deverellsmith’s Employee Wellbeing Ambassador, Ryan Doyle, is on a mission to normalise talking about mental health in the workplace. Additionally, Ryan’s been seeking tools which provide employees with support for general employee happiness.
One of his first actions was making fitness activities accessible for everyone in the company. Enter: ClassPass.
Alice Murray, deverellsmith’s New Homes Consultant, jumped at the offering of trailing a 1-month free pass of the physical and mindful app.
You can check out her review of the app below and some of her favourite classes she attended throughout her 31 days!
Class Pass 1 month review, with Alice Murray (New Homes Consultant)
It’s Friday, it’s a dark morning in December, and I’m tired. I’ve been at my new job for just over 4 months now and whilst I am throwing myself headfirst into the dizzying world of temp recruitment, rising early and often working late, there is one area of my life that’s been severely neglected and I’m really feeling it: my physical health.
Like most of us, my relationship with exercise has been far from consistent, particularly in the last 18 months. Rewind two years ago and I was 4 months into an intense marathon training regime, getting up to 20-mile distances and actually feeling awake in the morning.
Then something happening in March 2020 and (apart from the 3 months over summer where we all got into ‘home workouts’ and lugging amazon dumbbells across the living room) my desire to train for anything other than getting through the newest episode of Line of Duty fell off the face of the earth.
So, when the opportunity arises to try out Class Pass on a month’s trial - a monthly ‘gym pass’ that grants you access to 100s of classes in London - I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Because if not now, when? Plus, the fact I was completely out of breath after climbing one set of stairs to get to the office was a shame I couldn’t take into the new year with me…
Class: BOOMCYCLE, monument
Credits per class: 8
Distance from the office: 3 minutes’ walk
Facilities: showers, towels, toiletries, hair dryers - even GHDs in the changing room!
Spinning usually makes me ill with dread - all the classes I’ve ever taken in spin, despite the endless promises “POSITIVE FUN!”, usually end with a lot of huffing and puffing, painful drum ’n’ bass beats as a soundtrack to my torture and leaving me, quite literally, going nowhere. That was until I took a BoomCycle class via class pass.
Boomcycle almost takes the concept of a fitness class on a bike - you spin to the beat of selected tracks (I highly recommend Mark on a Wednesday evening after work if you love a bit of cheesy pop to round off the day) with weights at the back of the bike for a few sections of resistance.
Time is 45 minutes, and it goes quickly. The penultimate track is done with the lights dimmed, often with the instructor bringing it back to mind and body, erring on the side of meditative practice before ending the class with a fast paced, low resistance 2 minutes.
I took three of these classes in the end! A heads up: get there 5 minutes early if this is your first class. They provide shoes which need to be clipped into the bike and you’ll need help getting set up - I still need help getting clipped on every time I go lol.
Difficulty: Medium (you can go at your pace, controlling your dial for how much resistance you want.)
Fun rating: 8/10
Energy levels throughout the day: 10/10
Class: LoveDance, Tower Hill
Credits per class: 3
Distance from the office: 25 mins walk or circle line to Tower Hill and 5 minutes’ walk
As a child and teenager, I regularly attended ballet, jazz and modern dancing - but gave most of it up for the more exciting after school activity of drinking warm cider in a park (great choices). In the relatively few dance classes I’ve taken as an adult, it’s either been in a high stakes and pressured environments - an audition or competitive Pineapple Studios class - or a fitness class that hasn’t offered anything more exciting than a Zumba 2 step.
However, when a dance instructor manages to strike the balance of being accessible to beginners but good enough for those with a little more experience to throw themselves into a routine, I find dancing and one of my number one outlets of pure joy.
Hana Chandler is a professional dancer and musical theatre performer, leading her own classes every Thursday in the Fitness First studio in Tower Hill. In my first class, we spent the first 15 minutes doing a warm and stretch session, before learning a routine inspired by the macho cast of Magic Mike - tapping into our ‘lad’ egos and just letting go, throwing ourselves into and having fun. I felt self-conscious at first, but then so did everyone else in the room, and by the end we were all just getting into it. Who cares?!
I’ve signed up to all Hana’s classes on a regular basis now! There’s been a jive routine, a lyrical flow and - my favourite - pop number to Stevie Wonder Higher ground.
Difficulty: beginner - medium, depending on your dance experience. Regardless, it doesn’t matter! A really supportive and welcoming environment, completely inclusive. There’s even a WhatsApp group to share any videos and connect.
Fun factor: 9/10
Energy levels throughout the day: 10/10
One of the best elements of ClassPass (especially when I found myself locked inside for 10 days after Christmas, thanks Omicron) is there’s a whole section of the app that runs digital classes, either audibly where an instructor can be heard through you headphones as a guide, or via video classes that you can follow. The options are endless: stretching, running, yoga, HIIT, resistance work; even mindful practices like guided meditation.
Credits: none - these ones are all free!
Distance from your bed: about 30 seconds commute, depending on how far you want to travel to the living room.
I followed this easy-to-follow audio yoga flow following a morning run to stretch and energise my core. There’s plenty of other options too - be it a 25-minute Vinyasa flow that you want to follow, or a short session like this one - all you need is a mat.
Energy levels throughout the day: 6/10 - really good way to start your morning or just before bed, depending on which class you do.
Fun factor: 7/10
Class: ‘Into the Light’ Outdoor Running (audio guide)
Energy levels throughout the day: 8/10
Fun factor: 6/10 - only criticism is you can’t choose the music they add, which is not to my taste. Would be better if you could add your own tracks!
Listening to an audio guide turns your average outdoor run into a cardiovascular therapy session! Kim talks you through the 5k run at roughly 5-minute intervals, using motivational and positive life lessons to keep you going - even if it’s as simple as reminding you to “breathe, even if that’s all you can do right now!”.
By the end I was pumped enough that I ran an extra 3k to my own tunes; something I’ve not done for over year.
Verdict: big yes.
ClassPass offers variety and accessibility that no other fitness app or gym membership has ever offered me (or at least, not enough that I am motivated to keep going!).
With features like being able to ‘favourite’ the classes you’ve enjoyed, based on the areas you travel, the app will offer new suggestions that you may not have even considered before. Add in the fact that you can add credits on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis, you’re not tied to any one gym and can try things out in different venues, making it easier to commit to a class if you’re on the move.
My biggest takeaway from it is finding an exercise that I genuinely enjoy doing, which for me is dancing. According to my Fitbit I burn about 485kcals in a hour without even thinking about the fact I’m exercising - if that isn’t a win, I don’t know what is?!