July was Budget Month, which meant a budget themed challenge was in order. One thing we cannot live without is regular exercise.
In an (un)scientific study we found that on days we started with exercise, we were more productive than on those we didn’t. But, figuring out this key to productivity means that we’ve spent a fair amount of time and money on exercise – one of our non-negotiable must haves.
But sometimes you want a class. A vibrant, pumping workout session that requires no thought on your part, just movement and a whole lotta sweat.
There are plenty of classes and gyms to choose from, but they all come with hefty monthly memberships that slim your bank account along with your body.
Enter Fitkey, the key to affordable fitness and our budget month monthly challenge.
Fitkey was started by two Americans named Evan and Josh who wanted a more affordable and streamlined way of being able to go to a variety of fitness classes without being locked into hefty membership fees. For just R695 a month you get access to dozens of gyms and studios around Gauteng and the Western Cape.
And so we downloaded the Fitkey App and for the entire month of July used it as our main method of fitness. Along the way we took notes, lessons, some muscle gains and finally; the results are in and they’re sweaty.
Day 1 we signed up and downloaded the app (available here) and started scrolling through endless lists of classes. There was a slight moment of overwhelmtion at all the choices in front of us; which was mostly cured by resetting our Fitkey profiles according to location, time and types of exercise.
We took a breather, returned and promptly started booking classes. The app is seamless, classes are able to sync to your calendar, easy to use and within minutes we’d booked an entire week’s worth of classes which was nearly as fun as adding shoes to an online shopping basket, until we realised that we weren’t just adding virtual items to a cart, we would need to get up and quite literally go.
Each time we hit book, our inboxes pinged with an email notification from Fitkey reminding us of our numerous decisions to exercise. Fitkey continued reminding us about our enthusiasm to get fit, by emailing after each class officially allowing us to review and rate the class, unofficially ensuring we actually made it to the classes we booked.
The first week saw us attending Sweat1000, BootyBarre, Switch and an unfortunate class that can only be described as a bad comedy plot. The second week we added Boxfit and Pilates to our list, by the third week a Ballet class, which I only agreed to, to let Feige live out her childhood dream of being a ballerina. By the fourth week, we had a solid idea of what we liked and didn’t.
Within one month, with just one app and one booking system, we got to try out dozens of new workouts. Some we’d been wanting to do for a while and others we never knew existed. We got to really test our fitness levels by trying out completely different classes targeting different areas, meet new people and discover muscles we never knew existed.
We found studios we loved and made sure we got in the full 3 monthly visits and others we viewed as good for research purposes. We also picked up some lessons and tricks to figuring out if Fitkey is for you and how to use the Fitkey app to its fullest.
The best way to Use the Fitkey App
Class bookings close anywhere between 18 hours to 20 minutes before the class. Every weekend we booked our full week’s classes. This meant we got into the classes we wanted and were able to schedule our weeks better.
Do your research before going to a class you’ve never heard of. When it comes to the classes you’ve heard before like Sweat1000 or Switch it’s not necessary, but when it comes to classes and studios you’ve never heard of, do your research. Check their website or social pages to get a feel for what it may be like. We only had two negative class experiences – but both were booked without actually looking into the studios.
In addition, other Fitkey users we spoke to at classes had experiences where they showed up to a class that wasn’t there. This does seem to be the exceptions, not the norm, as Fitkey does notify studios of bookings and both users praised the way Fitkey handled the mishaps.
Only being able to visit the same studio 3 times a month, doesn’t sound like a lot; until you see how many classes there are that you want to go to and 3 becomes plenty. We were able to go to a Fitkey affiliated studio 5-6 times a week and had one of the most active and fitness intense months ever. We also varied our studios on a weekly basis, meaning we didn’t visit the same studio twice in the same week, it makes it more interesting and by the time you go back to that class, you’re excited.
The Fitkey app is a great way of finding smaller gyms and fitness groups. As much as we loved hitting up Sweat1000 and Switch, some of our ffavoriteclasses like Smith’s Boxing Gym Boxfit were at smaller gyms we had never heard of, and if not for Fitkey, would never have. It also exposed us to classes like The Body Workshop’s BootyBarre and Pinnacle Performance’s Runners Pilates that weren’t just about working up a huge sweat but focused on small movements to build strength and prevent injuries.
Fitkey is not all group fitness classes – while the majority of offerings on the app were classes, there was also gym passes available, which allows you to go to a gym during certain hours and make use of their facilities. This means you’re still able to get into a gym and do your own thing without having to have a gym membership.
Aside for being the most affordable way to get in a huge variety of different workouts and a novel answer to a standard gym membership, Fitkey is best if you’re…
New to fitness and exercise and don’t know what to do or what you like
Part of turning fitness into an essential is finding the exercise you love. Fitkey is the best and most affordable way to discover that. You get to try out every type of exercise class from boxing to yoga to group fitness workouts to ballet and so much more. Within a month of using Fitkey, you’ll know what type of exercise can become your thing; and better yet know exactly where to go to get it.
You’ve hit a plateau or are in between training
Spending a month trying out different types of exercise gave us a new boost of excitement when it comes to fitness. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut of doing the same old exercise, and this allows you to break right out of it. We think it’s something that would be really great to do in-between training, like after Comrades or Ironman when you’ve overdosed on the intense running, swimming and cycling routine and want something fresh.
Looking to meet people and make friends
A lot of the classes we went to had a community feel to them. While you may feel uncomfortable at your first class, by the third you’ll feel right at home and you get to meet people you already have something in common with.
Get bored easily or want variety
There are so many options in this one app, it’s virtually impossible to get bored. You have your High-Intensity classes, Cardio Classes, Crossfit Classes, boxing, Yoga, Pilates, Ballet and we even spotted nutritional talks on the app. With Fitkey you can quite literally go to a different studio and enjoy a completely different routine every single day of the month.
Want to try Fitkey? Sign up here
UPDATE: Fitkey increased pricing and added new plans from August 14, 2017. To find out about those changes click here