LA Fitness Owner Opens Boutique Studio Concept


Big-box gyms are rebuilding their brands with boutique amenities.

The latest: Fitness International, operator of LA Fitness, City Sports Clubs and Esporta, has launched a new boutique fitness-focused gym facility called Club Studio.

The 40K square feet houses five dedicated group fitness studios—HIIT, hot yoga, cycling, boxing and reformer Pilates—along with cryotherapy services and more typical big-box offerings like free weights, pool, basketball court and more.

Why it matters: After unbundling during the pandemic, traditional health club operators are rebuilding with services aimed at the holistic exerciser. This includes shamelessly borrowing elements from its longtime industry rival, boutique studios.

The reasoning connects. The boutique experience has caught on and revitalized group exercise over the past decade. Last year during the pandemic, the category reached all-time highs.

With an industry up and running, big boxes like Fitness International can borrow from boutiques, delivering the best of both worlds.

Boutiqueification. Seeking greater diversification to meet the many evolving practices in wellness such as mindful movement, strength+ and longevity – while providing a club experience that exercisers can’t get at home – the amazing rebundling is underway.

  • Fitness International has signed an agreement with Xponential Fitness for 500+ concepts within select clubs and recently launched a digital membership with Les Mills+ last year.
  • New York Sports Clubs has acquired omnichannel strength/HIIT boutique Fhitting Room and is rebuilding its gyms’ spaces, programs and services around high performance.
  • Last year, Life Time launched Ultra Fit, an in-house metabolic conditioning program, joining its established group training concepts Alpha (Olympic weightlifting) and GTX (cardio + strength).

Punchline: Where consumer preference goes, the industry will follow. For now, that means gyms are evolving to offer more specialized classes and social experiences for exercisers looking for accountability, motivation and results.