About ClassPass

UPDATE: As of April 2016 ClassPass has upped its prices, although I ditched it a while ago due to the difficulty I had booking classes at the times and studios I most wanted. It now has a pricing structure that is more similar to my current fav, FitReserve. You’ll pay $200 + tax for an unlimited membership at ClassPass and still only get to go to any one studio only 3 times per month. With taxes and fees, the membership costs of either ClassPass or FitReserve are about the same. You can visit a studio 4 times a month with FitReserve though, and I’ve found it infinitely easier to book the best studios at peak times on FitReserve.

class-passA gym? A passport? A miracle. ClassPass, formerly Classtivity, is an alternative to a gym membership. By signing up on their website, you pay $99/month $200/month and get access to take classes at boutique studios all over your city. In the New York metro area that currently includes 326 studios which is up from 308 when I joined three weeks ago, so it seems their popularity is growing. You can also get a ClassPass memebership in 13 other cities including Boston, Miami, L.A., D.C. and Chicago. (If you travel a lot, it’s probably worth getting a ClassPass Flex membership in which you can use your membership in all 14 cities.)

For someone like me who tends to get bored with my fitness routine faster than I can find my running shoes, ClassPass is my savior. It feels like it was made for me. In fact, I’m so psyched I finally joined the blog-o-sphere. So far I’ve tried Yoga, Zumba, indoor cycling, EVF Performance, and something called Yogilaties (a cross between Yoga and Pilates). I plan to try Pilates, CrossFit, and dance classes at Alvin Ailey as soon as possible.

Here’s the skinny on what you can expect with your membership:

Cost: $99/month $200/month (no sign-up fee); recurring billing on the day of the month you sign up.

What you get: Access to all the classes at participating studios in your city. You can take as many classes as you like all month long, but only up to 3 classes at any one studio.

Kinds of Classes: Yoga, Pilates, Dance (from ballet to Zumba and Bollywood), martial arts, CrossFit, rowing, rock climbing, pole dancing, strength training, barre, and indoor cycling.

What’s the Catch? You have to sign-up for the classes on the ClassPass website at least 2 hours in advance and if you cancel less than 24 hours in advance you get charged $20. (This is actually quite motivating for me to get to the classes instead of lazing out. Also, their customer service is good, and I think if you had an emergency you could call and talk to them about it. This happened to me when I accidentally booked something I didn’t want to book– they were very nice on the phone.)

PROS: Amazing selection of studios and classes; easy to book; great value for your money if you use it at least a couple times a week and don’t cancel at the last minute; great for people who want to get fit, but are terrified of commitment; easy to put membership on hold or cancel; you can filter a class search by location, studio, or type of class; maps of area studios included.

CONS: Cancelling at the last minute could get expensive; as of yet SoulCycle classes aren’t included (but many other indoor cycling classes like FlyWheel are); when you do a search using their filters option, it doesn’t save your filters so you have to re-enter them everytime you click on a class description (I wrote to them about this issue and they say they are working on it, and that in the meantime you can open the class descriptions in a new tab so as not to lose your filters); you can only go to studios you like 3 times each month and for FlyWheel Studios, that includes FlyBarre.

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Checkin’-in: 10 days out of 100

I’m ten days into my 100 days of classes.

The good news: I’ve lost 3 pounds! (Wasn’t even my main goal.) I’m also sleeping better (according to my FitBit I’m averaging 8 hours a night). I feel more energetic and happy. It’s sometimes hard to squeeze in the classes, but mostly I find that I’m using my time more efficiently. That said, I think it’s a pace that I won’t be able to continue after the intial 100 days.

The bad news: I have shin splints. I’m not sure how I got them, but probably it was sprinting in my EVF 360 class because I’m not that used to running fast. Then again, it could be a lot of walking around in my snow boots. Either way, they hurt like an explicative. I’m icing my shin as I write. And from what I can see on-line, there’s not much I can do except avoid running for a while. No Barry’s Bootcamp next week.

Here’s a list of the classes I’ve taken so far (almost all through Class Pass) with a quick overview of my thoughts:

1. Cyc Fitness Indoor Cycling Class with Lauren, non-ClassPass price: $25

Located at the Astor Place David Barton Gym, this was my favorite of all the cycling classes I’ve tried so far. It was a thorough workout, fun music, awesome space, and nice amenities.

2. Gyrotonics at the Living Room SoHo with Paula, non-ClassPass price: $35

Meh. Too much strange equipment for my liking, but probably great for people with injuries, or a day when you feel the need to work on your posture.

3. Barry’s Bootcamp Abs, Chest and Back with Alycia, non-ClassPass price: $34

Not for beginners, this is a super intense workout that includes both cardio and strength. They push you hard, and the instructors do very little explaining, correcting or coddling, and the classes are big. But the space and the music are great; the workout feels very efficient. (Just go at your own pace!)

