Which is why a slew of companies have been trying to make booking boutique fitness classes as easy as signing up for a gym membership.
But three companies now on the scene in New York City—ClassPass, FitClub, and Athletes Club—all offer monthly membership packages that let you book unlimited classes at hundreds of studios, all at discounted rates (talk about making your heart rate rise).
We signed up for all three and sweated it out to bring you what you need to know about each (in alphabetical order), so you can spend your time working out instead of fretting about MindBody passwords. —Molly Gallagher
“Athletes Club extends well beyond your workout,” says founder and CEO David Weisfeld, which is what sets the booking platform apart from the others. He’s talking about things like discounted smoothies and fitness fashion, a definite plus.
How much it costs: $19 per month, plus the discounted class rates (a class at Barry’s Bootcamp is $28.90, instead of $34, for example)
Number of classes included: As many classes as you feel like booking and juices you feel like sipping
Number of participating businesses: More than 125 studios and shops
Participating studios and shops: SoHo Strength Lab, City Row, Aqua Studio, The Movement, Ellary’s Greens, and Fields Good Chicken, to name a few
Pros: It includes more than just fitness bookings. You can also get discounts at places like Hu Kitchen and JackRabbit Sports. And the membership price is right: Five to six classes per month will get you to break even on the $19 fee, which is great for fitness dabblers.
Cons: Unlike the other programs, you’re paying for discounted prices as you go, instead of paying one fee at the start and then putting away your credit card.
(Photo: Athlete’s Club)
Launched in June 2013, ClassPass has become the major player on the scene over the past few months, with tons of 20-something New Yorkers signing up to take advantage of the chance to access so many high-caliber studios at an affordable price. “We started ClassPass to make fitness accessible and motivating for everyone,” says founder Payal Kadakia. Until recently, membership got you 10 classes per month, but it’s since switched to unlimited bookings.
How much it costs: $99 per month
Number of classes included: Unlimited
Restrictions: No more than three classes per month can be used at the same studio (AKA it’s not the best idea if you only love one or two workouts)
Number of participating studios: More than 250
Participating studios: AKT in Motion, Barry’s Bootcamp, Exhale, Flex Studios, Flywheel, The Monster Cycle, Tone House, Torque Cycling & Fitness, and Yoga Shanti, to name a few
Pros: There are so many studios to choose from. ClassPass is also in Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and just debuted in Chicago, which makes it the most far-reaching booking tool out there.
Cons: Classes book up quickly. Chaise Fitness and Barry’s Bootcamp, for example, either book up right away or have just a few spots available to ClassPass members. Users also complain that they’ve gotten kicked out of classes even when they’ve received a confirmation email due to over-booking. You’re also prone to get not-so-popular bikes in spin classes.
FitClub debuted on the scene with a soft launch earlier this summer (and right around that time ClassPass started offering the unlimited option). “The affordability and accessibility to quality workout options was lacking, and I hated the gym. I started FitClub to create a solution for everyone,” says co-founder Michael Wieder. It’s a little more expensive than the others and has fewer studios (for now), but its customer base might be less saturated, meaning less people vying for your 6:00 p.m. spin bike.
How much it costs: $159 per month*
Number of classes included: Unlimited
Restrictions on classes: Only one class per day
Number of participating studios: More than 50. “We are always adding locations,” Wieder says.
Participating studios: Body Space Fitness, 305 Fitness, ISHTA Yoga, Uplift Studios, Brooklyn Crew, Uptown Pilates, and Nalini Method, to name a few
Pros: The discounts might be the deepest of the bunch. Plus, FitClub also just launched a cool, non-membership based program, where they send out a daily email blast of available classes at a discount (a recent email included an Uplift class at 5:30 p.m for $18 instead of $32).
Cons: It’s still in beta, so if you provide your email on the site, you have to wait to be “invited” to join. You’ll need to take about 12 classes a month to make up the monthly fee.
*As of 9/23/14, FitClub is no longer accepting members. You can sign up for email updates, and the SweatNow emails, on their site.