A little over a year ago I discovered something so great that it was too good to be true. It was unbelievable, incredible, beyond belief, inconceivable, unthinkable, and unimaginable. However, it turned out to be true—while it lasted. One year. Today I find out that it was indeed too good to be true. I am talking about ClassPass. Today, the fitness world can mourn the death of ClassPass’s Unlimited plan. People–time to start looking for other alternatives.
I joined ClassPass on October 30, 2015. And I couldn’t stop raving about it. I recommended it to anyone that would listen. As someone that loves group fitness and loves many different types of exercise classes, ClassPass was a dream come true. I got the best out of all the fitness opportunities New York City had to offer. My week consisted of going to a yoga class three times a week, a barre class twice a week, a spinning class and strength training class each once a week, and occasionally mixed it up with Pilates or even kickboxing. I took around five to seven classes a week and sometimes two classes a day. In total, I took over 240 classes in a year through ClassPass.
The Romantic Stage
ClassPass was perfect for my fitness lifestyle. I took class based on how I was feeling on a particular day and on what I needed for my mind or body.
If I was feeling stressed I took yoga. When I wanted to work on my technique I took Tyler Ingram’s Core Fusion Sport class at exhale. If I was feeling feisty and wanted to lift weights, I took HIIT at the Fhitting Room. In the mood to hear cool music? I headed to any of Y7‘s five locations. When I wanted to work on my thighs, I took Physique 57. When I wanted to meditate, I took yoga at Laughing Lotus. In the morning I could visit a bootcamp class like Kore. The same day at lunchtime I could relieve my tight muscles at the yoga studio a block from my work. In the winter I did hot yoga at New York Yoga and in the summer I took Circuit of Change at Pier 46.
There were no limits. I had truly embraced fitness as lifestyle and had unlimited options that suited my moods and muscles. And I happily paid $125. I couldn’t believe the monthly unlimited fee was once $99!
The Power Struggle/Hangover Stage
Then in April 27, 2016 ClassPass increased their unlimited membership from $125 to $190. This meant ClassPass users like me witnessed a fee increase of more than 90% in less than a year. This price increase sparked social media outrage with users vowing to cancel the service.
This was a huge increase but I had no choice. This was still the best option for me. You see, my fitness lifestyle is not feasible in a city where classes can cost up to $35 each and unlimited class packages can cost up to $375 a month. So, I agreed to pay $190. Even though many refused out of principle.
Now, November 2, 2016, I receive the earth shattering news that ClassPass will discontinue its Unlimited plan. Why? According to a blog released by ClassPass CEO Payal Kadakia, the unlimited model was never meant to last forever.
What started as a promotion to offer unlimited classes all summer in May 2014 turned into what Kadakia called a move that “helped ignite something truly successful in our community. I was so taken aback by the promotion’s success I focused on nurturing that spark, assuming we’d figure out the business model as the company continued to scale.”
Kadakia explained that while the boost in membership was exciting, they always knew the model was unsustainable based on sheer cost alone. Kadakia explained that as more and more classes started to book, the more they paid and business costs increased dramatically. “We simply couldn’t make the plan work for our business.”
I can see why ClassPass could not make the Unlimited plan work. I was able to take classes in luxurious spaces such as exhale and Pure Yoga. Classes that cost $37 were unlimited for me. My lifestyle was in an advantage when it came to ClassPass in a huge degree when I paid $125 and even with the rate of $190. Now members like me will suffer the most from this news. ClassPass’s only options now are a five-class plan that costs $75 in New York, or Core, a ten-class plan that costs $135.
ClassPass also announced its new add-on pack option, which allows users to add three classes to their plan for a one-time fee between $25-$40. It’s a nice perk, but I foresee another social media outrage. This one much worse.