There’s a reason why high-end fitness classes cost an average of $34 that has nothing to do with making money

Flykick is a kickboxing-inspired workout.

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Flykick is a kickboxing-inspired workout.
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Flykick

  • An increasing number of boutique fitness studios are opening in cities across the world to cater for millennials’ insatiable appetite for stylish ways to keep fit.
  • At an average of $34 a class, paying a visit to these studios isn’t cheap, yet people are willing to invest.
  • The steep prices aren’t just due to top quality training and luxury toiletries though.
  • It turns out the cost of the classes comes down to creating the impression of a high-end studio.

With millennials’ preference for protein shakes over piña coladas, mindfulness over mosh pits, and pilates over partying on a Friday night, is it any surprise boutique fitness studios are springing up with impressive frequency in cities across the world?

Instead of spending our hard-earned cash on boozy nights out, young people today are increasingly investing in their health and wellness – a survey found that British students now spend just £68 ($88) a month on alcohol on average, compared to £120 ($155) on health and fitness, an increase of £87 ($112) from the amount spent by students who graduated between 1997 and 2017.

And as we all know, our penchant for avocados is the reason so many of us will never make it on to the housing ladder.

Companies are capitalising on the fact that being healthy and fit has never been more on-trend with high-end fitness classes at boutique studios – and they cost around $34 a pop on average, meaning they quickly add up.

For reference, here are the prices of a one-off class at some of London’s most popular boutique fitness studios:

A visit to a boutique fitness studio is a world away from frequenting a class at a mainstream gym.

Not only are the studios always incredibly stylishly decorated, you can expect all the toiletries you could ever need provided in the changing rooms (deodorant, tampons, dry shampoo, hair bobbles, moisturiser etc), in-house smoothie bars to whizz you up a post-workout shake (at most studios you order before the class so your drink is ready as soon as you’re done), live DJs providing the soundtrack to your workout, and often stores selling branded gym kit.

And of course, for these prices you can expect top instructors who really know their stuff.

The reason for the similar costs of each class may seem obvious – competition.

However, it turns out there may be another reason behind the prices of boutique classes, and it all comes down to the message they send.

Luxury hand creams alone won’t build the impression you’re in a high-end establishment – the price contributes to this feeling, too.

Read more: A fitness trainer loved by the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Emily Blunt says there’s one key difference between celebrity and ‘normal’ clients

It comes down to “knowing that what you set as your pricing also influences the consumer’s perception of the quality they will receive,” according to Josh Leve, founder and CEO of the Association of Fitness Studios, the trade association that represents studio owners and entrepreneurial fitness professionals.

Speaking to Refinery29, he said: “If your fitness studio is focused on delivering the best possible experience for your members or clients, but you price below what others are charging to generate business, then consumers will believe that your offering is average; counter to how you have positioned your studio.”

Despite the objectively steep rates, enough people are happy to pay them, safe in the knowledge they’re getting an effective workout in a pleasurable environment that just happens to provide some top-notch content for the ‘gram, too.

For many, it’s the sense of getting personal trainer-quality instruction, at a much lower cost.

Define.London, created by Ashley Verma, is one of the trendiest new fitness studios in the city, and its barre workouts are loved by celebrities such as Victoria’s Secret model Lorena Rae, Pippa Middleton, and TV presenter Lisa Snowdon.

“We offer incredibly professional expert trainers,” a spokesperson for Define told INSIDER. “And we have to pay them.

“When you decide on a gym or studio membership, the reasoning behind higher price classes is due to the calibre of trainer and also the personal support you receive from the studio.

“Our classes are quite small so we can really spend time with each of our clients and make sure they are getting the best from their training. It’s a personal training experience within a group setting.”

Read more: Scarlett Johansson’s personal trainers say burpees are a waste of time – here’s what you should be doing instead

If certain studios can get away with charging high rates, others will follow to prove they’re on the same level. Meanwhile, others go deliberately slightly lower in a bid to appeal to a wider range of people.

“We wanted to make our concept accessible to as many people as possible,” a spokesperson for Flykick, a kickboxing-based workout, told INSIDER.

“People are creatures of habit and changing their fitness behaviour can be a difficult challenge; with that in mind we’re willing to offer our single class price at £21 ($27) which is slightly lower than that of most other boutique studios in London.

“This gives people the opportunity to get a flavour of the Flykick experience and see what we’re all about – we’re confident they’ll get hooked.”