By: Rachel Zabonick
Featuring Comments From Bill McBride
Most people find weddings to be exciting events filled with too much booze, food and out-of-control extended family. When I hear the word “wedding,” I on the other hand, picture tight dresses, high heels, suits and ties, and far too much makeup. Everyone looks their best, because let’s face it — weddings are our opportunity to play dress up once again.
I’ll be attending a wedding in June, and to try to look my best, I began my search for a new fitness routine a couple of months ago. What I found during my search surprised me — boutique studios were popping up everywhere! They were in the newspaper, on the web, being talked about by celebrities, and were located right across the street. They were also expensive.
As I’ve mentioned before, I avoided joining a niche studio and joined a local club instead, but not for the reasons you might think. When I began my search for a new fitness routine, I had been extremely interested in trying barre classes (the latest Group X craze). I was close to joining a barre studio when lo and behold, a local health club began offering them! Those classes, in addition to the club’s other amenities and prices, were what sold me. I’ll be honest though — it was a close decision.
Billy Malkovich, the CEO of Mountainside Fitness, recognized that specialized studios are sharing the club marketplace. “We know that studios are in our competitive space,” he acknowledged. “What we are finding is that studios are having an impact on us, and I would argue, all clubs.”
Bill McBride, the president and COO of Club One, agreed. “The reason the small, specialized studios are thriving is that they offer specialization in particular modalities and draw like-minded people (communities), whereas clubs typically try to be something for everyone,” said McBride.
To remedy this, McBride offered a suggestion: “To compete really means to serve the needs of customers better than alternatives. A club has an inherent advantage, as it typically can charge less than studios and offer more. But clubs have to rethink their programming, quality and specialization to create these internal, like-minded communities; creating not only quality and specialization, but conveying this with member/prospect perception.”
As insight, I’ll give you a peak into why I was so interested in joining a barre studio — results. As stated before, barre studios were being talked about everywhere, but more importantly, so were its results. From what I understood, taking a barre class consistently would turn me into a lean, mean, wedding-dance-floor-dominating machine.
Why didn’t I think joining a gym would give me the same results? To be honest, I’d joined gyms before, and achieved the same result. I’d go a few times a week, spend 30 minutes on the elliptical, do a few lunges and that would be it. I’d eat well, lose a couple of pounds — maybe — and feel good, but wouldn’t see any dramatic changes.
This wasn’t the club’s fault. It was my inability to push myself. Personal training wasn’t appealing to me, so what were my other options? With niche studios popping up everywhere, it seemed natural to at least consider them. That’s when I saw a Facebook post stating that a local club would be offering barre classes, and I was sold.
Keep my story in mind. I guarantee there are members in your club like me, who work out intermittently without seeing real results. By offering niche classes normally provided by studios, you could provide them with the opportunity to see real results within the confines of your club.
I’ve been a member of my new club for a few weeks now, and am pretty happy. I’ll let you know if the barre classes do indeed provide some results, along with the confidence I need to strut into the June wedding with style.