Shred415 W/ Tracy Roemer (Founder)

Shred with Tracy 2

Studio: Shred415

Class Name: Arms and Abs

Address: 300 Happ Rd. Northfield IL

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: All

Instructor: Tracy Roemer (Founder)

Reviewer: Lindsey

Studio/Class Review: 

Shred Northshore is a conveniently located right off the highway, perfect for those reverse commuters (better to hit the gym instead of traffic, am I right?!). There is parking right in front and I’ve never had trouble finding a spot! The studio is clean and has a great area to change and shower post class. My only complaint is that there is only one water fountain station, but they sell water bottles at the front in case I’m in a rush!

The clientele is a bit older at this studio being in the burbs, but don’t let that fool you – it’s still a brutal workout. Class with Tracy was broken out into 12, 10, and 8 minute intervals. I loved this class because she brought us up to a 15 incline on the treadmill (which Shred teachers don’t do enough) and really pushed us on the floor exercises.

Instructor Review:

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Tracy was in fact TRACY ROEMER one of the founders of Shred415! I have to say it is no wonder that Shred is such a success. Her spunk and energy made me feel like we were part of a filmed workout segment. She had diverse floor movements and pushed speeds and inclines. I honestly have no idea how she remembered the routines as we swapped places with the other group as well as kept pace with timing (there was no notebook, I looked!). It was such an honor taking her class and I highly recommend that if you ever see her name on the schedule, BOOK IT!

Extras: They always post a Shredder of the month, next month it could be you! They also sell ‘On the Go Workouts’ on their site – check them out HERE!

Would I recommend?:  Yes

Website: Shred415.comShred with Tracy 1


POWERide45 @ WheelPower W/ Tracy Chudnow

WheelPower Studio

Class Name: POWERide45

Address: 49 North Waukegan Rd, Deerfield, IL

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: All

Instructor: Tracy Chudnow

Reviewer: Lindsey

WP tracy and i

Studio/Class Review: 

The studio is right off Waukegan rd, which is a perfect location for suburbanites. Tracy nailed every detail from showers, to changing rooms, to child care, to cold towels after leaving class (COLD TOWELS – GENIUS!) . The bikes are all brand new and branded with their signature logo. There is a leader board in class to keep participants motivated and engaged, your stats even get emailed to you immediately after class! The vibe at WheelPower is awesome and I can’t wait to go back. They have some super cool swag for sale also!

Instructor Review:

Tracy is an X FlyWheel instructor, whose class I used to frequent. When I heard she was starting her own gig in Deerfield, IL (near my hometown) I had to check it out. Tracy is extremely friendly, energetic, motivational, and fun (among many many other adjectives). She makes every class exciting with a mixture of hills, flat roads, tap backs, and races. There is never a dull moment in class with Tracy.


The studio also offers:

  • POWERsculpt 45
  • POWERide 30 (an Xpress ride)
  • Power75 (combination of POWERide 45 + POWERsculpt 25

Tracy co-owns WheelPower with Donnie Stutland and Stephanie Rubinstein

Would I recommend?:  Yes


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Hit 180 W/ Alex @ Hit180 Fitness

Studio: Hit180 Fitness

Class Name: Hit 180

Address: 193 Northfield Road Northfield, IL 60093‎

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: All

Instructor: Alex Rust

Reviewer: Lindsey

Studio/Class Review: 

The gym is a bit hidden down Northfield Road, but once you find your way there the first time it is a no brainer…there is ample parking in the back as well. The gym has an ‘open air’ feel and lots of windows that bring in sunlight, nice to have at 5:45am! There were also a crazy amount of people at the gym at this early hour, which tells me these owners have to be doing something right!

There are brand new showers in the woman’s locker room as well as health food shop, perfect for those of us who have to run straight to work after a workout.

The class structure is setup to incorporate a series of cardio and strength exercises with brief rests in between by the use of stations. The cardio stations incorporated rowers and a horizontal climbing machine, while the strength stations incorporated ropes, TRX, dumbbells, and medicine balls. We rotated sections every 5 minutes, which made the class zoom by. The moves were challenging and hit a wide variety of muscle groups.

This class is great for those who are working on their form, want a powerful mixture of cardio and strength, and need a once stop shop for their morning routine!

Instructor Review:

The instructor was super friendly, inviting, and motivating. As we moved through the exercises she kept a close eye on all participants to ensure correct form, even offering hands on assist when needed. Her peppy attitude kept me motivated the whole time. She even took time to give us a full stretch at the end, which some fitness instructors skimp on.

Extras: The gym offers many other services aside from group fitness!

  • Personal Training
  • Small Group Training
  • Boxing Training
  • In-Home Training
  • Sport Specific Training
  • Kids Fitness Training

The website also has a 21 day nutrition plan for free!

Would I recommend?:  Yes

fit180 3

Questions For The Expert!


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



Reviewer: Erica K

Shred 415 w/ Mark Beier & Sean Higgins

Studio: Shred415

Class: Total Body

Location: Old Town

Address: 230 W Division Street.  Chicago, IL 60610.

SweatyReviews Fitness Level: Intermediate – Beastmode

Instructors: Mark Beier (Director of Training) & Sean Higgins (Old Town Studio Manager)

Reviewer: Lauren B

Class Review: Shred415 is high intensity interval training that is unlike any other workout.  All classes begin with half of the people on the treadmills, and the other half on the floor.  Intervals can range anywhere from 1 minute to 15 minutes depending on the class and instructor, but each class consists of 30 minutes of interval treadmill routines and 30 minutes of strength training utilizing free weights, medicine balls, bosu balls, resistance bands, TRX, etc.  Every class is designed to target all muscle groups and shred your body.

