This time last year we challenged the notion that the boutique fitness bubble was about to burst in London, with a roundup of 2017’s most anticipated openings.
Some never quite made it to fruition, whilst others were delayed. However, the sector continued to grow and boutique fitness operators set the bar higher than ever when it came to securing prime locations, the level of facilities on offer and their cultivation of community.
With impressive growth of over 6% and an overall value of more than £4bn in 2017, the UK’s fitness market demonstrates that consumers are continuing to spend on the sector. According to a recent study from Myprotein, UK millennials spend an average of £155 per month on health and fitness — the higher price tag associated with boutique fitness prompting a ‘you get what you pay for’ attitude.
Elsewhere, investors are just as keen on injecting cash into the sector. Piper’s £6m investment in Frame and Pembroke VCT’s ongoing support of BOOM Cycle are just the tip of the iceberg.
Building on last year’s momentum, 2018 has already seen new boutique studio launches from some of the capital’s leading operators including Barry’s Bootcamp, BOOM Cycle and Frame. With even more on the horizon, here’s our curation of the industry players that plan to expand, innovate and disrupt London’s boutique fitness landscape over the next 12 months.
Having just launched two new studios in one month, following £6m in investment, boutique studio operator Frame is gearing up for a busy year.
Located in Hammersmith and Fitzrovia, both outposts house multiple studios, a retail zone and cafe. Frame Fitzrovia stands as the brand’s largest location to date, with five studios including a Reformer Pilates studio, equipment-based fitness studio, yoga studio, freestyle fitness room and a barre and dance studio. Hammersmith meanwhile, brings the brand’s total number of outposts to six.
“We’ve always wanted to expand across London,” explained Co-Founders Pip Black & Joan Murphy.
“Fitzrovia was a key area for us as it’s creative with lots of media businesses, and we already had quite a lot of partnerships in the area. Likewise, Hammersmith is undergoing a great regeneration project at the moment, so it’s exciting to be part of it. The area is home to some big players in the Global Lifestyle sphere.”
First launched in 2016, Another Space has recently added to its Covent Garden location with a second site in Bank.
A larger version of its original site, the studio features the three disciplines which make up the brand’s cross-training method – Cycle, HIIT and Yoga. Similar to its Covent Garden location, the Bank studio is a bright and inviting space with a ‘pay-as-you-train,’ pricing model, as opposed to traditional membership fees.
Opening in March, not only will Hotpod Yoga South Wimbledon host regular Hotpod Yoga classes, it will also be the permanent home of the HPY Teacher Training School.
The brand’s fourth London location and its 41st worldwide, the studio will fall under Hotpod’s franchising model, which continues to grow at a rapid rate. Other outposts in the pipeline outside of the capital include Hotpod Yoga Bristol, Mansfield, Glasgow, Folkestone, Mansfield, Rickmansworth, Taunton, Rotherham and Canterbury.
“Last year was a big year for us, with 20 new franchise launches and 3 new London studios,” commented Co-Founder Max Henderson.
“For 2018 we plan to top that: even more franchise launches, 2 new London studios and the opening of our teacher training school. We’ve still got a long way to go, but all these little steps head towards an increasingly exciting future for the brand.”
Following its second wave of investment which raised over £6m, 1Rebel continues to innovate within the London fitness scene with the opening of its third studio in South Bank, London.
Launched last week, the new studio claims to be the brand’s most dynamic to date, offering high intensity, results-driven group workouts on a pay-as-you-train basis, against a backdrop of live music, DJ curated playlists, cutting-edge design and high-end facilities.
With two more locations set to open in the first three months of 2018 and further expansion also on the cards, Founders James Balfour and Giles Dean are on a mission to cement the brand’s position in the market.
“This Codex Capital fundraising provides 1Rebel with the capital it needs to roll out across London, Balfour told City AM last year.
“Indeed, work is already advanced in a number of locations to bring the 1Rebel experience to many new customers.”
