Beast + Balance – Where the Cool Kids Flow

flow kids

About two weeks ago I attended Elli Gotlieb’s Yoga Sculpt class at Core Power Yoga. Let’s just say, I was immediately hooked.Her class was challenging and had the perfect mix of arm, leg, and ab work. Her energy pushed me to hold my plank longer and squat deeper. She also has a really cool vibe about her so it is no shock to me that she has put together the coolest tribe of yogi’s with her new endeavor Beast + Balance.

This past weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to attend her very first Beast + Balance event. The concept is a pop-up, curated yoga + lifestyle experience. Basically, a community of cool kids who like to flow. She has single-handedly built a tribe of people to do dope yoga sh*t with.

The experience was above and beyond what I had expected. As someone who considers themselves an entrepreneur, Elli really impressed me.

  • She found an awesome space in the West Loop
  • Each class was nearly, if not, sold out (and there were 5 of them!)
  • Taught an awesome hour long yoga class
  • Had staff on deck to help with check in as well as help students with form
  • Had several different local businesses on site to serve food and drinks
  • Decorations were on point

I could go on and on. Overall I truly believe Elli was born to teach yoga and I can’t wait for the next Beast + Balance event. If you wanna flow with the cool kids, jump on board.



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


Indoor Cycling Deal

We came across this deal on Groupon and had to share it!

$99 for One Month of Unlimited Indoor Cycling Classes at Full Psycle ($149 Value)


If you live in the Lincoln Park area, there’s no excuse not to take advantage of unlimited cycling at Full Pscyle Chicago near the Depaul University campus.

Full Psycle Chicago is an indoor cycling studio that uses high end technology to display exactly how fast and how hard each student is churning. The class takes place in a dim lit studio where cyclists compete against themselves and each other for a little healthy competition. The high-intensity spin class claims to burn up to 800 calories per session. 

The Fine Print:  Promotional value expires 90 days after purchase. Amount paid never expires. Valid for new monthly members only. Limit 1 per person, may buy 1 additional as gift. Limit 1 per visit. Must activate first class by expiration date on voucher; classes expire 1 month from activation date. Not valid with any other offers or specials. Reservation suggested. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.


Strength w/ Dawn Kollmorgen @ Crosstown Fitness West Loop

Class: Strength crosstown

Studio: Crosstown Fitness Chicago

Address: 1031 W. Madison St. (West Loop)

Instructor: Dawn Kollmorgen

SR Fitness Level: All Levels

Attire: Gym shoes required


Class Review: This class is extremely low impact (ehem NO cardio) which makes it great for those with joint issues or just for those who despise cardio in general. The class is made up of exercises involving free weights, kettle bells, TRX, and body weight.

The class was broken down into 3 sections with 3 exercises in each section that lasted 2 minutes each. The 3 exercises are repeated 2 times before moving on. (EX: dead lifts for 2 minutes, kettle bell crunches for 2 minutes, and superman’s for 2 minutes (X2). This ensured that you exhausted each muscle group before moving on.

Since this isn’t an ACT question, let me help you out with the math here. This exercise sequence equated to a total of 12 minutes a section for a total workout of 36 minutes (There was also about a 10 minute warm up and a quick stretch at the end). This class was perfect for a non-morning person trying to get a good workout in.

Instructor Review: Dawn was an incredibly friendly and attentive instructor. The second I walked in she knew I was an unfamiliar face and immediately made me feel comfortable. She introduce herself and asked if I had ever been to Crosstown Fitness before (she is genuinely interested in  getting to know her students!) Even though the class had ~30 students in it, I still felt like I got tons of individualized attention, which is a rarity. She truly is a gem.

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Extras: When you check into Crosstown you can put your name down for a smoothie that will be prepared and ready for you by the end of class! Perfect for people like me who rolled out of bed and will, most likely, just roll right into work and need a quick nutritious breakfast.

Would I recommend? Absolutely. They offer many different types of classes, so checkout the schedule for more details. I will be back on Friday for Total Body!


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


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.


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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