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.

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


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



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


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


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

IMG_8233  IMG_8234



Studio: Lateral Fitnesslateral instructor

Class Name: Sculpt

Address:  314 W Superior St, Lower Level

Location: River North

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Intermediate-Beast Mode

Instructor: Adrie Fit

Reviewer: Lindsey

Class Review: If you need to rev up on your weight training, this is the class to come to! I am personally intimidated by the weight room at the gym and have been looking for a way to get in some heavy weight lifting. This class did just that. It is a total body toning class using free weights and resistance bands. We each had a set of heavy and medium weights and performed a series of exercises that hit every muscle group to exhaustion. I was literally shaking when I left the hour long class. It is also perfect for those who need a lower impact exercise class, but still want to burn some serious calories.

Instructor: Adrienne or “AdrieFit” as they call her at Lateral Fitness has been personal training since 1995 and teaching group fitness since 2006. She is super motivating and has you constantly moving. She will have you working until the very last minute of class. It also helps that she looks the part, she has guns for days!

Attire: Nothing special needed here. Just gym shoes and your game face.

Extras:  $33 for 3 classes for new clients or unlimited classes are $180 a month. They also offer a “lunch time” membership from 10am – 2pm Monday through Friday. This membership includes: full access to cardio, strength equipment, and full amenity showers. Email them for more details !!

Would I recommend?:  Yes


Lateral lockers    Lateral studio

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



Studio:  Pure Barre River North

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Class Name: Pure Barre

Address:  1 East Huron, 2nd Floor (right next to Blowtique on Huron and State)

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Intermediate

Instructor: Mary Azar

Reviewer: Alex

Class Review: I’ve been going to Pure Barre River North for almost 1.5 years now and cannot seem to find another workout that keeps me coming back like this one.
I was skeptical to try it as I was not a fan of some of the competitive workouts in the area but after signing up for my first class, I was hooked.

The 55 minute class follows the same routine each time

  • You start with a warm-up, which is comprised of a 90-second plank series, Pilates-like ab work, a brief push-up set and tricep moves using your own body weight.
  • You’ll then move into arm work with light weights to work your triceps, biceps, shoulders and chest.
  • Immediately following the arm series, you move into thigh (3 moves) and “seat”  (2 moves) work on the barre using either your own body weight, a resistance band and a ball.
  • Next is the extended abs series. This will start under the barre, doing moves unique to Pure Barre, and then move towards the center of the room for more traditional ab work.
  • To finish out the routine, you’ll then move into a very brief spine series to balance out all of the ab work and a 2 minute seat series ( a last chance to “burn out your seat”)

What’s unique about this low-impact, intense workout is that while you may not sweat like you would in a cardio workout, your body literally shakes. At first its almost a scary feeling, because its likely you’ve not experienced something like this before. But fear not, this is a sign that results are on their way! I saw results from Pure Barre after attending just 10 classes. I haven’t found a workout that tones and shapes me the way that I have with Pure Barre. Another added bonus is that I used to have horrible back pain in my lower back, which has dramatically improved since I’ve been attending Pure Barre.

Instructor: I love all the ladies at Pure Barre, they do an exceptional job of keeping the classes refreshing by switching out moves daily, to ensure you’re not getting the exact same workout, and correcting your form so that you won’t get injured. I haven’t been to Mary’s class in a while and forgot that she’s someone who ALWAYS brings it–you’ll never leave without being fatigued!

Extras: The instructors and owners (Emily Henson and Shelbye Ortale) are all super friendly and always available to help with any question you might have. They are also incredible encouraging as you fight through this challenging workout.

Would I recommend?:  Absolutely!


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