How Much Is Too Much to Pay for a Fitness Class?

spin class
Philadelphians may have a bit of an inferiority complex when we compare ourselves to New Yorkers (c’mon, you know it’s true), but if there’s one way in which I’m happy we’re not like our neighbor to the north, it’s cost of living: Rent, food, beer and, yes, even fitness classes tend to cost a helluva lot more up there. Big Apple-based blog Well+Good NYC today lamented the high price of some New York fitness classes at in vogue places like SoulCycle, where classes cost upwards of $30 (!!).

While we may have not (yet) have to fork over three 10-spots for a class (with the exception of Rowzone, where a single class pass is exactly $30), we’re not all that far behind. Examples: Classes at perennially popular Lithe Method cost $22 for drop-ins; at Pure Barre, they’re $23. A ride at Flywheel is $25, while dropping in at Bikram Yoga Philadelphia will cost you $20.

From what I’ve seen, the median price for classes here is around $17. (Before you jump down my throat, I know there are such things as class cards, which typically give you incremental discounts for the more classes you buy at once. But in the interest of comparing apples to apples, I’m only looking at drop-in prices.)

While doing one or two classes occasionally won’t break the bank, it would feel like a stretch, at least for my bank account, to do any of them with multiple-times-a-week regularity. I know plenty of people who do, so maybe it’s just a priority thing, but the whole money conversation makes me wonder: How much is too much to pay for a fitness class? In other words, what would be your no-way-no-how breaking point? $20 a class? $25? $30?

Take the poll below so we can see where the Be Well community stands.

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  • xmixiex

    The cost of classes here kills me. I try to balance it out with free workouts (running, walking) but if they were more affordable I’d definitely be at classes more.

  • Facebook User

    I use my X-Box Kinect and its Fitness Games for my classes. With the camera that tracks your moves and the virtual personal trainer giving you feedback, I like it more than being jammed into a class. One factor that you don’t mention above is that (at least in my experience) a facility won’t set a practical size limit on a class that doesn’t involve equipment like an elliptical or bike. So in many cases, you’re bumping extremities with the people on the next mat, or crashing into them during kickboxing, etc. It’s really annoying when you pay $20 for a spot in a class and have to endure the overloaded class.

  • Alison

    I pay a lot for Pure Barre classes, but that’s because they’re the only exercise that I really look forward to and enjoy doing. Plus, I buy classes in packages, which brings the prices down to about $17/class, or even less, if you pick an unlimited package. I’m willing to adjust my budget elsewhere, and frankly, paying so much motivates me to go, whereas if I paid in advance for a $10 class, I would be more likely to skip, figuring it’s not that much money anyway.

  • Christine Gallagher

    If the class is good people will pay. Over $25 seems a bit steep unless maybe its small group training and you are getting some more individualized coaching. But I think charging $10 could result in the class not lasting very long…as a business person you have to keep in mind the economics of running classes and there are a lot of expenses people just don’t realize. Its why Lithe and Pure barre are still around after a few years. charging too little may be but the customer wants but it may not cover costs to keep the class going.