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Inside the Down 'n' Dirty Boutique Gym Wars

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

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For an industry devoted to health and wellness, competition between boutique gyms, gym franchises, and personal trainers can get ugly. DuJour investigates the crazy tactics that the fitness industry uses to keep clientele. They include badmouthing other gyms, blacking out studio doors so no one can look inside, banning competiting fitness instructors from taking classes, and making fun of students who happen to wear a T-shirt from a different gym to their class. "We might say, 'We sell shirts here too,' and have them buy something else," a former dance-cardio employer is quoted as saying.

SoulCycle is called out in the article for its policy of not allowing fitness instructors to take classes, Equinox's non-compete agreements are mentioned, and stories emerge of former Tracy Anderson Method trainers being turned away after trying to take Anderson classes.

But it's not just the fitness professionals who are protecting their brand. DuJour's Kayleen Schaefer writes: "Clients become protective, too, if they see something they think their trainer should know about, like if a fellow client 'friends' a different trainer on Facebook, or if an instructor at their studio is also teaching a class elsewhere. Some have even started Facebook pages that are specifically devoted to criticizing another workout; SoulCycle followers lashed out against the Tracy Anderson Method after Anderson told Redbook that spinning will 'bulk your thighs.'"

Apparently these same clients gift their trainers with extravagant trips and dinners. An anonymous source is quoted in DuJour as saying: "These women become obsessed with these trainers. When their whole body changes they become very indebted to them and grateful."
· Feeling The Burn [DuJour]
· SoulCycle Bans Other Fitness Instructors From Taking Classes [Racked]
· Trainer Tracy Anderson On Workout Beauty, Fitness Myths [Racked]
· What the Fitness Pros at CosmoBody Wear to Work Out [Racked]