How the Rise of Boutique Fitness Is Affecting the Business of Gyms

Working out used to be so straightforward: find a gym that’s close to you| get in| get out| and get on with your day. Not so much anymore. This year saw an explosive rise in both boutique fitness and class-booking services such as ClassPass and FitReserve ¡ª a rise that many speculate is eating away at the bottom line of traditional big-box gyms.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Benjamin Stone

I| myself| am a gym dissenter a fact that many of my friends find odd since I make a living as a fitness editor| and even outside of my job| I love to work out. Still| I haven’t set foot in a traditional gym since 2014. Endless rows of top-of-the-line treadmills and fancy eucalyptus towel service still can’t beat the feeling I get from working out at smaller studios. Amongst my friends| I am not alone more and more of them are leaving their health clubs in favor of small studio memberships| free at-home workouts| or opting for pay-as-you-go classes at well-known boutique studios. Could 2016 be the year that we all say goodbye to the gym for good?

By the Numbers

The International Health| Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)| the trade association of the fitness industry| reports that of the 54.1 million people that had a membership to a health or fitness club in 2014| 42 percent were members of a studio. While some of these individuals held multiple memberships (most often a traditional gym coupled with a studio)| the number of studios opened in 2014 showed a 200-percent increase from the previous year. When comparing this to only a seven-percent increase in the number of new gyms that were opened| it suggests that the industry is shifting away from traditional big-box chains. In short: studio business is booming.

From 2012 to 2015| the number of SoulCycle studios grew by 500 percent. Image Source: SoulCycle

Take SoulCycle| the biggest indoor cycling chain in the country. In the last three years| it has grown from 12 studios in two states to close to 60 studios in eight states. And how’s this for a staggering statistic: in its recent IPO| the company reported it averages about 72|000 rides per week. Though one of the bigger success stories| SoulCycle is not an isolated phenomenon. National studio chains like Barry’s Bootcamp| YogaWorks| and Flywheel continue to expand| while just about everywhere in the country is seeing an increase in local fitness boutiques specializing in yoga| Zumba| and CrossFit.

Meredith Poppler| vice president of media and communications at IHRSA| cites the dramatic growth of studios as two-fold: for owners| the cost of running a small studio is less expensive when compared to the overhead of maintaining a full-service gym| and consumers are looking for more than what big-box gyms can offer ¡ª specifically| a more tailored fitness experience. “These studios are centered on a particular community of people with similar passions [Pilates| Zumba| boxing]| and provide a high-touch| personalized environment.”

The experience| however| doesn’t come cheap ¡ª class at many studios can easily cost $30 a pop. Yet| despite the high cost of participation| people are paying ¡ª now more than ever. As Racked reported on earlier this year| for more and more individuals| fitness has become a luxury item.

It’s Personal

The need for personalization is exactly what Payal Kadakia was banking on when she founded ClassPass in 2013. (Note: I am a longtime member of ClassPass and love my membership.) The business model of ClassPlass is brilliant in its simplicity: members pay a monthly fee (around $99/month)| which allows them to book classes through the ClassPass app or website at hundreds of studios and gyms in their area. Its growth has been nothing short of explosive. In 2014| ClassPass was in two cities and had 200 studio partners; today it is in 36 cities with more than 7|000 studios participating. Kadakia attributes the success of ClassPass to filling a void that was missing in traditional gyms ¡ª choice and flexibility. “Our platform makes fitting fitness into your schedule really easy as opposed to making a big commitment with little variety|” she says. “It’s also really motivating! So many of our members express that they’re perspective has changed ¡ª that they look forward to getting up and going to class as opposed to dreading to have to fit in a workout.”

The ClassPass mission? Let users “enjoy diverse and exciting ways to work out.” Image Source: ClassPass

When explaining why she loves ClassPass| Lyndsay Roush| an active member since 2014| is exactly the type of person Kadakia speaks of. When Roush belonged to a gym| she was lucky to make a few workouts a month; since being on ClassPass| she’s working out three to five times a week. “I love ClassPass because of the variety ¡ª I never get in a rut and I am taking classes I could never take at the gym|” says Roush. “Reserving the class in advance helps keep me accountable and I love seeing my friends at my favorite workouts.”

What’s Ahead

Is Roush an example of a larger shift in the fitness world| or are new business models simply attracting an untapped and hungry crowd? Until the end-of-year numbers roll in from 2015| it’s hard to know for certain. Equinox| Planet Fitness| and 24-Hour Fitness all closed 2014 with earnings that exceeded the previous year| and more people signed up for new gym memberships in January 2015 than ever before. It also can’t be ignored that fitness studios primarily thrive in larger urban areas| so in some regions| gyms will remain the primary option for those needing a place to work out. And for others| the upwards cost of $20 per class is simply not possible or justifiable.

Big-box gyms have also remained successful by expanding on what it means to be a gym. When Club Industry| a trade magazine aimed at fitness business professionals| released its yearly report of top-earning gyms| there was a distinct pattern in the top 10. Though thought of as traditional gyms| almost all of the clubs on the list were much more than a collection of treadmills. Many are adapting to consumer needs by increasing studio space to allow for more specialized fitness classes. Given that others offer enticing extras like onsite healthy restaurants| juice bars| nutritionists| spas| and/or childcare| it might be more apt to call them wellness centers.

