CycleBar Fulton Market / West Loop

I love when our readers email in a blog post on a new studio they love! This one comes with some awesome deals too! Thanks Meredith Yorchak for your tip on this hot new spot!

CycleBar is a cycling studio with locations popping up all over the US. My favorite aspect of CycleBar is the stats they offer. Each bike comes with a dashboard that shows what gear you are on, your RPM and power.  “CycleStats measure the six key metrics of your daily and historical performance—and emails you the result after every ride to help you track the progress of your fitness journey.”

CycleBar is a bit more affordable than other cycling studios by offering memberships and free shoes and water. The most recent Chicago location is in Fulton Market/West Loop. Not only is the location and schedule super convenient, but they are some awesome deals going on:

Overall, the amenities, bikes, instructors and music are top notch.  I would definitely recommend CycleBar and it’s good for any fitness level!

cycle bar

Photo from Groupon.com

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Spin & Yoga All-In-One!

Last week I attended a Studio Spin class for the first time, I’ve gone to many spin classes before, but not like this one!

The class consisted of 45 minutes of Spin (with Julie) and 30 minutes of Yoga (with Abby). Two classes, for the price of one! Not only were both classes amazing, but the instructors have the best energy!

This class is located in Northfield (right before the Willow Rd highway entrance), so I was bit a worried that due to the age group being slightly ‘less young’ in the suburbs than a city class, that the intensity wouldn’t be there. Although there was a mix of different age groups in the class,  Julie didn’t slow down for anyone! She also mixed up the music to appeal to all of us, which I always appreciate.

Julie was very clear with instructing us on what we should be doing at any particular moment, which really helps me from just riding like a crazy person! The more verbal my teacher is on what we should be doing the better! I also loved that  if your form wasn’t right, Julie would hop off her bike and help you get into the proper position. Another huge A+, so many teachers forget how important form is!

Julie’s class was a classic HIIT class (high intensity interval training). There would be periods of intense energy, followed by periods of rest. I can never keep up with instructors who don’t let your heart rate slow down at one point or another!

After spinning I took Yoga with Abby – it was the perfect complement to cycling. After putting so much stress on my body it was nice to take some time to wind myself down, quiet my mind, and stretch out! Abby was super sweet and did a great job guiding the class through various poses/stretches. She was very attentive and walked around the room – physically helping you to have proper form.

By the end of class I was definitely relaxed, refreshed, and ready to take on the rest of my day! I highly recommend anyone who is looking for a cycle/yoga combo to attend this class!

Find a Dope DJ and Keep Coming Back

I ask people all the time what their favorite fitness studio is or their favorite class and I always get the same responses.

‘You have to go to Barry’s it’s insane’ or ‘I live for Soul Cycle’. Those statements make me cringe because it sounds like they are being more of a ‘brand whore’ than really understanding what makes a class awesome.

Let’s be real, Soul Cycle is spinning on a stationary bike, just like Flywheel, or Peloton and Barry’s is just a treadmill and some weights just like Shred & Torch. What REALLY makes those classes great, is the instructor leading you through the class.

It isn’t the brand name, fancy smoothies, nice showers, or brand new equipment that get the job done (although those things don’t hurt) it is the energy and motivation that comes from the instructor, or as I like to call them, the DJ’s of class.

MORAL of the story: Don’t focus on finding a studio you love, focus on finding a ‘DJ’ that you love and build a rapport with them. Ultimately that relationship will keep bringing you back to class, encouraging you to push harder every time, and most importantly make class more exciting and fun. 

Sweat for thought.

xx

SweatyReviews

Hi-Def with Elli Gotlieb

eli 2Whenever I will try a new workout class, I’ll usually try it once or twice and then decide if the class is worth it to me. A few things that make it ‘worth it’ are:

  • The teachers energy and motivation
  • The actual makeup of the class, tempo, level of difficulty, etc.
  • The music

One class that keeps me coming back every week, and sometimes twice a week, is Elie’s Gotlieb’s HI DEF class at Studio 3 on Clark St.

Not only do I want to look like Elli (she has rocking bod), but her personality and group facilitation skills are out of this world. Her classes work you to the MAX, she plays awesome music that I end up downloading and ask my Uber driver to play, and she never skips a beat in the routine to keep you working hard. The time passes in a flash.

Her Thursday PM and Saturday AM classes are my favorite, one preparing me for the weekend and the other detoxing the tequila shots from Friday night.

So what is it exactly that makes Elli’s HI DEF class at Studio 3 so great?