4. Exhale Spa Power Yoga with Lauren, non-ClassPass price: $26

Very solid yoga class with a fun, engaging instructor. Super posh place. I’d go back, but so far my favorite yoga place in NYC is Upper West Side Yoga and Wellness.

5. Harlem Yoga Studio Family Yoga with Rena, non-ClassPass price: $5 w/coupon for 1st class, then $14

Fun kids class; clean inviting space. I’m going back this Sunday to do adult yoga and paying for my son to go to the drop-off kids yoga.

6. RIP Ride at Revolve with Jonathan, non-ClassPass price: $29 

Basic ride with good music and clip-in shoes ($2 rental). I liked that there were 2 upper body segments and the ride was a full hour. Otherwise, it wasn’t as impressive as places like Peloton, FlyWheel, Monster, and Cyc.

7. EVF 360 at EVF Performance with Farouk, non-ClassPass price: $20 first visit, then $35.

I really love this gym, or box as the regulars probably call it since they do a lot of Cross-Fit. Very positive vibe and personal feeling. The workouts feel intense, efficient, but also safe. One of my all time favs.

8. Headspace On-line Meditation with Andy, price: Free for 10 minute meditations, $8-12/month

I cannot say enough wonderful things about this site. I have wanted to throw my iPod out the window during guided meditations I’ve tried in the past, but this one is phenomenal. I have learned to still my mind and be in the moment for up to 20 minutes at a time so far. One day I will write a full post about this.

9. Flow at Yoga Vida with Zander, non-ClassPass price: $18 (30% discount for students, teachers and seniors)

Faster paced than many open level classes I’ve experienced. I’d say it’s definitely not for beginners. In all fairness though, I was very distracted by the teacher (see post) and my own thoughts during this class. Very nice studio space.

10. Core Fusion Barre at Exhale Spa with Kevin (on UES), non-ClassPass price: $38

I plan to do more research on these Barre classes. It was definitely hard, but very different than high-intensity workouts like EVF or Barry’s Bootcamp that are designed to efficiently burn fat and grow muscle. This class felt more like Jane Fonda meets ballet and Pilates. There was a burn, but not a lot of sweat. I’m not sold on the method, but I enjoyed showering there, using the sauna, and wearing the complimentary robe and flip-flops even though I was surrounded by Uptown Abbey blue-bloods dabbing their dewey faces with handkerchiefs.

Tonight I’m icing my shins because tomorrow I’m trying out Row-House! And stay-tuned, because I hope to give this blog a bit of a face-lift over the weekend.

Feeling Like Bridget Jones at Yoga Vida

I thought today would be a run-of-the -mill, stretch-out-my-sore-muscles Yoga day, always needed after an EVF 360 class (which I took on Monday and am still feeling 2 days later!). I’d never been to Yoga Vida before, but it’s near the school where I teach Lego Robotics so I figured I’d give it a try.

As I set up my mat ($2 rental) and looked around, I noticed the usual yoga crowd: 90% female, slim and trim up front (by the way, for more on the whole front row crowd, here’s an interesting NY Times article), pregnant yogi in the back along with those of us who need lots of blocks and blankets to stay comfy in our poses. However, this class also had several preening pre-class stretch-ers already down like dogs, one of whom had on a long-sleeved, bare-midriff top. (This is an item of clothing that really makes no functional sense as you’d never find yourself in a situation in which your arms were cold, but your belly wasn’t. But hot she looked.) And just as I was wondering why this class seemed unusually heavy on the lipgloss-wearing showboat types, in walked our instructor.

10597382_1447585792189484_341146290_n zander_altimages

His name is Zander (“with a Z”) Gladish. In addition to being a heartthrob yoga instructor, he’s an actor, a board certified Heath and Wellness coach, and an EFT or “emotional freedom technique” specialist (sounds liberating). He does Reiki and Thai massage too. You can even find his workouts on an on-line workout platform called Booya Fitness (looks like an interesting way to squeeze in a fitness class when it’s too cold, rainy, or snowy to make it out of the house this winter.)

The class was fast-paced, and I think it was good, but really it’s hard to say. I was much more interested in catching glimpses of Zander and his interactions with the students whose poses he chose to correct as he circulated the room. I found myself, in a very Bridget Jones-like way, bending deeper into my twist as he walked by. Then, as I looked up at him in hopes of some correcting, I toppled to the ground, and he moved on to the deeply tanned, flat-bellied, Lululemoned Asian girl. I swear he corrected the 6-foot blonde waif two or three times, but he never made it to the three dudes in the back nor to me.

