I have pursued fitness from many different angles, from training for marathons and bikram yoga to CrossFit and HIIT style workouts. The big workout facilities can be very cost effective, you can workout on your own timeline and they usually offer locations all over the metro area, however, I personally feel they can become a little mundane, not to mention you have to be very motivated. You know how it goes… it’s the first Monday of the month when you swear that this time you will “be dedicated to working out regularly.” I found the most success fighting off the excuses and boredom when I joined one of the areas many boutique fitness options.
Looking for the perfect workout facility that fits your personality, lifestyle, and pocketbook can be daunting considering St. Louis literally has dozens of options. To save you the research I did a little homework of my own and compiled a list (definitely not exhaustive) of several of the areas’ top boutique fitness studios, some locally owned and some national franchises. I tried to highlight workout style, cost, and special perks, such as onsite childcare. I encourage you read the following whether you are a fitness buff with a solid routine or you just want to be able to take a flight of stairs without everyone thinking you just raced your alarmingly fast 8 year old.
Workout Style: Barre classes are full-body balanced workouts that have a combination of strength training, cardio, and mindfulness. This is the type class that will tone every big and tiny little muscle in your body. Yes, sometimes we forget that we have over 600 muscles in our body and those little movements on repeat are KILLER! I have seen some of the most ripped looking people walk into a barre class and within 15 minutes they are dripping in sweat because of the constant movement and muscular focus these types of workouts demand. At Barre3 there is a big emphasis on posture and developing body awareness so the deep muscle burn that you are experiencing does not leave you in pain or prone to injury.
Studio Perks: Spa like changing rooms feature lockers, showers, toiletries, and towels and there is a play lounge for the young kids to hang in during most class times which is free to barre3 members. Kids 14 & up are able to attend class with a parent or guardian. This is a great opportunity to make fitness an activity and habit for the whole family.
Prices/Memberships: New clients can get a special offer of 3 classes for $40 or a month unlimited for $99. Regular monthly membership options will run about $150 but offer many perks from free play lounge to online access to Barre3 workouts. That’s a great plus for those times when you can’t make it into the studio. Class pack pricing is 5 classes for $105 or 10 classes for $190 with no expiration.
Location: Des Peres & Creve Coeur
Workout Style: Faster Fitness has two primary workout options; Group Personal Training and Femme Fit. Group Personal Training focuses on targeted strength training and metabolic conditioning. Class sizes stay small so that the trainers are able to move around, focusing on your form and providing modifications as necessary. Think High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) complete with the coaching expertise and group support as you sweat your way between strength and metabolic conditioning cycles.
Femme Fit is an online training tool for those who might not have the flexibility in their schedule to make it to a workout that requires you to schedule a class time. This gives you the option to train at home, a hotel, or local gym on your own schedule.
Studio Perks: Smaller class sizes feel very personalized and coaches work to build a “family” feel. They have some fun competitions throughout the year to keep you motivated and optional nutritional coaching is available with all programming. Faster Fitness also utilizes MyZone heart rate monitors to keep you on track and motivated during your entire workout.
Prices/Memberships: A Group Personal Training package is 2-4 sessions a week and comes with a “Faster Results Nutrition Plan” which includes meal plans, grocery lists, macros, and accountability. The first 21 Day Metabolic Fast Track is just $99. After that it is between $149 and $199 a month for a 6 month membership depending on how many days a week you want to attend.
Location: Brentwood, MO
Workout Style: Forward Fitness has three workout options. They offer semi-private training sessions, FIT Camp group classes, or Bags & Bells group classes (referring to sandbags and kettlebells). All three options focus on functional fitness which prepares the body for real-life movements and activities. The trainers focus on proper form and technique to prevent injury and ultimately achieve better results. If you want to check out these workouts be prepared to ditch the machines for kettlebells, battle ropes, barbells, dumbbells, sandbags, medicine balls, and tires…yes, get ready for some tire flipping.
Studio Perks: Before diving into these workouts all Forward Fitness members get a complimentary strategy session where you will meet with a trainer, discuss goals and complete an FMS movement screening. These allow the trainers to create a tailored program for each person and their unique goals. Members at Forward fitness are then assigned an accountability coach and the studio also has a registered dietician on staff who works with members to create a nutrition plan, because let’s be honest, it takes discipline to out work your mouth. Forward Fitness also strives to create a “family” feel with events and fundraisers they participate in outside of regular workouts. Looking to train with a fun, fitness loving group for your next Spartan Race or Warrior Dash? This a great place to plug in and build community.
