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I have always been a “class snob.” That’s what I call it at every gym I’ve ever joined. I come for the elliptical but I stay for the fill-in-the-blank exercise class. And after a while, when I realize I’m not too crazy about the classes offered, the inopportune schedule or even just a cramped studio with sub-par equipment, that’s when I bury my head (and subsequent muffin tops) in the sand and let my gym membership go the way of the dodo bird.

That’s why ClassPass is so awesome and offers you no excuses to pray for winter’s clunky, chunky sweaters and fat-camouflaging slouchy jeans. ClassPass, now available in many major U.S. cities like Atlanta, offers a unique “gym” membership where you can choose from hundreds of different types of classes and studios in your area. The price of membership depends on your city and plan type, and each plan offers a different number of classes you can take and number of times you can visit a studio, per month. Monthly membership plans in Atlanta are: Base ($55 per month for five classes), Core ($100 per month for 10 classes) and Unlimited ($160 per month for unlimited classes).

ClassPass Team Octopus

This is the “before” of my kickboxing class at Team Octopus. Things got a whole lot sweatier with the “after” shot (which I am sparing you, the reader, from viewing).

Another great aspect of ClassPass is that the app holds you accountable; you’ll accrue a no-show fee (price depends on your plan; for example Base is $5) for a missed class and lose one of your monthly class visits. If you’re going to skip your workout for an afternoon at The Vortex, you’re going to pay for it (in more ways than one). FYI, there’s a lot more information on the billing and membership policies that you can uncover after visiting the site.

Amanda Abrams, a ClassPass member since 2015, says, “I love exercising and look to exercise as a stress release. I have trained for half-marathons, have worked with a personal trainer, but I really love group fitness classes the most. For these reasons, ClassPass was a perfect fit. I came up with a schedule for myself where I did one morning class, one lunch time class, one weekday evening class and one weekend class per week. I didn’t stick to any particular day for each class and the flexibility was perfect for me given my work schedule.”

DEFINE: Atlanta ClassPass

StyleBlueprint FACE Jessica Smithgall owns DEFINE: Atlanta, a participating ClassPass studio. Here, she demonstrates the various uses of DEFINE’S fitness hammocks. Image: CatMax Photography

So now comes the important question: What class(es) are you going to attend? I recommend downloading the app, as well as using ClassPass’s website, where you can plan your exercise routine on the go and filter times, classes, locations and other details, easily. Whether you want to feel energized, stronger, free, challenged, toned or sweaty, there are a HUGE amount of classes you can try.

Some of the ones that caught my eye (but I have yet to build up the courage to attend) include Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (at Unit 2 Fitness), Vixen Workout (at Atlanta Dance & Music Academy) and Ballerobica (at Fit: To Be). Activity categories are Yoga, Cycling, Barre, Pilates, Strength Training, Dance, Martial Arts, Boxing, Rowing — and even one called Gym Time, which is solo equipment time at local studios that offer it. It’s super fun and exciting to order your studio classes off the ClassPass menu — the perfect opportunity to never get bored with your workout and even discover new and cool studios around the city.

ClassPass schedule

Here’s a snapshot of how the ClassPass schedule is set up in Atlanta. On the left, you can filter results to pinpoint the perfect class for your needs and wants.

My own experience: I have always loved kickboxing, so I knew that was going to be at the top of my wish list. (Man, whoever thought I’d have a “work out wish list”?) I used to live close to Team Octopus in Chamblee but was too much of a chicken to go in. It’s a bit intimidating when you look in at 12,000 square feet of hanging bags, boxing rings, an MMA cage and lots of other serious looking stuff. But I put on my Big Girl leggings and reserved my spot for one of their kickboxing classes. We ClassPass students (as opposed to those who sign up with the studio directly) need to fill out some paperwork before the first time there. As a ClassPass member, I also was able to borrow boxing gloves at Team Octopus (though I recommend getting your own because it’s a bit funky inside those gloves, regardless of how often they get cleaned). Taking my frustrations out on that hanging bag was one of the best workouts I’ve had, and you know what? I was keeping up! My knuckles were pretty banged up, which again, is why I recommend you bring your own wraps and gloves.

I also attended West Coast Workout’s Best of the West class, a 55-minute workout that includes a light warm-up, core focus, barre work and yoga stretching. I literally couldn’t walk the next day because I had muscles that were called upon to do some heavy lifting. Another class I enjoyed was Pink Barre Classic at Pink Barre in Virginia-Highland, a class that not only kicked my butt but also was inspiring and entertaining with a great instructor who assisted all levels (i.e., I’m one of the newbies).

BLAST studio

BLAST classes offers 60 minutes of sweat and adrenaline, split between cardio and strength training. Image: CatMax Photography

West Coast Workout

Don’t let West Coast Workout‘s gorgeous check-in area fool you — their Best of the West class will kick your butt!

I will be honest: I suffered a back injury during my research for this story and am in the recovery process, about to begin physical therapy. Note: My injury was totally UNRELATED to any exercise regime — do not fear ClassPass. But even with my injury and, of course, my doctor’s OK, I am still enthusiastically ready to continue using my ClassPass membership — albeit in a more mellow outlook with classes like Restorative Stretch Class and Good Morning Yoga. Members can refine schedule searches based on skill level, neighborhood, activities and time of day, which means I will be sticking with spine-friendly classes for the time being.

Make sure to check out other great workouts by reading more StyleBlueprint fitness articles.

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