Showing no signs of slowing down, in 2018 F45 hopes to continue its exponential expansion across London and the rest of the UK.
“Our strategy from day one has been to grow and grow quickly. We were the fastest-growing franchise roll out in Australia’s history and we see no reason that success can’t be replicated here in the UK,” Founder Rob Deutsch told Welltodo.
“We strongly believe that we would not have experienced the same success if we weren’t such huge fans of the workout and so immersed in the F45 concept ourselves,” he added.
Proposed Sites include Camden, Liverpool St and Stratford, which are due to open this month, Shoreditch in May, Oxford Circus and Victoria in June. Planned sites outside of London include Bristol, Manchester and Brighton.
Due to open two new studios in Knightsbridge and St John’s Wood High Street in late Spring/Summer, Core Collective is on a mission “to create individual studios that don’t replicate each other but adapt thoughtfully to the architectural space as well as the location,” explained Founder Jason de Savary.
“We aim to bring effective, enjoyable classes to each new location in the most straightforward and educated way, using all the experience and learnings we’ve gained from our Kensington site – creating innovative spaces for people to workout and hang out in.”
Funded through a successful Seedrs crowdfunding campaign last year, in which the brand raised over £2 million, the new studios will feature larger yoga/pilates studios and flexible layouts with adjustable exercise spaces.
In addition to the impending opening of the Canadian born Brand’s White City studio, which is due to launch sometime in the next couple of months, the fitness franchise recently launched its 3rd studio at The Nobu Hotel Shoreditch. This studio is within the hotel’s Wellness & Spa area and offers Studio Lagree guests access to 5-star luxury changing rooms, steam rooms and a fully equipped gym, not to mention its Megaformer classes.
New kid on the block Sweat It boasts a luxe, urban studio space with 20 rigs and 18 runners.
Combining targeted strength training and cardio, the Holborn-based studio, which launched last month, is centred around the mecca that is the bespoke functional rig, with a custom line up of strength equipment including landmines, Olympic bars and power bands surrounded by a fleet of StarTrac treadmills it is the first of its kind in the capital.
Fusing urban grit with high-end modern minimalism, the studio features L:A Bruket grooming solutions, a clean protein bar using Innermost’s signature nutrient-rich blends and personal lockers with a 24-hour kit wash option.
Building on the enormous success of the brand’s first space in Clapton, Hackney, London’s award-winning boutique gym, BLOK, has opened a second studio located in Shoreditch.
With varied experience in construction, photography and marketing, Founding partners Ed Stanbury, Max Oppenheim and Reema Stanbury continue to lead the way in the luxury gym sector. Once again the trio has worked in synergy to maximise their strengths in curating another environment where the world-class exercise offering is matched only by its one of a kind design and service.
“Shoreditch was a natural choice for the 2nd BLOK as it is such a key location in London for art, design, fashion and technology allowing us to build on the natural customer base that has developed in Clapton,” commented Stanbury.
As with Clapton’s recognised industrial design, BLOK Shoreditch continues to differentiate itself from its competitors through its architecture and attention to environments more commonly seen throughout the luxury retail and hotel space.
Launching in March, FlyKick plans on bringing its unique fitness experience to Regents Place — a busy commercial hub between Warren Street and Great Portland Street.
Backed by a group of very supportive private investors who are split between the UK and the US, Founder Ben Leonard-Kane says his aim with FlyKick “is to have fun, get results and build an amazing community. Our overall goal is to open the doors to everybody – build a community that is part of people’s lives as well as their fitness routine.”
Offering classes that combine elements of HIIT, mobility & kickboxing, the large, open space has been designed to create a part studio, part social environment.
The brand’s “non-contact kickboxing is not only an awesome workout, but it leaves you mentally revitalised too,” argues Leonard-Kane.
Boasting three existing sites in Mortimer Street, Canary Wharf and Shoreditch, Psycle has plans to launch three new locations in 2018 — details are yet to be disclosed.