  • Whether it is your first or 100th class, it never gets easy and it’s never the same
  • Her energy, I swear she works as hard as us facilitating the class
  • The class is heated, but not unbearable (and she knows when to open the door to let a cool breeze in!)
  • There are different options for band strength and the ability to grab different size weights (this helps you challenge yourself week over week)
  • The grand finale of each class is a partner challenge with a fellow HI DEFFER or we have a friendly competition by row that puts a smile on your face, followed up high fives and fist pumps.
  • Elli always encourages a moment of relaxation and stretching before class is over
  • I’m ALWAYS sore the next day, but ALWAYS want to come back for more

So, if you are ever in the neighborhood and want to try something new and exciting that will leave you feeling like you accomplished, lean and ready to take on the world, take a HI DEF class at Studio 3.

I promise you won’t be sorry!

#SweatyReviews

eli

The Expense of that Beach Bod

Belonging to a gym is pretty inexpensive; some are as low as $40 a month. The only problem is you get what you pay for…

A large gym, with a bunch of machines, and zero direction. If you don’t go in there with your own plan and self-motivation to ‘get it done’ you most likely will walk on the treadmill for 30 mins and do some abs before grabbing a $9 smoothie on the way out (that definitely has more calories than what you burned).

So what is the alternative? Answer: Boutique fitness studios. AKA being trapped in a room for 45 mins to an hour with an instructor (y)telling you want to do and motivating you to do it!

Hm, there must be a catch! Well there is…

The catch is pretty big, classes run anywhere from 25 – 35 dollars EACH! Do the math on this one – If you want to work out say 4 times a week, that is at a minimum $400 dollars a month and as much as $560! So you just went from spending $40 to $560 a month! On top of that, there are all these other ‘hidden’ charges:

  • Mat fee
  • Towel fee
  • Late Cancel Fee
  • No Show Fee

You could end up spending close to $700 a month on working out. So how do we get the benefits of the boutique fitness world, while not spending our rent money? Here are a few ways:

  • Buy a class package (you’ll end up saving a few bucks a class)
  • Buy an unlimited package if the gym offers it (you could spend as little as $9 a class if you go enough times a week)
  • Always bring your own mat and towel if the studio doesn’t provide
  • Always remember to bring your own water bottle
  • Work at the front desk a few days a week, you only need to put in a few hours and you will get heavily discounted classes (if not free)
  • If you might not be able to make a class, cancel it before the 12 hour window (you can always rebook)
  • If you miss a class, for whatever reason, try to send an email explaining what happened – sometimes gyms accommodate (and you save $25)

Some people may be turned off by the fact that fee’s are charged for cancelled classes, but I have to say it keeps me from exiting stage left last minute. These classes hold me accountable!

Not only is it not easy to get that beach bod, but it also isn’t easy to fund it. Hopefully you can find your happy medium!

#SweatyReviews

Silent Killer

If you’re anything like me you think you need to leave a workout class drenched in sweat to know you ‘killed it’. I used to think Barre and Pilates classes were ‘easy’ and a ‘waste of time’. I needed to row 1000 meters, run uphill on an incline of 15, and slam a 25 lb slam ball to get a workout in that felt worth it.

Wellll, let me tell you, as of this past week I think I may just change my weekly workout schedule to mostly include Barre and Pilates classes.

Pure Barre

My friend from college, Lindsay Wolf, just opened a Pure Barre studio in the Loop about a month ago and I couldn’t wait to check it out. How cool, I have a friend that is a legit business owner at the age of 29. So so cool!

I was lucky enough to have Lindsay as my instructor for my first class, she was super peppy and kept the class going (no break for 55 minutes!). She also did a great job at correcting form, which I definitely needed (I’m new to the ‘tuck’).

The class is basically made up of low-impact, small, isometric movements that fatigue your muscles. The studio has all the equipment you will need, a ball, a band, weights, and a mat. I do suggest you wear leggings (not shorts) and purchase a pair of their ‘sticky’ socks (so you don’t slip!).

Each 55 minute class begins with a warm-up in the center of the room and then a toning section with weights. The weights are between 2-5lbs, but trust me that is all you need.

Next up is some barre work, here you will fatigue your thighs and your booty – this is also where you will utilize the ‘tuck’. For more deets on the tuck’ read this Blog on the Pure Barre website! I suggest you take the tuck workshop that is offered so you don’t go into the class totally lost on this one, I promise it will be worth it.

After the booty work, you’ll do a series of ab exercises on the floor (think planks, leg lifts, and sit-ups). Lastly, the class ends with a cool down and stretching.

