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Go Recess: Will it be the Open Table of boutique fitness booking?

Circuit of Change bootcamp on Go Recess

Circuit of Change of one of 100,000 fitness classes you can book at GoRecess.com

 

The boutique fitness explosion is generating new ways to book your workouts. Witness GoRecess.com, which launches today, and wants to be the “Open Table of fitness.” (It’s about to have a lot of competition.)

Founded by Megan Smyth and Billy Arzt, two former finance people obsessed with fitness (she’s a marathoner-turned-group-fitness junkie; he’s a triathlete and CrossFit dude), Go Recess allows you to search for fitness classes by type, location, or time; view which ones have availability; and book in real time. You pay the class rack rate—no discount, no Ticketmaster surcharge. And after you’ve taken it, the site prompts you to write an easy peasy mini review. Sound familiar?

“My friends and I were all dropping our gym memberships,” explains Smyth, who like many New Yorkers joined the boutique fitness zeitgeist, opting for specialty classes at specialty studios over the monthly gym model. “I had a different password for every studio, and I swear I couldn’t view more than one class schedule at a time because one would boot me out when I opened another, and it was driving me crazy. Why should it be so hard to see who has a 7:30 class open nearby?” she says. “I thought, ‘There’s got to be a better way!”

GoRecess_founders

Go Recess founders Megan Smyth and Billy Arzt

That “better way” is seamless, real-time booking of fitness classes, according to Smyth and Arzt, whose site lists thousands of studios, such as Barry’s Bootcamp, Nalini Method, and YogaVida in New York City, as well as hot spots around the country. (Go Recess gets a commission for every transaction.) One thing the studios have in common? All use the booking system/class calendar called MindBody Online, which provides Go Recess with the network. (For better or worse.)

What that means for class-goers is that the studios are not handpicked or curated into goal-oriented packages like Fitist, a site that it’ll be compared to because it was first to the boutique-fitness booking party when it launched last May. It will also be compared to other newcomers, like Classtivity.com and Workoutspots.com, which utilize strikingly similar platforms (though aesthetics vary greatly).

Why are so many businesses interested in being your fitness booker? “Anything that improves or enhances a person’s fitness routine and experience is a good thing, and booking is part of the experience,” says fitness aficionado Amanda Freeman, founder of SLT and SLT Yoga, who also works with Fitist.

One way Go Recess is setting itself apart is with a solid class selection. It includes many popular studios, like the ones mentioned earlier—and must-try newcomers like Pilates ProWorks and Chaise 23.

Although there are some holes in the roster. Pickings for yoga are slim, and premium players like Physique 57 are missing. And search under “spinning & cycling” yields class times for Cycle Bar in Brooklyn, but not SoulCycle or Flywheel.

To live up to the Open Table analogy, Go Recess (and its competitors) will have to work hard to get all studios on board—including the Eleven Madison Parks and ABC Kitchens of fitness.  —Melisse Gelula

For more information or to book a class, visit GoRecess.com

9 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. April 27th, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Just checked out the site and it’s a pretty amazing concept. As someone with unpredictable hours and frequent work-related travel, I love that I can find and book classes around my crazy, changing schedule (ie, was just able to find 8 pilates classes within a 1 mile radius of my office that offered 7:30am classes this morning, so next time I have a meeting pushed back or I’m stuck at the office late, this will be crucial to not making me feel guilty about missing my workout!) I think I can speak for most Physique and Soul Cycle addicts, who constantly stomach late cancellation fees or face 20 person waitlists, that this is a great solution to filling your workout obsession last minute or on the road without the hassle or commitment. The best part about this site is it only shows you studios that have openings, instead of clicking through several mindbody pages just to realize there is a waitlist, so I like the fact that there is a wide range of offerings giving you options that actually work for your schedule and location.

    As more workout fanatics with hectic schedules that are always changing last minute (or should I say, every New Yorker??) start using this site, at least I know I can now find easy bookings and reviews in one place! Try typing in “pilates midtown 7:30pm” into google and seeing what you come up with, then doing a whole separate search to find where the studio is even located and what its reviews are. Isn’t the point of the internet to make our lives easier? :)… Thank you gorecess!

  2. April 27th, 2012 at 9:07 am

    This site is out of the question if there’s no Physique 57 or even Soul Cycle. That’s like the NYC essential workout combo.

  3. April 27th, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Love that photo! Amazing amount of classes to pick from.

  4. April 27th, 2012 at 11:08 am

    As more workout fanatics with hectic schedules that are always changing last minute (or should I say, every New Yorker??) start using this site, at least I know I can now find easy bookings and reviews in one place! Try typing in “pilates midtown 7:30pm” into google and seeing what you come up with, then doing a whole separate search to find where the studio is even located and what its reviews are. Isn’t the point of the internet to make our lives easier? :)… Thank you gorecess!

  5. April 27th, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Gorecess.com is awesome! I book all of my classes on their site and it is great. I am going to use it all the time and cant wait for them to add more. Definitely best in class.

  6. April 27th, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Melisse, thanks for the review.

    I just used GoRecess to find fitness centers nearby that I didn’t even know existed.

  7. April 28th, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Very cool concept and certainly streamlines the whole process. I’m sure they’ll have Physique 57 and Soul Cycle in no time.

  8. April 29th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Am i the only one who’s fed up with having to sign up for places like P57 + SoulCycle Weeks in advance to get the class I want? Finally a just in time solution to suit my on the go / mile a minute NYC lifestyle!

  9. May 7th, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Terrific idea! Hats off to Megan & Billy. Looking forward using when I travel.

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