Sayre Masters – Master of Indoor Cycling

I sat down with Lead Cyclist Instructor Sayre Masters at Studio Three to get some insight into how she became a spin instructor (one of my favorites by the way) as well as get the deets on how much the #’s really matter / how much I should be spinning. (Picture at the bottom is after a double we did earlier this week!)

Read the interview below, then grab a bike in her class before they sell out (which they do every time!).

How did you become a spin instructor?

After college, I moved to NYC to pursue a career as a professional dancer/choreographer. While auditioning and performing, I was also working part-time behind the desk at a popular cycling studio. At first I was absolutely terrified of the bike, but I started taking classes (it was free – and in NYC if it’s free, you take advantage). One or two classes a week quickly turned into taking class every day, sometimes twice a day. I completely fell in love with indoor cycling.
After saying “no” a lot, I eventually decided to say “yes” to myself, and the thought of being the one leading class on the podium. I auditioned and was accepted into the training program for the company I was working for. After an intensive 10 week training program, I was teaching classes in New York City and in Brooklyn. Fast forward about two years, and I’ve found a lovely home with Peloton and Studio Three in Chicago! 

Is it exhausting to teach 2 classes in a row? Where do you find the energy?
It’s definitely physically exhausting, but even more than that, it’s mentally exhausting. Teaching one class, let alone 3+ classes a day requires a lot of brain power and mental strength. I can honestly say that I get my energy from teaching class. When you put 65 people in a room together and have them sprinting and climbing, there’s a lot of energy that can be harnessed. I use it, and encourage my riders to do the same. I get excited for my riders, their achievements, their breakthroughs… that’s what keeps me going. Also coffee. I love coffee.
What workouts do you do outside of spin?
I try to incorporate a yoga class at least once a week, and some form of strength training at least 3 times a week. I also love a good boxing class! 

How many times a week should we spin?
If Indoor Cycling or “Spinning” is your only form of cardiovascular exercise, I would say 2-3 times a week is a great number for the majority of people. It’s going to be different for everyone based on your fitness goals.
Is it expected that our scores should gradually increase as we continue to take class?.
Scores are always going to fluctuate, but generally speaking… yes! Your score (or your total output) is the result of a mathematical equation which measures how much work you’ve done over the whole ride. If you’re pushing yourself the same amount every time you ride, you should, and will maintain the same output. Continually challenging yourself, and pushing your limits with each class will absolutely cause your average total output to go up!
Should we be focusing on our #’s? Sometimes I kill it in class and sometimes I don’t do as well, but my body feels just as tired….
Numbers are a wonderful way to track progress, but your bike doesn’t know you, YOU know you! There are so many variables that go into how you perform during a ride, and how you feel afterwards. Things like what you had to eat that day, how much sleep you’ve gotten, the bike you’re on, the instructor, the music that’s playing, etc. Above everything – always listen to your body, and if your numbers aren’t as high as they usually are that doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t get as great of a workout.
Is it good / safe to do doubles or even triples?
In my opinion, if you are really giving 100%… one cycling class is enough. Doubles aren’t bad, or unsafe if you’re smart about it. Again, listen to your body. When it comes to tripling, that’s when things can get excessive. Taking a cycling class three times a day means you’re fatiguing the same muscles, in the same way, over and over… and over. If you want to sweat three times in a day, vary your workouts so you can crush it every time and give your muscles time to repair themselves. For example, try doing cardio, strength training, and some sort of active recovery like yoga.
How should we nourish ourselves post spin class?
Diet and exercise have a symbiotic relationship. If you want to get the most out of your workouts, it means making sure you’ve fueled your body with the best nutrients. After a cycle class, it’s fluids and protein within 30min. I’m terrible at drinking enough water, so I always make myself finish a full water bottle before I leave the studio. Protein shakes/smoothies/bowls are easy to digest, and are usually my grab + go protein source of choice. If I’m teaching/taking my last class of the day, I’ll have more of a meal with lean protein, and complex carbohydrates. My personal favorite being grilled fish tacos!
What do you like to do for fun when you aren’t spinning?
Cooking, dancing, or writing… If it’s nice outside, I’m by the water, or on a rooftop.

Rowing 101 @ Studio Three

Rowing machines are popping up everywhere across the city and there’s really no secret why. When done correctly, rowing can be one of the most efficient total body workouts, exercising every major muscle of the body. Instructors are taking full advantage of this total body strength and endurance workout while integrating it into high intensity interval workouts. Encouraging students to take full advantage of the benefits. However, it only takes few bad strokes to derail the potential of this machine.

