An innovative new way to work out has arrived in the Big Easy. ClassPass is a workout subscription service that allows users to access a network of thousands of classes with just one membership. Founded in New York City in 2013 by Payal Kadakia, the ClassPass mission is to "motivate people to lead inspired lives every day by introducing and seamlessly connecting them to soul-nurturing experiences."
As an avid devotee of boutique fitness (read: trendy workout classes offered in chic studio settings), I had been eager to try the service. ClassPass is, on paper, a tool that was absolutely tailored with someone like me in mind. While my gym membership includes group fitness offerings, I routinely hemorrhage money on specialty classes like Bikram-style hot yoga and indoor cycling. ClassPass offers a flat-rate solution to this problem, in the form of three, five, and 10-class memberships to a roster of local studios. The catch? You can only visit a studio twice before incurring a fee to book an additional class, which, in my experience, was around $7 or $8. Not bad when the sticker price for a single class can hover close to $30 at some of the city's swankier sweat destinations.
ClassPass recently ran a $9 three-class promotion in New Orleans, and I spent the past weeks testing out the service and both its online and mobile platforms. The two local studios I frequent the most—Romney Studios on Magazine Street and Yes Yoga on Oak Street—are included in ClassPass, and I am both saving money and working out more at the studios I love, thanks to the service. I am renewing for the full-priced ClassPass membership and eager to see the lasting savings in the months to come.
While my personal experience has been stellar, I was intrigued as to how participation in the program was panning out for studio owners. Marquela Stevenson of Yes Yoga explained that the studio had not been aware of the service until it was pitched to them by ClassPass. "So far, they have been great to work with as a company, and we have seen a small boost in income through them," Stevenson explained. "Theoretically, the ClassPass model is good for a new/growing business like ours, but we need more time before we can see if that is true in practice."
As a new studio still building their clientele, Yes Yoga is afforded the benefit of reaching students unfamiliar with the studio through its listing on ClassPass. "We usually have spots in our classes that aren't filled, and ClassPass gives us more exposure and more opportunity for people to come try our classes. We have about 10 to 15 ClassPass students a week. Some come back and some don't. The majority don't become regulars with us, but they might come back sporadically."
While ClassPass undoubtedly benefits users with its discounted class prices and "all-in-one" interface, it remains to be seen whether the service will bring lasting benefit to local New Orleans studios. "We are still forming our own opinion about whether or not ClassPass benefits the studio in the long run or not, but it is interesting and fun to meet the students who use it," says Stevenson.