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One fitness pass to rule them all in Vancouver

Subscription promises unlimited classes at studios

Between the long hours beauty blogger Sheila Pan works, she hardly has time to schedule exercise sessions in the week, never mind having a regular fitness routine. But since Wednesday she’s already sweated out at Tantra Fitness using a monthly subscription service with access to classes across Vancouver.

The monthly subscription service known as ClassPass launched March 11 in Vancouver following similar ventures in major cities including Toronto and in the U.S. It offers members an unlimited number of classes at all the studios it has partnered with for $99 per month. It’s entirely possible to be breaking a sweat in a yoga class at one end of the city and pumping up heart rates at cycling and Pilates class the next day at the opposite end of the city. 

Pan is one of the few trying out her free pass given by ClassPass. So far, she’s taken a cardio strip tease class in Richmond at Tantra Fitness. Between downtown Vancouver where she works and Richmond where she lives, Pan said she’ll be able to schedule sessions on weekdays downtown and take classes in Richmond during the weekend. She said the flexibility to choose from different locations and the price point will likely be the biggest draws for people signing up. But it’s hard to predict how this will change fitness routines of Vancouverites who are loyal to the studios they frequent.

“Exercise is a huge part of our lives but we already have a place that we’re dedicated to, so people going to yoga will only go to a certain yoga studio or people like spin will only go to a certain studio for spin.”

Daniela Wilman, program director at Tantra Fitness Vancouver, said the program opens up their studios to customers who may be hesitant to try their classes, which are rooted in pole dancing.

“We wanted to just let people who are going to their regular yoga class or their regular kind of niche fitness classes in Vancouver, just to try and get them outside their box a little bit,” he said.

Ever since the launch of ClassPass, Wilman reported a handful of new clients to their studio and spoke to a woman who has added kickboxing and classes at Tantra to her routine.

ClassPass doesn’t compete with the studios’ own memberships, said Anya Walsh, general manager of Eastwood Cycle Sanctuary, one of the over 70 participating studios in Metro Vancouver approached by ClassPass. The program caps members from visiting the same studio three times a month. After clients have tried their studio using the ClassPass, the goal for the studio is to attract long-term members with their own membership deals.

Eastside Fitness was one of the studios that turned down the ClassPass idea.

“The exposure is great but for fitness studios and fitness routines to be truly effective and consistent, a person needs to be very close to where they work out,” said Darnelle Moore, owner of Eastside Fitness, in an email to the Courier.

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