A fitness studio called Bari opened up not too long ago in the Tribeca neighborhood of NYC and its quickly setting itself apart from the competition (of which there's a lot lately) by selecting it's own members by invitation only. I'm not sure what to think about this. I mean, I get the concept which is admittedly intriguing, and of course, Manhattan folk love their exclusive venues. But, will a members only barre studio really fly? Will female fitness fanatics go for this? I don't have the answer yet, and I'm wondering what all of you think. My immediate reaction can be summed up in the 2 stories below.
2 Sad Stories
- When I was in grade school I had a few girlfriends that I considered my best friends in the universe. They planned a sleepover party one weekend that I wasn't invited to. I'll never forget, I cried myself to sleep that Saturday night while they probably stayed up late playing Ouija Board.
- In college I had a group of best girlfriends/housemates. We did everything together and they are my fondest memories from school. A few years after graduation I saw pictures on Facebook from some of their bachelorette parties that I had not been invited to. We had drifted since our college days but those pictures still made me feel like an unwanted outsider.
My point? Being intentionally left out OR not selected SUCKS.
In their announcement to go "invitation only", Bari Studio says it's not about cliques. Bari states 2 reasons: 1. Quality over quantity and 2. A results driven model. Hmmm, I guess I'd buy this approach if owner Alexandra Perez's professional training exceeded a Pilates Mat certification. But it doesn't. She's got a cool looking studio on her hands, complete with artist painted walls, lemon water and macha shots but at the end of the day the only club I want to be a part of is the one that I get to choose to be a part of. Alexandra is a sweet/beautiful girl and I wish her lots of success, all I'm saying is that I turn to fitness for acceptance. I turn to fitness to make stress go away and drama disappear. I turn to fitness to link up with all kinds of women; stronger, weaker, wiser, older, younger, thinner, fitter and different or even the same! I turn to fitness to empower me, not to diss me.
Are Fitness Sororities ahead?
I can't help it but I'm reminded of RUSH from college. There's a reason I deactiviated from my sorority. I loved my KKG girls but I couldn't wrap my head around the way things had to work. "Being in the club" in many ways meant you couldn't be outside of it. And selecting new girls to join our club made me feel like the bitchiest girl ever because it wasn't based on real friendship, it was based on the image me wanted our sorority to project. I guess I thought my scary sorority days were over but now I'm a little nervous they're not. All I can say is this: It's fitness for God's sake!! It's not a sleepover party for the cool girls. It's a world we ALL fit into. Just ask Ariane Hundt, founder of the Brooklyn Bridge Bootcamp in NYC. Her muscle-toning empire is the anti-fitness-sorority and in my opinion, that's why she's changing bodies and minds. She's also a certified personal trainer with a masters in nutrition. For me, expert training beats out a sorority pin any day.
What Do You Think?
Are fitness sororities for you? Blast me if you think I'm wrong. I can take it! And if you're looking for a cool fitness club to join (that anyone can be a member of), I love The Clymb. It's an entirely different way to shop for outdoor fitness & sport gear. Just like Gilt City, they have the best flash sales on premium brands. Get active outdoors this summer and take a peek at The Clymb.