For this article, Sweaty Reviews teamed up with Studio Three instructors, Kiley Hearn and Dustin Hogue, to help get the low down on rowing form and safety. Below are the questions we asked the instructors.

What is proper rowing form/technique? 

Think about pressing first through your legs until they are almost straight, then slightly hinge back as you engage the core and then pull with the arms to finish the stroke. You want to reach as far forward with the oar as you can to reset for the next stroke.

What are the common errors people make?

Rowing too fast. This exercise is about power and efficiency rather than just speed. The quicker you make your stokes (higher strokes per minute) the more likely it is that your form will suffer. Also poor posture. We always want to sit up tall and keep the core strong and engaged.

Which area of the body should I be feeling it the most in? 

Rowing is 60% legs, 20% core and 20% arms/back. With proper form, you should feel a lot of glutes as well as abdominals, biceps, and scapular muscle.

***Kiley also recommends to set up the strap around the widest part of your foot and tighten it as much as you can before starting to row!**


Bottom left displays race time; bottom right displays meters; upper left displays strokes per minute; lower right displays 500m pace

What should my average rowing pace be?

Aim to row at 250 meters per minute as an average athletic pace.

What do the numbers on the screen indicate, and which should I pay most attention to?

Your instructor will cue you to race either for time (bottom left corner) or meters (bottom right corner). You want to strive for 30 strokes per minute (in upper left) and under 2:00 for your 500m pace (on lower right).

Extras: Studio Three offers two classes (Torch & Amped) that incorporate rowing machines. These classes are offered around the clock and taught by top notch instructors in a state of the art studio using the latest equipment. The workout is designed to help you reach your ultimate fitness goals, by using a systematic approach with basic movements that are effective. Rowing intervals are combined with strength training and treadmill zones for a maximum burning workout.

Studio: Studio Three; Instructor: Kiley Hearn; Location: 648 N Clark St. Chicago, IL. 60654 (Corner of Erie and Clark St. in River North); Tel: (312)-944-3333

Click  HERE to reserve your class now! 


Studio: The P.E. Club

Address: 238 East 75th st.

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Intermediate- Beast

Instructor: Katy

Reviewer: Eileen


Having never done TRX I was nervous about what this class would entail. For anyone who doesn’t know, TRX is a type of workout that involves suspension training (I added a picture). This particular class involved both TRX, Pilates and Barre so it was the ultimate fitness class for toning. At first we warmed up on mats just doing basic push ups, and then moved over to the barre where we did a series of toning exercises with a small ball and resistance band. Following this portion, we then went over and used the TRX. This class was AMAZING! It was such a good workout. I felt crippled the next day because we literally worked every part of the body. What was also amazing was that there was only 5 of us in the class so we got so much individual help. The class was difficult, but was so fun and went by fast thanks to Katy the incredible instructor.


Katy is a young, vibrant, encouraging and upbeat instructor. I talked to her before and after class and found out she is a dancer, and is interested in musicals. So I immediately connected with her! I told her it was my first time with TRX and she did a great job of making sure I was doing everything correctly and safely. Katy did an amazing job of giving everyone individual attention. She was so encouraging and really knows how to make a great atmosphere. First off, her playlist was great. Music helps any workout. During the core section she blasted fast paced music so we could tune out our thoughts. I especially liked how she broke the class up. She pushed us hard, but knew when to move onto the next thing. So I never got bored or felt like I couldn’t complete anything. I really really hope to take this class again! I LOVED it! Checkout her insta @therealslimkaty


PE has TRX classes, as well as personal training opportunities. The facility is really small. Their are two front rooms where  personal training happens, and then a back room that is for barre and TRX classes. They provide lockers and towels.


POWERide45 @ WheelPower W/ Tracy Chudnow

WheelPower Studio

Class Name: POWERide45

Address: 49 North Waukegan Rd, Deerfield, IL

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: All

Instructor: Tracy Chudnow

Reviewer: Lindsey

WP tracy and i

Studio/Class Review: 

The studio is right off Waukegan rd, which is a perfect location for suburbanites. Tracy nailed every detail from showers, to changing rooms, to child care, to cold towels after leaving class (COLD TOWELS – GENIUS!) . The bikes are all brand new and branded with their signature logo. There is a leader board in class to keep participants motivated and engaged, your stats even get emailed to you immediately after class! The vibe at WheelPower is awesome and I can’t wait to go back. They have some super cool swag for sale also!

