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.



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.

Photo from

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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!

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


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.

Boxing @ Title One Boxing Club

Studio: Title Boxing Club

Class:  Boxing

Teacher: Katie

Address:  2714 N. Clark – Lincoln Park

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Intermediate – Beast Mode

Would I recommend?:  Yes!!


Reviewer: Hilary

Studio/Workout Review:  Secret’s out — Title Boxing Club is where it’s at.   During a one hour session, you get a full body workout, but what you’ll really be feeling tomorrow morning is your arms/upper back/shoulders.  Their website also claims that you can burn up to 1,000 calories in one class – and I believe it.  Workout breakdown: 15 minute warm up that includes multiple reps of different exercises with no rests (think: squats, lunges, mountain climbers, squats, planks, more squats).  30 minutes of bag work that includes combinations using the standard punches: jab, cross, uppercut, hook.  (There is seriously nothing better than a punching bag after a long, stressful day at work)  The class ends with a 15-minute ab routine using a medicine ball, and sometimes even the punching bag, to focus on your core.

I have been working out at Title for almost a year now.   They maintain a great, upbeat atmosphere, making it comfortable for both men and women to sweat it out side by side.  You can’t go wrong with any instructor, but different instructors will focus on different things.  Katie and Veronika are so strong (I want to be them when I grow up) and focus on cardio and getting your heart pumping.  Many of the men instructors are former boxers and UFC fighters, who focus more on boxing technique and skill.

Notes/Extras:  First two classes are free!  Yes, you read that correctly.  Wraps (which are worn underneath your gloves) cost $10.  If you’re new, make sure you get to class at least 15 minutes early so you can get wrapped up and review the punches.

There is also an elliptical, treadmill, full set of weights, kettlebells, jump ropes, bosu balls, resistance bands, etc. just in case you want to get warmed up before the warm-up.  Members can use the weights, machines and punching bags on their own whenever the studio is open.  Title is unfortunately not a part of ClassPass, but they have great packages!  All of Title’s instructors can also be booked for personal training sessions.

I promise that you will leave Title Boxing Club sweaty as hell and feeling stronger than when you came in.  Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, baby. 

In the Ring!

Boxing Gloves

Is Personal Training Worth It?

Personal training can be expensive and I wouldn’t even know where to start to find the right trainer for me. I happened to meeting Ross Bradly, a trainer at CrossTown Fitness in the West Loop, and he showed me what 1:1 personal training is all about.

Pros: You get 1:1 attention, form is a main focus, and the trainer adapts to your personal fitness level (instead of pushing yourself beyond your capabilities in a group fitness class). It is also great for someone just getting into fitness and isn’t comfortable jumping right into a group fitness class.

Cons: It can be a bit awkward at first (especially if your trainer is good looking, which mine was!). You also lack the motivation from others around you, because lets be honest, it is nice to suffer with others (even if those others are strangers!).

Is it worth it? Personally I’m not into the whole personal training thing, unless I can bring my friends, in which case it becomes a group fitness class (which defeats the purpose!). It is also a bit pricey. Like I said earlier, I would recommend PT for a newbie, someone looking to really focus on form, or someone who needs to be held accountable to get to the gym!

Trainer: Ross Bradly

He was super friendly right when I walked in and made me feel comfortable. It can be a little awkward if you haven’t ever had a 1:1 personal training session before (which I hadn’t) because all eyes are on you. He quickly caught onto my fitness level and pushed me to do exercises that were challenging, but at the same time doable. This guy definitely knows what he is talking about when it comes to fitness. He was a 2 time All-American gymnast at U of I as well as a member of Cirque Du Soleil as an acrobat. He was in the show ‘O’ in Las Vegas and ‘Alegria’ as it toured Europe!

Gym: CrossTown Fitness (  in the West Loop (prices below)

4 Pack: $80 Each
8 Pack: $75 Each
12 Pack: $70 each (MOST POPLUAR)

*Add $5 per session for peak training time slots M-F 5-8am 5-8pm Sunday 7-5pm
*Add $20 per session for partner training

On Your Mark Coaching & Training – West Loop

Studio: On Your Mark Coaching & Training – West Loop

Teacher: Danielle York

Class Name: Beastmode

Address: 1101 W. Monroe

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Intermediate – Beastmode

Would I recommend?:  Yes (but don’t expect the Trump of studios)


Studio Review: I scheduled this class because I was maxed out of the studios I usually go to through ClassPass. It was described as “15 minutes of legs, 15 minutes ride, 15 minutes of running, 15 minutes of plyos”.

The studio isn’t that easy to find. It is in a basement of a building off Monroe street, so make sure you write the address down! It has a cool vibe overall, but is definitely definition of basement gym with beat up equipment.

We ran on the treadmill for 15 minutes at varying speeds, you made it as difficult as you wanted to (which can always be a bit tricky for me because I almost need someone to tell me “no this isn’t hard enough for you push harder!”. You have to use your best judgement. We then moved to the bike for some intervals (same concept as the treadmill). I wouldn’t call it crazy intense, but it made me break a sweat. At the 35 minute mark we moved to the floor for legs and plyos. The exercises were good, but there was no cardio behind the moves (no plyos at all in my opinion). We moved from each exercise slowly, which brought my heart rate come down.

There also wasn’t enough of the same equipment for everyone, so we made do with either dumbbells or medicine balls of varying weights. Overall I felt I got a good workout, but the name makes it sound more intimidating then it was.

Teacher Review: Danielle was an awesome teacher. She was yelling at you the whole time while we were on the bikes and treadmills. She had a fantastic energy that made you want to run harder. She chose really hard exercises that definitely made me shake while I was doing them. I loved her vibe and I will definitely seek her out next time I go back.

Extras: The gym also offers Nutritional Guidance, Athletic Testing, a Kids Room, and more.

Yoga Scult w/ Dani M @ CorePower Yoga West Loop

Studio: CorePower Yoga

Class: Yoga Sculpt

Location: West Loop

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Advanced-Beastmode

Address: 1313 W. Randolph St. Chicago, IL.

Instructor: Dani M

Reviewer: Erica K

Class Review: I attended Yoga Sculpt in the West Loop the other night because I was craving some heat. In my opinion, sculpt is one of the most challenging classes. Bringing heat, weights and cardio together it can literally be impossible.

For those of you who have never been to Yoga Sculpt, imagine basic C1 yoga on steroids. It combines weights, body movements (burpees, squats, push-ups), cardio and a million chaturangas for a total body workout that you frankly may have to leave the room for. Although the workout is great, every teacher has a different flow and style.

Instructor Review: When class started, the flow was slow and I didn’t know whether Dani would be the type of teacher I liked. As class continued, I was pleasantly surprised as each move pushed me to my limit. My heart rate was high and sweat was dripping off of me, but Dani had such a positive energy that helped me stay energized and motivated to keep moving. After class, I felt SPENT but in a good way. I would definitely consider Dani’s class to be one of the harder sculpt sessions (advanced-beastmode level).

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.