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! 

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

go cycle

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


Barre Code @ The Barre Code

FullSizeRenderClass: Barre Code

Studio: The Barre Code

Location: Michigan Ave

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

Instructor: Stephanie

Reviewer: Erica K

Class Review: With mentions in Vogue, Self, Women’s Health and even Forbes, this studio certainly kills according to the Press. But why is The Barre Code (formally known as Barre Be Fit) receiving so much hype? Well, the appeal is simple. It’s a studio that offers a fitness program for women that is fun, effective and results driven.

The Barre Code’s ‘Barre Code’ workout is a strength training full-body routine that consists of isometric holds and heavy repetitions. The exercises are designed to work muscles to fatigue in order to develop strength, stamina and endurance. Throughout the workout you use a variety of props (i.e., rubber ball, dumbbells, band) that challenge the body and engage the mind

The class is held in a barre studio with padded floors and mirrors. Each student takes a place along side the bar. Throughout the 50 minute class, you work through a variety of exercises that help sculpt thighs/glutes, arms/back, core and abdominals. Movements in each segment are small and controlled. Transition between movements in fairly face paced with some stretching incorporated to help lengthen the muscles. Every two weeks the routine changes to avoid bore and plateau.

Instructor Review: Stephanie is a dancer and has an up-beat energy. Her music selection was fun/dance-like and her words of inspiration motivating. Throughout class, Stephanie used a microphone, coaching us through each and every movement, as well as providing words of encouragement. I also noticed her adjust a few people by approaching them discretely.

After class I spoke to Stephanie and she explained a little bit about the studio. I learned that Barre Code is a studio that offers a vast range of classes that incorporate; barre, cardio, strength training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), dance, kickboxing and vinyasa for a truly individualized, well-rounded fitness program (one-stop shop!).

Attire: Barre Code is a non-heated class where socks are required. During heated classes, mats are required (available for rental/sale).

Extras: 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 or $139 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? Yes, if you’re looking for a fun and inspiring barre workout. I was a bit sore coming into class and started feeling the burn quickly. My muscles definitely felt exhausted by the end and I even worked up a mini sweat. My only concern is how well the instructors monitor form. I am fairly new to barre workouts and would like to know that I am using correct form and posture to target specific muscles.

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Beginner-Advanced

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Boxing @ Title Boxing Club- West Loop

Rainbow Boxing Wraps

Studio: Title Boxing Club

Class Name: Boxing

Address:  313 S. Peoria Street, Chicago IL

Location: West Loop

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Intermediate-Beast Mode

Instructor: Chaly

Reviewer: Ariel

Class Review: 

If you are looking for a total body workout that will whip your butt into shape, Title Boxing could be your new true love. The website claims you can burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour and I believe it. The class is set up  in one big room with rows of bags hanging from the ceiling. Everyone gets their own bag.

Each hour long class is set up in the same format. It begins with a 15 minute warm up consisting of exercises like lunges, high knees and squats. Next is the 30 minutes of boxing made up of eight,  3-minute rounds of all different combinations (think: jab/cross/hook/hook etc.). The class finishes up with 15 minutes of core, much of which is done on the floor with a medicine ball.

Throughout the workout Chaly came around with pads so we could practice with a real person which I really enjoyed. I found this class to be difficult but extremely fun and I left feeling accomplished and like a bit of a bad ass. I have taken numerous boxing classes in the past but this one gave me the best overall work out by far. If you have never taken a boxing class before and you really want to learn, you may want to start with a private session or a beginner class elsewhere so you can be taught proper form.

Instructor: Chaly is an awesome instructor. He has a constant smile on his face and circles the room interacting with you which is definitely encouraging.

Attire: Normal workout clothes. This is a pretty no-frills class so don’t feel like you need to be decked in your finest fitness gear. Wear sneakers, although I did see one or two people boxing barefoot.

Extras: Your first two classes at Title Boxing Club are FREE. You will need to purchase $10 wraps which are worn underneath the gloves, but they are yours to keep. If it is your first time, arrive about 10 minutes early to get set up and have someone help you with your wraps.

Title Boxing Club has locations across the country including two in Chicago (West Loop and Lincoln Park). They offer boxing, kickboxing and private sessions. They are also on Class Pass!

Would I recommend?:  Yes



IMG_7669Studio: Shred415

Class: Arms and Abs

Location: South Loop

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Advanced-Beastmode

Address: 1136 S Delano Ct e202, Chicago, IL 60605

Instructor: Brittanie Chin

Reviewer: Erica K

Class Review: There’s no doubt that Shred415 is one of the most challenging workouts you can do in this city. With 6 different studios, top-notch instructors and a huge following, this gym certainly kills it for high intensity interval training (HIIT). During Shred you combine four, 15 minute, interval sessions of running and weights for a high intensity/calorie burning 60-minute workout.

