Back in March, I moved to Amsterdam and accepted a new job that would only begin in May – and so, to keep myself from going entirely insane and as another excuse to explore the city, I decided to join ClassPass. For your first month, you get 20 free credits, which can be used on a multitude of different classes at different locations.
Let’s start with a necessary confession: I do not take to exercise like a duck to water. I walk a lot, but otherwise my idea of burning off calories is throwing questionable shapes of a Saturday evening. So the allure of variety was strong when it came to choosing ClassPass, giving my lockdown bod and I an opportunity to try a bunch of new exercises without committing to any one course. For context, I once signed up for a £40 bundle of three Pole Dancing lessons when living in the UK, of which I attended a grand sum of zero.
Another perk of ClassPass is that a lot of venues offer a 50% discount on your first visit, even once you’ve completed your trial and moved onto the full membership. This has been super handy for squeezing in as many classes as possible within the 20 credit limit before upgrading (I managed 5!) and has continued to offer up new opportunities that I mightn’t have been exposed to otherwise.
Here are some of the class types I’ve attended since joining ClassPass 6 weeks ago:
- Spin (lots of Spin)
- Reformer Pilates
- Yin Yang Yoga
- Beginners’ Pole Dancing
- Holy Booty
- Bike Rental (24 hours!)
- Lane Swimming
- Hot Yoga
The 5 Classes I Attended During My Free ClassPass Trial
Of the four Spin classes I’ve done in the past month, this one was interestingly my least favourite. I think this might’ve had something to do with the fact that it was my first foray into proper exercise since lockdown and I felt like I might die at any given point for the entire class.
The class itself was decent, good energy from the instructor Thomas, but the music was a bit too generic techno for my liking (the best class I’ve been to so far started with Bittersweet Symphony and peaked with some Rihanna… you can take the girl out of Wigan…).
I’ve found Rocycle classes to be friendlier and have exclusively attended their various locations since.
2. Reformer Pilates Class at PLTS
Firstly, I’d like to mention how lovely and accommodating the staff are at PLTS near Wibautstraat: they let me borrow some pilates socks for free as my UK card wouldn’t work and I was visibly fretting. As a pale, skinny-fat exercise newbie with tattoos and a British accent, not all exercise venues feel particularly welcoming, so it was an encouraging gesture when I really just wanted to do a runner out of the door.
This class took no prisoners and I’m sure I snapped at least three things conducive to baby-making in that 45 minutes – but man, it was weirdly fun. I’d done Spin classes in the past, but Reformer Pilates was an entirely new one for me – the aim of the game being to avoid clanking your platform whilst performing a medley of repeated resistance moves.
I’ve not been back since as – full transparency – I want to build up my strength a bit first and I felt like a clangy wally compared to the lithe Dutch women just getting on with it.
Set in cute little Studio 191 in otherwise rather chaotic De Pijp, this Friday lunchtime Yoga session was the perfect way to set some intentions before ruining them all at the weekend. The instructor Albert was very calming and welcoming, with the class size sitting around 10 of us.
My only issue with this class was – due to my absolute newbieness – there were a number of optional pieces of kit (e.g. blocks and blankets) that weren’t explained at the beginning of the session. Thankfully, the Dutch are friendly and the person next to me guided me through when I looked particularly lost.
I’m not sure whether it was something to do with the time of the month, or that it was just a particularly moving moment, but this Yoga session had me feeling all kinds of emotions. This has also happened in a Spin class recently – what’s going on? Who is she?
As you may have realised from my failed attempt at attending the Pole Dancing course I’d booked for myself – I was absolutely bricking it when it came to the prospect of this class. I managed to rope a friend into coming with me, but needn’t have worried: the instructor and other girls participating were all really friendly (and thankfully patient).
I like to think I’m a person with a bit of grace and pizazz – they didn’t award me “Best Dancer” three nights in a row at Butlins when I was 10 for nothing – but then I remember the time in high school when my Dance teacher said “Ebony, you look like you’re about to give yourself whiplash”.
So whether or not I was any good at this is by-the-by – and I’ve not had chance to return since – but Pole Dancing is a great way of exercising without properly realising that you are (until the next day, anyway). The time absolutely flew by and you concentrate so much on your strength and posture to do the moves that you haven’t time to be clock-watching.
Christ on a stairclimber, this was solid. The instructor was helpful at the beginning of the class, taking myself and another newbie into the room to explain the process before everyone got started. However, the fast pace of this class had me wrecked and I just couldn’t keep up at some points. Due to the volume of the music, it was also difficult to understand what we were supposed to be doing, but the bits I understood and could still breathe for were fun.
The Saints & Stars building in Oud-Zuid is reason enough to go to one of these classes; they’re absolutely stunning inside and out. Changing rooms are spa-quality and the building itself is a converted church.
If you’d like to try ClassPass for yourself, you can sign up for your first month free with this referral link. If you’ve already tried ClassPass, what do you think of it? I’m not sure whether I’ve just been lucky in Amsterdam!