ClassPass: My New Obsession


For my entire life, I’ve been a devout non-gym-goer. My weight was completely dependent on a semi-fast metabolism and decent genes. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve managed to skate by with an alcohol-free diet and the occasional juice cleanse.

But then I committed the ultimate weight-gaining commandment: I quit smoking. After trying to quit three previous times, it felt like a major victory. Until I promptly gained almost 20 pounds.

Faced with a closet full of items that no longer fit, I knew I needed to completely overhaul my anti-gym stance.

Enter ClassPass — my new favorite after-work activity.

This is what pain looks like.
This is what pain looks like.

As I mentioned, I’ve always been vehemently anti-gym. But I’ve given the traditional gym world a fair shake. In college, I had free access to several gyms, but I was turned off by the meat-market atmosphere. (There’s even a live webcam feed so strangers can watch you work out — yikes!)

Before my wedding, I joined Blink Fitness, a dirt-cheap gym with no classes and zero frills. I paid for a year-long membership and went four times. Four. Times.

My first time at pilates was also my last time at pilates.
My first time at pilates was also my last time at pilates.

It wasn’t just gym memberships I couldn’t commit to.

When I moved to New York, my friends were variously obsessed with different specialized workouts at boutique studios Hot yoga! Candlelight spinning! Aerial silks! But each seemed so expensive, technically difficult or clique-y, I was too terrified to try any of them. (For example, you can’t eat before hot yoga — and I conveniently always had a tummy full of Wendy’s before I was supposed to go to class.)

Spinning is one of my favorite workouts. (Please note that I detest spinning when I am actually in the process of the spinning.)
Spinning is one of my favorite workouts. (Please note that I detest spinning when I am actually in the process of the spinning.)

But in the six years since moving here, I’ve gradually grown hyper-disciplined in certain areas of my life. (Like the aforementioned decision to cut alcohol out of my diet completely.) And when my sister sang the praises of ClassPass in the lead-up to her wedding, it occurred to me that I may finally be able to stick to a fitness routine.

So I signed up. And I’ve gone a teensy bit crazy.

For the uninitiated, ClassPass is an online and mobile gym class reservation system. For $125 per month (it’s cheaper in non-NYC cities), you have access to hundreds of boutique gym classes in dozens of disciplines — without ever actually joining a gym.

Barre seems fun, but it is brutal.
Barre seems fun, but it is brutal.

For a reluctant gym-goer like me, it’s been a game-changer:

  • Because ClassPass is focused on classes instead of solo gym time, I’ve reduced the chances of injury (and I’ve screwed up my left knee just LOOKING at a treadmill)
  • Instructors are very excited to “sell” the merits of their class and gym to ClassPassers, so I’ve gotten a lot of personalized attention that’s radically improved my workout
    • Related: People who work out are SUPER nice — especially by NYC standards — and I’m surprised at the sense of community you can find with the others in the class
  • Your weekly workout is completely customizable, based on your preferences and taste for experimentation. I never would have seeked out a barre studio on my own, for example
  • If you are committed, ClassPass makes working out extremely affordable. I went to so many classes, each wound up costing $7, which is an insane bargain

Currently, I’m in a barre-yoga-spin rotation. (Barre and spin are for burning calories — and the yoga is to recover so I can keep doing the other two.)

I’ll be periodically sharing more insights on my quest for quasi-fitness — plus tips on how to incorporate ClassPass into daily life. (Finding the time has practically required Dr. Who-like time-travel capabilities.)

But for now, I’m a total convert.

Have you used ClassPass? Or do you prefer a more traditional gym membership? (Or are you self-sufficient enough to just run outside for free?)