With numbers in the green| don’t count the gym out just yet. Image Source: Shopstyle Photography

Perhaps what is most telling about the future of the fitness industry is that gyms are working alongside services like ClassPass to coexist. In San Francisco| for instance| ClassPass users can book gym time at Crunch| 24-Hour| and other local gyms. “Some gym operators absolutely love ClassPass since it brings exposure to their facilities and programs and fills classes that might otherwise not be full|” says Poppler. And let’s not forget the traditionals ¡ª many people prefer the convenience of a one-stop fitness shop and appreciate the amenities found at gyms like showers| towel service| and lockers| which are often missing from smaller studios. Yet these same folks are still willing to drop $20 at a yoga studio while keeping their gym memberships intact. What is crystal clear is that fitness is a thriving multibillion-dollar industry that shows no sign of slowing down| and if all the players continue to adapt with consumer needs| it seems there may be enough to go around for all. As Kadakia said| what people most want are choices ¡ª be that the gym| SoulCycle| or a running loop in their local park.

Related:

11 Ways Ronda Rousey Completely Knocked Out 2015The 10 Reasons We All Became Obsessed With Ballet in 2015How Women Pushed Body Positivity to the Forefront This Year

The 10 Reasons We All Became Obsessed With Ballet in 2015

The 10 Reasons We All Became Obsessed With Ballet in 2015

Ballet is SO many things. It’s beautiful| it’s brutal| it’s technical| it’s grace epitomized. But for so long| classical ballet has been an art form that most of us could only admire from afar u2014 awestruck and wildly impressed| yes| but not entirely able to touch something that seemed pretty intangible. Part of the magic of dance is feeling as though you’re taken to another world when you watch it| but there are so many aspects about it u2014 athletically and otherwise u2014 that even nondancers can appreciate and apply to their own lives.

This year| we were able to do just that. As a lover of all things ballet| watching the classic art intertwine with modern culture and become more mainstream in 2015 has been so amazing to see. From music videos of Maddie Ziegler stealing the show with her jaw-dropping skills to social media accounts like the 11 Ways Ronda Rousey Completely Knocked Out 2015

  • How the Rise of Boutique Fitness Is Affecting the Business of Gyms
  • How Women Pushed Body Positivity to the Forefront This Year
  • | Misty Copeland Became the First African American Principal Dancer in the ABT

    Misty Copeland is an all around ballerina badass. Despite experiencing harsh criticism about her unconventional looks early in her career (which she touched on in a powerful Under Armour ad)| she persevered| and it paid off MAJORLY this year when she became the first black principal dancer at the prestigous American Ballet Theatre. Principal dancer is the highest rank you can achieve in a company| so Misty’s achievement is definitely one that made history.

    | The Debut of Flesh and Bone

    Drama| drama| and dance. That’s what the much-anticipated ballet miniseries Flesh and Bone is chock-full of. The Starz show follows a ballerina’s path in a struggling company u2014 a path fuelled by her own fierce determination and torment over memories of a dark past that unfold throughout the season. The series explores the beauty and dysfunction behind the scenes in a fictional ballet world| and offers a solid balance of plot and actual dance. Series star Sarah Hay received a (very well-deserved!) Golden Globe nomination for her performance as dancer Claire Robbins.

    | The Ballerina Project Gave Us Inspiration

    The life of a dancer is undeniably gruelling AND beautiful| and both sides of dance can be seen in photos through an Instagram account that went viral| and features thousands of images that show ballerinas posing in real-life environments. The photos display the absolute and incredible athleticism ballerinas have| and provide beautiful fitness inspiration as well. The site now uses more high-quality digital images| and fans can pay to subscribe in order to see photos that aren’t available to the general public. The beautiful pictures are also available for purchase.

    | Stars Got In on the Ballet Action

    Ballet workouts designed for everyone u2014 not just experienced dancers u2014 blew up this year. Barre classes and workouts| and even ballerina-inspired diets| are a great way to build a strong| toned| healthy| and beautiful body u2014 and 2015 was the year people were swapping the gym for the barre. Mary Helen Bowers| professional ballerina and creator of the Ballet Beautiful fitness routine| brought ballet to the mainstream by taking on big-name clients like Gigi Hadid| Victoria’s Secret models| and other A-listers in order to get them in shape for their gigs. She’s also behind Natalie Portman‘s amazing transformation for her role as ballerina Nina Sayers in her Academy Award-winning Black Swan performance. The live-streaming classes make ballet more tangible and attainable so even more people can find their own definition of what it means to be “”ballet beautiful.””

    | Ballet Dancer Sergei Polunin Did a Heavenly Performance of Hozier’s “”Take Me to Church””

    Ukranian dancer Sergei Polunin’s collaboration with director David LaChapelle still gives us chills no matter how many times we watch it (and let’s be honest| we’ve watched it A LOT this year). The principal dancer’s hauntingly beautiful performance to the modern music of Hozier and a within a contemporary setting proves that the classic art of ballet can (and should!) blend together seamlessly with current culture.

    | A Chicago Studio Gave Classic Ballet a New Twist

    Classic ballet can sometimes be a bit rigid when it comes to rules| but this year proved that the boundaries of ballet can pushed u2014 and with amazing results. What we loved the most about Homer Hans Bryant’s choreography at the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center is that his dancers are “”trained in tradition and dipped in versatility.”” The studio’s Instagram shows off diverse dance styles paired with pop| jazz| and everything in between.

