According to Runner’s World, there are several benefits to cross-training. This includes recovery, injury prevention, and overall boredom-reduction. In addition to hydration and rest, it’s so important to incorporate other movements into your training (your body will thank you later). I personally love mixing up running with other exercise — specifically fitness classes.
I’ve tried LOTS of studios in the ‘burgh, so below is a rundown of my favorites. Just call me a studio whore. 🙂 When ClassPass came to town, I was THRILLED. I will never buy an unlimited pass anywhere because I am not going to come enough, given how I like to hop around. Any given week for me could including running at home or outside, taking a spin class, a barre or yoga class, and OrangeTheory (not on ClassPass, sadly). I pay $20 a month for ClassPass, which gives me 18 credits. You can find classes anywhere from 3-12 credits, give or take. I like to stick with 6-credit classes, which gives me 3 classes a month. Perfect to supplement with my OrangeTheory membership of 4 classes a month and running (which is free!).
ClassPass rolls over unused credits, too (I believe mine is up to 6 a month). And if you refer a friend, you can get $30 off! There are a good bit of classes on the app (they’ve added a lot more since they began here), so I recommend checking out your favorite studios/what’s near your home or work, and if you see things you like, try it out (shameless plug, my link will help you AND me)! The app is fairly user-friendly and syncs with your calendar. You can also add friends on it and see what they are doing to join them. Did I mention you can change your location and use it while traveling, too? Very convenient (just watch out for higher prices in more pricey cities like NYC, DC and LA.) But honestly, a regular class here is upwards of $20 and on ClassPass I pay about $6.50. Score!
I also have MINDBODY (which doesn’t always sync up with ClassPass, FYI, also am I the only one who hates that name?), but that’s another nice app to see how many passes you have if you buy them through the studios, and they also have last-minute class deals to snag. I also subscribe to my favorite studio emails and Instagrams too, so when they have deals I buy them so I have extra passes in my back pocket at any time, too, in case I’ve gone over my credits for the month and want to add (ClassPass lets you add, too.). See I told you, studio whore. I also make sure to plan my week out so I don’t forget where I’m going. Thank goodness for my planner.
After ALL that, let’s get to it! (Disclaimer: I live in the North Hills so I definitely play favorites.)
Barre, HIIT & Multiple Offerings
- OrangeTheory (Wexford, and also locations in East Liberty and Robinson)
- Pros: AMAZING HIIT workout (includes guided running, rowing and weights with a coach each class). You’re synced with a heart rate monitor so you can get your heart rate up to the orange zone and maximize calorie burn. I sometimes burn up to 600 calories in a one-hour class. It’s one of my favorite workouts and PUSHES me.
- Cons: NOT on ClassPass. Switching studios is a pain if you want to go elsewhere, NYC studios charge you extra to come even with a membership, and ridiculous wait lists and you have to sign up for classes two weeks in advance. Once you “get” the system it become less annoying, though. I stick to the same time/day each week to stay sane.
- Meraki Studio (Strip District)
- Pros: On ClassPass. Beautiful studio, super nice instructors, great classes. I love the BarreAmped class and the fun (and hard!) trampoline classes. I also don’t sweat too much at BarreAmped so I can go before work and get to my desk by 7:40.
- Cons: You have to pay for parking between 8 and 5 is really the only one I can think of (that’s why I go before 8!).
- The Barre Code (North Hills, and also a Shadyside location)
- Pros: On ClassPass. Fun, quick (only 50 minutes) and upbeat. They also do free outdoor classes in the summer. And cute socks.
- Cons: None really!
- Local Motion (Homestead)
- Pros: I have only gone a few times and did an outdoor class once but great spin and yoga! Nice staff. Lots of fun events. I think they also have a coffee shop right inside.
- Cons: Parking can be a little tricky but not too bad.
I first discovered spin when I first graduated from college and worked downtown. I was a member of the old Bally Gym (throwback alert) and took a spin class in a small old studio but they turned down the lights and turned on the disco ball and it was so fun and I was hooked! My, how technology has really amped up spinning. These are my favorites here:
- Psycle (Warrendale/Wexford)
- Pros: On ClassPass! High-energy classes and I burn lots of calories. Also offer TRX and other strength-training. Cute workout gear. My favorite instructors are Tom and Jill. Sometimes Tom has a waitlist but I usually get in.
- Cons: If you’ve never been, it can be intimidating because everyone there is a regular. You get the hang of it quick, though.
