My sister and I tried ClassPass in Atlanta for 2 weeks. We got down to business when it came to exploring and getting the most bang for our buck. I tried all kinds of things (but not quite everything) from yoga to cycling, TRX to HIIT. So here’s the deal:
- We used the $19 two-week trial. This is tricky, hidden somewhere on their site. The only way I found it was through a random blog post about ClassPass in Miami. Later, I found a mention of the trial in the FAQ section on the ClassPass website.
- Be careful — you trial will automatically enroll you in a membership once your two weeks are over. And the automatic enrollment will be for the most expensive membership. (You should receive an email after your trial begins explaining this.)
- There are charges for late cancellations (within 12 hours of class) and for no-shows.
- When your trial is up, you have the options to 1) enroll in a membership, 2) put your membership on hold (for a monthly charge), or 3) cancel your membership if you don’t wish to continue with ClassPass. Cancelling at the end of your trial period still counts as canceling a membership. If you cancel but rejoin later, there is a membership reactivation charge (which they might waive if you get in touch with the help center).
- ClassPass is tricky when it comes to your membership options. When I was renewing my membership at the end of my trial, I wanted to enroll in the 5 class/month option. But there was no way (that I could find) to make that happen. Instead, I enrolled in the 10 class/month option, which will be fine for me, but it’s a bit sketchy and unfair to present options and then only make it easy to access the most expensive ones.
- You will be automatically assigned spots in classes that require reserved spots/bikes/etc.
- Classes do fill up. Schedule early!
- You’re only allowed to visit a studio 2-3 times (depending on your membership) during a payment cycle. (Places that have two “wings”, such as FlyWheel and FlyBarre, still count as one studio.)
- Download the ClassPass app. I like to browse and select classes on the website, but I manage my reservations through the app because it’s simpler and it’s pretty.
- ClassPass will ask you to rate each class you attend — do it! I think most of us really value feedback when it comes to gym experiences and it helps ClassPass recommend classes for you (based on what you’ve rated highly and how others have rated classes in your area).
- Each class description on ClassPass includes a section that tells you what you’ll need for class. There is also a place for studios to explain their parking situation, which is so helpful.
If you can make it work, I absolutely recommend the 2-week ClassPass trial. In 2 weeks I was able to try so many studios and so many classes, finding at least 3 that I like enough to visit 3 times a month. That makes a 10 class/month membership well worth it to me. But I know others who have found only 1 or 2 studios where they felt comfortable during their trial, making ClassPass not such a great fit. For $19, you get enough time to explore and make an informed decision, instead of dropping (at least) $25 on a single class at a bunch of studios just to try out a few classes.
Just in case you’re in Atlanta and trying to decide where to go with your ClassPass, here’s a play-by-play with comments for each class I attended during my trial. I’ve starred (*) my favorites.
Day One: Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Basics at onlYoga
Wasn’t planning on getting started today, but so stressed, need yoga. OMG, where is the studio? OMG, where do we park? OMG, how do we get in? Are we even remotely in the right place? What a cool studio vibe. Where can I get those little, multi-color, glowing orbs? Oh, she’s got an excellent teaching voice. Will this class make my arms look like hers? Oh no, we’re chanting. OMG, why is it so hot in here? Teacher says chaturanga dandasana is very important to her … ugh, I’m so bad at it. Oh, so that’s how you do it? I was not expecting to sweat. All this chaturanga dandasana — my arms are going to be sore tomorrow! It’s all worth it if my arms look like hers. Best. Adjustment. Ever. Can we do floor work now? Stretchhhhhh. Oh, we’re done? Ahhhhh yessssssss. Shavasanaaaaaaaa.
Comments: I enjoyed it. The studio is located in what I’m assuming was built to be a studio apartment (the check-in desk is in the “foyer” and we practiced in the “living space”), so it felt a lot like a home practice. I’m not really one for chanting, but it only happened at the beginning and end of the practice, not throughout, so it was not a big deal. Our teacher, Marie, was patient and great with adjustments. I felt nice and energized after class and yes, my arms were (pleasantly) sore the next day, but no, they don’t look like hers.
