Good morning! Today we’re talking fitness classes. As I mentioned in my last fitness update, I joined ClassPass a couple of months ago. For those of you unfamiliar with ClassPass, the company basically offers fitness classes by subscription. As a subscriber, you get to take an unlimited number of classes at participating studios and boutique gyms in your area for a monthly fee of $99. You just can’t visit the same studio more than three times per month.
When I first tried ClassPass at the onset of its Boston launch, I had a free trial and barely used it for a few reasons. First, since it was free to me, I had no skin in the game. If I didn’t use it, it wasn’t like I was losing any money. Second, there weren’t nearly as many participating studios on board at the time. Many of the studios were located smack in the middle of downtown Boston, and the time spent regularly traveling in and out of the city just didn’t seem worth it to me. Third, my schedule was a little all over the place, and it felt like an added stress to figure out what classes I could get to during any given week.
I decided to give ClassPass another shot a couple of months ago after my friend Liz sent me her referral link for a discounted first monthly cost. Liz and a few of my other gym friends are frequent ClassPass class takers, and I thought that it might be nice to join them more often for fitness dates, especially since Tim is on the road more often now in his new position. Also, the number of studios that are available on ClassPass now is much higher than when it first launched in Boston, and many of the places are in the Boston suburbs, not only downtown.
I thought it would be fun to give you guys the scoop on some of the classes I’ve tried in the last couple of months! They are broken down by category below, so I hope this helps anyone looking to try some new classes in the Boston area:
For barre and pilates classes, I’ve tried:
- Class: 45 Minute Total Body Workout
- Instructor: Ashley
- Location/Parking: Newton. Parking is metered on the street, and the studio is walkable from the green line Newton Centre stop.
- Takeaways: I’d been to Studio Empower a couple of times before, so I knew exactly what to expect out of this class: lots of slow, torturous movement on the megaformer machines! The system uses springs and bodyweight resistance to create a low impact workout, so if you don’t want a lot of jumping around, I suggest trying out this class. Studio Empower classes are not something I’d want to make my main exercise of choice 2-3 times a week, but I think they complement a current running or strength training program well. I like it for a day I’m craving something low impact and different from my norm.
- Class: Core Fusion Barre Basic
- Instructor: Chrissy
- Location/Parking: Back Bay, literally right off the green line Arlington stop. Parking can be dicey depending on the time of day! I was lucky to find a metered spot in the 4pm hour I went to this class.
- Takeaways: I loved this instructor a lot and thought she was funny, knew her stuff, and down to earth. She kept me laughing throughout the class, but I just didn’t love the class itself. I think it’s because barre is simply not my favorite class format to take. Surprising from a former dancer, huh? We did a lot of plies, glute work, light weight work, etc., and the moves were challenging and left me shaking, but I’m not sure I would go back to this one again unless I happened to be in the area. It was too stressful of a drive after work to only feel meh about it. I want to try some of the other class formats at Exhale though.
For strength, interval, or higher intensity classes, I’ve tried:
- Class: Indo-Row
- Instructor: Denise
- Location/Parking: Lexington. Btone also has locations in Wellesley, Back Bay, and Sudbury. The Lexington studio has metered parking on the street. Just don’t go at 6am on Marathon Monday like I did because they will be setting up for a historical parade and you will get stuck in it.
- Takeaways: I would normally classify most Btone classes as barre or pilates since their workouts also use the megaformers, but the studio also offers some higher intensity classes like bootcamp, tone and torch, and the rowing class I tried. I love using the row machine for cardio workouts on my own, so I was excited to try a row class. I was a little nervous it would just be straight rowing the entire time (how boring), but Denise had us competing for time with each other, she divided us into teams, and she had us jumping back and forth between the row machines and the megaformers. I think Denise’s tone and torch classes are a little harder, but I enjoyed this class format very much and would definitely go back.
- Class: Box-Fiit Strength Extreme
- Instructor: David Bergeron
- Location/Parking: Boston’s Fort Point area. Getting there for 6am was super easy and quick, and there is plenty of street parking at that hour. If you’re trying The Club at a different time of day, there are plenty of parking garages nearby that will validate. Not sure about the closest train, but I think it’s about a half mile from the red line Broadway station.
- Takeaways: This is another studio I’d been to before (for my gym friends bachelorette party!), but I had never taken the Box-Fiit Strength Extreme class before. Two words: holy shit. This was one of the hardest classes I have ever taken in my life. It literally kicked my ass, especially coming off of a two week cold on a Monday at 6am! I went to this class with my friend Steph, and it was set up in a circuit format with lots of kettlebell moves, heavier weights, agility and plyo work, and more. There were 12 stations of exercises done for 2 minutes each, twice through. The instructor corrected my form many times, and it was very humbling! The facility is gorgeous, and it has everything you could ever want in a gym in one location (including an awesome locker room!).
- Class: Figher Conditioning
- Instructor: I’ve taken classes with both Chris and with Dave now. I liked Chris’s class better!
- Location/Parking: South Boston. I think it’s a short walk from the Andrew station off the red line, but it has its own parking lot. Bonus!