Instructor Review:

Tracy is an X FlyWheel instructor, whose class I used to frequent. When I heard she was starting her own gig in Deerfield, IL (near my hometown) I had to check it out. Tracy is extremely friendly, energetic, motivational, and fun (among many many other adjectives). She makes every class exciting with a mixture of hills, flat roads, tap backs, and races. There is never a dull moment in class with Tracy.


The studio also offers:

  • POWERsculpt 45
  • POWERide 30 (an Xpress ride)
  • Power75 (combination of POWERide 45 + POWERsculpt 25

Tracy co-owns WheelPower with Donnie Stutland and Stephanie Rubinstein

Would I recommend?:  Yes


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Hit 180 W/ Alex @ Hit180 Fitness

Studio: Hit180 Fitness

Class Name: Hit 180

Address: 193 Northfield Road Northfield, IL 60093‎

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: All

Instructor: Alex Rust

Reviewer: Lindsey

Studio/Class Review: 

The gym is a bit hidden down Northfield Road, but once you find your way there the first time it is a no brainer…there is ample parking in the back as well. The gym has an ‘open air’ feel and lots of windows that bring in sunlight, nice to have at 5:45am! There were also a crazy amount of people at the gym at this early hour, which tells me these owners have to be doing something right!

There are brand new showers in the woman’s locker room as well as health food shop, perfect for those of us who have to run straight to work after a workout.

The class structure is setup to incorporate a series of cardio and strength exercises with brief rests in between by the use of stations. The cardio stations incorporated rowers and a horizontal climbing machine, while the strength stations incorporated ropes, TRX, dumbbells, and medicine balls. We rotated sections every 5 minutes, which made the class zoom by. The moves were challenging and hit a wide variety of muscle groups.

This class is great for those who are working on their form, want a powerful mixture of cardio and strength, and need a once stop shop for their morning routine!

Instructor Review:

The instructor was super friendly, inviting, and motivating. As we moved through the exercises she kept a close eye on all participants to ensure correct form, even offering hands on assist when needed. Her peppy attitude kept me motivated the whole time. She even took time to give us a full stretch at the end, which some fitness instructors skimp on.

Extras: The gym offers many other services aside from group fitness!

  • Personal Training
  • Small Group Training
  • Boxing Training
  • In-Home Training
  • Sport Specific Training
  • Kids Fitness Training

The website also has a 21 day nutrition plan for free!

Would I recommend?:  Yes

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Torch @ Studio Three w/ Wes and Dustin

Studio: Studio Three

Class Name: Torch

Address:  648 N Clark

Location: River North

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: All

Instructor: Wes S / Dustin H

Reviewer: Lindsey

Studio/Class Review: 

The studio is in a prime location (heart of River North), is multiple levels, and is overall definitely impressive. The studio offers everything from awesome high-end skincare products by E.O to a cold-pressed juice bar, by Real Good Juice Co. After your workout there is no need to go home and shower/change for work or go find the perfect, healthy breakfast… Studio Three has it all!

The HIIT classes are located in the basement of the building. The room is equipped with treadmills, rowers, and a center weights section. There are plenty of different weights so you aren’t confined to the typical 8lb, 12lb, & 15lb dumbbells. The class also features movements with sandbags which make for some interesting new workout moves.

The class is not broken up into the typical 3 sections (20 minutes each) of work. You are  rotated through the 3 sections (treadmill, weight training, and rowing) multiple times. The best part is the constant movement between the activities, which keeps your heart rate up and your sweat constant! I found this class to be extremely challenging and definitely left me feeling exhausted.

There is enough locker space, a men and women restroom, and a water fountain on the HIIT floor. You also check-in on the lower level, so when you walk in just head on down the stairs!

Instructor Review:

I took this class twice last week with both Wes and Dustin. Both instructors have awesome energy and really care about pushing the ‘athletes’ in the room (as Dustin called us) to the limit. They don’t push certain MPHs on the treadmill; instead they describe a certain percentage of your max (which takes a lot of pressure off those of us who can’t run at 12.0). I found both instructors to be engaged and interested and I never felt like I was ‘wasting time’ waiting to learn what the next move was.

Attire: This is a brand new studio in River North (upscale and trendy are some descriptive words I would use) so you might as well look the part!

Extras: This studio also offers Cycling and Yoga classes; memberships are available for all 3 or each individually. The classes are also available on ClassPass.

Deals:  Use PROMO CODE: HappyHolidays for an additional 30% off all monthly unlimited and series/packages (only good until the end of January!)

Would I recommend?:  Yes


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F.L.EX! T3 w/ Jenn Hogg and Wes S @ Studio III

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Studio: Studio Three/HIIT (downstairs studio)

Class Name: F.L.E.X!