Day Two: Battle of the Exes Theme Ride at Vibe Ride
J. Biebz vs. Selena? I will be there. Oh, this studio seems so small. But wait, an upstairs? What’s up there? Okay, I can’t get my shoe to clip into my bike. I need help! This is embarrassing … Time to go! Yay for videos. I’ve never seen any of these. OMG, Justin looks so young. OMG, Selena’s “sexy” is making me uncomfortable. Oh man, this “What do you mean?” video is risqué. What did she say? What am I supposed to be doing? Ooooooh, this is my jam. I have to do what now? Pump? What does that mean? Hmmm, okay. My legs are tired. Are we done yet? Old Selena is best Selena. YES! Winding down.
Comments: It was fun. I’ve been cycling for about 6 years (starting my freshman year of college with cycling classes at the recreation center on campus), but have never been to a themed ride. I love a good theme, so I’m really drawn to Vibe Ride’s consistent schedule of fun theme rides. I enjoyed the ride, but sometimes had a hard time following directions because I couldn’t always hear our instructor, Cristol. But she did a great job of demonstrating moves throughout the class so I could always catch up. I didn’t loooooove the class or the studio, but it’s a friendly and convenient option for a good cycling class. Plus, I didn’t realize that Vibe Ride also has barre, Pilates, and kettlebell classes — I’ll have to go back and try those.
Day Three: Nothing!
We were planning to head to Pure Barre bright and early (6 AM), but it filled up before we could commit. (Maybe that’s a blessing in disguise.) I couldn’t find any other classes to squeeze into my schedule, so I embraced a break day.
Day Four: TRX (Beginners) at Urban Body Studios and * Hammock at DEFINE Atlanta
TRX? That looks legit. Okay, let’s do this. Oh, those front desk people weren’t especially nice. Oh, this teacher is just going to ignore me as I stand here not really knowing what to do because I am actually a beginner, unlike a lot of the ladies in this class. Ah! What a nice woman who decided to help me out! Okay, let’s get started. Squats, lunges, squat lunges. Ugh, the arm section. But I want my arms to look like hers. OMG, is this over yet? I am on fire. Oh no, planks with my feet in these little handle thingies. This is going to hurt. Note from the nice woman next to me: “You’re going to keep thinking it’s over, but it’s not.” Why am I the only one dying on the ground over here? I really thought I was in better shape than this …
Comments: The class kicked my butt in the best way. I really enjoyed TRX, even though I felt like I had no idea what I was doing most of the time and I’m sure my form was terrible. The class, even though it’s for beginners, is mostly full of ladies who clearly do this regularly. As a result, I didn’t think the class was really effectively taught for beginners (with form instructions and adjustments, etc.). I overheard a couple of other true beginners in the locker room afterward saying the same thing. The studio was beautiful and so much bigger than I thought it would be, but the staff was not very helpful or friendly. You know how there are some people who, in conversation, will give you only the bare minimum in response? That’s these guys. (According to online reviews, I’m not the only one who feels this way.) But I felt great afterward and have been sore for a couple days since.
What is a hammock class!? I’m looking up pictures of this business. Oooooooooooh, I have to do that. This is great, I’ll get all tight and terrible with TRX and then stretch it out in this hammock class. Ugh, I drove right past the parking. I didn’t realize it would be behind the studio. I’m going to be late. I’m going to be late. I AM LATE. Ugh, okay. Relaaaaaax. Everyone here is beautiful. In I go. Oh, this is some hardcore stretching. My back is dying. This hurts so good. YES. INTO THE HAMMOCK. Ah, yes. We’re just going to hang here in this inversion for a few minutes. It’s like my whole body is just stretching out. Twist, stretch, forward bend, hammock. Twist, stretch, forward bend, hammock. Ahhhhhhhh.
Comments: Beautiful studio, beautiful and friendly staff. The class was great — I left feel nice and stretched. Later, I noticed that my muscles were sore but not tight after TRX, which I can only imagine has something to do with following it up with this class. The class instructor, Emily, was patient and really clear with her instructions throughout the class. I want to go back and try some of the other classes, like yoga and cycling. My only tiny complaint is that the studio can be a bit loud. From the hammock classroom, we could hear the traffic outside and the music from the cycling class next door. No biggie and definitely not a deal breaker, just something to expect if you’re wanting some zen.
