Staying in shape is becoming a luxury that only the richest people can afford

Soul cycle
How much are you spending on Soul Cycle and similar classes? REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Fitness classes are becoming a luxury product.

Fashion website Racked recently chronicled several women who are willing to fork over lots of dollars to work out at boutique fitness centres.

“It prompted me to reassess my financial situation,” one woman, Sarah (whose name has been changed) told the website.

She told the website she has cut down going to boutique fitness classes to once a week, and has signed up for Equinox — which costs $US225 a month, but is a fancier alternative to a no-frills gym.

One woman told Racked she spent around $US850 a month on fitness, which equals a startling $US10,200 a year.

AKT founder Anna Kaiser explained to Racked why she thinks people spend this much money on fitness. “You could lease a car or go really deep into a transformation program and change your life […] I’ll see clients that pay $US450 for a T-shirt, but have an issue with $US37 for an intimate experience with another human being. It always shocks me when someone shows me a $US3,500 dress and then tries to bargain out of a class. Most of these people wouldn’t think twice about a $US40 blowout.”

In an interview with Racked from earlier this year, Soul Cycle founder Elizabeth Cutler explained the price tag could enhance the experience. “There is a luxury component to it,” she said. “When people pay for something, there’s a certain commitment and a certain energy that they bring to it, and that elevates the whole [concept]. That’s where you start to feel the commitment.”

Soul Cycle is known for its cult following. Women who visit the cycling studio regularly pay $US34 for a single class in New York City. A 30-class pack is $US850. Soul Cycle’s competitor, Flywheel, is also $US34 per ride, with prices that decrease when you buy them in packs, but not by much.

But the reason women argue it’s worth it is because it’s healthy, Racked notes.

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