- Takeaways: Love, love, love. My blog friend Sherri always raves about this place, so I was psyched to try it. It did not disappoint! The “studio” itself is old school. It’s hidden away in an old warehouse, with real rings and real fighters teaching each class. The classes start with a jump rope warmup, and the rest of class alternates between heavy work on the punching bags, bodyweight work (pushups, burpees and sprawls, squats, etc.), sprints and suicides until you can’t breathe, and more. I wish Peter Welch’s was closer to me, and if I lived in Southie, I would get a membership to this gym. It’s a great choice to go with a friend for a fitness date, since a lot of the moves involve pairing off with someone for bag work. They also offer your first class for free, so I hope you guys will check it out! You will need gloves, but they have some there you can use if you don’t have any of your own.
For indoor cycling, I’ve tried:
- Class: Rev’d Ride 45
- Instructor: I’ve tried both Jacqueline (Wednesdays at 5:30pm) and Jessica (Tuesdays at 4:00pm).
- Location/Parking: Dedham right behind the Whole Foods in Legacy Place. Parking is super easy in their parking lot!
- Takeaways: I think the verdict is still out for Rev’d. Both classes I took were only half full, and I think the energy of the room can totally affect an indoor cycling class. Since there were a lot of empty bikes, I found I really had to dig deep for motivation since I didn’t have others near me to work off of. However, I did get a good workout out of both the classes I took and left sweaty and satisfied. Maybe Rev’d is still fairly new and figuring out what’s best for their schedule? I love the set up of the room, the instructors and front desk staff are very friendly, and it’s super convenient from many of of my company’s building locations.
For yoga, I’ve tried:
- Class: Hour of Power
- Instructor: Irina
- Location/Parking: Watertown, and parking is very easy in their parking lot
- Takeaways: I didn’t think I was going to like this yoga class because there were only three people including myself in the class. However, the instructor didn’t miss a beat. She explained it was one of the first weeks trying the 7am Friday timeslot on the schedule, and I ended up feeling like I got a lot of extra personal attention on the mat. Irina gave a lot of life analogies throughout the class, and they all made me really think! I realized in this class just how hard it is for me to focus my attention and not look around the room through yoga. I haven’t been back to another Inner Strength class yet, but I definitely will be. I still can’t put my finger on what differentiates this yoga studio from others I’ve been to!
- Class: All Levels Power Flow (Hot)
- Instructor: Pilar
- Location/Parking: Wellesley, parking is metered on the street. The studio also has locations in Needham and Medfield.
- Takeaways: This class was hard. The yoga sequences were creative and different, and many of the poses were new to me. I felt like I did spend more time in the class looking around at what everyone else was doing to make sure I could keep up than really in the flow of the moment, but I left feeling good. I also think I was having an off day during the class because I was tired and went on a Friday after work. Not usually my best exercising time. I’d try it again, but definitely at a different time of day, especially because of the traffic and how long it took me to get home. Fail.
- Class: I’ve taken both the Heated Power Yoga C2 class and the Heated Yoga Sculpt with Weights class multiple times now
- Instructor: Kat and Jess at Fresh Pond for C2, Amberlie and Cordy in Newton for Sculpt
- Location/Parking: I’ve taken classes at both the Newton and Fresh Pond locations. Parking in Newton is metered on the street or in the nearby garage/parking lot, and it’s accessible to bus routes that go by Newton Corner. Parking at Fresh Pond is free in their parking lot, and Alewife station is right across the street. They also have Medford and Boston Comm Ave locations.
- Takeaways: CorePower is my favorite studio discovery of all so far. I love their C2 power yoga classes. The flow is perfect for my yoga preferences, and I love Kat’s noontime classes on Fridays (very conducive for when I’m working from home). She’s great and gives just the right amount of instruction versus inspiration. I wasn’t sure how I’d like the heated sculpt classes when I tried them, but the format is so fun. It’s basically moves I would teach in my classes, but done with lighter weights (a good change of pace every once in a while!), in the heat, and with a few yoga moves interspersed through. I’m so happy CorePower has been such a great experience – it’s really helped me get back on the mat more regularly. And I can meet Slesh for classes there since she goes there all the time!
So that’s the run down!
What’s next? I’m continuing ClassPass for now, but at $99 a month, it’s definitely a solid chunk of change to pay. I justify it because I get my Y membership for free, so this is like paying my gym membership. As long as I can hit 6-7 classes a month, which I’ve been able to do so far, then I’m paying around $15 per class, which is probably less than what I’d pay for a drop in fee at any of these places. I am still prioritizing strength training (now with my recent fat loss focus) over taking as many ClassPass classes as possible, so 1-2 a week is fine with me at the moment. The only thing I’m not a fan of is that if you cancel your ClassPass membership, it costs $79 or something ridiculous like that to rejoin again in the future. You can put your membership on hold for $19 a month though and still get to take one class, so that at least is a better option. I will definitely need to put my membership on hold come wedding time, but I’m also toying with the idea of just joining CorePower permanently since most of the classes I take end up being there. We’ll see how the next couple of months go!
Readers, let’s chat! Do you belong to ClassPass? What has your experience been? Have you taken classes at any of the studios I mentioned? Do you prefer pilates and barre classes, higher intensity strength classes, spinning, or yoga? What Boston based fitness classes should I absolutely try next?
Hope you guys have a great day!