A 2011 study found that we can squander up to £500 a year on gym memberships which often go unused (bar that good intentioned month of January) and leave a membership card shaped hole singed into the wallets of well intentioned, non-gym-goers everywhere, with scenes reminiscent of The One Where Chandler Wants to Quit the Gym resonating in everyone’s memory. Currently, the UK fitness industry is worth £4.3bn, and the current thought on everyone’s mind is value for money. Boutique Gyms are popping up to offer just that: a sweaty glow and a sense of financial satisfaction.

But what makes them different?

You can forget bad showers, dirty changing rooms and broken lockers, these gyms have set the bar high, with no expense spared. The Boutiques offer an all round exclusive experience; venues are chic and unique; members are clients, known by name and not by number; classes are smaller, more intimate; 80s dance hits are replaced by genre themed evenings or even live music; only the best juices and post workout snacks stack the shelves of the on site juice bar. Fluffy towels and free water often complete the experience. These are not gyms as we know it. Even the style of membership is breaking the standard conventions. Many of these Boutiques offer packages to their clients: in place of one-size-fits-all monthly direct debits for a general membership, clients can purchase blocks of classes tailored to what suits them best, paying only for what they use as a pay as you train class system.

Fancy giving it a go? Here are some of the top Gym Boutiques making a name for themselves in the capital:

  1. 1Rebel

Where: St Mary’s Axe / Broadgate

Pricing: £20 per session, decreasing to £14 when purchasing block sessions

The Workout: The self proclaimed King of Gyms. As the name might suggest, 1Rebel is going against all gym mainstreams. James Balfour, son of Mike Balfour of the Fitness First chain, set up 1Rebel with Giles Dean to provide “Highly intense fitness sessions against a backdrop of live entertainment”  providing three classes throughout the day. Intense 30, 45 or 60 min sessions, hand your body an endorphin boosting kick up the backside, working your body like it has never been worked before. Combinations in all three classes is key. Reshape pairs intense treadmill HIIT with the 1Rebel workout platform to shape and sculpt, Rumble powers you through intense bag work swapped intermittently with burpees and floor work, while Ride incorporates a full body work out with hand weights. Beautifully crafted, industrial style changing rooms are things of Instagram dreams, and you’ll even get a complimentary shake with a lunchtime session.

     2.  Core Collective

Where: High St. Kensington

Pricing: £28 per session, reduced cost when looking at bulk classes and month passes.

The Workout: Velocity, Resistance, Accelerate, Power Yoga & Mat Pilates. One of the newest destinations to be added to the list of Boutiques popping up in the capital, Core Collective take the exclusive experience to the next level with its Kensington location, contemporary art and impeccable interior. It offers a stripped-back selection of 45 or 55 min classes focusing on interval training, cycling, TRX, flexibility and body alignment.

  1. Barry’s Bootcamp

Where: Euston Road / Worship St.

Pricing: £20 per session, decreasing to £14 when purchasing block sessions

The Workout: The Best Workout in the World® – 60min sessions aimed at shock’ing the body into increasing cardiovascular capacity, including 25-30 mins of strength training, set against a backdrop of nightclub style music and lighting. Each day targets a different section of the body, with the weekends working on full body workouts, and at 1000 calories a session, this is for some serious sweating. Exposed brick, personalised water bottles, free towel service and shower rooms stocked with Malin+Goetz toiletries – it’s no wonder Barry’s is a popular haunt for the Hollywood A-List.

  1. Frame

Where: King’s Cross / Queen’s Park / Shoreditch

Pricing: Classes range from £9-£25 for a ‘drop-in’ member, and Frame offers Half-Membership, Full-Membership and Top-up packages.

The Workout: The first Frame Studio opened in Shoreditch in 2009, and since, the opening of King’s Cross and Queen’s Park Studios has seen the expanding variety of classes offered. Known for the feel-good Frame of mind (gettit?), Frame offers Dance classes, Pilates and even workshops along side its Signature classes: Frame X-Train, Body By Frame, Frame Camp, Frame Barre, HIIT PT & Total Body. Power-showers, hair dryers, straighteners, and REN shampoo and conditioners equip the changing rooms, and you can even hire a “forgot your kit” kit, consisting of Nike leggings, bra and a vest for the ladies or shorts and t-shirt for the gents – even when your morning doesn’t go to plan, at least your workout can.

  1. Psycle

Where: Mortimer St / Canary Wharf

Pricing: £20 a session, reducing to £16.25 a session (+ 2 free buddy credits) when buying block sessions

The Workout: As the name suggested, Psycle offers bike based, high intensity, full body workouts, aimed at increasing muscle tone whilst burning maximum calories. Sessions are 45, 60 or 90 min and designed to fit in with hectic schedules. Playlists are exclusively tailored not just to the workout itself but also to the time of day of each session, keeping motivation and positivity a key factor in the all round workout experience. Towels are provided for both the workout and changing room (no one wants a sweaty shower towel) and showers are stocked with Ila’s luxurious, organic bath and body products along with plenty of GHD hairdryers and straighteners.

What do you think of the Gym Boutique trend? Have you tried any others? Will you be handing in your hard gym membership for an exclusive pass any time soon?