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

Website: http://chicago-westloop.titleboxingclub.com/

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PURE BARRE W/ MARY AZAR @ PURE BARRE RIVER NORTH

Studio:  Pure Barre River North

Image from Purebarre.com

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!

Website:
purebarre.com/il-chicago

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Image from Purebarre.com

Go Row @ Go Cycle

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Studio: Go Cycle

Class Name: Go Row

Address:  525 w. North Ave, Chicago IL

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: All Levels

Instructor: Emmy Rigali

Reviewer: Ariel

Class Review: 

If you have ever used a rowing machine, you know it provides a full body workout. Go Row is an interval class that combines cardio and strength to work your body from head to toe.

The class began on the rowers with a warm up to get us acquainted with the machines and several rows of varying speeds and distances. Rowing seems like a breeze until you are going full force. After the first cardio block we moved to the floor to do a strength/core section which was one of the more challenging ab workouts I had done in a while. Then it was back onto the rower for a variety of distance and sprint intervals followed by an ab section performed on the rowers.

This class was a fun and refreshing workout. I left feeling exhausted and accomplished.

Instructor: Emmy is the owner of Go Cycle  and is one of those spark plug instructors that just gets you motivated. She watches your form and helps you get comfortable in your strides. She is also hilarious which makes the workout fly by.

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

Website: http://gocyclestudio.com/go-row/

SHRED415 @ SOUTH LOOP (W/ BRITTANIE CHIN)

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.

Website: http://www.shred415.com/south-loop-about.html

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.

http://www.corepoweryoga.com/yoga-studio/illinois/west-loop

Bootcamp @ FitBody Bootcamp

Janie in Action at FitBody

Janie in Action at FitBody

Studio: FitBody Bootcamp

Class: Boot camp

Location: Lincoln Park

Address: 1820 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Advanced

Instructor: Kyle Blust, Clarence Moore, Katie Martin

Reviewer: Janie

Class Review: I first started FitBody in July of last year. I was greeted by a friendly staff who immediately asked if I had any prior injuries to ensure they could create alternative workouts for me. From the very start of class, the workout was intense, challenging, and so much fun! I was instantly hooked on the faced-paced blend of cardio and strength training that flies by in 45 minutes.

I became a member shortly after and quickly saw results after adjusting my eating habits and sticking to this workout routine. I participated in the 6-week Biggest Loser Challenge and lost 8 pounds and 2 inches of my waist. It felt so great to feel a difference in not only my clothes but also my stamina. From jumping rope, lifting weights, side shuffles, to core training, this a sweat-drippng workout every single time. Since joining the FitBody Family, I always look forward to the different type of workouts, equipment we will be using for the day, and seeing friendly familiar faces that always push you to finish those last intense seconds.

Instructor Review: Kyle, Clarence and Katie are all so supportive and encouraging in their training methods, always stressing proper form to protect yourself from injuries. They know everyone that walks in by name, and if they don’t, they take the time to understand their strengths and weaknesses–this builds a relationship I haven’t seen at any other gym. You are also held accountable to the personal goals you strive for when you begin your journey: they will take down your weight and measurement at your discretion and follow your progress. Not only do they make us work, but they make each other work as well. I often see one of the instructors jumping into a class and it feels good working out right next to each other knowing they also endure the intensity and we are both rooting for each other.

Extras: FitBody is not only limited to the gym. This past Fourth of July we worked out in the park on a beautiful day- a great change of scenery! Next week I am also participating in a FitBody Beach Workout!

Would I recommend: Yes

Website: http://www.fitbodybootcamp.com/

Total Body @ Shred 415 Old Town

shred 415

Studio: Shred415

Class: Total Body

Location: Old Town

Address: 230 w. Division St, Chicago, IL 60605

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Advanced-Beastmode

Instructor: Jacob Greathouse

Reviewer: Ariel

Class Review: If you have lived in Chicago for a bit, you have most likely heard of Shred 415. It is a workout that consists of four sets of (you guessed it!) 15 minutes, alternating between floor work and the treadmill.

This was my first class and I went in pretty nervous. I am in decent shape, but running is my weak spot, so a total of 30 minutes on the treadmill was very daunting to me. The class I signed up for was Total Body, so I knew the floor sections would give me a great overall burn.