- CycleBar (North Hills, and also multiple locations)
- Pros: Good music (Throwback Thursday with Alex is on point!). Super nice owners and instructors. On ClassPass. Does fun theme days and events. It also tracks you against the rest of the class which could be a con if you don’t like that (but you can hide yourself!). To me, it motivates me to work harder.
- Cons: They recently charged more for ClassPass (11 credits!) so I like to buy classes when there’s a deal because I really like the studio.
- Steel Revolution (Shadyside)
- Pros: Good music. Convenient to Salud Juicery next door when you’re done, and a quick walk up Walnut Street to shop.
- Cons: Not on ClassPass. Shadyside can be hard to find parking, too.
- California Cycle Path (Brighton Heights)
- Pros: On ClassPass! No fuss. Nice staff. They play movies in the background which can be a nice distraction. AND it’s next door to California Coffee Bar, which is awesome.
- Cons: Studio is a little older looking.
Yoga is by far my favorite way to cross-train since it’s such a nice stretch on your fatigued running muscles. And it’s quite the stress reliever.
- Yoga Flow (Murrysville and multiple locations) heated/Vinyasa
- Pros: Best studio in Pittsburgh, in my opinion. Amazing, knowledgeable staff (the owner is from my hometown in Murrysville!), the studios are gorgeous and they always smell great. Also good music.
- Cons: Sadly, not on ClassPass or in the North Hills. I miss taking classes at YF!
- Stray Dog Yoga (Wexford) heated/Vinyasa
- Pros: FINALLY on ClassPass and the classes are affordable! Nice heat, decent studio and nice instructors. Great music. Also next to Clean Juice.
- Cons: I wish the studio was a little more “zen” and you didn’t have to walk through it to change. But that’s it!
- The Yoga Hive (Friendship/Garfield/East Liberty-ish) minimal heat
- Pros: I’ve only been a few times but nice classes. Their slogan is “Namaste, Yinz.”
- Cons: Parking can be a challenge.
- Take Yoga (North Hills – two locations) minimal and no heat
- Pros: On ClassPass (one of the few yoga studios early on to join!) and affordable. Easy classes. Good music. Friendly.
- Cons: The studio is a little older looking, but that doesn’t impact the classes.
- Wallingford Studio (Shadyside) no heat
- Pros: BEAUTIFUL private home studio. Calm and serene. Not as intense as a vinyasa class.
- Cons: None. I want to move in. It doesn’t look like Nancy (the owner/instructor) has a website so send me a note and I can send you her email to get on her list.
- MoWa Yoga (Mount Washington, pop up in the summer)
- Pros: The best view in town. Outside. Fun after work in the summer.
- Cons: Can get loud up there sometimes. Have to be on-call for rain cancellations, too.
- Yoga in the Square (Market Square, pop up in the summer)
- Pros: Free. Fun outdoor summer activity. Don’t have to sign up in advance.
- Cons: Crowded and sometimes background noise can be loud. Parking can be a pain downtown.
Want to Try:
These studios are on my list but I’ve yet to try: Mecka Fitness (Mt. Lebanon, on ClassPass), Amazing Yoga (multiple locations, just got on ClassPass finally!) barre3 (Canonsburg, on ClassPass), solidcore (Shadyside, on ClassPass), The Studio Sewickley (Sewickley, on ClassPass), Cycletique (Bethel Park, on ClassPass).
Are there any studios in downtown Pittsburgh that you love? Tell me! Because I haven’t found any convenient for me yet.
Honorable Mention (studios not in Pittsburgh)
- SoulCycle: An experience on the bike. The first time I took this class I felt SO uncoordinated and felt like everyone was doing choreographed moves. Now I’ve learned to spin to the beat and can’t take any classes without channeling my inner Soul. Oh, and make sure to call it Soul. It also costs a shit ton, so I’m glad I only do this class every six months or so. Love your affordability, Pittsburgh!
- FlyWheel: More like a CycleBar, where you are competing. Fun alternative when I’m traveling. (I’m team SoulCycle, though.)
When I can’t make a class because I just don’t feel like leaving the house, there are at-home alternatives for cross-training, too. Sometimes it’s a quick walk around my neighborhood, and sometimes I just sit on the ground in the living room and do some stretches while watching TV.
There are lots of great apps to throw on when I want a quick at-home workout. I’m a big fan of the Jillian Michaels app. I also like to just search Pinterest for HIIT or stretching workouts. Oh and I can’t forget — ClassPass has workouts right on their app!
No matter how you swing it, cross-training is important and should be part of your regular routine. How do you cross-train?
This post is part of my 2019 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon / UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon training series.
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Disclosure: In exchange for promotion of the event, P3R is providing me with free race registration and merchandise. All opinions are my own, as always.