I left shaking and craving more. There is no way you can’t go to this class everyday and not eventually have a 6 pack.

Checkout Pure Barre South Loop, first week is free!

 

Lagree

Lagree is a pilates class on a Reformer machine. The Reformer machine looks like a scary contraption that was used to punish people back in the 1800’s. Well, it is still punishing people, but in the best way.

I attended Katie Sido’s class during my lunch hour. I have so many awesome things to say about this class, so let me use bullet points:

  • Face paced, I was never bored and class flew
  • Awesome transitions, we always knew what was coming next so I didn’t miss a beat
  • Low Impact, safe on your joints
  • Challenging, some of the moves I had to give up on because I literally couldn’t hold pulse anymore
  • After class burn, I have never felt so sore

It is said that this class meets all elements of physical Fitness, which is defined by the following five basic foundations:

  1. Cardiorespiratory Endurance
  2. Muscular Strength
  3. Muscular Endurance
  4. Body Composition
  5. Flexibility

This is the type of class that you just want to master, which will keep you coming back for more. It is a bit pricey at $35 dollars a class, so I would recommend buying a package! See rates below.

Group Classes

Initial Class $15
New Client 10 Pack**(Expires 6 months from purchase date)

(Non-transferable or shareable)

$180 ($18/class)
Single Class $35
5 Classes $160 ($32/class)
10 Classes $290 ($29/class)
20 Classes $480 ($24/class)

Overall…

The best thing about both these workouts is that they are super challenging, but you can go during lunch and head back to work! No shower needed (encouraged, but not needed). Also, there are multiple locations, so no excuse to not attend!

Get after it,

Sweaty Reviews

Is it possible to work out too much?

Yes.

It is very possible to workout too much. It is so awesome to be ‘addicted’ to the post high feeling of working out, but at some point we need to take a chill pill and let our body heal.

The funny thing about going to the gym too often is that it can actually make you less fit AND cause you to gain weight! Go figure!  “The benefits you want from working out—getting leaner, stronger, healthier—reverse when you don’t take breaks,” says Holly Parker, Ph.D., a lecturer in the psychology department at Harvard University and a certified personal trainer (SELF Magazine). We aren’t built to continually push our bodies to the max everyday, when we give ourselves time to recover THAT is when we really build muscle. AKA a rest day is actually needed to become stronger.

Some common things I hear…

‘I want to win my gym’s challenge’:

I get REALLY annoyed when studios have ‘challenges’ where you have to attend upwards of 30 classes a month, that means more than 1 a day! No one should be pushing for those kinds of goals. INSTEAD we should be pushing for 3-4 awesome workouts a week with a low key stretching class in between.  Don’t reward yourself for the number of times you workout, but instead the quality of your workout. Start your own rewards system and tell your gym’s ‘challenge’ to F off.

‘I get super guilty when I miss a workout’:

If you are anything like me you probably feel guilty when you miss a workout. I get super stressed when I know I can’t possibly fit a sweat session into my schedule. Recently, I have instead aimed to ACTUALLY eat healthy that day (instead of half a$$ing it) or skip that after work cocktail. Working out is so great when there is time, but most of us have full time jobs, family’s, friends, and other social activities and those should take precedence! Live life first!

‘I need to get moving at least once a day’:

If you need to ‘get moving’ at least once a day, try active recoveries. Go for a long walk, stretch, take a restorative yoga class. Being ‘active’ everyday is totally cool and healthy, just make sure you bring the notch down at least 1-2 times a week with active recoveries.

Food for thought… xx

#SweatyReviews

Bandier, That New New

In Chicago, we are all about that Lululemon game for athletic apparel. I see that little symbol on the back of every single girl (and guys) leggings, tank tops, shorts, headbands, etc. I’m totally just as basic as everyone else, but I’ve been looking for new athletic apparel that is both made of great material as well as ‘trendy’. I have found it, and it’s called Bandier. This store has already taken NYC by storm.

I have been interested in ordering from this store for awhile, so I took the leap and ordered a few pairs of leggings (they are a bit pricier than Lululemon, most over $100). I wore a pair to Elie Gottlieb’s Hi-Def yoga class last Thursday  at Studio 3, aka the ultimate test.

