11.14.11

 

If there’s an upside to being unemployed, it’s that I have time for a quality workout each and every day. I’m not bragging – unemployment is a really tough gig and it can be hard to wake up every day and face the fact that I actually don’t have anywhere to be for any reason.

But I’ve done my best to fight the melancholy, and have found exercise to be a primary factor in my overall mood and happiness. It’s simple. The days I exercise, I feel great. The days I don’t, I’m prone to bad moods.

Enter ClassPass. This gym membership-slash-app (think Uber for gyms) has turned out to be the best investment I could have made in my physical, mental and spiritual health over the past 9 months or so, and it has become even more precious in the 4 weeks I’ve been out of work.

So what is it exactly?

ClassPass is a monthly membership that grants you access to literally hundreds of exercise classes around your chosen city. In Denver, it means that some of the best yoga, barre, spin, pilates and boot camp studios in the city are available to you whenever the fancy strikes.

Using the killer mobile app, you’ll be able to scroll through a large menu of classes organized by date and time of day. Pick the class you want, reserve it, and wait for the confirmation notification onscreen and via email. You’ll also receive a reminder email a few hours before class starts.

And then just show up, check in at the front desk and enjoy your class! If it’s your first time at a studio, get there about 10 minutes early so you can sign any required paperwork.

And is there a catch?

Sort of. The $89 monthly membership fee only grants you access to a single studio 3 times in a given billing cycle. If I hit up my favorite yoga class three times, I won’t be able to attend another class at any of their locations for the remainder of the billing cycle. I personally don’t find this to be a challenge because I love bouncing from studio to studio and rarely hit my 3 visit limit, but this could be an issue if you’re a creature of habit. If that’s the case, this all-access pass probably isn’t for you anyway.

But if you love the variety, bear in mind that popular classes can book up fast since there are only so many ClassPass spots available for each one. So if you always like to hit up boot camp on Monday mornings, it would be worthwhile to schedule those in advance to ensure you get to go, especially if the class is at peak time.

Why do I love it so much?

Especially with my current schedule, I love the flexibility this pass offers. Based on how sore I am from my various other athletic pursuits, like skiing mad pow, I can choose to go to a mellow Yin yoga class, challenging barre classes or the madness that is spin boot camp. I tailor my searches to studios within a 5 mile radius, so I never have far to drive to get to a class.

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I’ve always loved group fitness because I work harder and push myself further when I’m surrounded by a bunch other people all trying their best, too. I love the energy of a good teacher and the endorphins of finishing a tough class with the support of everyone around you. It’s literally my version of therapy.

It’s also really fun to try new things. Before ClassPass, I thought I wasn’t really a spin girl, or a barre girl, or a boot camp girl. Turns out, spinning is actually my favorite kind of group exercise class (after my beloved yoga, of course)! I had always wanted to try pilates on a reformer machine, but it’s prohibitively expensive. After attending my first class months ago, I was hooked!

But I do have some favorites. 

QiFlow

There are a handful of locations for this local chain of gyms, but I’ve only visited the location near me on Walnut and 26th. And it’s by far the studio I frequent the most for their innovative QiCycle classes, which are a perfect combo of spin and yoga. Set in an industrial part of town, this warehouse-style gym offers tall ceilings with exposed duct work, lots of metal finishings and a dark, gritty spin room with a garage door that opens to let a breeze in when it’s particularly hot.

The QiCycle classes all begin with 30 minutes of heart-thumping cycle set to loud, pulsing electronic music that the instructors use to keep the energy high. It feels like dancing on a bike to me. I really enjoy the surprising amount of upper body work these segments include, too.

After spinning, the class moves to one of the two comfortable yoga rooms for a 15-30 minute conclusion of core, yoga or sculpt, all of which are vigorously paced and challenging.

This studio definitely caters to a fit crowd, but the workouts are doable. If you’re looking for a creative and high-energy workout, I definitely recommend checking this spot out. But fair warning: parking in this neck of the woods sucks. Get there early or valet.

Corepower Yoga

I know, I know, Corepower is so corporate. There are so many incredible little yoga studios around and Corepower is the one I choose? Yes, for so many reasons.

The new studio at the Industry building is legitimately gorgeous. As a very successful national chain, they have the money to build luxurious studios, and this is the nicest location I’ve visited.  Additionally, I recently rediscovered my love for their C1 series, which I used to practice weekly during the free class at the Grant location. It was like going to church for me –  I never missed that class.

Flowing through the C1 class is like putting on a familiar pair of jeans. It feels so good. For all the yoga I do around town, I keep coming back to Corepower because it continues to satisfy. Set in a warm room and paced to include flow, core and various balance postures, the series includes everything I love about yoga. Most of all, this class is a mental release, which is what I look for most in a good yoga practice.

Endorphin

Oh boy, don’t hit up a class at this local chain unless you’re interested in having your ass kicked. Everything here is designed for the superior high-altitude athlete. From the advanced yoga to the hybrid spin/boot camps, these are the only classes in my area that show up under the “Advanced” filter in my ClassPass app. So take one at your own risk.

I joke that the more I hate a class because it is hard and makes me feel like a pansy, the more endorphins I’ll have when it’s over. And that is so true with the 45 minute Warriors class I like to take. I sign up towards the end of the week to balance out the inevitable heavy drinking I’ll be doing over the weekend (…if I’m being honest).

The class kicks off on Real Ryder bikes, which move from side to side like a real bike. This engages your core while you’re digging deep into a turn, isolating your lower body or punching, kickboxing-style, while riding. There’s some coordination involved. 🙂

After 10ish minutes, it’s time to hop off and perform a circuit workout of high intensity intervals (like box jumps followed by jumping alternating lunges) before getting back on the bike for another round of spin, followed by another round of bootcamp. It’s intense. But so so worth it! It makes me feel like a hardcore badass.

Wow, ClassPass sounds like it’s pretty awesome.

It really is. The fitness scene in this city offers absolutely everything for everyone, and I think ClassPass is a great way to explore that. If you find your new niche – great! I totally think folks should support their local studios with dedicated memberships. But if you have some freedom or need variety – this is the way to go. I love mine and consider it money very well spent.

What are your favorite studios or workouts around town?

P.S. I didn’t get paid to write this. I just seriously love ClassPass!

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