So then I moved on from ogling to amusement making Shavasana pose an impossibility. I mean, it was starting to feel more like an episode of The Bachelor than a yoga class. Could these girls act more like peacocks? After class they loitered. I think I even saw him exchange numbers with one. Me, I scurried out to change. I’d never stoop to fawning over an instructor. But then, as I was putting on my hat and coat, there he was behind the counter, tucking his long strands past his glasses behind his ear. And as another girl passed by gushing at him about how great his class was, I suddenly found myself walking over to him too.

“I really liked the music you played in class. Do you have a list of the songs?”

But, really, I did like the music, I swear.

You can find the playlist on Spotify by searching Zander Gladish by the way.

Confessions of a Class Skipper Part 2: Down the Rabbit Hole

An update on the class skipping situation:

As I mentioned in my first Class Skipping post, I’ve missed some ClassPass classes, and I’ve lied about it. When you log back into ClassPass after a scheduled class, a window pops up asking you to rate the class out of 5 starts or click that you missed the class. After lying twice to avoid the $20 penalty fee, I finally fessed up and clicked on the “I missed class” button just to see what would happen.

At first, nothing, but last night I got an e-mail from ClassPass that said:

Hi Karla,

According to our records, you missed the following class:

FlowCycle at FlowCycle on 01/08/2015 at 9:15 AM

This missed class is subject to a $20 late cancel fee.

As a reminder, all reservations must be canceled at least 24 hours before the class time. Reservations may be canceled directly in your ClassPass account or by emailing info@classpass.com.

We appreciate your help in canceling all future reservations before the 24 hour cut off. Doing so makes our class providers happy and gives fellow ClassPass users a chance to book the spot!

Thanks.
The ClassPass Team

p.s. We know that technology is not always perfect! If you did attend this class, please email us back to let us know and we will follow up with FlowCycle.

So I got my first $20 penalty. Now it’s up to me and my conscience as to how to deal with any future slip-ups.

Today, I missed another class, but this time I really did try to go. I genuinely couldn’t find it. Instead I found myself down the rabbit hole in one of those where-the-hell-am-I-? moments that NYC likes to throw at you every so often. These moments always seem to include a receptionist or bouncer that serves as a portal protector between you and the secret world you are entering. I was at Stepping Out Studios (“home to world champions, celebrities and you”) in search of a class called BoCo Power 45. This particular receptionist had a thick Russian accent. With a vague nod of her head, she said something about Studio C. I didn’t see any sign marked Studio C, so I went to the bathroom (located inside a studio in which several leotard-clad cabaret dancers were shimmying all over, under, and around their chairs). After changing, and watching a class of clearly professional level dancers plié en masse wearing only lacy bras and black pantyhose in the only other studio I saw, I tried again to ask where Studio C was.

“Tru dere. Second door to da right.”

Hmmm, back through the chair-dancing room, I found another door. Inside this one were heavily made-up women and men in suit vests rehearsing the tango next to a grand piano. That didn’t seem quite right either. Just before they stopped to stare at me, I slipped out and chickened out, finding my way back to the elevator.

Body Conceptions is a method founded by Mahri Relin, a former modern dancer and theater performer who was the Creative Director of FlyWheel’s Fly Barre. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect of the class because the description was vague: “Body Conceptions is a full-body lengthening and sculpting method that combines the principles of dynamic movement and muscle exhaustion.” I imagined a bit of dancing though considering the founder and that it’s located in a dance studio. I thought it would be a nice compliment to the EVF 360 class that I went back to yesterday (and was happy to have Farouk again as my trainer there!).

I promise to go back to BoCo and try again, but for today, I’m taking an on-line meditation class through Headspace instead. Hopefully that will help me work up the courage to open up more mysterious dance studio doors.

Days 4-6: Yoga Power and Robots, Oh My!

One of the ExhaleSignagebest parts of ClassPass is that it gives me access to the ritzy parts of NYC that I might not otherwise be a part of, like the Exhale Mind Body Spa on Madison and 77th Street where I took a Power Yoga class. I could’ve stayed there all day. Not only do they give you plush towels for your shower in the day spa locker room, you can even use a complimentary robe and head into the sauna. This was by far the plushest of my excursions. And the yoga class was fun too! (Warning: UES locals wear lots of bling to yoga class. Sparkly pants, flashy watches, and movie star tans there were a plenty.) I’m sure I didn’t exactly fit in in my wife beater and Costco yoga pants, but no matter.yoga-crow-pose

I’ll be back to try out other classes. This one was called Power Yoga and was a bit more vigorous than your average Hatha class, but only 60 minutes and most of the “power” poses were optional. The teacher was very friendly and peppy, taking the time to learn all of our names and use them as she encouraged and adjusted us. I got into crow pose for the first time ever!