Here are my thoughts:

  • I felt cool in my new unique threads, which actually makes you want to go to class
  • The site it a little too pricey in my opinion, but worth the extra money for some cool pattern options, how many times can Lululemon use the SAME pattern, WHO is your fabric person for the love of g-d!
  • Pages and pages of options, with really dope leggings from tons of designers (It’s like falling into legging heaven). They basically created the site I would want to appear if I went to Google and typed in ‘Dope leggings.’
  • Fabric is awesome and definitely not see through like some leggings can be (of course this varies by designer and pattern)
  • Annoying to have to order online, I for one rarely send things back

Here are some of my favorites from $98-$196:

Click HERE for Star print and HERE for the white marble

stripe legging

JODY STRIPE LEGGING $98

Definitely check out the site, they have a lot to offer. They even sell shoes! Refer a friend and get $25 dollars + use eBates to make your purchase and you’ll get 3% case back! DO IT NOW, you won’t regret it.

#SweatyReviews

100 Days of Summer

I live in Chicago, where we only get about 100 days of summer. That is less than 30% of the year, whereas the other 70% we mostly stay indoors and hibernate. During those cold and dreary days most of us lack the desire to go to the gym or even go for a walk as we rather stay indoors where it is warm and cozy. We end up just drinking and eating the winter months away! So what do we do about those warm summer days that start appearing in late May, early June?…. WE TAKE ADVANTAGE!

Take advantage of the summer months to get outside and use the beach, the lakeshore, or the parks as your gym! Here are some great ideas to get yourself moving in the Summer:

  1. Walk to work, the grocery store, or to meet up with friends. Try stepping away from your Uber app and throwing on some tennis shoes, you might surprise yourself!
  2. Take a walk with a friend instead of a dinner date, or plan both! You might end up on a 10 mile walk just enjoying the weather as well as see some new sights around Chicago or wherever you live!
  3. Take an outdoor yoga or bootcamp, they even offer some of these at Wrigley Field. Check out this ‘Shred to Yoga’ workout that Shred415 is hosting on July 23rd at 9am.
  4. Join a volleyball, softball, or kickball league. I highly recommend going through Chicago Sport and Social Club! I promise you’ll have the best time and meet so many new people. I myself am in a League!
  5. Go kayaking or canoeing. Check out this link to signup
  6. Play frisbee or toss a ball around on the beach

Don’t waste one moment of our precious summer! It is the perfect time to get active, meet new people, and actually get that summer body (hey it’s never too late!). Save the indoor gym for when we need to wear our Canada Goose jackets and tall Uggs. Save yourself from year round menotiny. Your winter self will thank you!

#SweatyReviews

volleyball.jpg

One Studio, One Community

Hi all, I’m back!

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for awhile, but I took a hiatus from blogging. For awhile I thought no one would be interested in my site anymore because for the past year I have belonged to one gym, Studio 3, so I don’t have much variety to share anymore.

I used to run around the city (literally) trying every class and every teacher and telling all you readers about them (and I know you read and followed along!), but to be honest it got exhausting and time consuming. While I still dabble in Shred415, Lagree, and a few others, on most days you can find me at the corner of Clark and Erie.

So I stopped blogging….

Then it dawned on me the other day, I have gotten upwards of 20 of my friends to become members of ‘my’ gym (or at the very least purchase a class package). You could call me a ‘Studio 3 brand ambassador’, but all I did was show some of my friends what it is like to be part of ‘my’ community and they loved it as much as me!

This post isn’t about belonging to Studio 3, this post is about finding a community that makes you feel strong and empowered, that makes you feel like you are part of a team, that makes you feel welcome. This is what keeps you wanting/needing to come back!

In addition to those key bolded/italicized words above, this post is about encouraging all of you to find a gym that is easy, convenient, and genuinely makes you excited to attend, instead of chasing the things you are looking for in 10+ locations.

I call it a ‘one stop shop’.

I personally need the following in a gym:

  • Class options (not just running, or yoga, or spin, but a mixture to challenge myself in different ways)
  • Classes from 5:45 am to 8pm, including many weekend options
  • Location, Location, Location – needs to be close and easy to get to
  • Unlimited. Period.
  • Showers, toiletries, towels, and a clean place to change and get ready
  • Lockers with locks
  • Friendly & challenging staff
  • A community (nothing better than not having to ‘check in’, the staff just see your face and know you’ve arrived)

You need to find what is right for you. Some people just need a treadmill and weights, some just need a bike or a yoga mat, and some just need the lakefront. Try them all and figure out what works for you, just like I did. The best part is, when you find your niche, you will meet  like minded people. I’ve met some pretty cool kids at my gym and I love seeing their faces a few times a week!

Working out shouldn’t be a chore or a hassle, it should be fun and a place you truly want to be. Find ‘your’ gym, find ‘your’ community, I promise it will make you want to continue to chase your fitness goals and you might even make some lifelong friends.

#SweatyReviews