It’s no secret that I love my ClassPass membership. I basically rave about it to anyone that I meet and can't stop talking about how amazing it is. There's recently been some changes to the model which I'm disappointed about, but I'll get to that in a second...In case you've been living under a rock for the last year and haven't heard about Classpass (they just celebrated it's 1-year Aussie anniversary), let me fill you in:
ClassPass is a monthly membership to a whole bunch of boutique gyms and studios. You pay a monthly fee but instead of being limited to one venue (as traditional memberships work), you get to choose where to work out from their long list of gyms, yoga studios, clubs etc. I used to be on their unlimited plan ($99/month), which allowed you to do as many classes in a month as you like, capped at three per studio. Now....they recently decided to cancel this plan as it wasn't cost-effective for the company (probably due to people like me who were using the pass to go work out twice a day....) For the same price of $99/month, you now only get to go to 10 studios a month. That's a third of what it previously was.
I'm not going to lie, I'm kinda disappointed. Like very very very disappointed. Classpass, if you're reading this, I'd be MORE than happy to pay double the price (or more) of what I used to pay if that means you bring back an unlimited plan. That's how much I love the idea of Classpass!
But regardless of these changes, it's actually still super cost-effective for us consumers when you compare it to normal drop-in rates in most boutique studios, so don't be disheartened by my previous comment. Thanks to ClassPass I get to try things I’ve never done before (hello barre and acro yoga ), and find favorites that become part of my weekly schedule.We all know you need to keep your body guessing in order to get the most out of your training and when workouts become too repetitive, motivation tends to dwindle.
What's even better is that the membership allows you to change the city you are based in so you can book into classes while you are traveling or away for work. For example, I'm going to Melbourne next weekend so I will be able to try out the studios there and then I'm in NYC over Christmas and can use my pass there as well, yipee!
But don't take my word for it, why not try it yourself with this two week trial for $19 (which is how I got hooked).
And if you're wondering which workouts to tackle first, here are some of my all-time favorite studios. I've done over 130 classes already and there's many more studios that I love, but these are some of my favorites:
Urban Yoga - Surry Hills
Yoga at Urban Yoga has become a fixed part of my workout routine. It's like no other yoga class I've ever done before, and here's why:
At the front of the room, there's a massive screen that showcases all kind of inspirational footage during the class. Imagine doing a sun salutation and catching a glimpse of a baby polar running through snow, or doing a back twist while watching surfers enjoying the waves at Bondi. Then there's the sound: DJ-mixed tunes have you forget time and space and you just flow through your practice. I've taken out my phone in the middle of practice just to shazam a song, not kidding!
The best part? In most classes, there are two teachers, one that runs the class and the other one that walks around and helps you correct your form. If that wasn't enough, you also get the most amazing head massage at the end using a specially designed essential oil mix from Orchard Street. Then there is the studio itself, from the gorgeous reception area, the mega-friendly staff and the comfy couch for post-yoga chill time.
P.S.: This was one of the first studios I went to once I moved to Sydney and for the first two weeks I would lie in savasana and just start crying because I was so happy with my decision to come to Sydney. Maybe it also had something to do with Patrick's soothing voice and his amazing head rubs.....
With three beautiful studios in CBD, Surry Hills and Bondi Junction, you can't get away with being on Classpass and not trying BarreBody at least once. At Barre Body, you can expect a complete body workout fusing ballet barre conditioning, yoga and pilates, designed to tone your entire body, creating longer, leaner muslces. I've tried all of their classes (Barre Body, Barre Moves, Barre Cardio, Barre Tone and Barre Fit) and I honestly loved every single one of them. I'd have to say that my favourite is Barre Body though, their signature class, because it fuses flowing yoga sequences with both interval training and isometric exercises incorporating hand weights, mat work and the barre.
The first class I did was, put simply, bloody hard. I underestimated just how much a slight bend in my legs (aka ‘plie’) could hurt. Similar to Reformer Pilates, a Barre class has you performing tiny, one-inch increments called isometric movements that really get your muscles fired up. It might look easy, but trust me it's not!
All of the studios are great, but if you can I definitely recommend checking out the CBD studio on Castlereagh Street. With it's art deco inspired floors, high ceiling and arched windows, it's certainly the most fancy place I've ever broken a sweat in.
Serotonin - CBD
As much as I love doing more yoga/barre/reformer with Class Pass, I miss my weight lifting sessions from my days in Switzerland. When I'm craving a workout that involves a lot of weights, squats, deadlifts and anything that makes me feel bad ass, I come to Serotonin Fitness for a group weightlifting session.
I can especially recommend Serotonin to anyone that's new to lifting weights and needs assistance with their form, as the trainers there will really be able to guide you, correct you and recommend the right weight for you.
Sky Lab - Surry Hills
Sky Lab is a hidden gem of an aerial yoga studio located a quick walk from Central Station in Surry Hills. Located on the 4th floor of a graffiti-sprayed run down building in Surry Hills, with the entrance being a shabby grey door next to an Indian take away, it certainly has a character of it's own. But don't let yourself be fooled by the initial appearance; once you open the doors to the studio you are greeted to a sun-flooded room with beautiful white hammocks hanging from the ceiling.