    | Social Media Went Behind the Scenes With Ballerinas

    To the average person| the life of a ballerina is somewhat of a glamorous mystery. The goal of a dancer is to make extremely hard work absolutely effortless| but sometimes seeing the effort behind the art is just as captivating. Social media in 2015 was flooded with images of dancers in “”normal”” environments| and photos like the ones from photographer Kenneth Edwards made ballet more relatable yet no less awe-inspiring. Some dancers have been sharing their personal journeys on social media as well u2014 the Instagram account of Juilliard student Mikaela Kelly is a unique and personal look into her life as a dancer. Juliet Doherty is another incredible dancer to follow; she’s often featured on the Ballerina Project but puts up even more images on her personal account.

    | Maddie Ziegler Continued to Impress Us All

    Maddie Ziegler| just 13 years old| is a dancing force to be reckoned with. She first showed up on Lifetime’s Dance Mums| where viewers followed the young dancer’s ballet career. She quickly made a name for herself outside of the show as the star of several of singer Sia’s music videos| and this year| she has spiced up her classic ballet training with more stint with the Rockettes| and even an opening dance scene on an episode of ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars.

    | Season 2 of “”Strictly Ballet”” Shed New Light on Young Dancers

    Many dancers sacrifice a lot to get to where they hope to be in their careers. The Teen Vogue documentary series Strictly Ballet‘s second season premiered this year| and proved just how much goes in to building a dance career. This year’s focus was on some of the obstacles young apprentices at the Miami City Ballet School faced u2014 many of whom are Latin Americans. The dancers were recruited at a very early age| and left their families and lives behind in their home countries. Watching aspiring athletes work to turn their dreams in to reality is truly inspiring.

    | Misty Copeland Brought Ballet to the Jimmy Kimmel Show

    The world can’t get enough of Misty Copeland| and neither can we. After her ground-breaking promotion to principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre| she made a hilarious appearance on Jimmy Kimmel to try and teach him some of her incredible skills. We’re not sure if Jimmy’s got what it takes to make it in the ballet world| but we hope 2016 brings us even more ballet| and even more Misty moments like this one.

    11 Ways Ronda Rousey Completely Knocked Out 2015

    11 Ways Ronda Rousey Completely Knocked Out 2015

    Despite her recent devastating defeat against Holly Holm that tainted her 12-0 streak| UFC powerhouse Ronda Rousey still had an incredible year worth recognizing. Not only did she add a few noteworthy titles and skills under her championship belts| but she showed the world exactly why those recognitions are hers. Aside from her obvious amazing athletic prowess| what’s most intriguing about Ronda is her ability to penetrate the mainstream u2014 a sad rarity amongst female athletes. Both men and women alike u2014 even those who may not even follow the UFC u2014 have become captivated by not only the athlete| but the story behind her.

    “”She shares her hardships| she shares her difficulties. She shares in a way that truly makes her human| in a way that makes you like the person underneath the fighter|”” said Senior Vice President and founder of espnW Laura Gentile. “”I think her number one gift is that she’s comfortable with who she is u2014 she’s very comfortable with speaking her mind. It might be hard to get behind a fighter| but it’s certainly not hard to root for Ronda.””

    And while some may consider her cocky| with Ronda’s string of accomplishments| who’s to say a little boost of confidence isn’t well-deserved? There’s a reason she became a household name| and even with a loss| her talent and reach has not been diminished.

    “”She’s earned her right as a world-class athlete . . . she’s in a very tough sport| and everybody’s gunning for her|”” Laura said. “”She’s done a wonderful job of transcending her specific sport| which first of all wasn’t even open to women and now she’s the biggest headliner in the whole sport.””

    Recently nominated as “”Breakthrough UFC Star”” on espnW’s 2015 IMPACT25 list| Ronda has been recognized as one of the most influential forces in women’s sports alongside Serena Williams| Carli Lloyd| and Misty Copeland. Clearly| her fight against Holly hasn’t taken away from her achievements. Here’s 11 more reasons that prove why 2015 was “”Rowdy”” Ronda’s year.

    | She replied to Bethe Correia’s sh*t-talking with a 34-second KO.

    Brazilian MMA fighter Bethe Correia crossed the line when making a suicide joke (in reference to Ronda’s father| who took his own life when she was 8) but Ronda had the ultimate comeback in the ring. It only took Ronda 34 seconds to knock her opponent out.

    | She never let body-shamers get her down.

    In response to all the haters who were vocal about Ronda’s body type| she shut them down with this amazing quote: “”Just because my body was developed for a purpose other than f*cking millionaires doesn’t mean it’s masculine. I think it’s femininely badass as f*ck| because there’s not a single muscle on my body that isn’t for a purpose. Because I’m not a do-nothing b*tch.””

    | She made history as Men’s Fitness’s cover girl.

    Men’s Fitness Australia featured the Olympic medalist on the cover of their November issue u2014 the first time a woman has ever graced the front. “”When women say that going on publications directed at men is somehow demeaning| I don’t think that’s true. I think that’s one really effective way to change the societal standard women are held to|”” Ronda said.

    | She broke her own UFC Championship record.

