In a Complicated Relationship with: ClassPass

ClassPass, the technology that made unlimited spin-bike wheels fly, unlimited thighs pulse (pulse, and hold), unlimited Drake vs Future yoga classes flow, is now becoming…limited.


Some of you know that I’ve been a CP OG. I joined during the “Unlimited Summer” offering and all jokes aside, it changed my life. These words wouldn’t be typed, this blog wouldn’t exist, and I wouldn’t be wearing Under Armour right now, if not for ClassPass.


As the months went on my relationship with fitness evolved, as did my obsession with ClassPass. I swore by it. I referred no less than a dozen new members, I redeemed hundreds of dollars in referral prizes, and I sweat in an average of 8-10 classes a week. I was super fit, super busy and a super-super-user.


Part of me treated ClassPass as an all-you-can-lift buffet because I always knew something like this was going to happen.


Having worked in startups since 2011 and been part of booming and failing businesses, I could recognize (or at least question) a suspect business model when I saw one. During an average super-user month, I would take 25 classes. Say each class is $30, which is a conservative average — since most classes I was taking (Mile High Run Club, Pure Barre, FlyWheel) retail at $32-37 a pop. Twenty-five class at an average of $30 a class would cost me $700 retail. I was spending $99. My FlyWheel 60-minute would cost me less than a regular Tall coffee at Starbucks. And I knew I was not the only one doing this. What about all the people that had MORE time on their hands? Could they do three-a-days? Yeah – they probably could.


I always assumed that ClassPass would be able to pocket everyone’s no-show fees, but it didn’t seem too likely that every super-user would also be super-flaky.


When prices nearly doubled last spring for my Unlimited membership, I was jump-starting my New York City Marathon training plan. Part of me knew that I didn’t need an unlimited membership, but a part of me was really sad to see myself deny that option for myself. I just knew it wasn’t financially responsible to commit to a fitness package double what I was paying, and physically irresponsible to be super-ClassPass-ing and training for a marathon.


I experimented with the 5-pack plan for $75, which was fine. But then I missed one class and automatically felt rotten. I was paying as much as I paid when I first joined CP for now 4 classes. I barely logged onto the dashboard – going from 4-6 times a day to maybe once a week to plan a cross-training day.  It felt like a sizable cost with small benefit.


As I’m rounding the corner on marathon training, I was going to treat myself to one month of ClassPass unlimited to fall back in love with the program. I was going to do spin in the mornings, Y7 in the evenings, maybe even sneak in a luxurious shower and gym time at Chelsea Piers– just ’cause.


Hearing the news about the Unlimited membership being discontinued, and the reasons behind it, I’m not even mad. I knew this was coming. I knew from the beginning that ClassPass was too good to last. I always loved and was fearful of ClassPass, knowing that at any moment they could turn on their most loyal, veteran and doting customers. After the price hike, we grew apart.


I spent my summer in the blistering heat and humidity running, while ClassPass was touting $19 for a month promotions in every other Instagram post. How could my membership suddenly be discounted 90% to the girl next to me on the 1 train?


But we didn’t call it quits, ClassPass and I.


Currently I have 2 classes left in my cycle. I’ve used 3 of my 10 Base Plan on Normatec sleeves at Finish Line PT and AsOne, so I wouldn’t really consider that a workout, though it bites into my fitness budget. That’s neither here nor there, though I wouldn’t be making that distinction if I was unlimited.


As I said when I started writing this, ClassPass changed the game for me, as it did for many other women and men. I know that getting our world just a little more fit, inspired and moving was Payal Kadakia’s goal, and I hope she knows (I think she does) that she achieved that.


I want to see ClassPass grow and thrive in whatever niche they continue to create (and re-create) for themselves.


I’ll never not love ClassPass but I’m respectfully going to have to move on.

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