To start, yes, there is a startling difference between these two facilities set up, operations, costs, etc. No – it is not just about space (although, that is a big part of the difference as well) and overall amenities.

Box Gyms

Box (or large) gym facilities are just that, large. They typically offer more square footage, more employees, and a cheaper cost. These facilities typically have a large monetary backing and can afford to have all of the machines, cardio equipment, and other things (pools, saunas, locker rooms, etc) that come with having more cash to back the location.

Larger facilities typically are the starting point for many individuals within the fitness industry. Personal trainers and group fitness instructors start here to gain experience & clientele. Large gyms are fantastic at making money through their clients and their many services. They thrive on people who get a gym membership and don’t show up to the gym – ever. They also don’t pay their personal trainers, massage therapists, etc. what they should be paid for the amount of work that they do.

There are exceptions to every rule, so don’t take this as gospel, but you typically get better one-on-one training, sports performance, or group fitness classes at a different, smaller location.

The Pros of a Box Gym

    • Cheaper
    • Larger facility
    • More “bells and whistles”
    • Lounging areas
    • Discounts for memberships (student, family, etc.)

The Cons Of A Box Gym

    • More people = crowding
    • Less of a “community” vibe
    • Less organized
    • Larger group fitness classes
    • Scripted group fitness classes (all classes do the same exact routines for a set period of time)
    • Less personalized
    • A lot of turnover in workers; personal trainers, management, etc.
    • Less experienced “personal” trainers
    • Sign up and cancellation fees

Boutique Gyms

Boutique gyms are smaller facilities that are typically privately owned. These facilities are highly specialized for a specific type of fitness; CrossFit, barre classes, yoga, etc. Boutique gyms outfit their facility with equipment that is specific to the type of fitness and the bells and whistles are usually not found due to space issues.

Smaller facilities employ individuals that have made fitness their lives. These people have a ton of experience and it shows when they work with their clients. You can find a personal trainer or a group fitness instructor that has multiple certifications. Also, they will ensure that every single workout (whether it’s within the group atmosphere or one-on-one) is individualized and a little different each time. These trainers will work around injuries and change workouts as necessary.

The Pros of Boutique Gyms

    • Smaller class sizes
    • More individualized attention
    • Staff knowledge base
    • Clean & well-organized facility
    • Highly-specialized equipment
    • Camaraderie 
    • Exclusivity

The Cons Of A Boutique Gym

    • Smaller facility
    • Higher monthly costs
    • Fewer discounts
    • No “hangout” area
    • Restrictions on age-categories

I’m not here to tell you where to go to get your fitness on, I am just letting you know that there is some huge difference in facilities that you should be aware of. Not all gyms in Fort Collins are built the same. For instance, if you are looking to come in and walk on a treadmill, or use a stair-stepper for an hour, Kerley’s Fitness isn’t for you. However, if you are looking for a 24/7 access gym, or facility that offers strength, conditioning, and mobility in a “functional” means- we’re your spot.