    When competing against Cat Zingano for the UFC Womenu2019s Bantamweight Championship back in February| Ronda ended the fight in a mere 14 seconds. Not only did Ronda beat her impressive 16-second KO from her previous match against Alexis Davis| but she also set a UFC record.

    | She ranked #1 on Sports Illustrated’s pound-for-pound list.

    Sports Illustrated‘s pound-for-pound rankings are based on a fighter’s track record u2014 male or female u2014 which placed Ronda at the very top of the list in May. Although her recent loss took her off the list completely| it’s quite an accomplishment to have been recognized as the most dominant MMA fighter.

    | She won the public over with her charm.

    Ronda’s abilities as a fighter have been undeniable but it wasn’t until this year that the world really got to know her outside the ring. Her multiple appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon revealed Ronda’s playful and endearing side| making her America’s (bad*ss) sweetheart.

    | She became an author.

    Ronda cowrote and released her first book| My Fight/Your Fight| which details the pains and wins of her life both in and out of the octagon.

    | She made the cover of Sports Illustrated as “”the world’s most dominant athlete.””

    In addition to being featured on the cover of Self’s November issue| Sports Illustrated honored the 28-year-old’s achievements by deeming her “”the world’s most dominant athlete.”” Not a bad title to add to one’s ru00e9sumu00e9.

    | She became an actress.

    This past year| Ronda added actress to her impressive list of accomplishments with roles in Furious 7 and the Entourage movie.

    | She earned the “”Best Fighter”” ESPY award.

    Ronda outshined her male UFC colleagues by taking home one of the most prestigious recognitions of the ESPY awards: Best Fighter. The previous year| she lost to Floyd Mayweather| who claimed to “”have no idea who she is.”” Upon recieving the award| Ronda commented| “”I’d like to see you pretend to not know who I am now.””

    | She became an inspiration to women everywhere.

    In line with her anti-“”do-nothing b*tch”” attitude| she confirmed that her success is attributed to none other than hard work. u201cWe seem to be in this conflicting era for women| where women are doing so amazingly and taking over the athletic world| but weu2019re also in a time where . . . How can I really put it? That women without any skills that freeload are being glorified. Thatu2019s something I was raised not to be. That youu2019re supposed to contribute to the world| not consume from it|”” she told The New York Times.

    In the same interview| she mentioned not minding being the spokesperson for women of her frame: u201cIf I can represent that body type of women that isnu2019t represented so much in media| then Iu2019d be happy to do that|u201d she said.

    From Smoothies to Salads to Soups: The Best Healthy Recipes of 2015

    From Smoothies to Salads to Soups: The Best Healthy Recipes of 2015

    Get your slow cooker| food processor| and oven ready| because we’ve curated our best healthy recipes from this year. From breakfast to snacks to supper ideas| these healthy| low-cal eats will keep you energized and help you lose weight.

    | Flat-Belly Smoothie

    Get the recipe here: blueberry| kale| and pineapple smoothie

    | Low-Carb Cauliflower Crust Pizza

    Get the recipe here: cauliflower crust

    | Harley Pasternak’s Breakfast Smoothie

    Get the recipe here: apple-cinnamon smoothie

    | Baked Eggs in Avocado

    Get the recipe here: baked eggs in avocado

    | Chia Pudding

    Get the recipe here: coconut chia pudding

    | Metabolism-Boosting Smoothie

    Get the recipe here: strawberry| broccoli| and almond smoothie

    | Make-Ahead Oatmeal

    Get the recipe here: make-ahead frozen oatmeal

    | Vegan Vanilla Milkshake Smoothie

    Get the recipe here: high-protein vanilla milkshake smoothie

    | Cheddar Egg Muffins

    Get the recipe here: turkey sausage| cheddar| and egg muffins

    | Overnight Oats

    Get the recipe here: overnight oats

    | Crispy Cauliflower Buffalo “Wings””

    Get the recipe here: crispy cauliflower buffalo “”wings””

