Boutique Fitness Studios Offer Unique Options for Getting in Shape


The holidays are over and the new year is upon us. You’ve made resolutions to start working out more, but where to begin? Do you want to focus on strength? Cardio? Core?


Boutique fitness studios have been popping up all over Pittsburgh, so there couldn’t be a better time to start your fitness journey.


Ramp N’ Rize, located in Sewickley, offers high-intensity, low-impact, resistance-based, full-body classes using the TransformerPro and the Power Tower. The Transformer Pro is integrated with cutting-edge technology that mechanically lifts it to different incline levels, allowing increased resistance and maximum exertion. The Power Tower is a vertical climbing machine that also incorporates a strength component.


Ramp N’ Rize is the only studio in the entire state that uses these machines.


“Our machines are all full-body technology, which means that no matter what class you are taking, you are always working every muscle in the body, which really gives you that elevated workout experience,” said Joy Johnson, head trainer and regional manager of Ramp N’ Rize.


During the pandemic, Ramp N' Rize, along with other fitness studios, had smaller class sizes and required participants to wear masks at all times. Johnson said that each client is on their own individual equipment, so this makes cleaning after each class easy and adds a level of comfort.


Boutique fitness studios are all about creating a sense of belonging, and Ramp N’ Rize is no different. Johnson said that their community is a tight-knit group and added that due to the studio’s smaller nature, it is easier for instructors to get to know each client and help them with their fitness goals.


“Our instructors know all of their clients, and being able to be on a personal level with each person creates a space to be able to learn exactly what they are looking for and where they want to improve, and enables instructors to create the perfect result for each client individually,” said Johnson.


Another studio that has created a sense of community through their unique classes is CycleBar North Hills. Located in Ross Township, the independently owned indoor cycling studio is exclusively focused on cycling, so it can hone its programs to offer different experiences in each class.


CycleBar North Hills offers a variety of different class types, different class lengths, and rider challenges to keep people motivated on their bikes. They also offer special theme rides that feature specific music artists, musical genres and more.


Cycling is a full body workout that requires riders to change positions multiple times during class. One song may have cyclists up and out of the saddle, while the next one may have them turning up the resistance and pushing their speed while seated.


Greg Venbrux, one of the owners of CycleBar North Hills, said the beauty of the facility’s classes is that people are in charge of their own workouts, so if they need to slow down or adjust their resistance, they can.


“Our classes are accessible to everybody; whether you’re at the beginning of your fitness journey or a seasoned athlete, you go at your own pace and work through your own strengths and weaknesses on your own terms,” said Venbrux.


Cycling is a low-impact workout, so unlike many forms of exercise that can put a lot of stress on joints, cycling is a great way to get riders’ heart rates up without aggravating joint problems.


Venbrux said he’s loved helping riders achieve their fitness goals, while also getting to be a part of the North Hills’ community.


“Our studio has seen many of our customers develop lasting friendships with each other and our staff. This family atmosphere has often been a key factor as to why customers choose CycleBar over a traditional gym or working out from home,” he said.


Urban Elements, located on the Northside, is another great cycling studio that also offers power yoga, bodyweight strength training, Pilates and more. The studio combines these different class types to create intense workouts to work out different parts of the body.

For example, during their Ryde and Flow class, participants ride a stationary bike for the first half of class and then spend the second half on the yoga mat. Most of their classes are suitable for all fitness levels.


The studio is currently offering live-streaming yoga and bootcamp classes via Zoom for people who don’t feel comfortable working out in a studio just yet.


The Barre Code, located in both McCandless and Shadyside, offers several different types of classes that focus on cardio, strength, and restoration. Its classic class is barre, which combines barre work and isometric movements and a variety of different props for a new workout each time. Its bootcamp class focuses on cardiovascular conditioning and includes HIIT (high-intensity interval training), and the brawl class incorporates cardio kickboxing and strength work. The studio also has both streaming and on-demand online classes, so members can choose whatever works best for them.


Boutique fitness studios are gaining in popularity for a number of reasons. Because all of the studios specialize in specific kinds of workouts, each is fulfilling a different kind of need in their clients’ lives. They also offer a sense of community—if clients feel like they belong, they’ll want to come back. Not to mention that camaraderie makes working out easier and more fun!

There is a type of workout for everyone, and with all of the studios in Pittsburgh, you’re sure to find one that works best for you.

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