Monday, 2 May 2016

ClassPass London: A Review

Now let me start by saying, I am not a 'gym goer'. Prior to joining ClassPass I could count on my hands the number of times I'd stepped inside a gym, preferring instead to work out (very sporadically) at home using weird 80s YouTube videos. But one of my friends had waxed lyrical about all the amazing classes she was going to, and when the opportunity of a two-week trial for £19 arose I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about. Three months of proper membership on, and countless classes later, I'm officially a ClassPass convert.

The current plan used to be £80 a month, recently changing to £110*, and you can take unlimited classes - but a max of three per month in each studio. Without ClassPass, they range from about £15-£25 each, so it's a hell of a deal. My favourite thing about the app is how simple it is, booking on your phone is a breeze - especially with the search function. Fancy Pilates between 10-2 around East London next Thursday? Filter your searches and find one that fits in with your schedule in seconds. You can book up to a week in advance, and have four total bookings on the go at once.

To be honest, the only downside is the late cancellation fees. If you cancel less than 12 hours before the class is due to start, you're charged £12, and £15 if you're a no show. I think it's pretty fair that they do this, but can be slightly inconvenient. I tend to book my classes in the morning before work, so it doesn't matter if something comes up last minute in the afternoon or evening.

Onto the classes! I had no idea there were so many great gyms around East London and it's brilliant being able to try them all - like a fitness pick 'n' mix. Read on below for a list of my faves...

Blok, Clapton - Small, but perfectly formed, this place has quickly become my weekend haunt. Their barre class (check out the studio in the photo above) is one of the best I've tried - hard, but worth it - plus their smoothie bar and choice of healthy shots and drinks is next level.

The Refinery, Hackney - All things yoga in a modern-yet-cosy setting. Even sitting down for a cup of complementary herbal tea in the candlelit reception is enough to relax me, and the classes are great - with a whole range of yoga styles to choose from. The chakra balancing class is a must-try.

1Rebel, City - It's official, I'm a spin class convert. The 'Ride' class - dark room, awesome music, pyrotechnics - is like being in a club, except you're working out. And it's AMAZING. You may sweat like you've never sweat before, but their changing rooms (pictured above) are the flashiest in London. We're talking GHDs, high-end beauty products and showers you won't want to leave.

Tempo Pilates, Hackney and Shoreditch - Reformer Pilates machines may look terrifying, but they give an incredible low impact workout. Out of all the reformer places I've tried, Tempo Pilates is the best. It's fast paced, but effective - the instructors really know what they're doing and the hour-long class flies by. The perfect class to take before work as it leaves you super energised.

Good Vibes, Fitzrovia - This little, tucked away studio is super near my work so I stop by on a lunchbreak most weeks. Both the mat Pilates and yoga classes are rad - plus, the rooms are heated with infrared. Not quite Bikram levels of swelteringness, but enough to help you sweat out everything horrible in your life, probably.

*Two days after I published this post, ClassPass upped their unlimited monthly fee from £80 to £110, starting now for new members and from the June or July pay cycle for existing members. I knew £80 was too good to be true! To be honest, the more expensive plan is still worth it if you're taking lots of classes a week, but it's a steep hike (an increase of 40%) and might price a lot of people out. Luckily, they have also introduced a plan for £55 a month, offering 5 classes - which I'm thinking about switching to come June.
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