    | Banana Bread Smoothie

    Get the recipe here: banana bread protein smoothie

    | Chia Berry Smoothie

    Get the recipe here: antioxidant chia berry smoothie

    | Honey-Roasted Cinnamon Chickpeas

    Get the recipe here: honey-roasted cinnamon chickpeas

    | Jennifer Aniston’s Favorite Quinoa Salad

    Get the recipe here: quinoa-cucumber salad

    | Karlie Kloss’s Breakfast Smoothie

    Get the recipe here: blackberry-chocolate protein smoothie

    | Wheat-Free Pancakes

    Get the recipe here: wheat-free almond pancakes

    | Overnight Breakfast Casserole

    Get the recipe here: overnight breakfast casserole

    | Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie

    Get the recipe here: apple| pear| and spinach smoothie

    | Apple Cider Vinegar Brew

    Get the recipe here: apple cider vinegar brew

    | Debloating Smoothie

    Get the recipe here: debloating pineapple-papaya smoothie

    | Greek-Yogurt Chicken Salad

    Get the recipe here: Greek-yogurt chicken salad

    | Quinoa Egg Bake

    Get the recipe here: quinoa egg bake with thyme and garlic

    | Cinnamon-Apple Smoothie

    Get the recipe here: cinnamon-apple protein smoothie

    | Fresh Burrito Bowl

    Get the recipe here: grilled chicken burrito bowl

    | Spaghetti Squash Mac and Cheese

    Get the recipe here: spaghetti squash mac and cheese

    | Vegan Banana-Oat Protein Balls

    Get the recipe here: banana-oat protein balls

    | Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bake

    Get the recipe here: apple cinnamon quinoa breakfast bake

    | Thin Mint Smoothie

    Get the recipe here: mint chip smoothie

    | Veggie and Hummus Sandwich

    Get the recipe here: veggie and hummus sandwich

    | Slow-Cooker Mexican Casserole

    Get the recipe here: Mexican casserole

    | Low-Sugar| High-Protein Lemon-Raspberry Muffins

    Get the recipe here: lemon-raspberry muffins

    | Sesame Ginger Quinoa Salad

    Get the recipe here: sesame ginger quinoa salad

    | Spicy Sweet Potato Salad

    Get the recipe here: spicy sweet potato salad

    | Trader Joe’s Thai Citrus Chicken Salad

    Get the recipe here: Thai citrus chicken salad

    | No-Bake Vegan Brownies

    Get the recipe here: no-bake brownies

    | Baked Eggs in Ham Cups

    Get the recipe here: baked eggs in ham cups

    | Strawberry Fruit Leather

    Get the recipe here: homemade strawberry fruit leather

    | Peanut Butter Protein Balls

    Get the recipe here: peanut butter protein balls

    | Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

    Get the recipe here: spicy sweet potato fries

    | Cucumber-Avocado Caprese Salad

    Get the recipe here: cucumber-avocado caprese salad

    | Slow-Cooker Chickpea Coconut Curry With Sweet Potatoes

    Get the recipe here: chickpea coconut curry with sweet potatoes

    | Chickpea Cookie Dough

    Get the recipe here: chickpea chocolate chip cookie dough

    | Black Bean| Corn| Cucumber| and Avocado Salad

    Get the recipe here: black bean| corn| cucumber| and avocado salad

    | Tortilla-Less Soup

    Get the recipe here: tortilla-less soup

    | Hungry Girl’s Broccoli Slaw

    Get the recipe here: tomato broccoli slaw

    | Gluten-Free Almond Oatmeal Protein Bars

    Get the recipe here: almond oatmeal protein bars

    | Carrot Chips

    Get the recipe here: carrot chips

    | Gluten-Free Cheesy Veggie Spaghetti Squash Bake

    Get the recipe here: cheesy veggie “”pasta”” bake

    | Sweet Potato| Chickpea| and Quinoa Veggie Burger

    Get the recipe here: sweet potato| chickpea| and quinoa veggie burger

    Try the Fat-Blasting Workout That Dominated All of 2015

    This year it was all about making workouts easier (sort of). A survey by the American College of Sports Medicine predicted that bodyweight training would be 2015’s hottest workout ¡ª and after looking back at the year, we could not agree more. Why not put away your Spin shoes, hang up your barre tights, and try the trend that’s here to stay by incorporating bodyweight exercises into your routine? And given how back-to-basics it is, you can do it anytime and anywhere.

    So why should you start adding bodyweight training to your routine? First of all, convenience. You don’t need an expensive gym membership, weights, or fancy equipment, just a list of handy exercises you can take with you when you’re on the go. Seriously, you could do these workouts in your pajamas if you really wanted to!

    And, not only are these workouts simple to do, but they’re also superefficient. The combination of strength and cardio means you’ll be blasting fat in no time. Plus, they’re so varied, there’s no chance you’ll get bored. So get a leg up on the new year by trying out a bodyweight workout tonight.

    For more bodyweight workout inspiration, check out these workouts and exercises.

    25 exercises you need to be doingA 10-minute burn-and-shred workout67 essential equipment-free exercises30-minute bodyweight workoutBodyweight circuit workoutBodyweight arm exercises5-minute fat-blasting workoutPrintable bodyweight workoutsImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kat Borchart

    Try the Fat-Blasting Workout That Dominated All of 2015

    This year it was all about making workouts easier (sort of). A survey by the American College of Sports Medicine predicted that bodyweight training would be 2015’s hottest workout and after looking back at the year| we could not agree more. Why not put away your Spin shoes| hang up your barre tights| and try the trend that’s here to stay by incorporating bodyweight exercises into your routine? And given how back-to-basics it is| you can do it anytime and anywhere.

    So why should you start adding bodyweight training to your routine? First of all| convenience. You don’t need an expensive gym membership| weights| or fancy equipment| just a list of handy exercises you can take with you when you’re on the go. Seriously| you could do these workouts in your pajamas if you really wanted to!

    And| not only are these workouts simple to do| but they’re also superefficient. The combination of strength and cardio means you’ll be blasting fat in no time. Plus| they’re so varied| there’s no chance you’ll get bored. So get a leg up on the new year by trying out a bodyweight workout tonight.

    For more bodyweight workout inspiration| check out these workouts and exercises.

