ClassPass breaks out of the classroom with its new audio app

Health, Fitness & Food

ClassPass wants give users a way to work out even when they can’t make it to a class.

The start-up best known for its fitness class subscription service is launching a free app loaded with audio workout tracks. Called ClassPass Go, it’s ClassPass’ latest attempt to diversify its business and expand its reach beyond the cities it operates in.

With the audio app, people will ideally be able to access workouts wherever they are — even if that means they’re in a market where ClassPass isn’t available. Yet it also means ClassPass will enter an increasingly crowded space with both start-ups like Aaptiv and established names like Peloton.

“We want this to be a product that’s not just being used in big cities but also smaller towns and even globally,” said ClassPass Senior Product Manager Dhaval Chadha.

ClassPass Go will initially feature cardio options — both indoor equipment such as the elliptical and outdoor options such as running and walking — high-intensity interval training, strength, yoga and meditation, Chadha said. ClassPass trainers will talk users through the moves, similar to other audio fitness apps.

Earlier this year, ClassPass introduced a video product called ClassPass Live. Subscribers receive a heart-rate monitor and a Google Chromecast so they can stream live classes or follow a pre-recorded session on their television.

ClassPass has helped fuel interest in boutique fitness by giving consumers a way to dabble in different classes at prices that are typically less expensive than buying individual ones. But the number of studios, or lack thereof, limits which markets ClassPass can enter.

“This is about getting the brand out and known and part of people’s lives. Our geographic footprint is limited right now, and we want to expand outside of that and build exposure and brand awareness,” Chadha said.

In offering a free app, ClassPass hopes to build brand awareness, especially in areas where the traditional offering isn’t available, Chadha said. Adding digital options is becoming a common play among fitness brands with physical footprints. Just last week, CorePower Yoga unveiled its CorePower Yoga On Demand app.

Even Peloton, whose business model is slightly different but still based on physical products, launched an app earlier this summer. Its core business remains its bikes, treadmills and the subscriptions it sells to stream classes on the hardware, though like ClassPass, the digital option gives it a way to reach more people.

Since ClassPass’ app is free, it won’t generate any revenue, Chadha said. He anticipates possibly adding a paid premium option one day.

ClassPass overhauled its subscription business earlier this year, moving to a credit system from a flat rate for all workout classes. Some users decried the move, saying it effectively raised prices and limited the number of classes they could take.

Despite the backlash, ClassPass said the change hardly affected membership. It raised $85 million in new funding earlier this month.

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