Each class is customized to target certain muscle groups. Today’s class was designed to target Arms and Abs. Intervals were standard (four alternating 15 minute sessions). Each floor session combined various exercises designed to target mostly upper body (shoulders, arms, chest) and abdominal muscles (i.e., reverse crunch on the step holding medium size dumbbell). The instructor also incorporated plyometric exercises such as, jump squats and burpees for added cardio. Floor moves were basic and easy to follow. As stated in previous reviews, the most challenging part of class is the transition between movements, as this is a fast-pace environment.

The treadmill sections in Shred consist of a combination of incline and speed word. The instructor will cue you to make adjustments based on your ending warm-up pace (mine ranges typically between 6.5 and 7.5 mph). Today the treadmill sections consisted of 2 minute speed pushes (increased from your ending warm-up pace) at 2%, 4% and 6% incline. If you’re not a runner don’t be intimidated. The goal of every Shred is to find your baseline and increase from there. You are even welcome to walk if needed.

Instructor Review: Brittanie has a very inspiring, up-beat and motivating energy. Aside from providing a rigorously challenging workout, she went above and beyond with helping us stay motivated throughout class. Brittanie reminded us to keep pushing every step of the way, shouting out comments like, “This is your workout, make it count!” I typically gravitate towards instructors like Brittanie that go the extra-mile.

Extras: Shred415 currently has 6 different studio locations (South Loop, Bucktown, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Northshore and Hinsdale). Classes are offered around the clock, but make sure you to book in advance because they fill up quickly! I personally love the South Loop location, because parking is easy and Lululemon is next door. There are locker rooms, towels and 1-2 showers in each studio. Select classes are offered on ClassPass.

Shred class pricing: $25 (drop-in), $145 (monthly new client), $205 (monthly), $195 (monthly auto pay). Better deals are offered if you’re shredding to get rid of your baby bump or for your wedding day.

Would I recommend: Yes! This is a great class for torching calories and shedding fat.


Yoga Sculpt w/ Hector @ CorePower Yoga West Loop

IMG_6295Studio: CorePower Yoga

Class: Yoga Sculpt

SweatyReviews Fitness Level: Advanced

Address: 1313 W. Randolph St. Chicago, IL. (west loop)

Instructor: Hector

Reviewer: Erica K

Class Review: Yoga Sculpt is certainly a challenging class no matter who’s teaching. As stated in previous reviews, it combines heat, weights and cardio for a total body workout that pushes your strength and flexibility to the max (imagine basic c1 on steroids). 

Like most sculpt sessions, this class started with a flow through basic yoga movements. Gradually, the pace picked up and weights were incorporated (i.e., airplane arms to tricep kickbacks, holding dumbbells). After flowing though several movements with weights, there was a section of cardio (high kicks, jacks, football runs, in-and-out jump squats). Finally, we moved to the floor for a challenging core circuit to target both abdominal and lower back muscles. The class concluded with a stretch session and final savasana.

Instructor Review: Although Hector is new to teaching, I found his class to be fairly challenging (advanced level). His flow was fast, and my muscles felt maxed out by the last rep. The music selection was up-beat and highly motivating. My only feedback to him was that his explanations were slightly confusing, particularly when he was transitioning us through movements.

Would I recommend? I’ve taken many classes, but sculpt is still one of my favorites. In fact, I would argue that it is one of the hardest yet exhilarating workouts around, especially with the right teacher. I would gladly return to Hector’s class, as I felt overall challenged. Also, I feel his style will only get better as he becomes more comfortable with teaching.

Extras: CorePower studios are literally everywhere and many of the classes are available through Class Pass. Your first week at Core is free, and so is your second if you buy a mat. Rental mats are purchased for $2 and towels for $1. The West Loop location also has easy to find parking outside.

Fit-Loft Bootcamp @ Yoga Loft Chicago

IMG_5275Studio: Yoga Loft Chicago

Class: Fit-Loft Bootcamp

Location: River North

Address: 15 W Hubbard St. (4th floor)

SweatyReviews Fitness Level: Beginner-Advanced

Instructor: Tim Ceurvorst

Reviewer: Erica K

Class Review: Fit-Loft Bootcamp may be exactly what you envision bootcamp at a yoga studio to look like. The class is held in a yoga studio, mats are provided and bare feet are required. The class consists of circuit-based training that is face-paced and gets your heart rate up.