    25 exercises you need to be doingA 10-minute burn-and-shred workout67 essential equipment-free exercises30-minute bodyweight workoutBodyweight circuit workoutBodyweight arm exercises5-minute fat-blasting workoutPrintable bodyweight workoutsImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kat Borchart

    How Women Pushed Body Positivity to the Forefront This Year

    There may not be an end in sight to the daily bombardment of glossy images of models and photoshopped bodies we see everywhere, but without a doubt 2015 was the year of the “real woman” and a celebration of their bodies ¡ª whatever the shape or size. With the advent of social media, it’s easier than ever for women everywhere to take control. From body-positive hashtags to celebrating smart responses to routine body-shaming incidents, here’s why 2015 was the year we wholeheartedly embraced our bodies, in all shapes and sizes.

    The Viral Post

    Kate Willcox of @healthyisthenewskinny. Image Source: Instagram user katiehwillcox

    Social media has cast a huge spotlight on just how often women have to deal with body shaming from the outside world. Over and over again, women were taking to Facebook to recount an ugly interaction with strangers, and sometimes friends. Take Emily Farrington Smith’s encounter with a woman at the gym who called her fat: “I refuse to settle in a world where [my sisters] will grow up worrying what others think of them or thinking they are lesser humans because of how much they weigh,” she wrote on her Facebook profile page, and many agreed. Comedian Luisa Omielan’s stand-up routine about our cultural obsession with thigh gaps also went viral when she posted a video of it on her Facebook page earlier this year, and with over 200,000 “likes” and 530,000 shares, it’s clear that Luisa has shared a sentiment that others feel strongly about.

    “We have gone from a culture that almost seemed ashamed of talking about important issues, even body image, to a culture that is a little more open in valuing conversation and advocacy about these topics,” explained sport psychologist Ariane Machin, an assistant professor of psychology at Saint Francis University. She cites body-positive hashtags on Instagram like #effyourbeautystandards and #healthyisthenewskinny as prime examples of how social media is empowering women everywhere to “know that their current body size and shape is completely acceptable,” even when they must fight other societal pressures to look a certain way. “These social media efforts can be an amazing tool to help clients feel less alone, more normal in their experience, and more hopeful about their current situation,” she said.

    The Backlash Against Mainstream Media

    More and more, women are pleading for bodies of all types to be represented in ads and other media. Late last year, for example, Victoria’s Secret faced backlash for its Perfect Body campaign, which implied that the “perfect” shape was long, lean ¡ª and unattainable for most. Brands took notice. More than ever before, women of all shapes, sizes, and ages appeared in national campaigns for the likes of Target, Nike, Dove, and Panache. Lingerie company Aerie even went as far to create an ad campaign of photos not touched by the wand of Photoshop, and Women’s Running was applauded (deservedly) for putting a plus-size runner on its August cover. Plus-size model Ashley Graham’s popularity and the rise of amateur athletes everywhere who show that you can be strong, flexible, and fit at any size is even more proof that women need body-positive role models to counteract incessant media messaging.

    Valerie of Big Gal Yoga is proof that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all “yoga body.” Image Source: Instagram user biggalyoga

    Celebrities Do It Too

    Celebrities are known for having the time and resources to whip their bodies into disciplined shape ¡ª and not complaining when unrealistically photoshopped images of them are held up as a womanly ideal ¡ª but this year, many joined the chorus of women speaking out against the grain. Demi Lovato, for example, recently celebrated the release of her aptly titled album, Confident, with these wise words: “[W]hen I call my thighs thick ¡ª I love it. I think it’s a good thing. . . . I’m not naturally super thin. I have an athletic body. I just have to embrace that. There are days when it’s hard to, but more and more, there are days where I’m actually proud of my body.”

    Ariana Grande’s response to an anonymous tweeter who compared her body type to Modern Family actress Ariel Winter’s is a public reminder that anyone, curvy or not, can be body shamed. “Diversity is sexy!” Ariana wrote on Instagram. “Celebrate yourself. Celebrate others. The things that make us different from one another make us beautiful.”

    Even lean-bodied athletes aren’t immune to the pressures of having to look a certain way; just look at Ronda Rousey’s powerful response earlier this year to those who criticized her body for being “too masculine.” And in ESPN The Magazine‘s annual Body Issue, strong, accomplished women like gymnast Aly Raisman admitted that it takes a lot of effort to love your body when it doesn’t look like a feminine ideal.

    Ronda Rousey calls her body “femininely badass as f*ck, because there’s not a single muscle on my body that isn’t for a purpose.” Image Source: Getty / Matthew Stockman

    Body Positivity in 2016

    So, what’s next? If 2015 was the year that women (and men) everywhere collectively decided that enough was enough, then luckily, we can expect even more vocality about an issue that has long been tolerated. “While the terms ‘fat shaming’ and ‘body shaming’ may be relatively new, judging and humiliating people who are deemed to be ‘fat’ or ‘overweight’ has been a part of our culture for decades,” embedded in our everyday language, advertising, and media, explained psychotherapist Carolyn Karoll of Karoll Counseling. “While the shaming can be overt, like being called names, it can also be more subtle, such as making throwaway comments like, ‘You are so brave to wear that.'” By bringing this issue to the forefront of public discussion, women everywhere can help others embrace their body type and live confidently in their skin.

