The Pros and Cons of ClassPass (as a Member and an Instructor)

Pros & Cons of ClassPass

I have a love/hate relationship with ClassPass and have cancelled and rejoined about 10 times since it first came to Boston. I think what it comes down to is that I mostly dislike it but am not rich enough to ditch it for good.

The service has changed a million times since its inception (as most new companies do), and will probably be structured differently by the time this post is a few months old. As of today though, there are three membership options. In Boston, the pricing is as follows:

  • 3 classes/month for $40
  • 5 classes/month for $65
  • 10 classes/month for $120

You can go to any given studio 2-3 times a month, depending on your package. Some (not all!) studios will let you purchase additional classes through ClassPass if you want to go more than the 2-3 limit. If you live in Boston, most studios are on CP, with the exceptions of B/Spoke, SoulCycle, YogaWorks, Pure Barre’s Newbury location and SLT (and maybe a couple I’m forgetting).

Right now, my account is in a beta testing mode where instead of 10 classes, I have 80 credits to use on classes that range in 4-8 credits each (less popular times are fewer credits). So if I were to go to low-credit classes, I could take more than 10 classes a month (all the classes I like are 8 credits so it doesn’t make a difference for me). I’m not sure if this credit system will become permanent or not.

I took advantage of a limited time offer that gave me 20% off a 10-class membership if I stuck with it for six months. I’m nearing the end of my six months and think I’m going to cancel when it’s over and become a member at Everybody Fights. I’m really into boxing right now, and want to get better at it—something that’s not going to happen if I’m only going a few times a month. I used to enjoy ClassPass but have grown tired of it. Today, by request, I’m breaking down the good and bad for anyone considering the service.

Pros of ClassPass

It’s the most cost-effective way to take group fitness classes at multiple studios.

This is the big selling point. With ClassPass, you pay $12-13 a class if you use your membership to its fullest (in Boston), compared to the $25-30 price tag you’d pay to drop into a studio. Now if you were to buy a membership at a studio, that price per class would be lower, but probably not $12-13.

It’s good if you just moved to a new city or are traveling to another city.

ClassPass is a great way to test out lots of different studios to see where you like best. If you travel for work, you can also use your CP membership in most major cities throughout the country.

It’s good if you have a free gym at work or are an instructor who can work out for free somewhere and just want to supplement with a few different classes each month.

I think ClassPass is best suited for you if you’re looking to supplement an existing membership or at-home workout routine. For example, if you’re a runner and are just looking to cross-train a couple times a week, ClassPass could be a good option. I know a lot of other instructors choose to join ClassPass because they can already workout at their studios for free and are just looking to switch it up a couple times a week.

If this doesn’t describe your current situation, see the first bullet point below …

Cons of ClassPass

If you want to workout more than 2-3 times a week, you’ll need to supplement your ClassPass membership with at-home workouts or another gym/studio membership.

Back when there was an Unlimited option, ClassPass could completely replace your gym membership, allowing you to take a class every day of the month if you wanted to. Now it’s more of a supplemental thing because even with the new credit number system, you’re only going to be able to take 2-3 classes a week if you want to do popular classes. So yes, you save a bunch on group fitness with ClassPass, but if you want to work out more frequently, you’ll need to supplement.

You can purchase additional classes at some studios through ClassPass for a slight discount, or pay for an outside gym/studio membership. But unless you’re supplementing with running and at-home workouts, prepare to pay in addition to your core CP membership.

Some studios block off their most popular class times from ClassPass users.

This is one of the biggest downsides for me. Yes, I have a weird job and can technically work out at any time of day. In theory, I’m the perfect candidate for ClassPass because a 9 or 10am class can work with my schedule. But I hate working out then! It’s 6/7AM or bust in my book.

Most people work roughly 9 to 5 and accordingly, the most popular class times at fitness studios are typically 6/7AM and 5/6PM. So you’ll notice that some studios don’t open those times to ClassPass or severely limit the number of spots CP users can take. The studio has no problem filling these peak times with their clients, so it makes sense.

The bummer for me is that Barry’s (understandably) does this. I usually just end up buying classes directly through them in addition to my ClassPass membership so I can go early in the morning.

Some studios limit the number of ClassPass clients per class so you have to sign up for your favorite times a week in advance.

The allotted slots for ClassPass users can fill up fast at popular studios so you have to sign up right at 12 noon the week before the class in order to snag a spot. You can chance it and try to sign up last-minute, assuming someone will late-cancel the night before or day of, but I typically like to plan ahead for my workouts. Not a WEEK ahead though.

Variety is GREAT, but when you’re totally all over the place, you’re not going to see specific progress.

I’m a big proponent of switching up your workouts, but you can definitely spread yourself too thin. At my peak ClassPass usage when it was only $99 for UNLIMITED classes, I was all over the place with classes—yoga one day, bootcamp the next, barre, spin, boxing, pilates. It was fun to try new things for the first couple months but then I had the realization that I was just “meh” at a lot of things instead of really working to improve at the things I enjoyed most. Sure I was maintaining my fitness level just fine, but I wasn’t really seeing specific progress in any one modality. Of course not! You need to do something more than three times a month for that to happen.

