The Rise of Boutique Fitness in Stockholm
Free yourself from the restrictions of monthly gym memberships and get fit the fun way. Find out more about the growing boutique fitness industry in Stockholm with Katharine Trigarszky.
The changing face of fitness
Until yoga studios and CrossFit boxes hit town, gyms in Stockholm typically offered the same package: access to facilities and equipment with the option of taking a few classes for a fixed monthly subscription.
The fitness scene began to change when some of these new outlets started offering drop-in sessions. There are now 30 official CrossFit affiliates in Stockholm alone and around 100 boxes in the country as a whole. Meanwhile, yoga has become an escape for many of us from our stressful and hectic days.
Fitness for tourists and locals
The exhaustion of the CrossFit WOD (workout of the day) or the quiet of the yoga pose are not for everybody, however. But the idea of a place to exercise without having to sign up for a monthly subscription has taken hold.
A huge bonus for Stockholm visitors is that they can attend a boutique fitness class without needing to have a Swedish personal identity number (personnummer), something required by most Swedish gyms.
While CrossFit is all about the training and the gym itself is often rougher around the edges, boutique fitness outlets—the new kids on the block—place much more emphasis on luxury.
They offer smaller class sizes, stylish venues and a more tailored experience with specific training, such as Pilates, HIIT, barre, and cycling.
Friendly studios, trainers, and staff
Studios can sometimes feel like a friendlier place than a chain gym. It’s easier to get to know the trainers, the staff on-site and your classmates than at a gym with hundreds, if not thousands, of members.
Jaclyn Amaro, who has been teaching Megaformer classes at The Place for about nine months, says, “This has enabled me to meet new people and make great friends.” She adds, “I also love that each week when I teach, many of the same clients are in my classes, so I’ve been able to form relationships and get to know them personally.”
Jaclyn believes the group aspect of boutique fitness is a key appeal. “For many people, it’s more motivating to workout as part of a group than by themselves. You feel like you’re part of a team, which makes you push yourself harder.” Lyndon Dodd, who regularly trains in the cycling classes at Studio L’Echelon, feels the classes are “attended by like-minded people, where there is a strong community feeling.”
The trainers are often specialists in their field, and the smaller class sizes mean they have more time to help and encourage newcomers and can ensure that everyone in the class is keeping up. Lyndon agrees, “They tend to be focused on the individual and their needs. The instructors are also more personable than in a larger gym.”
Although boutique fitness does not target women exclusively, some studios are certainly designed to appeal more to women. Jaclyn believes that “Boutique studios also offer great amenities that many of the big gyms don’t have, it’s nice to feel like you are treating yourself while also getting in a good workout.”
But beyond their enviable and Instagrammable interiors, fluffy white towels, and complimentary toiletries, these studios also offer a less intimidating environment than a large gym.
Flexibility—in both body and bank account
An added appeal of these boutique fitness studios is the ease with which you can book a class. Most offer simple online booking or even their own app. Add to that the lack of monthly fees, and you can then pick and choose which classes you want to take at which studio. This flexibility feels particularly enticing these days when we don’t want to be locked into anything, let alone a monthly subscription we might or might not use.
At 200kr-300kr per drop-in class, boutique studios can be more expensive than a gym for those who train regularly. But they are certainly better value for those who sign up for a gym membership card that only gets an outing once or twice a month.
Lyndon believes that boutique studios do provide better value, “Generally there is a slightly higher cost, but from my experience, you use the [boutique fitness] gym more than a larger gym chain, mainly as it caters more to the individual’s needs and experience.”
Perfect for people who like variety in their fitness programs
Recently, a handful of apps are targeting people who train regularly but don’t want to commit to one gym membership.
With Bruce, Fitness Collection and
Mindbody, on the other hand, provides a platform through which to book classes; simply search by area, date, time or class type, and see what’s available.
As studios add perks like juice bars, breakfast options, and boot camp sessions, they seem likely to grow in popularity. It seems safe to say that the future looks bright for fitness enthusiasts in Stockholm.
Boutique Fitness Studios in Stockholm
For Pilates lovers looking to try something new, the city
A few streets away, Be
The Place and Urban Pilates Sthlm
Megaformer and barre classes are also available in Östermalm at The Place, the studio that first introduced Megaformer classes in Sweden. And nearby, Urban Pilates Sthlm offers more traditional Pilates classes in small groups of eight.
As its name suggests, Sthlm Barre focuses solely on barre classes, including both during pregnancy and after, with mother and baby classes.
Located in Vasastan and Östermalm, respectively, Urban Ride and Studio L’Echelon focus on indoor cycling classes to get the blood pumping and mood lifted.
For those who want to really get sweaty and elevate their heart rate, Barry’s Bootcamp arrived in Stockholm in August 2017 with the intention of burning off our fika calories. The classes focus on a combination of high-intensity exercise, cardio, and weight lifting.