With my current gym membership on hold, I decided to finally give into ClassPass. Luckily, they offer a 2-week trial with (seemingly) little commitment or investment. For those of you who don’t know, ClassPass is a monthly membership to access tons of boutique gym studios. It’s at a lower price point than most studios on its roster, and you have the ability to attend gyms specializing in everything from CrossFit to hot yoga. The kicker is there’s a very strict cancellation policy. You have to cancel at least 12 hours in advance if you think you can’t make it. And if you think you can make it and you’re 5 minutes late, you still get charged.
Here’s what happened during my 2 weeks:
The first day I accidentally signed up for a class on the wrong day and incurred a $15 late fee when I couldn’t cancel within 12 hours. Seriously, the first hour of singing up! ClassPass is pretty tricky to get in contact with, as there is virtually no contact info on the site. Of course. Luckily, they had mercy on me via Twitter and refunded the charge. PHEW.
The first class I went to was a barre/cardio class at a small Atlanta studio, which housed about 12 people. Thank the good Lord I brought my ClassPass-veteran BFF along with me, because I had never tried barre or a small studio before. I didn’t have sticky socks (which totally are necessary BTW) and I ran in to the studio with only a few moments to spare. Embarrassing. The kind and attentive staff talked all newbies through the entire thing, making it all much more bearable. The class was a barre/interval cardio hour class and it was rough. I was furiously searching for a clock that did not exist to try and figure out exactly how much torture was left. And there were wall-to-wall mirrors to ensure I could visibly see my level of distress and how much further behind and uncoordinated I was compared to the rest of the class. All in all, a good workout that caused intense pain in my abdomen for about 5 days.
Next I did cycling. I’d never done a real (non-LA Fitness or YMCA) cycle class. I made sure I got there early this time and another attentive staff helped me clip in (I seriously had no idea there were special shoes) and set my bike measurements up. Also, more mirrors. The lights go out and a vibrant instructor/ mic-man/ crowd-pumper starts peddling away. The studio had a leader board which would trigger at different points in the class and show you your stats compared to everyone else. This got me motivated and I hauled ass for about 45 minutes, ensuring I peddled faster than the other women. And then it all started to go down hill. My legs literally felt like jelly and the resistance like quick sand. When the class ended, I came in last. DEAD LAST. Despite coming in last my first time, I did go to cycling classes again and think it is an awesome workout.
I went to a few more barre studios, including Pure Barre, which was my least favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I totally see how it is a great workout. The experience at the studio I went to just was’t great. The staff was the least attentive, I learned the least, as I was the only new member there, they outright said they didn’t think the ClassPass model worked and they tried relentlessly to get me to join their
Here’s the verdict: ClassPass is amazing and an unbeatable deal. But, I work in an industry where it is impossible to know 12 hours ahead of time what time I will be leaving work. I don’t even know one hour ahead of time when I’ll get out of there. And these boutique studios don’t have showers, so working out in the morning wasn’t really an option. If I had a little more flexibility, I would absolutely keep my membership going. But during my first 2 weeks, I got one fine and cancelled 4 classes I had previously planned to attend. All in all, the dedication to surfing the classes online, finding one that might fit with my hectic schedule and then trying to navigate to an unknown facility during rush hour caused me more stress than the workouts themselves.
When my trial was coming to an end, I made sure to cancel 4 days early. I got the confirmation it was cancelled and then saw the membership charge (which is only $79 BTW) a few days later. Insert more emailing and tweeting to try and get the charge removed.
Things I learned:
- The cost of these exclusive gyms is more justified than I thought. Even in the biggest class I took (about 20 people), I felt like I was getting a personalized workout with one-on-one attention.
- Don’t be late! This is not a 24-hour mega gym. You cannot inconspicuously sneak in.
- You will feel self conscious about your level of fitness, your outfit and your looks. Somehow everyone that goes to these gyms are Lulu wearing, blonde pony-donning, tan skinny girls in impeccable shape.
- Beware of fees.
- Barre is harder than it looks. Actually all the classes are harder than they look.
- Be prepared to have a 360 degree view of yourself at all times.
- Seriously, don’t be late.