Club Sports: Welcome to the World of Nightclub Fitness

More and more fitness fans are trading the barre for the bar.
nightclub fitness

Illustration by Sam Island

Why swig coconut water after a workout when a piña colada is mere steps away? Welcome to the world of nightclub fitness, where athletes downward dog to Drake and squat under strobe lights.

These days, fitness instructors are venturing ever farther beyond studio walls—out into parks, stores, offices, and even libraries. Now nightclubs are the latest addition to the party. The aptly named “detox-to-retox” movement encourages participants to don their dressiest activewear, drop their yoga mats beneath the disco ball, and work up a sweat that transitions seamlessly into a night out—capped off with a few rounds of not-entirely-hydrating drinks from the bar, of course.

One of the first on the dance floor: Yoga Around Town, which began its popular series of celebrity-themed, nightclub-housed yoga classes about a year ago. Daybreaker—which hosts sober, crack-of-dawn dance parties—came next. Then Grip the Mat started holding its social yoga classes in Boston clubs this year. If their consistently sold-out events are any indication, you can expect more where that came from.

Proponents of the trend say it makes fitness a little more welcoming and a lot more fun. “Bringing the yoga practice into a space like a nightclub makes [it] more applicable,” says Christy Skarulis, cofounder of  Grip the Mat. It also “exposes you to people and places you may have never encountered,” adds participant Jenna Lockhart. “Who would have thought I could practice my balancing poses in a nightclub?”

But does downing a martini after an invigorating workout defeat the purpose of exercise? Maggie Walsh, director of marketing at Yoga Around Town’s parent company, Social Boston Sports, says no.

“It’s a lot more about people wanting to be out with their friends and have a really cool experience than the actual yoga, sometimes,” she says. “People are making [fitness] more of a lifestyle, rather than one more thing they have to do on their to-do list, which I think is probably a really positive trend.”

Grip the Mat cofounder Ashley Braun agrees, noting that the nightclub fad simply combines two things people were doing anyway: going out and working out.

“We’re trying to promote balance,” Braun says. “We think it’s fine to have a glass of wine and practice yoga, or meditate and have a cocktail. That’s how we live our lives.”


Heart Health
A look at two local fitness-meets-romance startups.

fitness dating app 1

Meet Me Outside

What It Is: An app that sends exercise-loving strangers on active dates.
Who It’s For: Singles who are over the dinner-and-drinks dating scene.
Unique Feature: It’s integrating with Runkeeper and Fitbit, so users can woo dates with their personal bests.
Cost: Free.
Get It: mmoutside.com.

fitness dating app 2

The Love Workout

What It Is: A company that hosts speed-dating events for singles at local gyms.
Who It’s For: Hard bodies looking to harness the romantic power of endorphins.
Unique Feature: Participants meet at least five new people per workout.
Cost: Varies by host gym.
Get It: loveworkout.fit.