Ok, so “definitive” might be a stretch. But I happen to live in Chicago, happen to have a Class Pass and happen to be the type of person who will label my opinion as “definitive.” So here we are.
I started working out pretty seriously about a year and a half ago. I was an athlete growing up and continued “working out” in college in the sense that I would put in the minimal time required on the treadmill not to get a beer gut. But that changed when I (wo)man-ed up a couple of Aprils ago and decided to chase (like, literally run) after my life-long goal of finishing a marathon.
And finishing my marathon was a game-changer for me. Not because I had finished the goal I’d set literally over a decade ago, but training for it, running 3-5 times per week, and cross-training 2 or 3 days every week showed me how incredible I was capable of feeling. And not just in the sense of dropping weight from running 40+ miles every week, but how seriously happy – like radiant – I felt when I was working out that often.
As someone who struggles pretty seriously with Seasonal Depressive Disorder, I’ve found that working out is the #1 thing that helps me stay afloat during the months of darkness. So knowing that, I invested accordingly and pay for both a monthly gym membership as well as class pass. Total transparency: this post is 100% not sponsored, and I received none of the below for free, just wanted to share my favorite classes I’ve tried during my pursuit of happiness (and sanity) through my Class Pass and sweet blog hook ups I’ve gotten to try over the years.
With the New Year coming up, we’re all getting ready to set new goals, and many of those are often associate with our health. If you’re trying to figure out which studios to invest in to help achieve your fitness goals, here are the ones I’ve had the best experiences with and seriously cannot get enough of:
1. Barry’s Bootcamp.
Full disclosure: I have never taken a Barry’s class for free- this is not some blogging gimmick because I’m getting free things. Straight up, a Barry’s package is what you get when you’re trying to transform your body. Their trainers do the absolute best job I’ve ever encountered of pushing you just past your limit, but stopping short of that “too hard” line that makes you just want to give up. It’s motivating and terrifying and the best gift you could ever give your body if you can splurge for one of their packages.
2. Studio Three
They also have a HITT class that gives me life (by way of death), and I love it because the intervals switch off between cardio and floor exercises/ weights. More than their kick-booty Torch classes though, is that this studio offers 3 different types of classes in their space – HITT classes, spin and yoga. One of the most vital lessons I’ve learned in staying motivated to work out is that if you over-do a workout too much you’ll either burn out from boredom or it will stop challenging you.
3. Title Boxing
This was the class I was most surprised at what a challenging workout it was. I tried it on a whim because of class pass thinking it would be a solid way to break up my workout routine that tends to rely heavily on long runs to work some different muscles. YOU GUYS. THIS WORKOUT WILL EFF YOU UP. In the best possible way, of course. It was a killer combo of cardio and strength training. Also their workout gear is easily the cutest I’ve ever seen. Please see exhibit A for reference.
This was another class I was surprised that I loved so much- I love cardio and am the opposite of motivated by weight training. Unfortunately, the biggest transformation I’ve ever seen with my body was when I started lifting- you see my dilemma. I cannot speak higher praise of this studio because they match up your session with basically a personal trainer who takes you through a freaking psycho weight training workout. BUT despite being a challenging (to put it politely) circuit, every session is only for 30 minutes. And you guys, I promise, we can do any hard thing for 30 minutes.
5. Barre Code
Barre Code holds spot #5 for me because I felt like this is a class that if I took bi-weekly or even weekly, you would see a notable difference in your muscle tone-age instantaneously. I tend to have really strong legs, so loved the challenge that this workout provided for my lower-body. They also offer a variety of classes, especially when it came to the length of the class. You know those days you can conquer the world? 60-minute burn class. And ever had one of those days you have to blackmail yourself to even show up? 30-min class for you, dear.
6. Body R+D
I stumbled upon Body R+D because it’s nestled in the heart of Lakeview, so was close to my apartment on a rainy, early Saturday AM. It’s a pilates reformer studio, which is basically pilates on steroids for those of you who aren’t familiar. There’s only 8 or so machines in the space, which I was initially intimidated by, but turned my workout into a personal training pilates class more or less, which you’ll never hear me complain about. This little Lakeview studio beat out the other pilates reformer classes I’ve tried because I felt it did the best job of challenging me with new and innovative moves that hit notoriously hard-to-work muscles like my inner thighs and obliques.
Did I miss any of your guys’ favorites? What other classes should I try with my Class Pass?!