We Tried It: ClassPass

Emily Thompson

I've never considered myself athletic-I'm far too awkward. We're talking severely uncoordinated, picked-last-in-gym-class status. It wasn't until I discovered yoga in college that I realized exercise could actually be enjoyable. So to say I stepped out of my comfort zone during the month I tried ClassPass-a fitness subscription service that arrived in Columbus late last year-is an understatement.

ClassPass is in more than 30 cities around and outside the U.S. The concept is simple: Pay $79 a month (costs vary by city, and you can cancel anytime) to take unlimited classes at participating workout studios. The catch is you can go to any one studio no more than three times each month. Think of it as the variety pack of gym memberships. The list of local studios on ClassPass is growing rapidly. When I signed up in mid-March, there were 38. Now, nearly 60 studios accept ClassPass.

I went into my 30 days hoping to try lots of yoga classes to get a feel for which styles I prefer and to push myself to choose classes I wouldn't otherwise seek out. I signed up on the website on a Monday night and was instantly able to reserve a class, though it was too late to go to one that night. To get the most out of your membership, sign up in the morning on a day when you have some free time and can get started right away. Next, download the app. Both the website and app are easy to use; search by days and times, types of classes and locations to find a class and then click to reserve a spot. It's just as easy to cancel a reservation, though there's a $15 late fee if you cancel within 12 hours before the class (similarly, there's a $20 no-show fee). That cancellation fee was the extra motivation I needed on days when I was tempted to go home and have a glass of wine rather than work up a sweat after a long day at work.

To ease into it, I first picked a power yoga class at The Art of Yoga, located Downtown. I knew all the poses, but every instructor and class is different, so it kept me on my toes (sometimes literally). I enjoyed it so much I went home and signed up for classes for the rest of the week. By Friday, I was hooked. I had drunk the ClassPass Kool-Aid, I told my friends.

In that month, I tried spinning, barre, pilates, fit jump (boot camp on trampolines), a slew of yoga classes-including restorative yoga, which I highly recommend if you're into meditation-and more. I especially enjoyed a vinyasa class at Thank Yoga that was the perfect mix of workout and mental relaxation, a surprisingly fun and welcoming hip hop class at Brickhouse Cardio Club, and a challenging and sweaty yoga class at V Power Yoga. I didn't have any bad experiences, but there were a few classes that just aren't for me, like CrossFit. I'm not cut out for high-intensity strength-training-kudos to people who are.

I recommend ClassPass to anyone looking for new workouts. It's a great way to familiarize yourself with fitness offerings in Columbus, whether you want to just try it for a month or stick with it long-term. The price is competitive with regular studio memberships, so it's a feasible, flexible option for those who like to mix up their workout routines. By the end of the month, I was exhausted and sore all over, but in a good way. I felt accomplished, having stretched myself. Pun intended.