The class format was not as rigid as I expected, in that it was not 15-15-15-15. I started on the floor. The floor station consists of a step and set of weights.  15 minutes of work-doing things like lunges, presses, and planks. Then we switched and the next set was 15 minutes on the treadmill. Jacob slowly built us up to a nice paced run which he referred to as our “base” pace. Then the intervals went up and down between sprinting, and jogging on an incline. Definitely no walking.

After the first 30 minutes the instructor split up the sections into intervals of 5 minutes back and forth between the station as opposed to a straight 15 minutes which I was happy about because another full 15 minutes on the treadmill would have been a lot for me mentally. Each floor section got more rigorous and the treadmill section got more intense. Overall I was EXHAUSTED after the class. NOTE TO FIRST TIMERS: go with a friend. Having Erica whisper words of encouragement to me in the mirror definitely helped me to carry on.

Instructor Review: Jacob was very energetic and made me feel comfortable going into class for the first time. I liked his selection in music and his class was definitely challenging.

Extras: Shred415 currently has 5 different studio locations (South Loop, Bucktown, Old Town, Lincoln Park and Northshore). Classes are offered around the clock, but make sure to book in advance because they fill up quickly!  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. You need to try it at least once.

Website: http://www.shred415.com/old-town-location.html

Orange 60 @ Orange Theory Fitness Wicker Park

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Studio: Orange Theory Fitness

Class: Orange 60

Location: Wicker Park

Address: 1634 w. North Ave. Chicago, IL. 60622

SweatyReviews Fitness Level: Intermediate – Beast Mode

Instructor: James

Reviewer: Ariel

Class Review: Walking into Orange Theory I had no idea what I was in for. The website claims you can burn between 500-1000 calories a session so I knew it had to be intense but when I asked the girl at the front desk if I was going to die she smiled confidently at me and said “No, you are not going to die.” And so I proceeded to strap the heart rate monitor to my chest. You tell the studio your weight and wear the monitor so that that you can track your progress both on the screen and class to class.

The workout is filled with strength, cardio, and circuit training. If you have read any of my reviews before you know I am (as Lindsey calls me) “allergic to running.” Luckily the blocks of time in this class are only five minutes each.  The class began on the treadmill. You pick your “base pace,” a speed that you are comfortable at, and the intervals switch between your base, a push, and an all out sprint. If you really prefer not to run, the instructor also tells you inclines to switch to if you would like to take the treadmill portion at a speed walk.

The floor sessions combine all different moves such as presses, squats, lunges and a rowing machine. Each time on the floor contains a different set of exercises and you repeat the circuit as many times as you can in the allotted five minute block. The moves are shown on a screen as a reference so you can remember how many reps to do and what the move looks like.

At the end of the hour you are completely worked out and feel very accomplished. I love that you can track the amount of calories  you are burning on a screen and how hard you are working while doing it. If it is your first time, the instructor explains what the break down of the  different numbers mean at the end of the class. In my first workout I burned 671 calories!

Instructor Review: James is a great instructor. He is friendly and motivating and I always like when an instructor takes you through full stretch after a workout. He also keeps an eye on you to make sure your form is on point. At the end of the class he will thoroughly explain what the different stats are and what you should work on.

Extras: The gym is very clean and there are lockers to store your belongings. The gym will provide you with a heart monitor if you do not have your own. After each class your stats are emailed to you so that you can track your progress. More studios will be opening up soon!

I signed up for a month long membership at this gym so I will be writing up another post at the end of the month to report on the progress I made!

Would I recommend: Yes

Website: http://www.orangetheoryfitness.com/chicago

Questions For The Expert!

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Gym/Trainer: Last Thursday, our Sweaty Reviews team travelled to V-Tone Fitness to meet and train with Cory Martin, CEO and founder of ChiCityFitness group. Cory is a NASM certified personal trainer with a following of almost 3500 people. His knowledge of fitness and nutrition is evident from the minute you speak to him, and he is dedicated to really getting people in shape the right way.

Workout: During our workout, we alternated through a variety of exercises such as, kettlebell squats, hip thrusters, planks and wall sits using a medicine ball. Since our team is fairly experienced in the gym, Cory’s main objective was to help us perfect our form. He even taught us some new tricks like an ‘active plank,’ which was NOT easy!