Instructor Review:  Mark Beier will push you to your limits and then push you to go beyond that.  He will motivate you to lift heavier weights than you knew you could and run faster than you thought your legs could move.  You might hate him during class, but you will love him afterwards.  I never thought a guy singing Taylor Swift could make me run so fast!   Also, he’s the founder of Mark Bar, which is an all-natural quinoa bar that comes in four flavors and available at all Shred415 studios.

Sean Higgins loves to run fast and will get you to love to run fast as well.  He motivates you to “push plus” while running on the treadmill when you think you might die.  The energy in his class is tangible and he’ll be sure to remind you that you’re the one who created that energy.  Also, Sean always has the best music!

Extras: There are six studios located in Chicago – Old Town, South Loop, Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, North Shore & Hinsdale.  Most of the studios offer themed classes every month or so such as Country Night, It’s Britney B*itch, Beyonce & Jay-Z On The Run and even a live DJ.  Also, Tracy Roemer and Bonnie Micheli, co-founders of Shred415, offer on-the-go workouts online so you can Shred anywhere!

Would I recommend: Yes.  I think everyone should push themselves outside of their comfort zones and experience a Shred415 workout, but be sure to sign up well in advance because classes can book up quickly!


Lauren B. and her favorite Shred instructors!

CorePower Yoga 1 w/ Lou @ CorePower Yoga Old Orchard


Studio: CorePower Yoga

Class: CorePower Yoga 1 (C1)

Location: Old Orchard

Address: 4999 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, IL.

SweatyReviews Fitness Level: Beginner

Instructor: Lou

Reviewer: Erica K

Class Review: I took C1 at CorePower this past Sunday as a break from my normal routine because my muscles were sore and I could not imagine doing anything vigorous.

C1, or intro yoga, is the beginner yoga class at CorePower. This class takes you through a sequence of basic yoga moves (i.e., Chaturanga, Child’s Pose, Downward Dog, Upward Dog, Forward Fold, Warrior Pose, Chair Pose, etc.) at a moderate flow pace. For 60 minutes you flow through the series of postures focusing on breathing while holding each pose and flowing through to the next. Spurts of core work and plank holds were embedded into the routine. We also took a few minutes to practice a more complex posture (Crow Pose) while the instructor came around to provide hands on assistance. The class concluded with a several minute stretch session and final Savasana. The heat in the studio was at room temperature.

Instructor Review: Lou was a great instructor and overall good motivator. Like most yoga teachers, his energy was Zen and calming. What I particularly liked was that he was very verbal throughout the sequence, coaching us to keep holding each pose and stretching deeper. The flow was also more moderate to fast pace, which kept me from feeling bored.

Extras: CorePower Yoga Old Orchard offers cheaper rates than downtown studios (although this location is not on ClassPass). Your first week at CorePower is free and if you buy a mat, you receive a second week for free. The location also offers other classes including, Ryder (spin bikes that move!), Yoga Sculpt, CorePower2 (C2), Hot Power Fusion and Bootcamp.

Community C1 on Sunday’s at 4:30 pm is FREE! (Old Orchard location specific)

Would I recommend: Yes and No. I would recommend this class for any fitness beginner level and for anyone trying to get into yoga for the first time. However, if you’re like me you don’t consider a workout to be legit unless you sweat your a$$ off. Although that is not to say I didn’t find this class beneficial for other reasons. It’s hard for me to justify yoga as a weekly workout, but it was the perfect Sunday remedy that helped stretch out my sore muscles and get me back on my feet for Monday.


CrossFit Adventure

Class Name: CrossFitLife

Teacher: Mike Hoffman

Address: 541 Northgate Pkwy, Wheeling Il

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: From Beginner to Beastmode

Would I recommend?:  Yes


Studio/Workout Review: The CrossFit workout is definitely different than anything I have ever done before. The most weight I have ever lifted while strength training is 10lbs and the circuits I do usually have fairly basic moves. CrossFit takes it to the next level on both accounts.

Be prepared to lift heavy weights and learn a whole new lingo for circuit exercises. Also, this is not a high rep class; exercises usually consist of 1-3 reps and then relaxing for a minute. It doesn’t feel very effective while you are doing it (mostly social hour if anything else) but I promise you will feel it the next day.

The heavy weights section is followed by a HIIT section ranging from 6-20 minutes. I have done both a 6 minute and a 20 minute session and they are both definitely exhausting (honestly the 6 minute might have been worse), but I still can’t grasp the concept of how it is more effective than FlyWheel or Shred…. I am working on that!

If you are looking for a workout where the teacher will baby you or let you take breaks (unless of course it is clear you really need one) CrossFit isn’t for you, but if you are down to not be a “girl” about working out try this out. Mike, the instructor/owner, promises me that if I stick with it (about 4 days a week) I will see the results I am looking for and I believe him.

Instructor: My instructor was Mike Hoffman (who also happens to be the owner). I took my very first class with him and he made me feel comfortable and welcome into the CrossFit community. His style is very motivating and hands on. He even invited me back that following Sunday to team up with other more experienced CrossFitters for a free class and even encouraged me to invite my friends and family! It was an awesome morning!

Extras: The gym offers a variety of classes and personal training. Class schedules are listed online and classes include, CrossFit, Yoga and Shred/Cycle type workouts. If you are interested in getting into CrossFit your first week is free!

After our intense Sunday morning workout!

After our intense Sunday morning workout!