    Of her Pirelli calendar photo, Amy Schumer wrote on Facebook: “Beautiful, gross, strong, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, sexy, disgusting, flawless, woman. Thank you Annie Leibovitz!” Image Source: Pirelli calendar / Annie Leibovitz

    The good news: change is already happening, Carolyn said, pointing to the 2016 Pirelli calendar as an example. The highly anticipated photo collection is usually chock-full of supermodels in revealing, glamorous outfits, but the newest calendar takes a different approach under the direction of photographer Annie Leibovitz, who set out to photograph “women who have achieved something,” like Amy Schumer, Serena Williams, and Tavi Gevinson. “I’m not sure we would have seen that years ago, so it’s a much-needed shift to see real bodies in there,” Carolyn explained. “My hope is that our thin-obsessed society will accept and eventually embrace these bodies instead of judge them.” Added Dr. Machin: “People are recognizing that they have a voice.” Here’s to a year of self-love and body acceptance at every size and shape.

    How Women Pushed Body Positivity to the Forefront This Year

    There may not be an end in sight to the daily bombardment of glossy images of models and photoshopped bodies we see everywhere| but without a doubt 2015 was the year of the “real woman” and a celebration of their bodies ¡ª whatever the shape or size. With the advent of social media| it’s easier than ever for women everywhere to take control. From body-positive hashtags to celebrating smart responses to routine body-shaming incidents| here’s why 2015 was the year we wholeheartedly embraced our bodies| in all shapes and sizes.

    The Viral Post

    Kate Willcox of @healthyisthenewskinny. Image Source: Instagram user katiehwillcox

    Social media has cast a huge spotlight on just how often women have to deal with body shaming from the outside world. Over and over again| women were taking to Facebook to recount an ugly interaction with strangers| and sometimes friends. Take Emily Farrington Smith’s encounter with a woman at the gym who called her fat: “I refuse to settle in a world where [my sisters] will grow up worrying what others think of them or thinking they are lesser humans because of how much they weigh|” she wrote on her Facebook profile page| and many agreed. Comedian Luisa Omielan’s stand-up routine about our cultural obsession with thigh gaps also went viral when she posted a video of it on her Facebook page earlier this year| and with over 200|000 “likes” and 530|000 shares| it’s clear that Luisa has shared a sentiment that others feel strongly about.

    “We have gone from a culture that almost seemed ashamed of talking about important issues| even body image| to a culture that is a little more open in valuing conversation and advocacy about these topics|” explained sport psychologist Ariane Machin| an assistant professor of psychology at Saint Francis University. She cites body-positive hashtags on Instagram like #effyourbeautystandards and #healthyisthenewskinny as prime examples of how social media is empowering women everywhere to “know that their current body size and shape is completely acceptable|” even when they must fight other societal pressures to look a certain way. “These social media efforts can be an amazing tool to help clients feel less alone| more normal in their experience| and more hopeful about their current situation|” she said.

    The Backlash Against Mainstream Media

    More and more| women are pleading for bodies of all types to be represented in ads and other media. Late last year| for example| Victoria’s Secret faced backlash for its Perfect Body campaign| which implied that the “perfect” shape was long| lean ¡ª and unattainable for most. Brands took notice. More than ever before| women of all shapes| sizes| and ages appeared in national campaigns for the likes of Target| Nike| Dove| and Panache. Lingerie company Aerie even went as far to create an ad campaign of photos not touched by the wand of Photoshop| and Women’s Running was applauded (deservedly) for putting a plus-size runner on its August cover. Plus-size model Ashley Graham’s popularity and the rise of amateur athletes everywhere who show that you can be strong| flexible| and fit at any size is even more proof that women need body-positive role models to counteract incessant media messaging.

    Valerie of Big Gal Yoga is proof that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all “yoga body.” Image Source: Instagram user biggalyoga

    Celebrities Do It Too

    Celebrities are known for having the time and resources to whip their bodies into disciplined shape ¡ª and not complaining when unrealistically photoshopped images of them are held up as a womanly ideal ¡ª but this year| many joined the chorus of women speaking out against the grain. Demi Lovato| for example| recently celebrated the release of her aptly titled album| Confident| with these wise words: “[W]hen I call my thighs thick ¡ª I love it. I think it’s a good thing. . . . I’m not naturally super thin. I have an athletic body. I just have to embrace that. There are days when it’s hard to| but more and more| there are days where I’m actually proud of my body.”

    Ariana Grande’s response to an anonymous tweeter who compared her body type to Modern Family actress Ariel Winter’s is a public reminder that anyone| curvy or not| can be body shamed. “Diversity is sexy!” Ariana wrote on Instagram. “Celebrate yourself. Celebrate others. The things that make us different from one another make us beautiful.”

    Even lean-bodied athletes aren’t immune to the pressures of having to look a certain way; just look at Ronda Rousey’s powerful response earlier this year to those who criticized her body for being “too masculine.” And in ESPN The Magazine‘s annual Body Issue| strong| accomplished women like gymnast Aly Raisman admitted that it takes a lot of effort to love your body when it doesn’t look like a feminine ideal.

    Ronda Rousey calls her body “femininely badass as f*ck| because there’s not a single muscle on my body that isn’t for a purpose.” Image Source: Getty / Matthew Stockman

    Body Positivity in 2016

    So| what’s next? If 2015 was the year that women (and men) everywhere collectively decided that enough was enough| then luckily| we can expect even more vocality about an issue that has long been tolerated. “While the terms ‘fat shaming’ and ‘body shaming’ may be relatively new| judging and humiliating people who are deemed to be ‘fat’ or ‘overweight’ has been a part of our culture for decades|” embedded in our everyday language| advertising| and media| explained psychotherapist Carolyn Karoll of Karoll Counseling. “While the shaming can be overt| like being called names| it can also be more subtle| such as making throwaway comments like| ‘You are so brave to wear that.'” By bringing this issue to the forefront of public discussion| women everywhere can help others embrace their body type and live confidently in their skin.