Prices/Memberships: Membership prices for Fit Camps and Bags & Bells Classes range from $125 a month to $220 a month depending on how often you want to go and how long you are willing to commit. Semi-Private training sessions for 1 time a week is $220 per month or unlimited is $420 per month with a 12 month commitment.
Location: Maplewood, MO
Workout Style: Orange Theory classes bring intense cardio, strength training, and a lot of variety. A typical workout will include a rotation between three different areas: treadmills, row machines, and floor work. Workouts will take you back and forth between those HIIT stations multiple times while monitoring the heart rate for maximum calorie burn. The goal at Orange Theory is to get your heart rate in the max effort “Orange Zone” for at least 12 minutes of class. The motivational instructors also do a great job introducing newbies to the Orange Theory style of workout and work to make sure you understand each part of the routine. Don’t let the treadmills scare you away from trying out Orange Theory as they have a great guideline posted on every treadmill that caters to walkers, joggers, and runners of all levels.
Studio Perks: There are showers to help you get on your way quickly after your workout and lockers to store your personal belongings, no need to bring your own lock. When you sign up you also need to purchase one of their heart rate monitors so you can track your progress during the course of the class. When I visited, I found it incredibly motivating to see your heart rate “zone” up on the monitor and you get a sense for what it really feels like to hit the exertion goals.
Prices/Memberships: While they typically run promotions throughout the year their standard membership prices are as follows: one session a week for $59 a month, two sessions a week for $100 a month, unlimited workouts for $160. Since these are franchises prices may vary, but I checked out the South County location on Tesson Ferry. Most locations in the country offer a free trial class (not in NYC though, tried that, nothing is free there!).
Location: Several in StL County & St. Charles County, link to South County location below.
Workout Style: Crazy intense, but crazy awesome HIIT training. I am probably a little partial as this is where I have chosen to invest my money and sacrifice my body. It is a solid 60 minutes of go, go, go. As you enter the studio you choose your starting treadmill or your starting floor spot. Once the buzzer goes off, be ready to push it for the next hour. The class is spent with half of the time on the treadmills and half of the time on the floor. Though classes vary regularly, you will always end up working 30 minutes on the “treads” and 30 minutes on the “decks”. Your time spent on the floor, or “decks”, is a focused on strength training using a combination of body weight movements, dumbbells, resistance bands, medicine balls, sand balls, or bosu balls. There are usually some quick cardio movements thrown into the time on the floor to keep the heart rate elevated. All fitness levels are welcomed – the trainers do a good job providing modifications when needed (on the floor and treadmills). No need to be intimidated by the intense running speed of “that one super fit person” a few treads over.
Studio Perks: Facilities come with the staples of a great boutique fitness studio: complimentary workout towels, breath mints, locker rooms stocked with hair ties, bobby pins, hair dryers and deodorant; so you shouldn’t have to worry about holding your breath on the treadmill because the person next to you didn’t get the “deodorant in the bathroom” memo. The showers come with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and towels. Oh, and of course they have the super handy Shred 415 plastic bags to stash your sweaty clothes in until you get home. They also offer one of the most needed and hard to find perks; childcare! It runs $6-$8 for someone to watch your little one so you can focus on an uninterrupted workout.
Prices/Membership: Price for a single Shred class is $28. They do offer a free trial class, followed by a 3 class introductory pack for $60. Unlimited classes range in price from $149 (new Shredder) to $210 and they also offer several class packages; 5 classes for $125, 10 classes for $240, or 20 classes for $440 and you have anywhere from 2 to 4 months to use those depending on which you purchase. Students and teachers get a discount on single classes, class packages, and memberships with valid ID.
Location(s): Brentwood & Creve Coeur
Website: https://shred415.com/locations/crevecoeur & https://shred415.com/locations/brentwood
Workout Style: A group fitness class power house, with 65 class styles, TRUFUSION literally has a class that anyone can enjoy. Yoga (heated and non-heated), check! Barre or Pilates, check! Bootcamp or Battle ropes, check! Boxing, Kettlebells, Cycling, or Aerial (yes, you will be suspended in the air) check! If you are looking for a class based fitness studio with top notch instructors, your search is over!
Studio Perks: A Revel Kitchen is located on site so you can refuel with whole food that is locally sourced. If you are in a hurry you can grab a real fruit smoothie or a raw cold-pressed juice for the road. Childcare is offered for an additional fee, and if you are a parent and still want to get in a workout, studios with this offering are often a requirement.
Prices/Memberships: You can get an unlimited monthly membership for as low as $72 or there are options for a class pack of 10 classes for $180. First month trial is only $30 for unlimited classes so you can at least try before you really commit.
Location: Clayton, MO