Monday, June 27, 2016

ClassPass - a passport to a healthier you!

We live in a world filled with options and the wonderful thing about this is it gives each and every one of us a choice, some autonomy over what we eat, buy and do. If you are one of those people who makes choices easily, mazel tov. I tip my metaphorical hat off to you.  If you are like me, however, you only make choices under extreme duress.  One area of my life where this rings especially true is my exercise routine.

These days, there seems to be a new workout craze or boutique fitness studio on every block. After my initial excitement about all of the fun things I could try, I became overwhelmed by trying to figure out how I could possibly afford to go to all of the studios I was interested in.  Unless you are rolling in the Benjamins, purchasing a membership to FlyWheel, Pure Barre, Crossfit and a luxury gym will break the bank (unless you stop eating, seeing your friends and paying your bills, but that’s a topic for another blog).  So how do we mere plebeians manage to participate in these fitness trends?  Enter: ClassPass.

For those who are unfamiliar with ClassPass, it is a company that provides access to an extensive network of fitness studios for a simple monthly subscription.  For example, in Seattle, there are over 200 studios belonging to ClassPass and the subscription is currently around $100 (there is speculation and reason to believe that this cost may increase over the next few months).  What makes this intriguing is that instead of having to purchase memberships to each individual studio, you gain access to what feels like an endless list of options all while paying just a little more than a typical gym membership. 

I initially heard about ClassPass from my friend in San Francisco who was taking obscure classes like paddleboard yoga and aerial silk training (she hung from a piece of cloth on the ceiling - neat!).  I thought to myself, “that sounds amazing, but I would never buy a membership to classes like that”.  Once she explained how the ClassPass subscription works, I knew it was the right fit for me.  I wanted to try all the new fitness trends without having to choose just one single studio/type of workout.  

Since signing up with ClassPass I’ve tried FlyWheel (essentially a party on stationary bikes), Pure Barre (hard in a way I never anticipated), Tabata (HIIT training to the extreme), Bootcamp (I was sore for days) and a couple Zumba classes (the old dancer in me loves to shake and shimmy)!  Sure, some classes I enjoyed more than others but that’s exactly what ClassPass is for!  Which instructor keeps me motivated?  Which class makes me want to don my workout gear and get moving? I always look forward to scrolling through the app and choosing how I will get my butt kicked on a particular day. 

Now, you may be thinking “Elianna, this just sounds too good to be true. Unlimited classes?? Less than $100 a month?? How can this be?!”  Well, although I still believe that this set-up is pretty neat, there are a couple caveats that should be mentioned.  First, you can only go to one studio three times a month and that includes all of their locations.  So, for example, if I decide that I like FlyWheel classes, I can’t go to the Bellevue location three times and then the South Lake Union location three times.  This also holds true even if I’m not taking the same type of class (i.e. if one studio offers spin, Zumba and yoga). It’s three times per studio, across all locations. 

The second, latest caveat to keep in mind is that ClassPass recently increased their prices in New York City (where the company originated) to $190.  Suddenly, the once almost shockingly affordable membership doesn’t feel like such a steal.  ClassPass does offer a more economical price point if you only attend 10 classes per month. That said, these price hikes haven’t hit Seattle yet and until that day comes, I will happily get my sweat on for under $100 a month.

Like any product, ClassPass has its pros and cons, and like any middleman company, it has the challenge of making both studios and individual clients happy.  Initially, the low cost for unlimited classes was an exercise enthusiast's dream, yet studio owners were understandably frustrated by the lack of commitment from potential members.  I assume that the price increase will lead to studios receiving more money per class participant. But that being said, I am not a financial adviser for ClassPass and have no idea where their money is allocated.  

             I also recognize and appreciate that this model is not for everybody.  I have friends who like going to their one class, knowing it will be available to them week after week at the same time on the same day. My response is, "Hey, whatever works!" For me, however, ClassPass has filled a sizable void in my workout regime.  With my tendency towards exercise boredom, my fear of making choices by selecting one studio, and my inability to afford memberships at every studio, ClassPass is my fitness lifeline.  There certainly may be a day when all of this changes and my workout routine shifts in a completely different direction (and being somebody who suffers from chronic workout boredom, I may welcome this with open arms). Yet, until that day comes, you will find me shaking my tuchus to some Latin American jams, flying across imaginary terrains on my trusty spin bike or discovering some new workout to keep me motivated.  Now, the only thing left is for YOU to join me. Want $20 off your first month?  Click this link!   Happy exercising!