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I tried ClassPass for the first time roughly six years ago, and honestly, I didn’t love it. Fresh out of college and thrust into the workforce, I was struggling to find a fitness regimen that worked with my preferences, availability, and budget.
If you’re not familiar with ClassPass, it’s a group membership that allows you to attend a variety of different gyms, fitness studios, and spas. It’s not available everywhere but you can find it in about 2,500 cities worldwide.
ClassPass seemed like a great option the first time I used it, and I was excited to try my free month. However, a couple of things stopped me from continuing my membership — it limited how many times I could do any one class per month, and I couldn’t get into some classes with plenty of space because they only opened a certain amount of spots to ClassPass members.
That being said, I am now and will forever be a group fitness person. Working out on my own just doesn’t do it for me. I need the structure, motivation, and energy that only group fitness can provide to stimulate my physical and mental well-being, which is why I was thrilled when in-person workout classes started to return during the pandemic. Since COVID cases were declining, I actually felt comfortable doing them.
The fitness landscape changed for many people during the pandemic
Unfortunately, many gyms and studios struggled during COVID lockdowns and some even went out of business. Many studios closed, and new ones opened. Some people moved to new cities and are just now getting the opportunity to explore what they have to offer. And overall, prices have gone up.
Those are all reasons to consider giving ClassPass another chance, plus the fact that it has evolved quite a bit in the last six years. Yes, the cost went up drastically since the last time I tried it (prices have nearly doubled since 2016). But it’s also broadened its offerings in a way that makes once out-of-reach or luxurious self-care experiences more attainable.
Now that IRL fitness is picking back up again, I know I’m personally more interested in mixing up my self-care routine, checking out experiences like meditation or an occasional spa treatment. While those things may have once felt out of reach, they’re a bit more doable if you can use ClassPass credits.
How does ClassPass work?
ClassPass has a variety of plans to choose from based on how many credits you’d like per month. The credits required for any given activity varies based on the type of class, location, popularity, and time, and the credits roll over into the next month if you don’t use them all. Prices also vary depending on where you live (23 credits cost less in Austin than they do in New York).
In New York, for example, the average class is around 8 credits. You can get 43 credits for $89 per month, which would get you five to six classes. If you don’t have ClassPass, a typical session purchased directly from a studio can cost around $38, so that would cost you upwards of $190 for the same five classes.
Scheduling a massage will likely use more credits than a yoga class, but that’s also more of an occasional splurge (at least for me) while you might take fitness classes with more regularity. For example, a popular yoga class here in NYC could run you anywhere from 7 to 11 credits, while a massage or spa service will fall more in the 20 to 40 credit range depending on what you’re booking.
Essentially, you can focus your monthly credits around what you feel you need at that exact moment, and there are always opportunities for deals when new studios join the platform or spots need to be filled.
Booking early also helps, and since you can cancel up to 12 hours before a class, you can always check back in to see if spots have opened up for a class you couldn’t get into.
What you didn’t know you could do on ClassPass
Mindbody, the popular technology platform for booking wellness experiences, and ClassPass are now owned by the same company, and they offered me a free wellness tour here in NYC. (In other words, I didn’t pay for the classes I’m writing about, but all opinions are my own and this is not a sponsored post.)
I was pumped about trying new fitness, recovery, and salon experiences, although the idea of doing a sound bath or breathwork class (both essentially types of meditation) was terrifying since I’m generally averse to being alone with my own thoughts.
Here are some things I tried using ClassPass that might make me give it another shot.
In case it wasn’t already clear, I love workout classes. No other form of exercise makes me feel more accomplished and energized. So while there are gym memberships with more affordable monthly fees, ClassPass is by far the more economical option if you’re only doing studio fitness classes (in New York at least, but likely in other cities as well since prices vary based on location).
Math aside, it’s a fun way to explore different classes and see what you like or just mix things up without having to remember account passwords at a bunch of different studios. If you do like to do your own thing at the gym every once in a while, you can also use credits for gym sessions.
Two of my favorites available on ClassPass with studios in multiple cities include CorePower Yoga (10 to 14 credits in NYC) and Solidcore (14 to 18 credits in NYC), which is a low-impact full-body workout.
There are certain things I see on TV or hear about celebrities doing after they work out to optimize results and recovery, but I never thought a normal human like myself would reasonably be able to access those things.
Then I got to visit Restore Hyper Wellness and learned that you could book appointments for cryotherapy, infrared saunas, compression therapy, and more all through ClassPass. I tried whole body cryotherapy, which is 18 credits at Restore and involves spending three minutes in a sub-zero temperature room; red light therapy, where you stand in front of red and infrared wavelengths of light that may benefit your skin and other body parts and runs around 16 credits; and compression therapy, which is delivered via a suit that applies pressure to boost circulation and healing. I’ve never felt more wellness chic.
Another category where prices seem to have skyrocketed in general is beauty salon services. (My gel manicures started to cost quite a bit more post-lockdown.) Fortunately, you can also use ClassPass credits to get manicures, pedicures, waxes, eyelash extensions, etc.
You do have to use more points to get these kinds of appointments (in the 20 to 40 range as most spa and salon services are), but knowing how much I end up spending for a gel manicure at my favorite salon, I have to believe it’s a better deal — especially if you’re only going every once in a while.
Wellness means different things to different people, but ClassPass has a wide enough range of options that you’ll be able to find something that brings you joy or peace.
Maybe that’s a sauna session, a massage, a sound bath, meditation, or breathwork. I got to do a one-hour sound bath at Humming Puppy, which it offers monthly in addition to its regular yoga classes. A sound bath is, as the name implies, an opportunity to be “bathed” in sound waves that are intended to guide you through a meditative experience.
I was shocked at how quickly the time flew by considering that I was kind of dreading the lack of distraction. I fell asleep for some of it and emerged incredibly relaxed, partially thanks to their ridiculously beautiful studio. Seriously, one of the most aesthetically pleasing spaces I’ve ever entered.
In a similar vein, after a session of psychedelic breathwork where a teacher led me through breathing techniques used to alter your state of consciousness, my arms were tingling and several tears streamed down my face, forcing me to let go of the cynical nonbeliever in me and accept that these practices can be powerful and worthwhile.
Classes like these are often available through yoga studios, so you can generally book them within the same credit range as a typical fitness class.
Most of these things, especially spa treatments, have always felt like such luxuries to me that I could only do them when gifted or on special occasions. I don’t know about you, but knowing that I could save up some credits to use on a facial every few months feels very exciting.
To sum it up, this membership may not work for everyone, but it could be a more affordable way to approach your fitness and explore some cool classes or treatments you wouldn't ordinarily try.
The same barriers that I mentioned earlier still exist, in that there is a limited number of spots allowed for ClassPass members. However, I’ve learned the hacks that I can share with all of you: Sign up as early as possible, check back in 12 hours before to see if spots have opened up, take classes during your lunch break if you can since they’re off-peak and will use fewer credits, take advantage of the more mind-focused classes to care for your mental health, and maximize rollover credits to indulge in a spa treatment every so often.
Even if you’re like me and already abandoned the service once before, things have changed, we’ve changed, so it just might be worth revisiting. ●