Day Five: Nothing!
I spent the day hiking with my boyfriend and his family today. I think all the classes are starting to sink in because, woo, my body is tired.
* Day Six: The Daily 30 at The Daily
I’m up for a 30-minute class. That’s nothing, right? This will be a good start to my week. But I really don’t want to gooooooo. I just want to sit on my couch all night, but you know how much that would cost me? $15 in cancellation fees. Sitting on my couch all night is not worth $15, so here I go. Such a cute studio! There is a spiral staircase. I want to use one of the reformer machine things. Okay, now it’s time. Three strength stations, three cardio stations, I’m going to fail at this. I can’t even remember what I’m supposed to be doing. This is so hard. This is so hard. But I can do this. It’s only been 15 minutes and I am so sweaty. Wall balls are the worst. Elevated pikes are the worst. Burpees are the worst. I can do this. I DID IT! That was not so bad. I feel good. I’m so glad I did this.
Comments: The studio and the staff are super-cute. I chose The Daily 30 class mostly out of curiosity and because I’m all about a full-body workout in 30 minutes. The class was structured kind of like a HIIT interval class. There’s a board with each station and its exercises listed just in case you forget. You break up into groups and cycle through each of the three strength stations, with a break in the middle during which you cycle through the three cardio stations. The class moves quickly, but you can perform the exercises at your own pace. Lily, the instructor and studio owner, was helpful and very willing to suggest modifications throughout the workout. I definitely broke a sweat and I’m planning to head back to try their Pilates classes.
Day 7: Pure Barre Westside
6 AM Pure Barre. With all the hype Pure Barre gets, this better be worth my 5 AM wake-up call. Wow, this is a lot of paperwork to sign for a 55 minute barre class. This is basically an NDA. So serious. Where is everyone? In pictures it’s always so packed. Oh, okay, right to it. Arms. I have the weakest little arms in the whole wide world. Stretch, pulse, up, down, pulse, stretch, freeze, what? Okay, thighs. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing … time to work my butt? Still not sure what I’m supposed to be doing … this feels like something. Is this right? Pulse where? With what? This burns, but I’m not sure that it should. Abs. I feel nothing. Never mind, I do feel this. I need to curl up because my abs are on fire. Phew.
Comments: I’ve been to barre classes before. I’m familiar with “tucking” and the minute pulses that make the fine toning possible (or so they say). But this was rough for me. The studio is warm and inviting, even at 5:45 in the morning. Our instructor, Darby, was very nice and gave us an idea before class of what to expect. However, moving through class was difficult. In classes I’ve taken before, there is time for the instructor to really explain the exercise and to make sure that everyone’s form is (mostly) correct. But this class felt rushed and scripted. I really feel like I didn’t know what I was doing most of the time. I imagine this feeling of being lost goes away over time, as you attend more classes (very clever, Pure Barre), but it was a bit off-putting. Parts of me, like my weak arms, got a great workout, but some of me just got left behind in the confusion.
Day Eight: Nothing!
We signed up for a warm hip-opening yoga class, but had to cancel so we could go visit a potential new apartment for my sister. Good trade, I think!
* Day Nine: FlyWheel 45 at FlyWheel Midtown
Yay yay yay! Going back to FlyWheel. This is so exciting. Let’s do this. OMG this is hard. I better beat my first class stats. Ugh, this teacher is as perfect as I remember. He is so right — I AM KICKING ASS. Can we stop now? I’m so hot. AHAHAHA, he wants us to turn up the resistance some more? I’m sorry, I can’t do that. Come on, come on, come on legs! Okay, arms, we are going to complete this entire set of exercises. It burns, it burns. One final climb. WOO!