The instructor started the class with basic stretching then moved to the first circuit of exercises, which included ~20-60 second cardio/strength-based moves (jumps, squats, push-ups, kicks/punches, plank holds and other plyo-based exercises). Light dumbbells were incorporated. Transition of movements was quick and each exercise was done only once per circuit. There was a 90 second rest break before the second circuit started. Movements in the second circuit were identical to the first.

The class concluded with a series of ab/core movements on the floor and a final stretch session. The duration of the class was about 45 minutes. The room was not heated but it definitely felt toasty (any hotter and I would have slipped off my mat!).

Instructor Review: Tim Ceurvorst is a certified personal trainer and co-owner of Yoga Loft Chicago. Throughout class Tim’s energy was very positive and motivating. He continued to remind us how well we were doing and how far we had come (“Only two moves until half-time”). Although there was little hands-on assistance, Tim was very verbal with his feedback. He gave many of the students positive comments.

After class I spoke to Tim about the workout. My feedback to him was that the movements felt too quick. My concern was that I was not doing them long enough to really feel change or soreness. Tim explained that this class is more face-paced with the intention to rev-up heart rate and calorie burn. Then he told me about some other classes I might like better for strength such as, Fit-Blast and Sculpt.

Would I recommend? I would absolutely recommend this class if you’re trying to get a quick calorie burning workout in. The quickness of the class combined with the heat in the room really made for a good sweat session. If you’re looking to increase strength,tone, and flexibility, I would probably recommend a different class for that. Luckily, Yoga Loft Chicago offers a tremendous amount of classes that can really get you what you need in one studio. I am curious about some of the other fitness and yoga classes Tim described.

Extras: Yoga Loft Chicago is a unique loft yoga studio in the heart of River North (entry between El Hefe and Theory) that fuses fitness and yoga, offering a wide range of classes that are taught by certified personal trainers and yoga teachers. The studio also offers personal training and nutrition counseling. Yoga mat rental are $2 and towels are sold for $1. A single drop-in class costs $19, monthly unlimited $169 and monthly auto renewal $139. Many of the classes are also offered on ClassPass.


Flywheel @ Flywheel Old Town (w/ Everett)

Studio/Class: Fly45 @ Flywheel Sports

Location: Old Town

Address: 1653 N Wells St. Chicago, IL. 60614

SweatReviews Fitness Level: All Levels

Instructor: Everett Moran

Reviewer: Erica K

Class Review: Here’s the deal. If you’re familiar with Flywheel, you know that this is one of the most productive 45 minutes of your life. If you are skeptical about a $25 dollar cycling session, well this is what you should know.

Flywheel is a high intensity interval-training (HIIT) workout on a bike. This indoor cycling studio is equipped with bikes that allow you to see exactly how hard you’re working at any given second. Throughout class, the instructor cues you to adjust speed (RPMs) and intensity (Torque) on your bike for a series of pushes that encompasses sprint and hill work. Occasionally, the instructor will cue you to change your Current number (a combination of RPMs and Torque). The goal of class is to work towards a final Power number, which is a reflection of how hard your ride was.

In class, you ride to the beat of 11 different songs with one song allocated to working arms given a weighted bar. The class is held in a dark studio, the music is loud and bumping and the instructor will intermittently display your class ranks on a Torque Board (option to opt out).

Instructor Review: I have taken Everett’s class numerous times and I keep coming back for more. Everett does a great job of making you feel completely empowered throughout the whole ride. At the beginning of this class, he said to us, “I don’t care what you do, just give me your best.” This was exactly the type of motivation I needed to get through my workout today. As the ride got stickier, his words of encouragement kept me pushing and even laughing (“Relax, it’s just indoor cycling.”). Everett’s playlist was a collection of up beat songs that I loved (Brittney, Beyonce.. I mean come on). Overall, his positive energy and excitement about Flywheel is what made for an amazingly hard but fun ride.

Would I recommend: Is that a serious question? Pretty sure I recommend Flywheel to everyone. This is 100 percent not a regular indoor cycling class and there are very few gyms/studios that will offer you a workout quite like this. I have to say, I get both excited and nervous for this class every time. Excited because I know how fun it is, but nervous my legs and lungs will legit give out. I actually think Everett said it perfectly today, “It never get’s easier, but it definitely gets better.”

Extras: There are two studios in downtown Chicago (Old Town and Gold Coast). You can book classes in advance through the Flywheel application (classes fill fast) or through ClassPass (select times available). The Old Town studio is my favorite. It’s large and spacious and definitely trumps all other cycling studios I’ve been to. All flyers are welcome to free apples, bananas and towels. Cycling shoes are provided with the booking of each class. Water bottles are sold for $2.

Flywheel also has a great application that tracks performance in each class (total distance, calories burned, avg torque/rpm), shows class rank and keeps track of each class you’ve ever taken.


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