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.

A review by an out-of-shape guy who hasn’t worked out since 2015

Just because you haven’t worked out in a year (or 3) doesn’t mean today isn’t the day to start! The story below is a must read. Get ready to laugh and then grab your Peleton shoes!

As I stood in a quickly moving line of cyclists-to-be, I mumbled under my breath, “what did I get myself into this time”.  A fortuitous gift from Ms. Sweaty herself landed me at Studio III, a River North gym of the future.  The counter clerk briefly showed me a map of bicycle 17, though I had to speak up to obtain edification of a few other basics like where the actual studio was.

I took the stairs to the locker room.  Another woman had pity on me and pointed me to the men’s room.  I still do not know how the bathroom locks work, but I realized that aimless wandering would eventually get me through this adventure.  No instructions for the shoes, either.  While I’ve been expert in Velcro since my grade school Kanga-ROOS, I’m fairly certain I broke the mechanized tightening system on my shoes.

Finally, I entered the room about a minute after start time.  Do you remember that confused look when you first saw someone of the opposite sex naked?  That look that says, “Woah, I’m not sure how any of these parts work… think can I just fake it?”  I clearly was not able to conceal that helpless out-of-my-league look, as Sayre, the instructor, picked me out of the darkness within four seconds to send over a helper.  He asked a few basic questions about my hip height, and next thing you know, I was off for a ride.

Ms. Sweaty had already broken a sweat in the bicycle next to me, but with a superhero’s reach, she somehow managed to start my monitor without breaking stride.   All in a day’s work for a superblogger, I suppose.

I started out slowly.  I hadn’t worked out since 2015, and I was determined to finish the class.  I might not ride fast or hard, but I didn’t want to get embarrassed.  Sayre had virtually unlimited energy, and she was exceedingly motivating.  The songs were mostly unfamiliar, but they were perfect for the ride.  Within minutes, I was sweating enough that Sayre’s words blended together.  Luckily, at no time did she say “hey you, on bike 17, you’re making us all look bad”.  Be happy for small victories.

As a first time Studio III rider, I thought the process to get here and on the bike was a bit intimidating.  The room was crowded with pros, and I felt like the guy playing “Simon says” who is perpetually a step behind Simon.  Regardless, within a few minutes of riding, I was in the zone and thought of nothing else besides surviving.  I also appreciated the relative darkness of the room.  I was pretty self-conscious, and I don’t see anyone visibly laughing and pointing at me.

I soon hit the 15 minute mark.  One-third done, and I still hadn’t passed out.  I don’t know if my experience is unusual, but I found it easier to cycle with lower cadence and higher tension than visa-versa.  I don’t think my legs go 120 rotations per minute, which seemed to be Sayre’s minimum in a few segments.  The ‘climbs’ gave my legs a nice burn while also taking my breath—not in the way your breath goes when you run too hard and need to stop—rather, in a ‘boy, I’m really working hard’ kind of way.

The bicycle was of high quality, and the varied stats on the monitor kept me going.  I found myself making deals like “okay, if you do this climb for five minutes, you can chill a little more afterwards”.  Turns out, the bicycle had weights on the back, and Sayre asked us to use them about two-thirds of the way through the ride.  Do you remember your uncle Howie at your bar mitzvah?  How he’d clap and dance on the downbeats instead of the upbeats?  That’s how my lifting activities were.  The weight was very light for me, but people were moving so fast that I was unable to keep up.

With five minutes left, I decided to let it all out.  At this point, I was tired, drenched, and absolutely positive I’d be sore for days.  So I turned the tension up past 60 and gave it my all.  My output surpassed 200 briefly, and I was happy I had that much in the tank at the end.

The ride ended, and the room entered into what could best be called a synchronized stretching.  I can’t touch my knees, let along contort myself around a bicycle, but I had an out.  I used this time to sign myself up for a Studio III account.  Yes, they sucked me in, and I’m going to try it again.

I got off my bike, and tried in vain to compose a sentence or two to Ms. Sweaty.  I’m a lawyer by trade, and I’m usually somewhat charming and persuasive.  Yet not only am I fairly certain I wasn’t speaking English, but I actually have little memory of the conversation or, for that matter, getting home.

As I write this review about 5 hours later, I’m confined to a couch.  I’m going to be one very sore puppy tomorrow.  Studio III was a great workout, though I probably should have read an instruction manual first and/or got there far earlier.  While I have no basis of comparison, Sayre was a great instructor for a first timer.  And every nervous newbie should be accompanied by Ms. Sweaty.

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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!)



M3-Fusion @ Studio Lagree

Studio Lagree Chicago

Studio: Studio Lagree

Class Name: M3- Fusion

Address:  1123 w. Armitage Ave, Chicago IL

Location: Lincoln Park

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Beginner-Advanced

Instructor: Dana

Reviewer: Ariel

Class Review: When you think reformer you think of a core-strengthening relaxing pilates class. M3-Fusion is nothing like your typical pilates workout. The class is performed on M3 Megaformers. These machines feature multiple straps, handles, different levels of resistance, and a moving platform. The Lagree fitness method focuses on slow and controlled movements to target specific muscles with no impact to get you a long and toned physique.

