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New year, new fitness routine? Perhaps. Having shared the overall fitness trends and healthy eating trends you need to know for 2019, our new correspondent Julie Murphy shares the top studio fitness trends of the year. 

top studio fitness trends of the year

Even the most accomplished and talented among us feel a twinge of intimidation walking into a room full of strangers wearing trendy workout clothes and an instructor who looms larger than life, ready to push your body to its limits.

Luckily, in January, chances are you won’t be the only new kid in class. Throngs of other well-intentioned goal setters are likely to be pushing past their comfort zones and trying a new workout as they begin or further their fitness journeys this month.

We’ve rounded up the top studio fitness trends to inspire us all to lace up the sneakers.

1. Yoga, cardio and machine-based strength training workouts are not going anywhere.

The buzziest boutique studios and classes are now presenting these popular and effective workouts within an immersive environment that stimulates the senses. Think virtual reality, multimedia presentations, live DJ booths and intentional mood lighting.

You just might be inspired, and let’s face it – distracted enough, to forget the pain.

Visual Stimulation

At FLY LDN, Londoners practice yoga in front of inspiring landscapes on a cinematic curved screen to whisk them away to nirvana.


In Seattle, Datza Studios heightens the practice with playfulness. Flow to female hit-makers of the 90’s and their accompanying music videos.

In New York City, Woom Center also incorporates custom interactive visual installations with an added 3D sound system so you can actually feel the vibrations and “vibe with your tribe.”


Audio Enhancements

Nightclub-quality DJs are infusing workouts with playlists worthy of your most memorable nights out dancing.

Rumble, the Instagrammable boxing studio with three New York locations, has just expanded to San Francisco. Infrared lighting is syncopated to the boxing combinations, spurring you on when the going gets tough.

Also in New York, Switch Playground is a HIIT studio that verges on theater with a live DJ, laser lights and fog machines. You’ll never have the same workout twice.

[305] Fitness, which has recently expanded from New York to LA, Boston and DC, is a cardio dance-based workout inspired by the Miami club scene. Ditch the heels and dance in your sneakers to live remixes by resident DJs. The nightclub lighting will make you feel sexy and sweaty.

The 305 Fitness Studio

Cold and wet

Brrrn, the world’s first cool temperature fitness studio recently opened in New York. Here, you can burn more calories in temps as low as 45 degrees while getting your yoga or HIIT fix. Afterward, warm back up in their infrared sauna.

Brrrn Fitness New York

If you’re tired of the typical stationary bike workouts, in Singapore, try Aquaspin, a spin class that takes place underwater in a swimming pool.

2. Work out smarter, not harder

Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)

We all want to work out smarter, not harder. The future is here with Electrical Muscle Stimulation (“EMS”) based workouts. While we’re not 100% convinced it’s smart to shock oneself, if donning an EMS suit cuts down on our leggings buying habit AND gives us results in 30 minutes instead of 90, we’ll try anything once.

Both Nova Studios and Shock Therapy in New York utilize this cutting-edge technology. The suit purports to do the work for you by sending vibrations to 300 different muscle groups simultaneously as you move through their low impact exercises. The electric impulses cause your muscles to contract and release, making your workout doubly efficient.

Shock Therapy Fitness

Brain Stimulation

How about stimulating your brain? At the high-end Pure Fitness boutiques in Hong Kong, try on a Halo Sport headset to improve your workouts. This headset uses transcranial direct current stimulation (“tDCS”) to hotwire your brain’s motor cortex into a state of hyperplasticity and build muscle memory faster. No one will ever call you a meathead, dear reader.

While not as futuristic, we’d be remiss not to mention the Australian fitness boutique import F45, which is poised to be the next Orangetheory.

The F stands for functional training and 45 for the time it takes to sculpt your body. F45 employs the latest in fitness technology so you never miss a beat. As you move between various stations for cardio, interval and strength training, plasma screens around the room feature instructors demonstrating the exercises and moving graphics that countdown the intervals and display your heart rate taken from a F45 specific monitor.

3. Woke Fitness Studios

If all this tech sounds a little too sterile for you, another rising trend we see are woke fitness studios. As with woke apparel and woke luxury in general, this is a sign of the times.

These leaders are broadcasting their values through their charity work, décor, Instagram feeds and gear. In turn, people are finding a community within their gym and connecting with like-minded members and instructors.

This year, try finding a class that embraces the social justice issues you care about and perhaps, being the newbie won’t be that uncomfortable after all.


[305] Fitness holds community classes where proceeds have been donated to charities like Everytown, which helps end gun violence. Their cheeky “resistance” social media posts and fashionable tees emblazoned with feminist proclamations strike just the right tone, and help create a fun and safe space in their studios.

Overthrow, a New York-based boxing studio with activist roots (their first location at 6 Bleecker St. was home to the Yippies) asks #whatareyoufightingfor. The studio rolled out a voter registration truck during elections. They also split the profits of their community-based boxing class between the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. That gives us extra motivation to jump in the ring!

The Class by Taryn Toomey

Taryn Toomey’s The Class recently opened a studio in Bridgehampton. The company will also set up a Miami residency this spring. Toomey’s acolytes are encouraged to be individuals, not automatons barking orders. Expect poetry, personal playlists and some good old-fashioned yelling in response to our current events.

4. Hyper-specialized fitness classes and studios

Fit Pregnancy Club (FPC) in SoHo in New York is a 2,000-square-foot studio specializing in safe yet vigorous group classes for moms-to-be and new mothers. In addition to toning, stretching and music-pumping cardio, classes focus on FPC’s trademarked “Pump and Kegel” exercises to strengthen the core and pelvic floor for delivery. There are also postpartum classes that welcome babies. Sweet.

Whether you’re doing it for the escapism, #resistance or literal shock value, we hope there is a trend here that inspires you to get moving!

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Crediting her training as a cultural anthropologist at Wellesley College, Julie has immersed herself in various industries in the last 15 years including fashion design, event planning, fitness and even investigating police misconduct. Julie lives in NYC where she loves trying every ramen and dumpling restaurant with her husband and three children. She finds joy in bold prints, biographies of fierce women, kickboxing and spending way too long finding the perfect polish color to express her mood.