The Rise Of Celebrity Trainers: How Boutique Fitness Instructors Became Superstars

Most trends disappear as quickly as they arrive. Short-lived phenomena like dabbing, fidget spinners, and unicorn food certainly made some noise. But these are more fads than trends, and thankfully, their moments have passed.

A true trend has more staying power and a greater impact on society. Take the boutique fitness boomthat’s sweeping the nation for instance. Studios like SoulCycle and Barry’s Bootcamp have changed the way we sweat and socialize so drastically that buying a membership has become a status symbol.

From the outside looking in, boutique fitness classes are surprisingly similar to the parodies out there. The music is deafening, the room is dark, and, most interesting of all, the top instructors are worshiped with a fanaticism that’s borderline cultish. They have a devoted fan base in their city and on social media, their classes sell out in a matter of minutes, and journalists even cover their weddings.

The rise from in front of the class to atop a pedestal seems to have happened overnight. You blink and Kayla Itsines is on Vogue and you have a date with your TV and Tony Horton after work. It begs the question: how exactly did fitness instructors become deities?

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Misha Gajewski