The class began with a short warmup consisting of squats and then it was right to work. We used the different bands on the Megaformer to do things like leg raises with the strap around our feet and ankles. The instructor Dana had us repeat the movements until our muscles (at least mine) were burning, alternating between the full range motion and tiny pulses.

Aside from the straps, the class really utilized the carriage (the moving platform) to target our abs, butt and hamstrings. We did things like lunges with one foot in front on ground and the other foot behind on the carriage so you really targeted both legs with the one movement. Abs were made up of plank type holds and reverse crunches where we would keep our hands on the still platform and  feet or knees on the carriage and bring them to our chests.

And let’s not forget the arms! The instructor made sure to target upper body with the use of our own body weight and bands.

I definitely worked up a sweat. I like to think I am in pretty good shape, but I still found the class to be difficult. If you go continuously I can definitely see this type of workout changing your body. And with the multiple levels of resistance, you most likely would not plateau.


Instructor: Dana was animated and great at explaining the positioning for each move. She was attentive and made sure everyone was using proper form. She also made it a point explain the Megaformer and how it works to all newcomers.

Attire: Grip socks and normal workout clothes.  Wear whatever you are comfortable moving around in. No sneakers necessary.

Extras:  Studio Lagree has two locations in Chicago- Lincoln Park and Highland Park. If you do not have grip socks, no worries. They carry them there. You can try Studio Lagree on Class Pass.

Would I recommend?:  Yes



IMG_8590Class: Brawl

Studio: The Barre Code

Address: 324 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL.

Instructor: Suleen Lee

Reviewer: Erica K

SR Fitness Level: All Levels

Attire: Brawl is set in a padded floor studio where socks are required.

Class Review: Recognized by SELF magazine as one of the “best workouts in the country,” Brawl has built up it’s popularity amongst Barre Code goers as one of the most popular cardio workouts of the studio.  

Brawl is best described as a fusion of cardio kickboxing and strength training. The class begins with a run through of basic kickboxing moves (jabs, punches, upper cut, high kick). Once the moves are established, the instructor gradually adds to a sequence, developing a choreographed routine that feels much like a kickboxing dance bootcamp. After several run throughs of the routine, the class moves to the floor for a strengthening workout that targets mostly butt and legs. The moves are face paced and barre-like (leg lifts, pulses and holds). Most of the moves are weight bearing, except for a few glute exercises where a kettle ball is used for added burn. Once the strengthening portion is over, you are back on your feet for a final run through of the sequence.

Instructor Review: Suleen was an excellent teacher leading a class of all levels through a complicated set of choreographed movements to a final routine that almost resembled a stage performance. Suleen’s instruction was so good that she had the entire class following along through virtually every move and last run through. Her energy was up-beat and inspiring, as she did not forget to shout out words of encouragement between demonstration. Music selection was hip-hop and dance like.

Extras: The Barre Code offers a vast range of classes that incorporate; barre, cardio, strength training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), dance, kickboxing and vinyasa for a well-rounded fitness program at a one-stop shop.

The Barre Code has multiple locations across Chicago (Michigan Ave, River North, Gold Coast, Lakeview and Lincoln Park) and surrounding suburbs (Evanston, Park Ridge and Oak Park). Individual classes are priced at $20, 5-class pack $90, and 10-class pack $160. Monthly unlimited membership cost is $165, $99/first month for new members, and $139 for year long auto-pay (3-month minimum commitment). Many of the studios host events and private classes by appointment. You can even purchase individualized class packs or gift sets for classes and other merchandise.

The Michigan Ave studio is located on the lower level of the ATI Physical Therapy building on Michigan and Wacker in the Loop.

Would I recommend? Absolutely, especially if you’re looking for a cardio workout that’s different and fun. Brawl is also a great counter workout to ‘Barre Code,’ as it really gets you sweating. I would say the strength portion is a nice add on, but the class is definitely mostly cardio based.



Go Core @ Go Cycle

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Studio: Go Cycle

Class Name: Go Core

Address:  525 w. North Ave, Chicago IL

Location: Old Town

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Beginner-Advanced

Instructor: Sara Baker

Reviewer: Ariel

Class Review: Trying to get into spin? Love spin but want more than just cardio? This could be the perfect class for you. Go Core is a 30 minute spin session followed by 20 minutes of an intense core workout.

The spin section was filled with hills, sprint intervals and great music. It got my heart rate going and I worked up a sweat quickly. The “core” section was made up of fun yet challenging moves that utilize both weights and your own body weight. By the end of the 50 minutes I felt like I got in a great full body workout and the time flew by.

Go Cycle is a boutique studio and the classes are almost always full. After a couple of classes you  start to recognize familiar faces. The combination of dedicated clients and personable instructors makes you feel like you are part of a team.

Instructor: Sara is an awesome instructor. She is full of energy and super attentive. She makes sure everyone is putting in their full effort and really engages the class. Her music is also on point which I find extremely important in any workout class.

Attire: Normal workout clothes. I suggest pants rather than shorts for spin, but that is all personal preference. Spin shoes are provided if you need them, but sneakers are also needed for the core section.

Extras:  The studio has a locker room and showers. The building is the home of Go Cycle, Go Row and Go Spa so you can take spin classes, row classes, and spa treatments all under one roof. Go Cycle and Go Row are on Class Pass and you can attend each 3 times.

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