Shape Singapore meets the founder of ClassPass and discovers her secrets to staying sane and active on her entrepreneurial journey.
The frustration of being unable to find a dance class that fit her work schedule was what spurred Payal Kadakia to kickstart ClassPass, a fitness subscription service that launched in Singapore this August. It allows members to use monthly credits to book a wide range of workout classes all over the world.
Seeing her friends give up their hobbies – from music to sports – as they got older due to a whirlwind of commitments, was a total nightmare for the petite 35-year-old, who has been an avid dancer since she was three and can’t imagine life without it. “I strongly believe that no one should have to lose that part of their lives,” she says. With that in mind, Payal was determined to design a business model that made it easy for busy and health-conscious individuals to keep fitness in their lives by providing flexibility to work out at any time of the day. Payal herself was encouraged to step out of her comfort zone with her own product, and has tried every type of workout available. “Now I’m up for anything, from spinning to boxing. They’re all part of my routine now.”
Q: How do you make time for fitness in your life as a busy entrepreneur?
A: For me, it’s a non-negotiable. Fitness is a priority in my life, just as any other meeting is. It’s a contract with myself. I ensure that I schedule it in, have a couple of backup plans and stay super flexible.
Q: Do you work out every day?
A: Yes, in some form or another. It could be dance practice, an exercise class or the occasional outdoor run. It has become part of my lifestyle.
Q: How many classes do you typically do in a week?
A: Between five and 10. I keep it varied so it’s never boring.
Q: What are some of your favourite workouts so far?
A: I honestly love every class that I’ve tried. But as a dancer, I’d have to say barre. It helps me build extra refinement in my body and movement.
Q: Toughest class you’ve tried?
A: Aerial yoga is pretty up there (pun not intended). It’s challenging to use your own body weight to lift yourself.
Q: What’s your fitness mantra?
A: Do what you love. Fitness should be a joy in your life, never an obligation or you won’t stick with it. You have to make it fun, and do things that you enjoy. If you haven’t found that yet, just keep on trying something new.
Q: What upcoming plans and aspirations do you have for ClassPass?
A: You’ll continue to see us expand into new fitness categories and at the same time, massive global expansion! We have announced plans on launching in Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and many more.
Q: Can you predict 3 fitness trends for 2019?
A: Firstly, a studio boom. Fitness is one of the fastest growing industries and I think we’ll be seeing gyms sprouting up in the same way you can find a Starbucks outlet at every corner. Secondly, more digital platforms catering to fitness lovers. I expect a higher demand for platforms that supplement an active lifestyle. Thirdly, I think being active will become a social norm. You’ll see more people walking around in activewear, and it’ll hopefully be less strange for employees to tell their bosses about going for workout classes in the middle of the day.
A version of this article first appeared in the November 2018 issue of Shape Singapore.