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The evolution of boutique fitness class booking


Fitness class booking 1OpenTable revolutionized the way we search for and book restaurant reservations. And, over the past few years, as more and more people book individual sweat sessions all around town instead of at one gym, a slew of companies have been trying to do the same for boutique fitness classes.

It started with curators like Fitist and MindBodyOnline-dependent sites like GoRecess, and this year, a handful of major players are tweaking the class-buying terrain, from BurnThis’ first app to Fitmapped’s relaunch as SweatSync. Increasingly, their focus is on making the booking experience more social and on making it easier for class hoppers to (box) jump from studio to studio seamlessly.

Here are three developments on the sweat-session scheduling scene you should know about. —Lisa Elaine Held

 (Photo: Body By Simone, via BurnThis)


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Map-based website and app Fitmapped is now SweatSync, with a new focus on social booking. Co-founder Anita Mirchandani says the change was prompted by the external motivation provided by having, say, your BFF meet you at boot camp. “That’s the way to help people maintain a long-term weight-loss and maintenance routine, really having someone holding you accountable,” she says.

SweatSync still allows you to search for classes by geography, but the focus is on a workout calendar you can share with your friends, and social discovery features, i.e. “3 of your friends went to Flywheel last week. Why not try it?”



BurnThis launched as a sort of boutique fitness directory in spring 2013 and just debuted a booking app (still in beta) for classes in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami (for now). Its focus is also on social sweat, and after you log in through Facebook, it’ll help you find friends to follow, who you’ll then be able to track (and follow) as they trampoline from Bari to ChaiseFitness.

“We think the social network component is the ‘glue’ for a next-generation fitness tool,” says co-founder Anna Kohanski. “Ask almost anyone how they find new fitness classes, and they’ll say ‘from friends.'” Also helpful for new classes? Once your credit card info is stored, you can just tap to book any class.



Classtivity’s new life, as ClassPass, is all about selling you one class package you can use at studios across the city. “We realized that consumers were essentially asking for what we were already doing: mixing it up all the time. Your body adjusts so quickly, you have to keep mixing it up to change your body and get stronger,” says co-founder Payal Kadakia.

It’s a model that was pioneered by Fitist specifically for studio-hoppers, except that with ClassPass, you don’t have to decide where you’re going to sweat in advance. You just have 10 classes per month you can use anywhere, with no more than three used at one studio. The pass has grown to include 70 studios in New York, with about two more added each week, and they’ll be expanding to more cities, soon.


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