Hollywood Feeling Big Gym Burnout Amid a Boom in Boutique Health Studios

Courtesy of Juliet Kaska
Pilates at Juliet Kaska's JK Zen Fitness.

Across the Southland, stars and execs are flocking en masse from massive gyms to smaller, more intimate exercise studios.

When it comes to the town's fitness these days, small is huge. While producer Gavin Polone tells THR that preferring access to many apparatuses means belonging to a big gym "as much as I hate them," the overwhelming movement in Hollywood is toward such boutique concepts as Orangetheory (whose 500th studio opened in October) and SoulCycle (now leading 72,000 rides per week).

A 2014 International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association report shows a 200 percent increase in studio openings and a measly 7 percent increase in new gyms. ModelFIT, the NYC space frequented by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, recently opened its first West Coast location on West Third Street, offering "a more intimate environment for targeted results, in contrast to big gyms," says founder Vanessa Packer. In Brentwood, Maria Shriver is a client at PlateFit, where 27-minute Power Plate sessions — Mark Wahlberg, Madonna and Clint Eastwood partake — shake users into shape. Kerry Washington and Pink do sessions at Pilates guru Juliet Kaska's JK Zen Fitness in Beverly Hills. Says How to Get Away With Murder actress Liza Weil: "Juliet's unique style transcends the gym. It's about how you move in all areas of your life."

Now bubbling up and beloved by Lady Gaga (and Jude Law's character on HBO's The Young Pope), the Gyrotonic workout involves movements inside a pulley-based machine that improve posture and stimulate the nervous system. "It has been behind the scenes helping to enhance those who perform arts and athletics for decades," says Christina Stroh of Movement Center LA, a Santa Monica beach bungalow where industry execs, choreographer Tracy Phillips and musician Ben Taylor (son of James and Carly Simon) go for their bespoke practices.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.