So that concluded a 4 day sprint of fitness classes, because the next day I had to go to a training class for work, and I’m totally counting that as one of my 100 classes. I work for a company called RoboFun, where I teach Lego Robotics. I learned how to use the newer EV3 technology and was reminded that as a teacher, I really need to be a student as often as I can. Having to fumble, experimlego-ev3-IMG_0994ent, and troubleshoot are things that often feel foreign for adults who experienced traditional school learning where there were right and wrong answers, and you didn’t want to be caught making mistakes. What I love about doing robotics with Legos is that there are lots of ways to get to similar end results and you get there by playing with Legos and programming tools.

Then, I ended this week with a Family Yoga class at Harlem Yoga Studio. I was super psyched to see that there was a class I could take my son to through Class Pass too! The teacher, Rena was warm and clearly experienced with children. We did some group yoga songs and sun salutations and then she set up a yoga obstacle course for the kids. They also offer a 90 minute drop-off class on Saturdays for the kids while the parents can go practice at an adult class in the yoga room next door. She gave me a coupon to try that out next week for $5. Loving ClassPass!

Fitting in 100 classes in 100 days and writing about it is definitely taking it’s toll on my schedule and my house. Something’s gotta give and in this case it’s the cleaning. Oh well.

Confessions of a Class Skipper

1510879842_3983a9c7d0_oToday is Day 4 of my 100 Days of classes. I did go to class, but it wasn’t the original 9:15 am class I’d reserved on ClassPass which was a Real Ryders indoor cycling class at Flow Cycle (which has a very unimpressive website) down on Rector Street. I plan to try it some time soon so I can finish up my Tour de Spin NYC, but this morning I woke up late after getting to see Louis C. K. at Madison Square Garden last night.

Long story short, I skipped a class I booked on ClassPass, and that could mean I’ll get charged $20. But here’s a secret that I’m almost afraid to share. I’ve skipped two other classes as well. I didn’t cancel the reservation (which definitely incurs the $20 charge less than 24 hours before the class starts). After all booked classes, Class Pass has a little box pop up on your screen asking you to rate the class from 1-5 stars or click on a box that says, “I didn’t make it.” For the two other classes I’ve skipped, I lied and rated the class in fear of the $20 fee. But today, I went ahead and clicked, “I didn’t make it,” just to see what would happen. Nothing. (So far, at least.)

I’m not sure why this is, and I certainly don’t plan on making a habit out of it, but it is a relief to know that should something come up at the last minute, I’m not going to rack up charges which seem to be a deterrent for some people from joining ClassPass. Again, when you book a class, if you try to cancel it within 24 hours of the class, you will get charged $20. However, I did write to ClassPass and ask them what would happen if I woke up sick and couldn’t make a class. They promptly replied that I should simply let them know and they would try to work with me.

So, while it’s all a little vague, the $20 fee seems to be in place for people who might abuse the system by trying to book a bunch of classes and then only show up when they want to or perhaps it’s a way ClassPass ensures the studios that they contract with that their clients won’t be no-shows. I’m going to do my best to make every class I book from now on, just to stay on the safe side. In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted on whether or not I get charged!

Day 3: Barry’s Bootcamp or How I Almost Died

Yesterday I tried the trendy, A-list, $35 per class, “best workout in the world,” Barry’s Bootcamp. It was started in L.A. by Hollywood fitness guru, Barry Jay.

barrysIt was indeed a killer workout and it might be an injury lawsuit waiting to happen. But I guess not, since they make you sign the typical waiver before you can set foot inside the studio which consists of treadmills and benches where you alternate between running and weight work. It is the closest I’ve ever come to feeling like I was going to faint or throw-up as I tried to push myself to reach what the instructor proclaimed I should be doing. When she said 7.5-9.5 MPH on the treadmill, my eyes bugged out of my head. Only when I saw that my neighbor was wisely sticking within her own limits of 6.0-6.5, did I give myself permission to stay within a range that wouldn’t have ended me up flat on my face.

Just as I was thinking to myself that there was very little demonstration of technique or attention paid to our form, the instructor did come over and correct me once. But there were about 40 people there, so there’s no way she could watch us all. (Which also made it easier to take a break every now and then without getting called out on it, which they will do!) It felt a little on the dangerous side, but I’m going to go back. I guess I like to live on the edge, or at least try to push myself to my own edges.

Also, I want to try the showers and the smoothie bar. If you time your locker room entrance just right, you can get to the lockers without getting squished. They put the coat rack right behind the locker room door though, so it’s also possible you’ll get injured as you hang up your coat and get whacked in the head.

I’m tempted to buy some of the cute sportswear they sell, just so I can pretend to be part of the Barry’s Bootcamp set. It’s a buff set. I’ve never seen so much muscle in one room before. I DSC_0310want a few of those in my next set of after photos. But right now, since I’m so sore I can barely move, I’m going to check out Exhale Yoga for day 4.