Comments: I’ve been to FlyWheel once before for this same class, taught by David Prado. The class is near perfection — the studio is so organized, the set-up is so functional, the staff is so helpful. I get why FlyWheel has such dedicated followers. David’s teaching style is somewhat like a performance. You notice there are some things he says during each class, but it works. He sits up there and tells you how sexy you look and how much sexier you’re going to look if you just increase your resistance a little bit, and you believe him. Plus, when I leave this class, I am in the best mood.
Day Ten: xpress body at DEFINE Atlanta
Why do I keep signing up for 6 AM classes? Because I want to be a morning exercise person. But I’m notttttttttttt. I don’t want to be outside right now. Ugh. But come on, this is a 30-minute class. You can do this. Oh no, what if we are the only two people in this class? Oh good, four more of you crazy 6 AM-ers. And this beautiful instructor who is way too pleasant and together for this time of day. OMG, this is so hard. No more legs, please. Ugh, okay, abs are even worse. This has got to be taking longer than 30 minutes. Ahhhh yesssssssss.
Comments: I’ve talked to lots of people about these 30-minute classes and I keep hearing that they’ve avoided taking them because “how much can you really get out of 30 minutes?” Let me tell you, you can get your butt kicked just as hard in 30 minutes as you can in 60 minutes. I didn’t like this class as much as I liked The Daily’s 30-minute class, but it’s a nice, early morning alternative. It was more barre-based than The Daily’s class, and got my legs and my abs shaking.
Day Eleven: Full Body Class at Stellar Bodies Midtown
We’re going to use megaformer machines! We’re going to use megaformer machines! Oh, no. Is this what our class is going to be like? I can’t do that. Look at the woman. She is a beast. There’s no way I’m going to be able to do any of this and have it look remotely like her movements. Ah! Thank goodness! She’s our instructor, not a normal class person. That makes me feel better. Ugh, abs. Is this what childbirth feels like? I ask because this is real pain. If the entire class is like this, I’m not going to be able to finish. Now on to arms. I can kind of handle this if poor form and a few breaks are allowed. You want me to hold this in a “T”? How about I go for something more like a crinkled tree branch? Okay, legs, let’s do this. I didn’t even know my inner thighs could feel this kind of pain. They’re on fire now. I’m going to topple over, right off this thing. Can we stretch now?
Comments: If you want a class that will completely kick your butt, this is it. I had no idea what to expect, which might have been a good thing. Once I was done thinking of ways to quit, I actually enjoyed it. The instructor, Lynn Goldstein, was intense but patient. She took time before class to walk the beginners through the basic exercises and offered adjustments throughout the class. Plus, she was crazy fit and I want to be her. You truly do work your whole body for the entire class and I felt so accomplished when I finished. It was terrible, but also wonderful, and I’m going back.
Day Twelve: Yoga and Meditation at IB Yoga Barre
Yoga and meditation are what I need right now. Ooh, funky space. I like it! There’s just two of us today? Good, we’re both on the same page about what we need out of this practice. Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Okay, meditation time. I’ve never done a meditation that wasn’t part of an app on my phone or a YouTube video. I am. I am. I ammmmmm. Ahhhhh.
Comments: I met Irina a year or so ago when I took my first ever barre class at Lift Yoga. A little bit before I moved to a new area, Irina did the same. Through ClassPass, I found out that she had opened her own semi-private studio and I had to check it out. The studio is her live-work space, so it’s open and very serene. Because she caps her classes at 6 people, Irina can focus on providing personalized practices; she asked us what we’d like our intention to be during this class and crafted it to accomplish our goal. She led us in a brief meditation, using a mantra, which was new for me. And I left feeling like I’d just gotten exactly what I’d needed. Irina is adorable and so helpful — she also offers barre classes, which I’ll have to try later.
* Day Thirteen: The Daily 30 at The Daily
Back at it again. I really don’t want to go to this class. I need a power nap. I want to eat. What if it is way harder and way worse than last time? No time for that kind of thinking. Let’s go. Burpees are terrible. You want me to walk/drag myself across the floor in a plank position? That’s hilarious. Okay, well, I tried. Time to get a little bit of TRX in here — my biceps will hate me tomorrow. Go go go go! OMG. So. Many. Squats. Oh, we’re done!? Hooray!
