The personalized experience members can find at a boutique fitness studio is appealing to customers – so appealing that boutique fitness is leading the industry in participant numbers and growth.

According to the International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association, 54 million Americans claimed membership to a health club in 2014 – 42 percent of those were attending boutique fitness studios, and sometimes multiple studios at once.

Kellie Colyer, owner of boxing-based workout studio Round9 in Blue Ash, Ohio, told WCPO, “This is not a typical gym. We know every one of our members — not just their fitness goals, but their joys, their challenges. We know them as people.”

Boxing is just one of many options for exercisers seeking a specialized or themed workout approach. Boutique fitness studios have been designed around the fitness concepts found in dance, cycling, yoga and much more.

According to national fitness expert Pete McCall, adjunct faculty of exercise science at Mesa College San Diego, large health clubs present a variety of options, but are not able to deliver the same level of service as smaller boutique studios.

 “A boutique studio is much smaller and allows people to enjoy a more intimate exercise environment,” he said. “A fitting analogy is fast food vs. fine dining — the former provides basic food needs while the latter may be much more expensive, but provides a unique, hard-to-match experience.”

Courtney Cameron is Editorial Assistant of Athletic Business.