Sweating with SwitchFit, the Marketplace for the Country’s Top Gyms

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Fit folks in New York and Los Angeles just got the greatest gym (non)membership ever: An a la carte class pass system called SwitchFit that gets you into some of the most niché, unique fitness classes in the city, without any membership dues or fees.

The program’s roster of classes reads like a cheat sheet of the buzziest modern fitness trends. In New York, that means boutique, athlete-inspired studios like Tone House, rowing machine interval-training courses like those at City Row, and the racing/cycling/weight-lifting Frankenstein’s monster of classes at Swerve, among a score of others.

Here’s how it works: SwitchFit presents users with fitness classes the same way Seamless or another food-finding app might show you pad thai in your neighborhood. The app finds classes, gym access, and trainers near you, then gives you a list with class prices, times, and distance from where you’re standing at that moment. For instance, as we swipe through the workouts available, there’s an endurance and speed class at 6:30 p.m. about 1.05 miles away for $25, and a personal trainer with an opening at 4 p.m. roughly 1.8 miles away for $65.

The pay-as-you-go model is what’s most surprising. This isn’t a system where you pay a flat fee for a set number of classes. You pay for every class individually, at a rate the gym sets. The real benefit is that you’re shown a wide range of classes you might not normally attend, like rowing or Krav Maga, for rates that, depending on the day, might be lower to fill slots — almost like a site that books empty hotel rooms at a lower rate to reduce losses. “If a gym has a Wednesday afternoon class that only sells out 75 percent of the time, they might put it up on SwitchFit for $10 instead of $20,” says SwitchFit CMO Fred Heim.

Paying individual class rates can stack up, since you aren’t getting the discount that comes with a guaranteed membership. But if you’re a fickle exerciser, or get sick of repeating the same exercises every week, SwitchFit might be worth a shot. However, Heim says, if you’re in a city other than New York or L.A., you might have to wait a while.