Comments: The first time I came to this class, I was solo. I brought my sister along this time, which made it more fun. Since there are some exercises that require you to partner up, this is a good class to take with a buddy, but the whole vibe of The Daily is so friendly and helpful that you’ll be okay pairing up with someone you don’t know. I got my butt kicked in 30 minutes again and this class had the same structure but was totally different from my first try, which made it so worth my while.
* Day Fourteen: FlyWheel 45 at FlyWheel Midtown
5:30. In the morning. Who decided that this was a good idea? I don’t even think I can walk straight at 5:30 in the morning, much less pedal a stationary bike up an imaginary hill. But I’m here and I’m awake anyway, so let’s do this. This is so hard. Okay, so I’m awake, but my legs are most definitely not. Who is this beast next to me? She showed up this morning. How is she pedaling so fast? I want to pedal that fast. Come on, Lucy. FOCUS. Haha, you want me to use two weighted bars for this arms section? I think not. 2 more songs. Ahhhhhhhhhh.
Comments: Evenings have been really busy, so my sister and I decided to try our luck with a morning class. We’ve wanted to try another cycling studio, but our morning options were limited and we went back to FlyWheel. The studio energy was the same at the crack of dawn as it is in the evening, which helped a lot. The guys at the front desk were great and helpful, and everyone in the class was on it. Clearly, the serious riders ride before 6 AM. Because I was half-asleep, I didn’t burn as many calories or push myself as hard as I have in the evening classes (I know this because of FlyWheel’s wonderful stats dashboard), but I felt so good afterward. It was (almost) worth the 4:45 AM wake-up.
P.S. This was my first time using the FlyWheel Midtown parking. It was easy and clearly marked (for those of you who, like me, super-stress about the parking situation anywhere you go), but adds about 5-10 minutes to your arrival by the time you actually make it into the studio.
* Day Fifteen: FlyBarre 60 at FlyBarre Midtown
I do not want to go. I’m running late because of an unexpected meeting at work, I’ve been tired all day, I just want a nap. Ughhhhh. But let’s go. OMG, this instructor is so tiny and adorable. But clearly she is going to kill me during this class. Once again, it would be worth it if my arms end up looking anything like hers. Abs first. Great. You’d think that using this resistance band would provide some bounce-back and make this easier, but no. Legs, woo! This is the perfect song for this. My feet are too sweaty for this. I should have worn sticky socks. Arms — bahahahaha, I am terrible at this. Why is holding myself up so hard on my wrists!? Can I stop? More legs. There is no way I’m going to be able to lift my leg that high. This woman is unstoppable. More arms. And to think I was considering using three pound weights instead of two pound weights. I can only do, like, three reps of these at a time. But thank goodness it’s not just me. More abs. REVERSE CRUNCHES. Are we done? Hallelujah!
Comments: I will say that work stress had me extremely distracted for the first half of class, so I was grouchy and not totally into it. But once we got going, I started to 100% agree with all the people who have told me that FlyBarre is the best and their favorite barre class around. The general vibe of FlyBarre’s class is great. Some studios try to be too “ballet” about it, others (like Pure Barre) I have found hard to follow, but FlyBarre is fun and hard and done right. Our instructor, Lori Beth Morris, pushed us hard without making me angry at her. She demonstrated the moves clearly and offered feedback/adjustments throughout the class. Plus, the Midtown FlyBarre classes are relatively small and she had clearly checked in and learned all of our names so she could speak to us in class. (That’s obviously not a big deal, but it was not unnoticed.)
I have renewed my ClassPass membership and will continue trying out new studios, but for now, I rest. I’m going to count 13 classes in 15 days as a successful trial period.
(Since my trial ended, I have tried a couple new places: BLAST Midtown and Exhale Atlanta. I took the BLAST Full Body class and Exhale’s Core Fusion Barre class. I loved BLAST and can’t wait to go back. Exhale’s barre class kicked my butt, but I didn’t love it and it’s got me thinking that maybe barre just isn’t my thing. But if you’re looking for fancy spa facilities, Exhale has you covered.)