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The ClassPass Challenge: 14 Classes in 14 Days

So here I am, a recent graduate of my winter break elective classes consisting of seeing how many Twizzlers I could fit into my mouth, eating an entire roll of Pillsbury cinnabons in one afternoon and maintaining a solid 87 steps a day average on my Jawbone. I definitely got straight A’s, if that means coming back to school and attempting to squeeze my post-break body into the sausage casing like pencil skirt that has fit just 5 weeks earlier. Thankfully, Class Pass came to my rescue with a glorious promotion in January where new members could join for two weeks for $19. For those of you who don’t know, class pass is a membership of sorts that grants members to up to three classes in an insane number of boutique studios and mainstream gyms. I have always been curious to try the service, but for the normal monthly rate of $120 a pop, it wasn’t worth the Latte money (a girl’s gotta caffeinate). But, the nature of the service, allowing members to jump around to all kinds of crazy workouts, is just what I needed to get back into that pencil skirt and into fighting shape in time for spring break. Because I am potentially the biggest penny pincher, I am going to one class per day, or 14 classes in 14 days to get the most out of the membership. Being a Her Campus girl, I will naturally review each one so you can make the most of your money if you do decide to drop the bucks on a big girl membership.

(* FULL DISCLOSURE: Unfortunately my immune system betrayed me and I was on death’s door for about a week in the middle of my class pass challenge. So, I did 14 classes in around 21 days. You can thank the back to school germs for that.)

Class 1: Surfset NYC

  • Location: 64 E. 4th Street
  • Difficulty level: 3/5

The last ( and only) time I have ever surfed was when I was twelve. I was squeezed into a Limited Too bathing suit two sizes too small for me, fell over more times than I could count and was pulling seaweed out of my hair for weeks. But, minus the sand and sea, indoor surfing sounded like the perfect funky jumpstart to my 2-week exercise bender. The class was a “burn” class, which means there was a focus on cardio, but there are other classes that feature more strength or balance style workouts. The instructor led the small class of 10 or so starting with a warm up of basic surfing moves like jumping up on the board then dove right in with a circuit, a strength segment and then finished with another circuit. I wasn’t expecting to be dripping by the end, but triceps dips on a surfboard are a lot harder than ogling my surfboard instructor in the 6th grade. It was such a fun, fast-moving class that the 45-minute session flew by and I was back into the frozen tundra of NYC in no time.

Class 2: The Monster Cycle

  • Location: 182 Lafayette St
  • Difficulty Level: 2.75/3

(Courtesy of @themonstercycle Instagram)

Now, I am a complete die-hard soul cycle fan, once I had a dream in Grapefruit scent and there isn’t a Monday at 12pm that I’m not hovering over my keyboard to get the best classes. So, I may be a bit biased, but The Monster cycle freaked me out. The studio is “Goth cycling” style with gold-painted skeletons in the window and more black than a native New Yorker has in their closet. The creepy vibe didn’t really match the super friendly staff, so I was willing to give it a try. The cycling studio was a classic set up, but featured two massive screens at the front of the room that played the music video of the current spin song. This was a cool concept gone wrong when the first three music videos consisted of too much violence for me to handle on a Sunday night. Other than the creepy videos, the workout itself seemed a bit scattered. We did intervals, hills and some lightweights, but I was often confused of what we were doing and the energy in the room seemed a bit flat. In summation: I am sticking with my happy place of yellow, overpriced goodness.

So, I have to say, I was definitely skeptical to head back to The Monster Cycle after my last experience, but when Michael, Monster’s owner emailed me I decided to give it another try. And I am so happy I did. I went to Michael’s class on a Mondaynight at 8:30 pm. Not exactly a high-energy time of the day, but once I stepped in the studio I could have sworn it was 11amon a Saturday. Michael told us it was his birthday week (Happy birthday!) and that he selected a Lady Gaga medley for the ride. He explained that Gaga was the inspiration for The  Monster cycle, and the ride was an “origin” ride to go back to where it all began.

And it was amazing.

The ride was completely different from my original one. Michael created a medley of Gaga songs and a mash-up of her best music videos to accompany it. He played “Applause” and clapped along to the beat. He encouraged everyone to do their own thing. He was high-energy and fun. Gaga would have been so proud. At the end of class I was physically exhausted, but with an earful of Mother Monster’s biggest hits I was ready to Marry the Night, even if it was just a night full of studying.

Class 3: Valerie Mae Ballet

  • Location: The Player Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street
  • Difficulty level: 2/5

(Courtesy of @PinkPigBallet Instagram)

So, I was a bit intimidated for this class. Ballet sounds scary, like angry Russian lady yelling to point your toes scary, but this class was anything but. It was a small group of about 6, and everyone was really friendly, which helped clear the “I look like an elephant when I try to be graceful” air before we started. We began on the bar, then did some floor exercises, some across the floor moves and finished with group dance. You have to come to this class accepting you will look dumb and not get everything correctly, seriously. Knowing that I was going to fail on nearly every move helped me forget about nervousness and just focus on learning. And by the end of class, I felt like Misty Copeland, even if I looked like a crazy person.

