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

 

Life Update & September Wellness Events in Boston

It’s been forever since I’ve posted to the blog and I just wanted to stop by good ol’ Pumps to say hello and assure you all that I haven’t been abducted or suddenly decided to quit blogging. In fact, things will be back to normal around here starting next week!

I had way too much going on between the blog, teaching, my aromatherapy course and moving into a new apartment and I quite frankly just couldn’t maintain everything. The aromatherapy course is self-paced, but needs to be completed within a year’s time and I was *extremely* behind. I’d spot my textbooks on the shelf above my desk each day and a wave of anxiety would rise up in my chest. Tomorrow. I’ll dedicate all of tomorrow to studying. But then something would come up with the blog or teaching and I’d put it off yet another day.

That constant nagging stress of being behind on my studies finally led me to take these last couple weeks off from blogging to just focus on the course. I work best when I’m not dividing my time and instead focused solely on one task, so it was the best decision I could have made. I’m now pretty much caught up and absolutely loving learning about essential oils and aromatherapy. I can’t wait to share my new knowledge with you all once I’m certified! You can look forward to lots of blog posts sharing blend recipes for specific issues, moods and ailments; general info on how to incorporate essential oils into your every day life; and anything else on the topic that might interest you. I’m also thinking of offering private consultations to create blends personally crafted for an individual’s needs.

As for the move, it went as well as moving on September 1st in Boston could go. In other words, it was a complete shitshow but hey, we survived! This move was unexpected, which added to the stress, but I could not be happier with our new apartment—it’s wonderful! If you follow me on Instagram you got a pretty good idea of how weird our old building was. It was extremely loud (still haven’t confirmed what in the hell our upstairs neighbors did every day but our best theory was bowling while wearing tap dancing shoes and dragging dead bodies across the floor). It was also extremely sketchy. The basement storage units looked like a scene from that abandoned hospital episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? 

Adding to the sketchiness was the fact that most the units were operated by a third party as airbnb rentals. So there was a constant transient flow of strangers in and out of the building (all with the access code to the front door). Sometimes it’d be fine, but other times there would be some SHADY characters staying next door. I could write a novel of all the ridiculous things I witnessed/heard while living in that building.

Our new place is so NORMAL. We’re obsessed! I still have lots of unpacking, organizing and decorating to do but you’ll get to see it soon enough in workout videos. 🙂 (I don’t know why I’m acting like it’s some Extreme Makeover: Home Edition reveal—it’s just a standard one bedroom apartment haha).

September Wellness & Fitness Events in Boston

Fall is always a fun time in Boston with lots going on, and I wanted to share a couple local events that I think you guys would be into. If I hear about any others, I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

Tone It Up Tour – Sat 9/9

This Saturday, the Tone It Up Tour comes to Lawn on D. There’ll be workouts led by the Tone It Up girls, Jillian Michaels and CorePower Yoga, rosé tents, healthy food, beauty bars, swag bags and more fun. It’s essentially a big fitness festival. GA tickets are $110 BUT I’m giving away five pairs of free tickets over on Instagram for you and a friend. I’m picking the winners this afternoon so hurry on over to enter if you’re interested!

Fit University’s Back to School Blowout – Sat 9/9

This is a *free* fitness festival for college students (and non-college students!) with lots of different workouts to choose from going down in Copley Square. Details here.

Wellness Meet Up with @nobread: Turning Your Passion into a Career – Mon 9/18

If you’re a local influencer/blogger or in the wellness industry, I think this event would be right up your alley. Nicole from @nobread will be talking about how she left her full-time job at JP Morgan to pursue her passion and will be offering advice for those looking to do the same. Event details and tickets here. You can take 15% off with the code NICOLE15.

TRAIN360 Charity Class at Everybody Fights for UNICEF – Sat 9/23

Workout for a good cause! If you follow a lot of Boston fitness peeps on Instagram like I do (shameless stalker over here), you might know @baddiedae. My girl is running the NYC marathon for UNICEF and raising money with a charity class at EBF. After your circuit-style TRAIN360 workout, you’ll be treated to free Dig Inn. Details and tickets here.

