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!


Image result for pure barre river north chicago

Image from Purebarre.com

Orange 60 @ Orange Theory Fitness Wicker Park



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