November 17 2017
Five years after admitting defeat during a high school race, this runner reflects on her eating disorder recovery.
Multiply this scenario by at least five and you will understand what used to be my typical morning when I attempted to “work out.” It didn’t usually happen. Sure, I enjoyed a fitness class from time to time. I went to yoga or Pilates or a spin class about once a month, maybe? The same applied for my running. I’d considered myself a runner for years, averaging a couple half marathons each year, usually finishing between 1:50-2 hours, only running a couple days a week as training.
Basically, I liked the idea of living a fit lifestyle and being a fast runner more than I actually liked living a life that created these things.
I live in San Francisco and had heard of ClassPass during this time—a new service that allowed all those energetic fitness types to get out there and try new studios and gyms. This came at a low cost compared to a membership at any one facility and gave them variety. I had been resistant to join. I mean, essentially unlimited sweaty yoga sounded great in theory. Bootcamps could be fun, sometimes. And I was slightly intrigued by a Pilates “reformer” that looked like a torture machine. But did I really want to pay for it? Knowing my track record of showing up, it seemed like a waste.
The breaking point for me was realizing that suddenly, I was in my 30’s, and I was doing nothing to build strength or prepare myself for a healthy aging process. I was also not doing anything that would get me even close to my goal of qualifying for Boston. I signed up for another marathon and couldn’t pull myself out of bed in time to train at that level, causing me to not even toe the line.
So I did it. I took a sweaty plunge and signed up for ClassPass. And it took about 1.5 classes for me to love it, a subsequent week for it to start to change my habits, and a couple months for me to build the strength necessary to train for a Boston-qualifying marathon without getting injured.
After now nearly 200 classes taken through this service, from yoga to Crossfit and so many classes in between, I can list the reasons why this business model has changed my life and transformed my running.
If you sign up for a class and you don’t show up, they charge you $20. That, right there, was enough to get me out of bed for 6 a.m. classes four days a week. The snooze button felt neglected. Accountability drives many people when it comes to fitness—mine apparently works best when money is on the line.
I’ve discovered that I am not a creature of habit. Sure I do tend to eat an entire tub of hummus almost every day. But when it comes to working out, I need to mix it up. The CrossFit Lite (essentially a HIIT workout) classes kick my butt (almost literally: so many squats) but I need the good deep stretching offered in heated yoga flow the next day to balance it out. I also used ClassPass to learn what classes I did not enjoy. Hatha yoga or what I like to call, sit on a mat for an hour and breathe, is not for me. Might as well have stayed in bed!
The variety was also compatible with my life. I traveled a lot and was able to use ClassPass in most major cities. I’ve taken classes from Portland to Orlando, from Chicago to NYC. No excuses for not getting to a gym when traveling!
My energy levels increased drastically with early morning workouts. (Bring on those two-a-days!) I lost weight—20 pounds over the course of four months. I built muscles, noticeable in my progress from single push-ups on the knees to 10 in plank.
And finally, I built a base to transition into marathon training. I kept my ClassPass membership during training, which allowed me to get in the much needed yoga and Pilates to balance out my stubbornness in never stretching after a run. My knee problems I had for years went away and I started to run knee brace- and pain-free.
I qualified for Boston seven months after starting ClassPass. And I crushed Boston this past April running a 3:18. I also recently ran a sub 1:30 half and I’m not slowing down. Sometimes it’s a little thing that can make a huge difference. Signing up for ClassPass and embracing the sweaty life that they promote was that thing. I became one of those energetic-fitness types. More HIIT, less snooze for me, please.