small enough number of machines that your trainers have time to show you just how to use each one properly.
When you walk into a big gym, the only person who notices is yourself and maybe a few other gym rats who you probably don’t even talk to. You are just another scanned membership card to the front desk staff who’s just waiting to clock out. Other than that, if you miss a full week, the only person who is going to hold you accountable is you. This is rarely enough to motivate you to maintain consistency. At a smaller, boutique fitness studio, the groups tend to be much smaller and will definitely notice and comment on either your absence or your progress. You’ll be less likely to miss when your instructors and peers are rooting for you! Beyond just a guilt trip, the atmosphere is typically so close-knit that you will be looking forward to showing up; like an athlete looks forward to joining his or her team for practice, you’ll be itching to get to the gym to put in some work.
Smaller fitness studios, like Streamline Vibrations in Miami, where you will find the Power-Plate method, now make up approximately 21% of the $22.4 billion fitness industry in America. An astounding 45% of people have left their full-service gyms for these smaller, boutique studios, according to the New York Times. This number will likely continue to grow as more people become more serious and strategic about their fitness.