Wellness Collective Panel with @balancewithb and @ebaily_fitness – Mon 9/25

Speaking of people I stalk on Instagram, the Wellness Collective is having their inaugural event this month, teaming up with @balancewithb and @ebailey_fitness. There’ll be a panel discussion about living well; thriving mentally, physically and emotionally; and turning a passion for wellness into a career. Juices and smoothies will be provided and everyone will receive a gift bag filled with wellness goodies. Details and tickets here.

photo by Nick Cosky

Best Acai Bowls in Boston

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.

I did it. The ultimate guide to the best acai bowls in Boston. I tried every single option in the city (that I’m aware of), often eating them for both breakfast and lunch to get this article finished before summer ends. Yes, blood sugar levels were sacrificed for the sake of Pulitzer-worthy investigative journalism. It’s a tough job, but dammit someone’s gotta do it.

Acai bowls are absolutely delicious, the most refreshing breakfast (or dessert) on a warm summer day, and oh-so-easy on the eyes. They also can be high in sugar and calories from the banana(s), berries, granola and nut butter. I personally don’t care because it’s coming from nutritionally dense foods, but just wanted to throw it out there that I’m certainly not eating these every single day now that this piece of groundbreaking journalistic gold is complete. 😉

If you live in Boston or are visiting for the weekend, stop into one of the following juice bars for an acai bowl.

Best Acai Bowls in Boston: A Local’s Guide

I did my best to list these in order of preference with my most highly recommended first—it’s hard to pick favorites though! It’s more of a general spectrum than a hard and fast ranking. Really the only place I wouldn’t recommend is Juice Press. Other than that, they’re all good—it just depends on what type of bowl you’re looking for and if organic ingredients are important to you. I’ll include all that information in this guide, and you’ll notice I list organic places towards the top of the list for the most part.

As far as price goes, there isn’t much of a difference between the following spots. If you’re looking for an acai bowl in Boston, be prepared to spend about $10-12. The one exception to that is B. Good which only charges $5 (smaller serving size).

Pressed

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.Beacon Hill—120 Charles Street
South End—643 Tremont Street
@pressedboston // menu

So it’s a little confusing but there’s a Pressed and then a Pressed Juicery in Boston. Pressed Juicery is a national chain and while delicious, doesn’t offer acai bowls so we’re not talking about them in this post. The acai bowl at Pressed is a blend of acai, maqui berry, cacao, almond butter, ripe berries and banana and house-made granola. It’s definitely in my top three of favorites. Their menu is mostly locally sourced and organic, and the acai bowl is a big, filling serving (definitely a meal, not a snack). The acai blend makes for the bulk of the bowl and there’s the perfect amount of granola and fresh fruit on top to make for a satisfying meal while still giving you the refreshing satisfaction of a smoothie. All around just a damn good bowl.

The Juicery

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.North End—66 Cross Street
@the_juicery // menu

The acai bowl at the Juicery is incredible. When I teach in the North End, I ALWAYS stop by to order one. The Classic Acai Bowl is made with an acai and frozen banana blend, fresh banana on top, peanut butter, granola, coconut, cacao and almond milk. As far as serving size goes, it’s on the larger side so I always feel satisfied after eating one—it’s definitely a meal, not a snack. The Juicery uses all organic ingredients when possible. This bowl is on the sweeter side and they top it with a good amount of peanut butter (hmmm wonder why I love it so much?? lol) so sometimes I’ll even eat it as a dinner+dessert on hot summer evenings. If you’re looking for a bowl that’s less dessert-y, this might not be the one for you but otherwise seriously can’t recommend it highly enough.

Revolution Juice

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.Back Bay—150 Huntington Ave
@revolutionjuice // menu

Revolution Juice cares deeply about providing only organic and non-GMO foods. They have a large menu of smoothies, juices, bowls and some ready-made foods. Their acai bowl is a blend of acai, banana and date and then you get to pick four toppings. I usually go with granola, fresh fruit, coconut and hemp seeds, as shown above. It’s a big bowl (you definitely get an entire smoothie’s worth of the acai blend), and I just love their commitment to quality produce.

