ClassPass Is Your One-Stop Shop for Boutique Fitness

Open New Doors to New Fitness

Exercise class
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On any given day, there are hundreds of workouts I'd love to try. I've always said "I'm not a joiner, I'm a trier." You won't see me becoming a CrossFit fanatic or a diehard yogi, but I'd love to try a week at CrossFit and I'd love to test out acroyoga, Bikram yoga, and yin yoga, just to see what they're all about. In a phrase, I like variety.

Most boutique fitness studios charge big bucks for their workouts. While there are ways to test out programs for free, if you like a class, you'll still have to ante up roughly $20 to $30 per class to go back.

Enter ClassPass. The concept is pretty genius. For a set monthly fee (ranging from $79 to $99, depending on the market), members get unlimited access to boutique fitness studios within the ClassPass network. The only limitation is that you can only attend three classes per studio, per month.

For instance, if you really like Bikram yoga, you could only attend three classes at any given Bikram studio per month, although you could take other classes at other studios, as desired, as long as they're not part of the same franchise.

I was so intrigued by the concept that I approached ClassPass to see if I could test out their membership for a month. They agreed, and I started my program on January 12th. So far, I've attended seven classes, I have another class scheduled, and I still have almost two weeks left to test things out.

The ClassPass System

One of my biggest concerns was the system—how well would it work? Would it be easy to navigate? What if I needed to change or update my schedule?

On all counts, ClassPass is incredibly easy to use. Classes can be searched by date, time, studio, neighborhood, and types of activity, such as yoga, cycling, strength training, or dance. When you click on a class you can learn more about the studio, instructor, and what to expect, as well as get tips on what to bring, how early to arrive, and even what to wear.

Booking Classes

Booking classes is incredibly simple—you just click the "reserve" button next to the class you want to attend. The system prompts you to answer a question about whether you've been to the studio before and reminds you that all cancellations require 24 hours notice or else you'll be charged a late fee. If you still want to book the class, you confirm your booking by clicking the "confirm reservation" button.

Canceling Classes

I've actually booked and canceled a fair number of classes because, you know, life happens! Cancellation is just as easy as booking. As long as you cancel with at least 24 hours notice, you simply click the "cancel" button next to the class you've booked.

As long as you cancel a class with 24 hours notice you won't be charged a fee.

Viewing Upcoming Classes

When you log into your ClassPass account, you're greeted with a personal home page that lists your upcoming classes and your past classes. By clicking on an upcoming class you can access a map to the studio as well as the same general class information provided when you booked the class originally. You can cancel upcoming classes directly from your homepage.

Email Notifications and Calendar Options

After booking a class, you have the option to sync your booking with your calendar (I sync mine to my Google Calendar). The one thing to note about this sync is that it doesn't account for drive time.

For instance, I live about 30 minutes outside of Austin. If I book a class that's in downtown, I need to allow at least an extra 45 minutes to drive to class, not to mention accounting for traffic, parking, or any requirement by the studio to arrive early. I do sync the classes with my calendar, but I change the class time to reflect the time I'll need to arrive at the location.

The system also sends out an email notification confirming your reservation, as well as one reminding you of your reservation about 36 hours before your class is set to start.

This reminder email is especially nice because it gives you time to cancel the class more than 24-hours in advance, just in case something comes up.

The ClassPass Experience

So far the ClassPass experience has been phenomenal. I've had access to a number of programs I probably never would have attended, and the integration at the studios has been seamless.

All of the studio personnel seem to be well-versed on ClassPass, and they've simply asked for liability paperwork to be signed before pointing out any necessary information for the class or the facility.

The only negative experience I've had so far appears to be a miscommunication between a studio owner and ClassPass. I signed up for a class that wasn't supposed to be open to ClassPass participants, and I didn't receive notification of this until I arrived at the studio.

Luckily my trip wasn't wasted because I'd signed up for two back-to-back classes at the same facility and I was cleared to attend the other class. It was a bit of a bummer, but after talking to the studio owner, I was asked to come back and try the other class at a later date.

Class Access

There are a few important things to point out about ClassPass:

  1. Not every class is available at every studio. Studios want to fill spots in their classes that aren't already well-attended, not fill spots that take away from loyal customers. For this reason, studios can choose not to make every class available to ClassPass members. Also, most ClassPass classes can only be enrolled in up to a week before the actual class date, while many studios enable their members to enroll in classes much further in advance. This means that even if a class is open to ClassPass members, there may only be a few spots available during peak times, which may make it hard to get into the class you want to take. To be fair, I've never run into this problem because there are so many classes I want to try, but there are a few classes I've been interested in that always seem to be booked.
  2. Not every studio is a member of ClassPass. ClassPass hasn't been in Austin very long, and they have an impressive 62 studios participating in their program. But there are a few studios I'd love to try out, such as Blue Honey Yoga's AcroYoga, that aren't available. Also, as I mentioned, I live about 30 minutes outside of Austin — I wish there were more studios in the program that were closer to me. I can't really complain about this since obviously, they're targeting the Austin market, but it would definitely be a benefit if they branched further outside the Austin city limits.

That said, there are literally hundreds of classes available each week, and I've never felt limited by the technical limitations of the program. My hope is they continue to grow and branch out, opening up even more options for those interested in taking part.

Classes Tried

Just to give you an idea of the classes available, these are the ones I've attended so far:

  • Bikram yoga
  • Brazilian Ju Jitsu
  • City Surf Fitness
  • City Surf Buddha Board
  • Yoga Anatomy Tune Up
  • Cardio Ro
  • Muay Thai Kickboxing (this was the class I attended, but couldn't participate in—I'll be going back to officially try it next week)

I'm also enrolled in a "Roll and Restore" class, and I've signed up for and canceled a specific boot camp class about three times... things keep coming up!

Overall Impressions

While I won't be continuing my membership after this month, it's only because most of the classes are a minimum of 30 minutes away — I can't add one to two hours of drive time onto my daily workout.

Otherwise, this type of membership is actually perfect for someone like me who likes variety and doesn't want to commit to a single studio. If they bring more studios into their program that is closer to my area, I'll absolutely sign up again.

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