You’ll want to go to your favorite studios more than three times a month.

At this point, I know what my favorite studios in Boston are and I just want to go to those. I currently only use my membership to go to Barry’s and EBF. Those studios are walking distance from my apartment and offer the workouts I’m currently loving the most. It’s more expensive, but it’s getting to the point where I’d rather just give my money directly to those studios and reap the benefits of being able to go whenever and how often I like.

You get charged $15-20 if you can’t make class.

If you cancel within 12 hours before the class starts, you’re charged $15. If you don’t late-cancel and just don’t show up, you’re charged $20. If you’re someone who has an unpredictable work schedule, this could add up quick. You could opt to book last-minute instead, but you run the risk of the class being full or maxed out with CP members.

If your first visit to a studio is through ClassPass, you’re not eligible for their new client specials.

This is more a #ProTip than a true “con.” If you’ve never visited a studio before, look at their new client specials. Often they’re even better than the savings you’re getting through ClassPass, or at least comparable. Buy directly from the studio, use those initial visits from them, and if you love it, you can always continue to go via ClassPass. At most studios though, if you initially go through ClassPass, you’re no longer eligible for any specials they have for newbies.

Thoughts on ClassPass as an Instructor

I’ve heard a lot of people say they feel a little bad/guilty or like a second-class citizen when they come to a studio on ClassPass because they’re not paying full price. I can’t speak for all instructors, but let me assure you that I do not think less of you as a client if you roll up to my class through CP. I get it—boutique fitness classes are expensive and there are just so many awesome studios out there. Yo, I’m a member, too! And I do genuinely love that by being on ClassPass, more people have access to this workout who might not have otherwise.

Like I mentioned earlier though, you’re not going to get the full benefits of the workout only coming two-three times a month. If you’re cool with that, so am I. I’d certainly rather you come a couple times a month than not at all! But if you’re feeling frustrated by lack of progress/results, don’t automatically discredit the method or your instructors. Now you also don’t need to come every day or five times a week, but if you commit to even just twice a week, you are going to see FAR better results than if you come just a couple times a month.

The whole anonymous review system on ClassPass is also not ideal for instructors. Feedback is important and I welcome both the good and bad because I truly care about teaching and want to constantly make my class better. Some of the “bad” reviews on ClassPass are constructive and helpful. Other reviews though … pretty sure the people leaving them would choose their words differently if they weren’t anonymous. And it’s especially frustrating because it’s impossible to have a fully formed opinion on a studio if you’ve only been to one class with one teacher. In my opinion, ClassPass users shouldn’t be prompted to leave a review until they’ve visited a studio three times.

The Bottom Line

ClassPass is a good supplement to your workout routine, especially if you have a flexible schedule. If you love multiple boutique fitness studios and are on a budget, it’s a great way to be able to visit them a couple times each month. If you’re new to a city or your city’s fitness offerings, it’s a fun way to test the waters before committing to the one or two studios you like best.

I really liked it at first, but have grown tired of the inconveniences. I don’t want to schlep across the city to a class because I’ve already used up my classes at the studios close to my apartment. I don’t want to work out in the middle of the day because it’s the only class time available at my favorite studio. I miss the feeling of having a home base for my workouts. I also want to focus on progressing at the types of fitness in which I’m most interested. For me, I think it’s worth spending some extra money to have access to a workout routine that truly excites me and works best with my schedule.

$40 off Your First Month

It’s kind of weird to end the post with this because I spent the last 2,000 words basically being like PEACE OUT, CLASSPASS. But it can be a great option depending on your situation. If you do want to give ClassPass a try, this referral link will get you $40 off your first month. They also do promotions frequently though so I’d check their homepage, too, just to double check the $40 off is currently the best deal.

Are you a ClassPass member? What your favorite and least favorite things about the service?

xo Nicole

 

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Comments

  1. My husbands cousin is an instructor at everybody fights! I wish we lived in the area, I love boxing and she makes it look like the best gym ever.

  2. I’ve been a CP member since it first came to DC (I think in 2015?). I LOVED it when there were unlimited classes and was so bummed when the model shifted. Now I do 10 classes per month and supplement with a package at Orange Theory and running outside. I have a solid workout buddy group and we’re all on ClassPass and meet at a different studio once or twice a week. Going with friends makes me not mind driving to different locations — we try to switch it up so one person isn’t constantly going further than the others. If it weren’t for them, I’d probably cancel and just buy a few memberships at the studios I know I like. We are all on the beta model with credits too, FYI.

  3. I enjoyed reading this post. I have never tried ClassPass but I am a yoga instructor and I’ve heard people talking about all the changes that have happened with the service over the past few years. I LOVE the concept but, as you said, it’s really only a good option for those who either don’t work out much or have other workout options/memberships. I imagine they’ve lost a lot of business recently. I’m curious to see how their business model keeps evolving in response to this.

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