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Last week I finished my month-long Class Pass experience after receiving a gift card from my parents-in-law for Christmas. Class Pass partners with gyms to let you try different classes at different studios for one set monthly price. You want to take yoga on Monday, water aerobics on Tuesday, kickboxing on Wednesday, boot camp on Thursday, Pilates on Friday, NIA on Saturday, and pole dancing on Sunday? Great — Class Pass lets you do that. You want to go to a studio close to your house one day and another near your work another day? Great — Class Pass lets you do that.
Because I was incorporating Class Pass into my regular workout schedule and not focusing on it as my primary source of exercise, I had to be a little creative about which classes I took which week. For example, I knew I had a half marathon coming up at the end of this past week, so I wanted to keep things light to avoid exhausting myself or overtaxing my muscles. During my first three weeks using Class Pass I did at least four classes a week, but last week I went easy on myself and only took two. Both were quiet, calming yoga classes: one yin and one gentle. This was perfect race preparation because these classes got me into the right mental space while gently working my muscles.
With my Class Pass experience all wrapped up, here's a brief list of some of the pros and cons I experienced.
PRO: THERE ARE SO MANY CLASSES TO CHOOSE FROM
On any given day, there's a huge variety of classes. I could find anything I was in the mood for, from gentler yoga and Pilates classes to grueling boot camps and kickboxing. I also had the opportunity to try classes I'd never done before (like barre) as well as classes I wouldn't have necessarily taken in a different setting (like circuit training).
CON: IT'S EXPENSIVE
The monthly rate is $79. I'm not saying the price isn't worth it — with UNLIMITED classes every day, it probably is — but I'm saying it's expensive. I'm a freelance writer, people. I don't have an extra $80/month hanging around. There's also an option for $40 a month that allows you to take one class per week, which sounds enticing but is still outside my budget. I'm thankful I had this gift card because I never would have been able to experience this otherwise.
PRO: YOU'RE NOT STUCK TO ONE GYM.
The only way I'm able to stick to a fitness routine is if I mix things up. I have friends who have been attending the same boot camp class every week at the same gym for over a year now. That's great for them, but I would NEVER be able to do that. I get bored way too easily (even with something like boot camp, which is constantly changing). I think there's a real advantage to working with different instructors in different atmospheres. Each instructor brings his own experience and philosophy to the table. Each studio has it own vibe. Each instructor has her own specialty. Different muscles will get worked in different ways when you're not doing the same thing over and over. My love of keeping things fresh has always been a huge part of my personality. I do well as a freelance writer because I enjoy doing different things all the time. I've never worked a traditional job for more than a few years at a time because I always burn out from sitting at the same desk and talking to the same coworkers and performing the same activities day in and day out. Having the opportunity to keep things wildly varied is one of my favorite aspects of Class Pass.
CON: ONCE YOU COMMIT TO A CLASS, YOU'RE STUCK WITH IT.
This could be a pro for anyone who needs a little extra accountability; knowing I'll be charged a fee if I don't show up to class certainly motivates me to get there. The only problem: there's no wiggle room for stuff that sometimes happens in life. Your meeting runs late, you're exhausted at the end of the day, you get a last-minute invite to meet up with a friend you haven't seen in forever: too bad. If the class is less than 12 hours away, you cannot cancel. You are going to that class or you're paying the price. You may recall my saga about signing up for a noontime yoga class and being absolutely unable to find street parking despite showing up early. Sometimes life happens, but with Class Pass you're locked in anyway.
PRO: YOU CAN CHOOSE CLASSES BASED ON YOUR SCHEDULE, LOCATION, OR PREFERENCES.
If you know 7-8 a.m. is the time slot that's going to work best for you, you can look at all the classes offered at 7 and choose the one you like the best. If you want to stay in a specific geographical region, you can use the map to select classes within a radius. If you're up for classes anytime, anywhere, you can go through everything that's available and choose willy nilly. It's really a matter of whatever works best for you.
CON: YOU END UP SIGNING A MILLION WAIVER FORMS AND GETTING ON ALL KINDS OF EMAIL LISTS.
Nearly every studio or gym I went to required me to fill out a new waiver form and as a result of this, I got on the email list for each individual gym. In addition to all the Class Pass emails, I started receiving emails from the studios where I took classes, too. Imagine taking four classes at four studios per week and then getting follow-up emails from each of them. Yuck.
PRO: IT'S FUN.
I tried new things. I worked out without feeling like I was exercising. I used different equipment. I went to new parts of town. It seemed like some of my workouts breezed by because I was having fun and not watching the clock. (If I were a social person, this is the part where I would tell you I got to meet all kinds of new people and what fun that was — but let's be real, I'm an introvert and I just liked to get sweaty in new ways.)
CON: IT'S NOT MY LIVING ROOM.
As much as I loved the Class Pass experience, I'm still a huge fan of any form of exercise that doesn't require me to get in my car. The time commitment for gym classes is greater because I have to factor in travel time. I also have to arrive a little early, whereas at home I can just start whenever I want to start. At home I don't need fancy equipment and I don't spend any money on gas. I also don't have to worry about anyone watching anything I'm doing (though in fairness it was nice when instructors corrected my form and helped prevent injuries, which is something that will never happen in my living room.)
CONCLUSION: FUN, VARIED, EXPENSIVE, AND AN EXPERIENCE I'D RECOMMEND TO ANYONE WHO CAN AFFORD IT.