Gymgoers who aren’t ready to commit — and fitness studios looking to reach more clients — can try a new option that’s popped up in the metro area.

A program that first got rolling on the coasts lets exercise aficionados and beginners book classes at gyms and fitness studios they don’t belong to at a discount. It’s designed for users to try new fitness trends without a traditional membership. It also helps gyms fill empty spots.

ClassPass, the fitness class booking app and website, launched in Omaha in early November.

Would-be gymgoers can purchase monthly ClassPass memberships at between $29 and $79 in exchange for credits. Those credits let them book classes.

So far, more than 60 gyms and fitness studios in the Omaha area are on the app. Classes include yoga, kickboxing, cycling, ballet and martial arts.

“It’s about experiencing fitness options in your area and having an easy way of discovering those options,” said ClassPass spokeswoman Lauren Craft.

Mary Clare Sweet, owner of Lotus House of Yoga, had the program on her radar for a while. Sweet put full schedules for her three Omaha locations on ClassPass.

Many people may not realize that the studio offers more than yoga, she said. This way, Lotus can reach more people and introduce potential clients to its cycling, Pilates and barre classes.

“It gives a lot of people an opportunity or window into a studio without commitment,” Sweet said.

Lotus has seen about 70 ClassPass users so far. Of those, three have converted into full-time Lotus members.

On average, local classes cost about four credits. But prices vary. A ClassPass algorithm sets the rate. It’s based on popularity and time of day, among other things.

At the lowest tier membership, which is $29, users can expect to take between three and five classes. That means users are spending about $6 to $10 per class. A drop-in fee at Lotus is $18.

The lower price is a bonus for exercisers. And it’s good for the studio because it fills a spot that would otherwise be empty.

What’s to stop someone from buying a ClassPass and taking their favorites every day at a discounted rate? If someone signs up for the same class more than three times in one month, the credit price goes up, making that cost-prohibitive.

Katy Spratte Joyce gave ClassPass a try during a one-month free trial. Happy with her experience, the Omaha woman is continuing her membership.

So far she’s tried yoga and spin classes, which have ranged from one to five credits.

Spratte Joyce has a gym membership, too, but ClassPass has helped her to add in variety.

“I really liked that no matter where I was in my day, I could find something that fit,” she said. “No matter where I am in town, I can find a spot that’s convenient.”

There’s no cost to businesses that put classes on the app. The studio — and ClassPass — make money each time someone books a class through the program. ClassPass wouldn’t disclose the percentage of the fee it takes.

While Lotus offers a full schedule on ClassPass, other gyms have been more selective. CrossFit Elkhorn limits openings to two or three per class, said owner Trevor Baxter. He wants to create a good experience for ClassPass users and his existing members.

“We want quality to be really high and there’s a lot of coaching involved,” Baxter said.

Baxter said he hopes to offer spaces in the gym’s other classes, like cardio and barbell, on the app moving forward.

Baxter said it’s a chance to get new customers in the door.

“We think CrossFit is for everyone. We just have to find a way to break that barrier or intimidation,” Baxter said.

Spratte Joyce plans to use ClassPass in other cities when she travels for work. Being healthy while traveling is a necessity because she does it so often, she said.

She has more than doubled her workout routine since getting ClassPass. She’s hoping that helps her get in shape to climb Machu Picchu next fall. In addition to hitting the gym twice a week, she’s now using ClassPass at least three times a week.

“It’s been a really great addition to my workout routine,” she said.

Kelsey covers health and fitness for The World-Herald. Follow her on Twitter @kels2. Phone: 402-444-3100.

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