Address: 648 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL (River North)

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: All levels

Instructor(s): Jenn Hogg and Wes S.

Reviewer: Erica K

Class/Studio Review: F.L.E.X! takes place in the lower level of Studio Three and is high intensity interval training (HIIT) working at it’s finest. F.L.E.X! (the signature HIIT workout of Studio Three) is described as a “systematic approach to multi-planar, dynamic movement.” The sequenced intervals blend functional warm-ups, loaded explosive patterns with active rest and full recoveries. The class is a designed to rev up your heart rate then bring it back down (w/ an active recovery) in order to shock your body into change. The result is increased athletic performance, higher-quality movement and a raised metabolic rate that maximizes fat burning potential.

When you sign up for F.LE.X! you’re given a spot (number) that corresponds to a treadmill and subsequent spots at each interval (i.e., spot 4 @ treadmill, spot 14 @ interval 2 and spot 24 @ interval 3). During each interval you will follow the instructor’s cues to work through a sequence of movements including sprints/hills on the treadmill section. There are 3 rounds at each interval station (practice, perfect and push) where you will repeat the entire sequence until you have reached your maximum. Following each interval you recover with an active stretch movement.

Instructor Review: Instruction for Saturday morning’s F.L.E.X! class was led by Jenn Hogg (personal trainer, co-founder @ H.E.R.O. fitness and lululemon ambassader) and Wes S. (trainer and instructor). The two led and motivated the class through each interval. Interval 1 consisted of treadmill runs, interval 2 was a set of 3 exercises using TRX bands and interval 3 was lunges and lifts using a weighted sandbag. Each section was designed to exhaust you by the end. Just when I thought class was over, Jenn announced a group bonus round (3 minutes long) where we squatted and burpeed to the finish.

Would I Recommend? Yes. I would recommend adding F.L.E.X! to any workout regimen. I definitely enjoyed most of the workout and found it to be exhausting. My muscles felt worked and sore the next day. However, I felt the TRX section could have been a little more challenging, either by adding another exercise or quickening the pace.


Extras: This studio also offers Peloton cycling and Yoga classes, memberships are available for all 3 or individually

Deals:  Use PROMO CODE: GRANDOPEN2015 for an additional 20% off all monthly unlimited and series/packages (only good for a short time!)



Ropes And Rowers @ Equinox


Studio: Equinox

Class Name: Ropes and Rowers

Address:  900 N. Michigan Ave, Chicago IL

Location: Gold Coast

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Intermediate-Beast Mode

Instructor: Jim

Reviewer: Ariel

Class Review: Ropes and Rowers is the new high-intensity, full-body circuit class offered at Equinox. The class consisted of four stations including: Rowers, AMRAP (as many rounds as possible), Ropes, and medicine balls. We stayed at each station for 3 minutes each and then rotated. The full circuit was completed twice ( the class we attended was for an event, typically the circuit it done about 3 times).

The rowing station was different each time we did the circuit. The first was a straight 3-minute row, which is pretty tiring, but not too difficult. The second row was done in pairs where each partner would take turns doing a 150 meter sprint.

Next was the AMRAP station which incorporated free-weights. The exercises included lateral sumo squats, overhead presses and rotating plank toe-touches. After completing the specific number of reps, we repeated the whole round as many times as possible in the allotted 3-minutes.

Like rowing, ropes was a partner activity as well. We took turns doing ropes slams, reeling in the rope which was attached to a weighted plate and then pushing the plate back across the room.

The last section consisted of one minute of: halo squats with a medicine ball, lateral squats with a twist, and burpees on the ball.

All in all it was a great work out. The energy in the gym kept you motivated and the work-out left no body part untouched, while incorporating a good amount of heart-pumping cardio.

Instructor: Jim is the motivational drill sergeant  you actually want behind you telling you what to do. He is fun and animated and watches you every step of the way to tweak your form when necessary.

Attire: Normal workout clothes. Wear whatever you are comfortable moving around in (including a supportive sports bra if necessary).

Extras:   Equinox has multiple locations. It has a fully equipped locker room complete with showers and Kiehls products. It offers a pool, full spa services, and Wifi.  You must be a member to attend class

Would I recommend?:  Yes


Boxing @ Title Boxing Club W/ Katie

Studio: Title Boxing Club

Class Name: Boxingtitle boxing

Address:  2417 N Clark

Location: Lincoln Park

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Beginner-Beast Mode

Instructor: Katie

Reviewer: Lindsey

Class Review: If you want to burn major calories, step right this way! Here is the layout of the class:

  • The first 15 minutes is a warm up – that will literally leave you heaving. From burpees, to jump squats, to mountain climbers
  • The next 30 minutes is the boxing section that is made up of several punch routines combined with active recovery (with a 100 lb punching bag)
  • The last 15 minutes is an ab section that will leave your abs screaming

A MAJOR plus is that another instructor walks around and pulls out individuals to box with them. The individualized attention I got in a class with ~30 people was awesome!