Aerial Yoga is designed to help lengthened, strengthened and decompress the spine while working on flexibility and strenght. If you want to learn more about aerial yoga in general and watch a video I did some time ago, click here.
But back to Sky Lab...They offer a whole range of classes from Beginner Antigravity® Aerial Yoga classes perfect for flying-newbies, Aerial Yoga Gentle, Aerial Barre, Aerial Pilates and a dynamic aerial conditioning class called Aerial Fit.
I've only done the Aerial Fit class and boy let me tell you, I did not mentally prepare myself for how difficult it was going to be! I'd like to think that I have somewhat of a base strenght and have quite good of a core, but that was one hell of a class. Think inverted sit-ups, chin ups and hanstands, all up in the air. There's also plenty of inversions, which I personally LOVE. If you're new to aerial yoga or yoga in general, I'd definitely recommend doing some of their other classes first though.
Either way, I'm sure you'll leave the studio feeling lighter and buzzing from the inside, because that's what flying does to you!
Humming Puppy - Redfern
Originally from Melbourne, Humming Puppy has just opened it’s second set of heavenly-graffiti-sprayed doors, this time in Redfern.
More than just the physical practice of yoga, your experience begins the moment you sign up and book your mat online. When I first walked in, I couldn't even believe that this was the reception of a yoga studio, I thought I had accidentally stepped into a hotel lobby. The first thing you'll notice when taking a class at Humming Puppy is that the room quite literally 'Hum's'... and this is by no means an accident! The studio uses a combination of 7.83hz and 40hz, which is the frequency of the earth and helps you ground through your practice. You know that feeling of groundedness when you're in nature? That's exactly how you'll feel during this class. The space is also heated to 27 degrees – in my opinion just warm enough. P.S.: No need to bring your own mat or towel!
Humming Puppy also deserves a 10/10 for post-class coziness and there's always a choice between two different types of teas and coconut water.
Physicore - Surry Hills
Physicore is one of the latest editions to the Class Pass family - to my great pleasure. I'd been hoping they would jump onto the bandwagon, and now they finally have! You bet that I use up all three classes each month... With studios in Paddington, Surry Hills and Mosman, there's no excuse not to try one of their 50-minute classes. Physicore is a boutique studio concept offering functional training and full body conditioning with a strong focus on building core strength. You can choose between Megaformer classes or HIITCore workouts, which I'll explain in a second.
A Megaformer workout is all about those slow twitch muscle fibers aka our fat-burning muscles, so this workout is perfect for that whole “lean, toned” look. If your first class is anything like my first, expect to feel humbled (in a good way!). I thought I was in great shape when I walked into Physicore for my first class, but was shaking like a leaf by the end; unable to get through some moves without taking a break. It trained my body in such a different way to what I am used to and consequently I was/always am left sore the following day, especially in my obliques and lower back. It also takes a couple classes to get totally comfortable with the machine, so don’t be discouraged if you feel like you’re fumbling through transitions your first couple classes.
I'm also a fan of their HIITCore classes, which are high intensity interval trainings with either a focus on cardio or strength. The classes are kept super small (usually around 4 people), so you really get a personalized session and there's no way to cheat your way out of it!
Yoga Bar - CBD
The Yoga Bar is located in the heart of the Westfield Sydney food court, making it perfect for anyone working in the city and looking for a pre-work yoga sesh or even a lunch time class. They offer a great mix of classes such as Vinyasa Flow, Hot Yoga (it's not actually Hot Yoga, it's just a slightly heated room), Barre and Pilates.
The best part? There's an Activewear store and Wholefoods café attached to it, so you can do a bit of browsing after class or grab a smoothie/food with a friend afterward. I might be a bit bias about the collection of brands as they stock Vie Activewear, but I'd say they have a pretty amazing collection of brands there.
For food, I can definitely recommend the strawberries and peanut butter on toast and matcha lattes, I just had them the other day with Vic when we went.
Vanessa Rodriguez is one of newer teachers there and her teaching style is straight to the point, visual and very technical. You either love it or hate it, but I personally loved it!
P.S.: The pose below might look easy, but I did it for the first time in Vanessa's class and I actually found it incredibly challenging.
Hom Yoga - Surry Hills
Hom Yoga is quite an institution in Sydney, offering all forms of practice including ‘Hot Flow’, Vinyasa, Yin Yang, Asthanga, Yin and a 45min Flow express class with highly regarded teachers. The Surry Hills studio opened three months ago after the success of the Darlinghurst studio, which means that I now have a studio even closer to my home, yay!
Hom is another one of those studios that just makes you feel calm from the moment that you walk in. From the white minimalistic design, the friendly reception staff, the candles burning and the gorgeous natural light streaming through the windows, everything just screams zen.
I personally enjoy doing yoga in a heated environment, which is exactly what Hom yoga offers. But not all of their classes are heated, like the Yin Yang class; Yin Yang is the amalgamation of two opposing energies, meaning the first half of the class is dedicated to a more dynamic asana practice (the yang) wherereas the second half focuses on restorative poses to nourish the body (the yin).
I can especially recommend a class with Marcus who's creative flows and adjustments in savansa are something that that I haven't experienced anywhere else.