    Of her Pirelli calendar photo| Amy Schumer wrote on Facebook: “Beautiful| gross| strong| thin| fat| pretty| ugly| sexy| disgusting| flawless| woman. Thank you Annie Leibovitz!” Image Source: Pirelli calendar / Annie Leibovitz

    The good news: change is already happening| Carolyn said| pointing to the 2016 Pirelli calendar as an example. The highly anticipated photo collection is usually chock-full of supermodels in revealing| glamorous outfits| but the newest calendar takes a different approach under the direction of photographer Annie Leibovitz| who set out to photograph “women who have achieved something|” like Amy Schumer| Serena Williams| and Tavi Gevinson. “I’m not sure we would have seen that years ago| so it’s a much-needed shift to see real bodies in there|” Carolyn explained. “My hope is that our thin-obsessed society will accept and eventually embrace these bodies instead of judge them.” Added Dr. Machin: “People are recognizing that they have a voice.” Here’s to a year of self-love and body acceptance at every size and shape.

    Our 25 Favorite Workout Songs of the Year

    The right pop music can make or break your workout. Whenever I have a fresh playlist loaded on my Spotify, it makes going to the gym or on a run a whole lot more fun. If you’ve been losing your motivation this month or are simply in need of a music refresh, we’ve got you covered with this mix that includes almost 90 minutes of our favorite workout music. Subscribe to the Spotify playlist, and check out our top 25 tunes of this year so far.

      “Can’t Feel My Face” ¡ª The Weeknd”Trap Queen” ¡ª Fetty Wap”What Do You Mean?” ¡ª Justin Bieber”Peanut Butter Jelly” ¡ª Galantis”Lean On” ¡ª Major Lazer and DJ Snake”Hold My Hand” ¡ª Jess Glynne”Time of Our Lives” ¡ª Pitbull”7/11″ ¡ª Beyonc¨¦”Uptown Funk” ¡ª Mark Ronson, featuring Bruno Mars”Blame” ¡ª Calvin Harris, featuring John Newman”Cheerleader (Remix)” ¡ª OMI”Shut Up and Dance” ¡ª Walk the Moon”Want to Want Me” ¡ª Jason Derulo”Sugar” ¡ª Maroon 5″Bills” ¡ª LunchMoney Lewis”The Nights” ¡ª Avicii”On My Mind” ¡ª Ellie Goulding”Good Times Roll” ¡ª GRiZ and Big Gigantic”Roses” ¡ª The Chainsmokers”Cool For the Summer” ¡ª Demi Lovato”King” ¡ª Years & Years”Break Free” ¡ª Ariana Grande, featuring Zedd”Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” ¡ª Silent¨®”Easy Love” ¡ª Sigala”The Wolf” ¡ª Mumford & Sons

    If this mix isn’t your style, then check out all our workout playlists here to find something that suits your needs and taste.

    Remember: you will need to download the free Spotify software or the app to listen to our playlists.

    Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria Del Russo

    Our 25 Favorite Workout Songs of the Year

    The right pop music can make or break your workout. Whenever I have a fresh playlist loaded on my Spotify| it makes going to the gym or on a run a whole lot more fun. If you’ve been losing your motivation this month or are simply in need of a music refresh| we’ve got you covered with this mix that includes almost 90 minutes of our favorite workout music. Subscribe to the Spotify playlist| and check out our top 25 tunes of this year so far.

      “Can’t Feel My Face” ¡ª The Weeknd”Trap Queen” ¡ª Fetty Wap”What Do You Mean?” ¡ª Justin Bieber”Peanut Butter Jelly” ¡ª Galantis”Lean On” ¡ª Major Lazer and DJ Snake”Hold My Hand” ¡ª Jess Glynne”Time of Our Lives” ¡ª Pitbull”7/11″ ¡ª Beyonc¨¦”Uptown Funk” ¡ª Mark Ronson| featuring Bruno Mars”Blame” ¡ª Calvin Harris| featuring John Newman”Cheerleader (Remix)” ¡ª OMI”Shut Up and Dance” ¡ª Walk the Moon”Want to Want Me” ¡ª Jason Derulo”Sugar” ¡ª Maroon 5″Bills” ¡ª LunchMoney Lewis”The Nights” ¡ª Avicii”On My Mind” ¡ª Ellie Goulding”Good Times Roll” ¡ª GRiZ and Big Gigantic”Roses” ¡ª The Chainsmokers”Cool For the Summer” ¡ª Demi Lovato”King” ¡ª Years & Years”Break Free” ¡ª Ariana Grande| featuring Zedd”Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” ¡ª Silent¨®”Easy Love” ¡ª Sigala”The Wolf” ¡ª Mumford & Sons

    If this mix isn’t your style| then check out all our workout playlists here to find something that suits your needs and taste.

    Remember: you will need to download the free Spotify software or the app to listen to our playlists.

    Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria Del Russo