Is that a Dr. Strangelove reference in a blog post about exercise? Yes, yes it is. While Dr. Strangelove has literally nothing to do with my newfound love of fitness, you should still watch it because it’s a classic.
But onto the point…or the pointe, if you’re really into barre. (That was bad, I’m sorry.) I used to be someone who was, quite frankly, terrified of working out. I thought everyone else in every fitness class ever would know exactly what he/she was doing and judge the crap out of newbies who dare join them. (Spoiler: not the case.)
Look, I still get intimidated by gyms because, no, I don’t even lift, bro. Plus, to be honest, they’re kind of boring. So I tried working out at home, thinking I could shape up enough on my own to be worthy of a group fitness class. It was weird logic and I maybe worked out once a week when relying on nothing but my own motivation. Oh, and I don’t run. I have quite a few friends who do, and a bunch of coworkers training for the Chicago Marathon (#casual), but I have never ever experienced a runner’s high and every time I “run” along Lake Michigan it turns into “a leisurely stroll with Instagram breaks” along Lake Michigan.
So, we’ve established that I was a super weak person who had every excuse under the sun to avoid fitness. Except I wasn’t feeling super comfortable with my body and had to get off my ass (literally) and do something about it.
That something was Flywheel. It appealed to me because it’s in the dark, so I could literally sit in the back corner and no one could judge me, and your first class is a grand total of zero dollars. That’s music to my champagne-taste-tap-water-budget ears. So I convinced my friend Lauren to go with me, we got two bikes in the back row, and off we were.
Despite the fact that I almost passed out at least once (pro tip: eat more than a Kind Bar before class), it was love at first ride. My Flywheel experiences have only gotten better since that first class — my Power Score has continually improved, I found an instructor I love and even took my dad on Father’s Day weekend!
Flywheel is great cardio, but you definitely need strength and stretching to complement it. FlyBarre is available at the Old Town studio, and I would 100% scoop up a monthly Flywheel + FlyBarre membership…if I could afford it. At more than $300 per month, it’s just ever so slightly outside of my budget.
You know what is within my budget? ClassPass! Yes, the prices have gone up, but if you enjoy group fitness, it’s still significantly cheaper than drop-in rates. There are also three plans to suit your habits. Looking for one class per week? The five-class plan will cost you a mere $60, or $12 per class. It’s perfect for beginner fitness! The mid-tier option gets you ten classes per month for $115, or $11.50 per class. Finally, the unlimited plan is $175 per month.
But! If you sign up now, using this link, you can get $30 off your first month…bringing the price to as little as $20! ClassPass’s typical referral bonus is only $20, so if you’re even considering it, I highly recommend giving it a try now. $20 is like, what, four Starbucks coffees? That’s a steal for five classes.
Personally, I went with unlimited for a few reasons:
- ClassPass is my main method of exercise, so I go to at least three classes per week — meaning I generally take a dozen or more classes per month.
- My company has a gym allowance that covers a portion of fitness expenses for employees each month, bringing that $175 down slightly. Check and see if your employer offers a program like this!
- It’s still way cheaper than individual classes or memberships at specific studios, and I get to experience a variety of workouts (which is better for your body!)
There are a few drawbacks I’ve noticed, but nothing so drastic that I want to cancel my membership:
- Some people find the cancellation policy (12 hours in advance or based on the studio) a bit restrictive. While it’s true this would stink if you were sick or had some sort of urgent issue/emergency, I haven’t had any major issues with it and find it actually gets my butt to class.
- You can only visit a specific studio, like my beloved Flywheel, three times per month. Some studios offer discounted rates to ClassPass members who have hit their maximum and want to go back. Two of my favorites, The Barre Code and Flywheel, do not do this. It’s a bummer.
- Popular times and instructors are not always available on ClassPass, or they book up SUPER quickly. 6:30 p.m. Flywheel classes are rare, as are certain theme rides. Guest instructors are almost never available on ClassPass. And most CorePower Yoga classes fill up in, like, 30 seconds!
For example, Flywheel Creative Director and Master Instructor Aleah Stander is in Chicago this week. I took a class with West Coast Creative Director Victor Self while he was here and it was amazing. Are Aleah’s rides on ClassPass? Nope. Did I buy credits to take her regular Fly 45 and her EXPLICIT theme ride (whatever that means!) this Wednesday and Thursday? Yep.
But look, the moral of the story is, ClassPass helped me get over my fear of fitness. I’ve actually turned into someone who kind of enjoys working out, though some classes are definitely better than others. I ration my three Flywheel visits throughout the month like most people use a cheat day — they are a reward for me! This post is already super-long, so I think more of my favorites and studio reviews may have to be saved for a later date…
And of course, I also like to reward myself by shopping for super cute fitness gear. As someone who didn’t work out before, I had literally one sports bra to my name — not enough for three classes per week! My favorite splurge brands are Alo, Lululemon (of course), Onzie and Spiritual Gangster, while Forever 21, Target (love their C9 gear), Nordstrom Rack and H&M all have great affordable pieces. I’m also a total sucker for branded studio gear and own two Flywheel tank tops already. Here are some of the other pieces currently on my fitness wish list…I could easily spend the money I’m saving through ClassPass on new fitness gear alone every month.
What do you think? Are you a ClassPass convert, or do you prefer a different fitness routine? I’d love to hear what your fave classes are, too!