Class 4: Dance Body Open

  • Location: 380 Broadway (near Union Square)
  • Difficulty: 3.5/5

(Courtesy of Dancebody.com)

This class was Zumba on steroids. It reminded me of my middle school days when I was determined to be a Broadway star and went to hour long dance intensives, but I am an adult now and couldn’t pretend my mom was calling me to take a break. Honestly, it was some of the most fun I have had in a class thus far, despite my body screaming for mercy. The instructor, who was a professional dancer, was super high energy and had the 6-packs to show for it. She definitely catered to the wide range of humans in class, from the 50-year old moms to Gigi Hadid body doubles so we all could work up a sweat. We danced, basically non stop, for 45 or so minutes to hip-hop, pop and any music variety under the sun. The moves were challenging, but definitely achievable for any level. At the end, we did 15 minutes of abs/butt work. I walked out feeling like a Rockette, so it didn’t even matter that I looked like a drunk uncle dancing at a wedding the whole time.

Day 5: Cyc Fitness

  • Location: 4 Astor Place, inside David Barton Gym
  • Difficulty: 4/5

(courtesy of @CycFitness Instagram)

So, I was a bit disheartened after my Monster experience that I almost shelled out extra bucks to head to Soul Cycle instead of Cyc, but I’m so glad that I didn’t. Cyc is located inside the super bougie David Barton Gym, but once you walk into the Cyc area the vibe is totally relaxed. Everyone is really welcoming, all body types are represented and you definitely get the feeling that nobody is being judged. Once we got into the room, the instructor introduced all the new riders by name, which really made it feel like a little team of riders instead of complete strangers. The class went hard right off the bat, with intervals and a lot of standing up/sitting back on the bike. But, the most difficult part was definitely the arm songs. Yup, that was plural; there were probably around 10 minutes of arm songs, which was actually awesome. When I left class I definitely felt a full body workout better than I ever have cycling. Who knows, I may be crossing over to the Cyc side one day soon.

Day 6: Exhale Soho: Core Fusion Barre

  • Location: 68 Spring Street
  • Difficulty: 4.75/5 (If I don’t die, I wont give anything a 5, but this was pretty close)


(Courtesy of @ExhaleSpa Instagram)

You guys. I did not expect this class to be as challenging as it was; I mean the floor was carpeted for God’s sake, but holy yoga it was. I had never been to a Barre class, so the instructor was incredibly helpful and even got my equipment for me. We started off doing some light stretches, then worked out entire body on the barre, then finished with some floor abs exercised. I have never, in my life, said, “I can’t do this” during a workout, and I used to row D1 crew, mind you, where the standard was throwing up, keep rowing. In this class, I uttered those words.  Seriously, this was tough. Your thighs, butt, abs, everything down to your eyeballs is shaking and burning, but looking around the class at the perfectly toned devotees, I could see it was definitely worth it and I would definitely put my poor body through it again to get those results!

Day 7: New York Pilates W. 3rd

  • Location: 64 W. 3rd, lower level
  • Difficulty: 1/5

(Courtesy of @NewYorkPilates Instagram)

This was my first Pilates reformer (aka the machines that vaguely look like medieval torture devices) class and I was a bit worried that I would be heavily judged. But, this Pilates studio was one of the least snooty gyms I’ve been to. The instructor took us through some basic moves, using the resistant bands and our own body weight. The moves were pretty easy to follow and the instructor came right over whenever she noticed I was having trouble. It didn’t really feel like a workout, but I would definitely recommend for anyone who is a total newbie to reformer classes and wants to learn in a comfortable environment

Day 8: Work Train Fight: Box Work

  • Location: 636 Broadway
  • Difficulty: 4/5

(courtesy of @WorkTrainFight Instagram)

This is a legit boxing gym. Like, there were jacked people everywhere kicking things, a ring in the center and dudes with padding on the sides of their heads. I was instantly worried that I was going to get killed Million Dollar Baby style (Spoiler, whoops), but I could not have been more wrong. The class was in a room separated from the other gym patrons, so it felt more like a regular exercise class than a knockout fight. We started by doing some jumping Jacks and other cardio type moves, but then the gloves came out. No, literally, we put actual boxing gloves on and punched bags attached to the ceiling (cue Rocky montage). We learned jabs, uppercuts and tons of other moves, doing them in combinations towards the end. We finished up the class by cruising through 15 minutes of circuit training. What really made the session was the trainer’s tough, but supportive demeanor that made it seem less like basic training and more like a bunch of ladies kicking ass in a room together. Maybe I will step into that ring one day after all…

