Should I join ClassPass?

By Jon

Since my freshman year of college, I have been a runner. For me, running was always synonymous with physical fitness. My freshman year of college, I lost 30 pounds by running on the treadmill each day. After graduating, running became my way of maintaining my weight, and then, in law school, became my escape. I started running further and further until, one day, I decided to run the Chicago Marathon. And then, ten days before the race, my IT band blew up (stupid me still ran the race, and still, somehow, finished).

Since then, I have run two New York City Marathons, countless half marathons, and even more short to medium distance races. During those years of racing, I ran almost every day, developing sciatica and left hip/leg weakness in the process, My mom, who knows a thing or two about physical fitness and wellness, constantly urged me to cross-train, but I ignored her, telling myself that a runner had to run every day, no matter what. Finally I “relented”, and started to go to Flywheel classes every Sunday, after my Saturday long run. Cross training indeed.

After last year’s New York City Marathon, I called it quits, and decided to skip this year’s race. Marathoning had become too routine for me, and the training too taxing…I needed a year off. But without running every day, I risked lapsing back into old habits, and gaining back old weight, so something would have to fill the void.

Enter ClassPass. Caroline and I were on the train back into the city after a weekend at home, and, on a whim, looked at each other and said, “let’s do it!”

VIsiting the ClassPass website for the first time, I felt like my head was about to explode. There were so many options to choose from. And I knew almost nothing about 99% of the classes offered.

Three quarters of a year later, not much has changed. I maintain a pretty solid rotation of classes, maxing out almost all of them (for those of you not yet indoctrinated into the ClassPass universe, users can visit each studio up to three times per month) each cycle. I’d like to say that I’ve explored the universe of the types of workouts offered, but the truth is that I mainly stick to spin and bootcamps, especially those which focus on strength. I’ve flirted with pilates, boxing, treadmill classes, and even yoga, but almost of all of my ClassPass workouts happen at Flywheel, SWERVE, Solace, Brick, BFX, Throwback Fitness, and Fhitting Room.

And that’s ok. The great part about ClassPass is that you can feel free to be as creative, or not, as you desire. There are workouts for literally everyone, from Marine Corps-style bootcamps to meditative yoga to outdoor running clubs to plain vanilla gym time. While I’ve built up a pretty solid core schedule for myself, focusing on a mixture of cardio and strength, the option always exists of trying something new. Some of my most memorable workouts have been niche classes like ConBody, Title Boxing, and Row House, workouts which I never would have tried but for ClassPass, because, honestly, who is going to pay $30 for something that they may hate? But with ClassPass, if a workout stinks, well, who cares?

Of course, I say this as one of the suckers who pays almost $200 for unlimited classes each month. If I was capped at ten classes per month, well, I might feel differently.

Speaking of cost, well, $200 is a lot of money. We’re talking get a membership at Equinox and still save kind of money. As someone who vehemently refused to trade in my New York Sports Club membership for Equinox several years ago, it seems somewhat counter-intuitive that, now, I pay even more money for ClassPass. I recently considered whether I should break up with ClassPass and buy a membership to the neighborhood Equinox. After all, Equinox has a lot of the perks that I’ve come to enjoy with my ClassPass membership, well-managed gyms with working equipment, a motivated crowd, locker rooms that you actually want to use, and a variety of classes.

But I just couldn’t do it. Part of what draws me to ClassPass is the sheer variety of the studios available. Where Equinox may have one or two bootcamp classes, there is no way that you would ever be able to get the variety that ClassPass offers at a gym. Settling into a workout routine is why people end up staying home and letting their gym memberships go to waste; it’s too easy to get comfortable, not work hard, go through the paces, and, not seeing results, quit. The sheer variety of ClassPass makes working out fun and interesting, and helps prevent that dangerous complacency.

Of course, all of this comes at a (very high) price, so it’s certainly not for everyone. There are plenty of ways to get a great workout at a gym for a small fraction of the cost of ClassPass. But personally, I’m happy to be a ClassPass member at this point in my life, and can truly say that it has completely transformed my concept of fitness.

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Posted in: Jon

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