Interview: Prior to the workout, I asked Cory if he could help us answer some questions we continue to struggle getting answers for. Cory was more than happy to share his knowledge with us by answering these fairly difficult and even controversial questions. Below are his responses to the questions we asked.

Can I get the same benefits from Group Fitness as Personal Training?

No, I like to think myself as a fitness consultant I write a detailed resistance training program and nutrition plan based on what their goals are. Fix any type of muscle imbalances and postural distortion patterns, to prevent future injuries.

What is most effective way to burn calories in a workout?

When it comes resistance training, compound movements that use the body’s prime movers and secondary muscles to perform the action will burn the most calories while turning fat into muscle. For example, any squat variation will use the glutes,hamstrings,and quads to take the body through that full range of motion.

Heavy weight/lower reps vs. light weight/higher reps… What are the benefits of both, and which is better for building lean muscle mass in women vs. men? 

Low weight with higher reps to start, to strengthen the ligaments,tendons, and connective tissue to get the body ready for increased weight. With higher weight and less reps, you will see more dramatic increases in strength and lean muscle. It’s good to combine both styles so not to give the body any room to adapt to the constraints being put upon it. It is a common misconception that women will look bulky by doing high weight and low reps. Men and women build muscle and break down fat almost entirely the same, expect men have free flowing testosterone which helps them create more muscle than women.

Will I get lean from strength training alone, or do I need to incorporate cardio? How much cardio is enough?

Yes! With a solid program you can rebuild someones metabolism so their body will burn more energy at rest than if they had less muscle. 1lb of extra muscle you build will burn 60 more calories a day. 3lbs of extra muscle is almost 200 calories a day, which is the equivalent of riding a stationary bike for 30 minutes.

What should I be eating before and after workouts? 

Eat a balanced meal containing proteins,carbs, and fat, I usually have a vegetable medley with some type of meat as a protein source an hour before I do any intense exercising. I always suggest eating REAL food, no processed/ packaged food. After workout, it’s important to intake 20-30 grams of protein to go to muscle repair. Protein shakes are easy,but if possible get it from a natural source like meat.

Cheat meal/cheat day. What are your thoughts? How necessary/detrimental is this to your progress?

I can advocate for a cheat meal, never a cheat day. If having pizza once a week will keep you honest the rest of the week, then I can cosign it.  For some people this behavior can be detrimental to their nutrition plan. I encourage people to experiment and see what works best for them.

What are the most common mistakes people make when following a fitness/nutrition plan?

Um, not following it. No joke. I really like to drill home the principle of consistency. If it’s new to you, it’s very important to just show up, even on the days you think you’re to tired or just lazy. You’re building positive habits, and just like with negative habits, repetition will make it a habit. Be strict, your future self will thank you.

What is the best way to speed up muscle recovery? Is it counterproductive to exercise/lift when you’re sore?

Continue to use use/stimulate those muscles on your days off. Usually it involves much lighter workouts with less volume and intensity, concentrating on getting adequate blood flow. This is also known as active recovery.  Muscle soreness is an indication of muscle damage but it isn’t counter productive to exercise when sore. It is important to give you muscles time to heal and repair themselves, so keep it light on those days really sore days.

Is there such thing as too much protein?

Of course. The correct amount of protein for someone who does strength/resistance training should be around .5 to .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.  Additionally, your body can only metabolize so much protein per sitting. Any extra protein will get converted to fat to be stored for later energy consumption.

Extras: After the workout, we spent more time chatting with Cory. We discussed goals and questions we have when it comes to working out and eating right. Cory helped us confirm that a lot of progress is related to diet. Sugar is a big no-no, and your fuel should come from food with natural ingredients. He also explained that every body is different when it comes to finding the right ratio and balance of food. What works for me, might not work for you. Cory’s personal diet consists of 40% protein, 40% fat and 20% carbohydrates.

Cory trains clients at V-Tone fitness and other private gyms. He offers single session trainings and discounted packages. For more inquiries about personal training, nutrition counseling and services you can contact him at chicityfitnessgroup@gmail.com.

Website: chicityfitness.com

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Reviewer: Erica K

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.

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