Day 9: Aqua Studio NY: Restorative Aqua Cycling

  • Location: 78 Franklin Street
  • Difficulty: -1/5

(Courtesy of @AquaStudioNY Instagram)

Yup, you read -1 difficulty rating correctly. Aqua Cycling was one of the coolest ideas in theory, but should definitely not be characterized as a workout. First of all, the bike has no resistance other than the water, which makes it incredibly easy. Secondly, we did many activities where I was expected to float behind the back of a bike, do a front stroke and stay above water. This, my friends, is as impossible as standing on no legs.  Third, there was no arm work with weights, intervals or any sprints that most indoor cycling junkies are used to. Thankfully, I went with a good friend so at least we both nearly drowned together, but this class was not worth the frozen head of hair I had to deal with on my 10-minute walk home. I will say this, if you are just starting working out or have a very serious injury, this class could be a SUPER low impact and low effort way of getting back into the workout game, just don’t expect to break a sweat.

Day 10: Body Space Fitness: Metabolic Burn

  • Location: 47 W 14th Street, 5th floor
  • Difficulty: 3.75/5

(Courtesy of @BodySpaceFitness Instagram)

This class was a dream for anyone who has ever watched football players push those heavy plow-like things in movies and wanted to try, because YOU get to do it here. This was a circuit class with strength and cardio moves at each station. I had to erg on the rower, throw a medicine ball and yes, push the football thing. It was one of the most dynamic classes that I have been to, and I felt sore in places I didn’t even know I had muscles the next day.

Day 11: Cyc Fitness: Cyc45

  • Location: 4 Astor Place, inside David Barton Gym
  • Difficulty: 4.25/5

So, yes, you caught me, I went back to Cyc. But, this time I tried it on a weekday, version, which was, as expected still completely amazing. This class is what you make of it, but the instructor Marc pushes you to make the most of it. If you go to Cyc make sure you go to his class. Marc is one of the best instructors I have ever had and everyone should experience a ride with him. As usual, the class kicked my butt and it was completely worth it.

Day 12: Row House – Chelsea

  • Location:  269 W. 23rd Street
  • Difficulty: 4.5/5

(Courtesy of @RowHouseNYC Instagram)

Before I transferred to NYU, I rowed D1 crew for Fordham (go rams!) so I thought this would be a breeze. Well, let me tell you, muscle memory does not do all the work for ya, folks. We started by warming up on the ergs (the rowing machine) and then jumped right in with sprints. We did a bit of abs, then back to some sprints, finishing up with two longer sets of 3 minutes each. The instructor was great and definitely knew how to keep the group motivated as well. The class was tough, but I do have crazy amounts of rowing experience (Holla to 6 days a week 6am workouts) that made it a bit easier for me. If you are a newbie I would definitely say to come prepared to sweat. Also, make sure you know proper rowing technique; it makes everything easier and more efficient!

Day 13: Body Evolutions NYC – Pilates Reformer Class

  • Location: 266 E 10th Street
  • Difficulty: 2.5/5

(courtesy of @bodyevolutionsnyc Instagram)

This class was everything a reformer class should be. It was a small group so everyone got individual corrections; I definitely felt the burn (in my thighs, not for you Bernie) and learned some new reformer moves. The class worked my whole body, but wasn’t a heavy workout. I would equate it to doing yoga for an hour; you glisten but aren’t panting.  Also, the instructor was amazing, she really paid attention to each individual and I felt my form improve. I am so excited to come back to this class soon!

Day 14: Overthrow New York Boxing

  • Location: 9 Bleecker St.
  • Difficulty: 4.25/5

Not going to lie, I felt like Rocky through this entire workout. The studio is a bit intimidating, but the staff is so friendly and even helped with my newly purchased wraps (heads up, they are $10). We started out doing some jumping jacks, and then learned basic boxing moves. Queen, the instructor, and complete badass assigned numbers to each move, then led a “Simon Says” for a bit testing us. For the second part of class, we hit the bags and then got in the ring with Queen where we showed off the moves we had learned. We ended with a, literally, gut busting abs session and huddled up at the end. This class was tough, like sweat dripping on the floor, but it was so rewarding. I felt like I was actually learning a skill, not just working out, which made me work so much harder. Not to mention that Queen was one of the best instructors I have ever had, period. She was tough, yet super nice and even took a picture for me at the end. I might not be Rocky just yet, but one day… as long as I keep going to Overthrow.


All in all, I learned how many different types of workouts there are to do in NYC and how lucky we are to have access to them. After the two weeks I actually bought a Class Pass, pause for sounds of my wallet crying, and I am converted. Having access to so many AMAZING classes puts you into a different exercise frame of mind, where it is about exploring new interests and not logging hours on the elliptical. And working out a million times a week does have its benefits because, yes, I did fit into my favorite skinny jeans post-experiment.

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