Exercise and the Food Critic: Naomi Blair tries out ClassPass

Image Credit: Keri Tan

As a very small girl with a very big appetite, becoming as wide as I am tall is something I’m very wary of. Thankfully, I’m almost as much of a fan of exercise as I am of burgers, meaning that I’m happy to hit the gym after every deliciously indulgent meal in order to avoid looking like a pig that has learned to walk on its hind legs. To keep the porkiness at bay I like to keep up to date with new health and fitness trends, and after reading an article about a new type of flexible gym membership, I was keen to find out more.

ClassPass started in New York as a way to make the latest exercise trends more accessible, and to encourage people to try new classes. ClassPass allows its members unlimited access to all kinds of different classes at a huge number of studios all over London, from Bikram yoga to ballet, there’s something for everyone. The membership is very flexible and runs on a monthly cycle meaning you’re not tied down to one place with a lengthy contract, and all the classes are available for booking online up to a week before, so you can schedule your time to suit you. You can even use ClassPass when you travel so long as it is already established in the city you’re headed to; great if you’re a jet setter with passion for fitness.

They describe themselves as “a monthly membership to the best boutique fitness classes in your city” so I decided to put ClassPass to the test and see if it lived up to the hype. Being based in North London and a full-time student with plenty of time on my hands, I decided to join the yummy-mummy brigade and try out the various swanky studios, starting with Triyoga Camden. I booked ‘Vinyasana flow open’ which sounded pretty fancy, and as I’m already a big fan of yoga, I was excited to try it out. Booking the class was very easy and I managed to coordinate with a friend so that she could come and hold my hand through my very first ClassPass experience. Upon arriving at Triyoga I was suitably impressed; wood floors, twinkling lights, zen atmosphere, the beautiful studio had already shat all over my sweaty uni gym. I had tasted what money could buy, and I liked it. The class itself was relaxing and provided me with a good stretch (as well as a few laughs, being read a poem by my instructor was a bit snigger-inducing, I know, I know, I’m a crap yogi).

Image Credit: Alisha Siegel
Image Credit: Alisha Siegel

Next up was hot yoga at Fierce Grace, based in a tiny studio in Primrose Hill. It was time to up the ante and push myself out of my comfort zone. Frankly I was terrified. And as it turns out, quite rightly so. Doing yoga in a room that feels hotter than a sauna in Hell isn’t for everyone but I’m glad I gave it a go. It was an incredibly intense experience that completely wiped me out for the rest of the day and I left the studio feeling quite faint, dizzy and was the colour of Satan. While I may not be a fan, others rave about it, and ClassPass was an excellent way to dabble in something I’d not usually try, so in that aspect, it gets a thumbs up from me.

My third class was the amazingly fun Seen on Screen ‘Diva!’ dance class which is held in different studios around London. I had a bit of an issue with ClassPass here the class was listed as being in a studio off Tottenham Court Road, when in fact, it was in Farringdon, which luckily, I double checked before heading off. I would have been gutted to have missed this class as it was easily the most fun I’ve ever had while wearing Lycra. My instructor was sassy, encouraging and whip-smart hilarious. We booty-popped, twerked and sashayed through an RnB dance routine, copying (read: massacring) our professional dance teachers moves. While I’m not going to be forming the next Destiny’s Child any time soon, I left the class feeling invigorated and full of confidence, which is really all you can ask for from a class.

I had also booked a TenBarre class at TenPilates in St James but here I had another location issue with ClassPass as I turned up to the wrong location and so missed my early morning class. I had been really looking forward to trying out barre as all the supermodels do it (and obviously after one class, I too would have abs worthy of Candice Swanepoel), so wasn’t impressed that I was forced to cancel. As I was only trialling ClassPass I wasn’t fined for this, but normal members would be charged either a £12 late cancellation fee (for anything cancelled less than 12 hours before), or a £15 no show fee, which is quite steep, and not very considerate of last minute hiccups or problems.

Overall I did really enjoy using ClassPass and think it’s a fab way to try out new classes and get a peek into some of London’s swishiest studios. The classes on offer are hugely varied and really do cater to all needs, all over London so are great for those looking to change things up in their fitness regime. If geeking out on fresh fitness trends is your vice (and if so, then I envy you), then ClassPass is the one for you.