Instructor: Katie was my instructor tonight and damn did this girl mean business. She pulled all the newbies to the side before class to ensure they understood what the 4 types of punches were (jab, cross, hook, and upper cut) and showed us proper form. Immediately after that we got down to business. She seamlessly ran the class . Her individual attention to the students was awesome. I look forward to taking class with Katie again.

Attire: The only ‘special’ item needed here are hand wraps. They are sold for $10 at the studio and are yours to keep. They have all colors of the rainbow, get a few and mix it up! I recommend to come 15 minutes early so an instructor can assist in wrapping your hands – after a few times of attending class you will become a pro!

Extras:  Title Boxing is now offered on Classpass (Wahoooo). If you don’t have ClassPass the first class is FREE. The studio also offers Kickboxing and Power Hour classes. Power Hour is described as an ‘explosive cardio workout’ – sounds like something I need to try! If you prefer more individualized attention, they also offer personal training.

Would I recommend?:  Yes


Yoga Sculpt w/ Daniele P @ CorePower Yoga Gold Coast

11698416_3183211136439_4949817000754831967_nStudio: CorePower Yoga Gold Coast

Class: Yoga Sculpt

SweatyReviews Fitness Level: Advanced-Beastmode

Address: 12 W Maple St. Chicago, IL.

Instructor: Daniele Presto

Reviewer: Erica K

Class Review: Yoga Sculpt is by far one of the most challenging classes around. It  combines heat, weights and cardio for a total body workout that targets every major muscle group, boosts metabolism and pushes your strength and flexibility to the max (imagine basic c1 on steroids). 

The class began with a flow through basic yoga movements. Gradually the pace picked up and weights were added (i.e., low lunge with bicep curl). Bursts of cardio (mountain climbers, jump squats) were embedded into the routine with a full song dedicated strictly to cardio movement (high knees, jacks, a-jacks, football runs, jump squats). Chaturanga’s were worked in to the flow to help transition us between movements. The class concluded with a final floor circuit to work core and glutes (bridges).

Instructor Review: Daniele led nothing short of a challenging class. Her energy and motivational words were highly inspiring and she kept us pushing through every last rep. Throughout class, Daniele moved and scanned the room providing a known presence that led us to the finish. As a former cardio enthusiast, Daniele came into yoga and yoga sculpt as a way to get the same benefits while being gentle on her body (more info about Daniele at She even incorporated a lot of barre-type movements (isometric pulses/holds for legs and butt) for a dynamic strength and sculpting workout.

When I spoke to Daniele after class, I asked her to explain the difference between strength training in a class like Yoga Sculpt vs. sculpting in a Barre class. Daniele was more than generous to provide a brief explanation that differentiated the two workouts; both advertising toning benefits.

Here’s what she said… 

Yoga sculpt is more focused on weight bearing exercises while strength training (think holding low lunge while doing a set of bicep curls). While performing these exercises, several large muscle groups are working. For example the quad in the lunge and the biceps in the bicep curl. When I want a full body heart pumping workout Sculpt is the better option. 

Barre focuses on isolating a specific muscle group and contracting/working it to absolute fatigue through small range movements; therefore building muscle definition, endurance and stamina. “I’ve found that when I want to “spot train” (like pick a spot of my body and see results) Barre is most successful. However, every body works and reacts differently, and this is just my personal experience.

** Daniele teaches Barre Code classes at The Barre Code on Michigan Ave.** 

Would I recommend? I would absolutely consider Daniele to be one of my preferred Yoga Sculpt teachers thus far. I particularly enjoyed her energy and style, as it was the perfect balance of challenging, energetic, meditative and even fun… well as fun as sweating your face off can be 😉

Extras: There are fourteen plus CorePower Yoga studios in the Chicagoland area (Sauganash, Bucktown, Gold Coast, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Roscoe Village, South Loop, Streeterville, Uptown, West Loop, Hyde Park, Old Town and River North). Many of the classes are available through ClassPass. However, popular class times fill up quickly and space is limited to CP users. Your first week at Core is free, as well as your second, if you buy a mat. Rental mats can are purchased for $2 and towels for $1.