Cocobeet

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.Government Center—100 City Hall Plaza
@purecocobeet // menu

Cocobeet’s large menu is organic, raw, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, non-HPP and locally sourced. Phew that’s a mouthful. Their acai bowl is a blend of strawberries, maqui berries, banana, acai and more topped with homemade granola, coconut and blueberries. It’s delicious! Sometimes I do ask them to put less granola on it though because the ratios are a bit off and the last few bites end up being just spoonfuls of ‘nola.

In addition to their acai bowl they have some other smoothie bowls (I think I like their pitaya bowl better than the acai bowl actually) and some delicious refrigerated raw foods. I love their sandwiches, quinoa bites, truffle balls—so many good things going on at Cocobeet and I love their commitment to high-quality ingredients.

Thirst Juice Co.

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.Downtown Crossing—44 School Street
@thirstjuiceco // menu

Thirst offers up four different delicious acai bowls. I’m a big fan of their Peanut Butter Acai Bowl (the prettiest deep purple color going) and Coconut Acai Bowl. Sometimes I’ll also order their superfood bites and then crumble them up on top of the bowl (#ProTip). The only reason I didn’t put Thirst higher up on this list is that sometimes they’re closed on random days, especially on the weekend. I’ll walk all the way over there to find the lights off which is a bummer. Recently they’ve also been out of certain ingredients when I go to order one of their bowls. I’m not sure if the produce Thirst uses is organic or not. They don’t advertise it as organic on their site or storefront so I’m guessing it’s not? Their menu is vegan and gluten-free and their juice are raw.

The Juice Box

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.

Southie—359 West Broadway
@juiceboxbos / menu

Man has Southie come a long way since I lived there! Workout studios, delicious dining options, A JUICE BAR?! The closest thing we had back when I was there were the salads at Shenanigans, which are surprisingly delicious for being served at a bar named Shenanigans. But I digress …

The Juice Box has three different acai bowl options in addition to several pitaya bowls (think acai but bright pink). Pictured above is the Good Morning Bowl which is delicious, but basically the same as a smoothie. I’d recommend one of their other ones topped with granola so you get that satisfying crunch.

This has nothing to do with the quality of their acai bowls, but I have to mention that they use those environmentally-friendly wooden spoons which is very responsible, but the feeling of them in my mouth is like the physical manifestation of nails on a chalkboard.

Kwench

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.

Downtown Crossing—230 Congress St
@kwenchjuicecafe / menu

I would never know about Kwench if it wasn’t for Joe because the Financial District is like a confusing maze of tall buildings and suits that I try my best to avoid. I always feel like a very unproductive member of society when I walk through there on weekdays wearing bright purple spandex and a muscle tank, but I persevered to maintain the journalistic integrity of this blog post.

Kwench sources local and organic ingredients for their menu and serves up a delicious acai bowl. They have a few different options but I went with the South Station because it contains peanut butter and duh. It was delicious, filling, and a great acai blend-to-toppings ratio.

Mother Juice

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.Back Bay—291 Newbury Street
North End—Boston Public Market
Kendall Square—625 West Kendall
@motherjuice // menu

Mother Juice has a large menu of juices, smoothies, breakfast bowls and organic, plant-based food (although their location in Boston Public Market has a limited menu). Their acai bowl is a blend of acai berries, almond milk, banana and blueberries topped with almond butter, granola, fresh fruit and coconut flakes. It’s delicious but I always feel like it’s more a fruit bowl or granola parfait than a smoothie bowl. They top it with a ton of fruit (often even more than pictured above) and then a layer of granola and then the acai blend at the bottom, so there’s a lot of chewing involved. Not a bad thing! I really like their bowl but if you’re looking for more of a smoothie consistency to refresh you on a hot summer day, this one might not hit the spot.

