ClassPass: Exercise Variety for the Easily Bored

by Katherine Pett

ClassPass makes sampling of a variety of fitness classes easy, and it’s great for the bored or overly busy. A Friedmanite explores the pros and cons of ClassPass, and the not-to-miss fitness spots in the Boston area.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 11.28.07 AMIn Boston, specialized exercise studios pop up all over the place. Often located on the second or third floors of other retail establishments, these boutique-style studios feature friendly staffs and special touches that make the experience better; free hair ties, heart rate monitors, free towels and amazing shampoo in locker rooms, or spin bikes that track your RPMs and send them to you in a post-workout email. Be it traditional flow yoga, hot yoga, indoor cycling, or CrossFit, these alternatives to the gym are new, trendy, fun…and expensive. If you’re the type of exerciser that likes variety, it’s not easy to partake in these specialized classes without partaking in the price. And once you commit to a monthly fee for, say, a Bikram yoga studio, you’re tied to taking nothing but yoga unless you want to pay a steep price per class somewhere else.

Exhale's front lobby, which serves a dual purpose as a boutique

Exhale‘s front lobby, which serves a dual purpose as a boutique

However, there is an alternative to this system in ClassPass, an online subscription service that allows you to attend any of 145 different exercise studios for a monthly fee of $100. Once you register online, you can search through available exercise classes by time, location, or activity.

ClassPass is a great option for someone who can’t stick to a regular gym routine, either due to hectic schedules or boredom. But the online service doesn’t come without its drawbacks.

Do you think you might be interested in ClassPass? Take a look at some pros and cons of the site and decide for yourself!

 Pros of ClassPass:

  • Find a class at any time of day and any day of the week.
  • Search for classes based on location, time, or activity. Drop-down menus make it easy to search and find classes that meet your specifications.
  • Take an unlimited total number of classes per month. ClassPass limits the number of classes you can take at one location, but not the total number of classes.
  • Try out something new: In Boston there are classes available in CrossFit, boxing, martial arts, dance, and even circus!
  • Utilize gym facilities that would be much more expensive otherwise. CrossFit and Exhale gyms are usually $200 per month, while indoor cycling classes can be up to $30 per class. However, these gyms and countless other studios are available through ClassPass.
  • Reserve classes weeks in advance or same day.

Cons of ClassPass: 

  • You are limited to 3 classes at any one studio per month.
  • There is a $20 skipped-class fee and a $20 dollar fee if you cancel scheduled class within 24 hours. If you miss a class because you’re stuck in traffic, or wake up with a severe cold the day of class, you’ll be charged more than the cost of the class for not going.
  • Not all studios in Boston are available through ClassPass. Popular workout spots like Barry’s Bootcamp and North End Yoga are currently unavailable. If you’re loyal to particular location, make sure it’s listed on ClassPass before you join.
  • Though there are 145 different studios, they are spread over a wide area. If you’re in urban Boston, you probably won’t want to attend the classes offered in Framingham, Newton, or Waltham.

I have to tell you readers that I am an enthusiastic ClassPass-er! So, if you decide to take the fitness plunge, here are some studios I highly recommend:

For Strength and Conditioning: You need to try Raw Fitness Performance – Jane (the owner) teaches all the classes in this open garage-style space right off the Lechmere T-stop. Classes are small and based on form-focused programming that includes bodyweight and weighted strength exercises as well as agility work. The mood is casual and friendly, and I can guarantee a great workout!

Complimentary tea and water at Exhale

For Yoga: O2 Yoga has to be my favorite. Their Somerville location has a large, open space, and their Cambridge location has a trendy vegan-café in the front! They offer a variety of classes, from beginner to advanced.

For Pilates: If you want to try a reformer-pilates class, you need to check out Btone! OK, it isn’t technically “Pilates,” but taught on special reformer-like equipment called “Megaformers,” these resistance exercises are guaranteed to leave you sore (in a good way) the next day.

For Cycling: I recommend checking out Pursuit in Back Bay. Classes take place in stadium-style studio with low club-lighting, loud beats, and enthusiastic coaches. Although the bikes record your RPM and calories burned, the studio doesn’t have the competitive mood of some other popular spin studios. The best part is that after class, your performance is emailed to you in a summary sheet!

For the Perks: If you’re looking to hit up the sauna after a class or towel off in luxury, you need to take a class at either the Battery Wharf or Back Bay location of Exhale, the spa-style gym that specializes in amazing Core-Fusion Barre classes.

Katherine Pett is a first-year in the Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition Program. She can be spotted around her North End neighborhood in bright-blue headphones listening to an audiobook, or enthusiastically (if not gracefully) trying out the hottest new group-fitness trend at the gym.

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