I’ve been taking advantage of two weeks of discounted classes as a new client of Freehouse Fitness. I’ve tried out a bunch of different classes and have had a really positive experience. Scroll down to read more about this studio!
The Studio: Freehouse is located on South Street between Broad and 15th in Center City. The space is light, airy and newly renovated. The high ceilings and generous lobby space give an overall roomy feel, even though the workout rooms themselves aren’t huge. There are two different rooms: one that houses the rebounder, band and mat-based classes and one with the reformers for reformer-based classes. Mirrored walls and a skylight in the back room keep it bright, while the floor to ceiling frosted windows in the reformer room let in lots of light during the day. The facilities are very clean, nice and new. There are lockers and a coat rack in the lobby, and cubbies in the back of the studio for your belongings. There are two private bathrooms with in-suite single showers – one of the nicest shower set ups I’ve seen! The bathrooms are stocked with the usual offerings, including deodorant, hair ties, etc. The also have towels, sell water and have a single serve coffee machine for client use. The front desk staff has always been incredibly friendly, welcoming and helpful.
The Format: There are several types of classes on offer at this studio: rebounder classes, mat-based classes, band classes and reformer classes. There is generally one cardio and one more strength based class in each of theses “categories”, but you can find read detailed individual class descriptions here. Each class is 50 minutes. The mat-based and rebounder classes time movements to the beat of music pumped through the sound system. The instructors use verbal cues and demonstration to urge you on and keep the classes moving.
The Workout: Again, each class is different! Rebounder classes incorporate choreographed jumps, kicks and punches on the rebounder, but they aren’t like the relaxed trampoline jumping you might remember! Controlling your movements and timing on the rebounder requires a lot of work as you isolate your lower body muscles to perform the moves correctly. Your heart rate will climb quickly. The band classes utilize bungee bands clipped into the walls to work your arms and legs. Those things provide a ton of resistance! You will be shaking within minutes. Many classes also incorporate light weights (2-5 lbs) to boost the sculpting quotient. For mat based cardio classes, expect to move around constantly, doing squats, lunges and other classic aerobics-like moves to get the blood pumping. Reformer classes use a vareity of a reformer machine to sculpt in the slow, intense movements. No two classes are the same!
The Pros: Freehouse’s variety of classes make it great option for people looking to have a “home” studio they can go to every day and get a mix of strength and cardio in one stop. The strength classes are really challenging! I workout daily and I was surprised at how hard the sculpting was, particularly the moves using the bungee bands. I also loved the feel of the studio – its bright, homey and comfortable, yet polished. The amenities and decor make it feel like you are getting what you pay for in a boutique fitness studio.
The Cons: I wish there was another, more intense cardio option on the schedule to rival the HIIT work you get at some other studios. The cardio classes are fun and upbeat, but I don’t leave feeling completely spent and exhausted. But, I do appreciate that they have several cardio influenced options on the schedule already – something hard to come by at a lot of places! In addition, because of the small studio size, the class sizes are small and thus, more difficult to get into or switch. You really have to book in advance (seems to be at least a week out if you want the before/after work ones, even longer for weekends), and if your plans change, you will likely be waitlisted (and those waitlists do not move much).
The Pricing: I’ve been taking advantage of the new-client deal: two weeks of unlimited classes (both reformer and otherwise) for $90. Beyond new client, they offer many different pricing options and combinations of classes. Reformer classes ($26 for one) are more expensive than the mat/rebounder/band classes ($18) and come in regular or combination class packs. The monthly unlimited includes both types of classes for $230 a month. Not a bargain, but not completely out of the realm of boutique studios. The interesting mix of cardio and strength classes will keep my coming back!