I haven’t been to their Kendall Square location, but the one on Newbury is super cute (very Instagrammable). They have seating indoors and outdoors so Mother Juice would be a great option if you’re looking to sit down with friends and leisurely enjoy your breakfast rather than just doing a grab ‘n go.

Jugos

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.

Back Bay—145 Dartmouth St
West End (summer pop-up)—The Clubs at Charles River Park
@jugosboston // menu

Jugos has an extensive menu of juice, smoothies, acai bowls, pitaya bowls, chia seed pudding and other plant-based foods. I’ve honestly never been disappointed with an order and think everything on the menu is delicious. The only bummer about Jugos is that they don’t use organic produce (I do, however, think the frozen acai they use is organic). Since their prices are just about the same as the other nearby juice spots that do use organic produce, I don’t frequently go to Jugos.

That being said, is a non-organic smoothie going to kill you? No. If you’re visiting Boston and Jugos is the most convenient to where you’re staying, check it out—their bowls are delicious! Just be prepared to be a little overwhelmed during peak times because the space is tiny (just enough room for a line of customers to pass through). My go-to orders are the Kai or the Los Verdes without goji berries (throws off the texture for me).

Squeeze Juice Company

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.

Financial District—53 State Street
Seaport (in Everybody Fights)—15 Channel Center Street
Back Bay (in Healthworks)—441 Stuart Street
@drinksqueeze / menu

Squeeze has a few locations, two of which are attached to gyms (EBF and Healthworks) and one of which is in the lobby of a building downtown. So if you’re visiting Boston and strolling around, they’re not exactly a destination I’d suggest or that you’d stumble upon while strolling down the street. They do have a few delicious acai bowls though! If you want something outside the traditional acai bowl, I’d suggest their Avocado Bowl. It has more of a citrus taste than others and the avocado is a fun, filling topping. I don’t believe they use organic produce because it’s not advertised, but I could be wrong!

B. Good

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.

Lots of locations—see website
@b.goodofficial / menu

For years I’ve loved B. Good for lunch and dinner (their seasonal salads and grain bowls are delicious!). Recently they’ve made a push to offer breakfast as well and among the options is an acai bowl. I’m not 100% sure if all their locations are offering this, but the one on Summer St definitely is.

If you want a light breakfast or more of a snack than a meal, B Good’s bowls would be a good choice. Unlike most of the other places, which give you a full smoothie’s worth of acai blend with the toppings, B Good’s serving size is more along the lines of a yogurt. They have two options—the one pictured above and then one with peanut butter, which I haven’t tried but sounds delicious.

Juice Press

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.Back Bay—500 Boylston St
Seaport—109 Seaport Blvd
Equinox Franklin St + Dartmouth St
@juicepress // menu

Juice Press has some good smoothies and I love their kelp pesto noodles but I would definitely NOT recommend their acai bowls. Honestly, I’ve always thought Juice Press was overrated (and according to responses I got to an Instagram story about this, a lot of you guys seem to agree!). I do love that it’s all organic, but I’ve given the acai bowls many chances and have always been disappointed—most of the time I don’t even finish them which says a lot seeing as I typically could eat smoothie bowls three meals a day, seven days a week.

The granola tastes burnt (and they put way too much on) and half the time it’s not blended all the way so the texture is icy and chunky. They’re pretty bland, which I guess is good if you need to watch your sugar intake, but if you’re looking for a refreshing summer treat, this is not going to cut it. The almond butter one is a little better than the plain one but it’s still blah. If you do find yourself at Juice Press, I’d recommend customizing your own—don’t go off the menu, and don’t get the granola.

___________________

Phew. I really poured my heart and soul into this post, guys. I don’t know why seeing as no one could possibly care this much about acai bowls, but at least I can now write off a month’s worth of breakfasts as business expenses. #worthit

P.S. Fellow Bostonians, if I missed a place that serves up acai bowls, do me a favor and seriously just don’t even tell me. I’m exhausted.