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Boutique gyms flex their muscle in Baltimore

Boutique gyms flex their muscle in Baltimore

It's a Wednesday evening at the Pop Physique studio in downtown Baltimore, and a dozen women — most clad in leggings, T-shirts and socks — are rotating their hips while trying to hold an exercise ball between their thighs.  

"Great job, guys!" says instructor Smithy Onattu, directing her students via a headset as a playlist with songs such as Lana Del Rey's "Florida Kilos" and "Tumblr Girls" by rapper G-Eazy pumps through the art-filled space.

Over the course of an hour, the group will tackle a series of exercises: planks and push-ups, plies and other ballet moves. They'll stretch while using bright orange straps and do demanding lower body...