Free + Cheap First Visit Fitness Classes - Chicago

One of my favorite aspects about living in Chicago is the access there is to a huge variety of fitness studios and classes. I absolutely love trying out new studios and finding workouts and instructors I love. But it can get expensive.

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Free + Cheap First Visit Fitness Classes - Chicago Suburbs

I've branched out from one of my most popular posts (Free + Cheap First Visit Fitness Classes in Chicago) and created a guide for those of you that live or work or work out in the Chicago Suburbs too! SO many of you asked and I finally finished compiling my list!

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My Month at Bar Method

I go through super obsessive phases with workouts. When I first started running, it's all I did and I did it ALL the time. I'm talking 6-7 days a week, sometimes twice a day. After my knee got too weak for me to run anymore, I switched that obsession over to HIIT workouts to help strengthen my muscles, knee included. Over the past several months, I've started to reevaluate what my fitness goals are. Am I looking for weight loss? Do I want to run long distance again? Will I ever be able to do a pull-up and do I even want to?

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Barry's Bootcamp with Melanie of Get Real With Mel

Ever since they opened a Barry's Bootcamp here in Chicago, the fitness community has been obsessed. It reminds me of when SoulCycle opened up in Old Town and people peered through the glass anxiously on a daily basis trying to figure out when it was going to open so they could be among the first to cash in on blood, sweat and tears. 

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OTG Bootcamp with Erin of Loop Looks

Having been an active member of SWEAT Chicago for a year, I was no stranger to using a kettlebell in my workouts. That being said, no matter how many times I did swings or squats in those classes, I had never devoted a block of time to perfecting my form, which is surprising since I obsess over things like that. When Erin of Loop Looks suggested we meet up at OTG Bootcamp for some kettlebell work, I jumped right on that idea.

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SoulCycle with Maddy of Chicago Cheap Ass

WORKIN' ON OUR FITNESS:

I got my second cycling experience, with the help of Chicago Cheap Ass' Maddy Osman, at SoulCycle Old Town. My first class had been at their Chicago Loop location, in a  Hip Hop themed class. You can read more on that here. This time, our class was the "regular" SoulCycle hour. I say it like that because let's be honest, SoulCycle is anything but normal. The atmosphere is intimate but upbeat and the instructors are all full of pep and fun. The hour speeds by and at the end, if (like me) you aren't used to spinning your legs feel like jelly. 

I've mentioned it before, but I'm a perfectionist when it comes to fitness classes. Especially ones like this because I always want to be on beat with the instructor/music, moving when I'm supposed to, etc. If I'm not, I panic that I'm not getting the good workout I should be getting. That being said, I struggled through this class more than I did my original. The beat in the hip-hop class was so pronounced it was hard to miss. This original session had a mash up of music from some hip-hop to some rock to Ryan Adam's cover of Taylor Swift. The music is always top notch, but for someone like me, it was harder to pedal along like I was supposed to. I ended up doing my own thing have the time if I fell off beat, but still had a lot of fun. I think a few more hip-hop classes and a bit more spin experience and this wouldn't be a problem for me! 

Remember, SoulCycle charges only $20 for your first ride, including shoe rental! Check out their studio locations to find one near you!

IT'S WHO YOU KNOW:

Maddy originally started blogging as part of her college portfolio. Once she finished school she continued on as a means of portfolio and creative outlet. This helped her to gain a position at a social media company and then branch out to freelance on her own. She maintains her blog and stays active in influencer networks so she can continue on in a creative outlet and expand her portfolio.In conjunction with being a social media guru, Maddy seems to have a constant dose of excitement and curiosity to her. She's fun to be around and always keeps it real. 

Get a feel for Maddy & her personality at Cupid's Undie Run on February 13 in Chicago. Working as a Race Director for the program, she'll be among the best of them running a mile in her fanciest undies all while raising money for the Children's Tumor Foundation!

GOOD READS:

Chicago Cheap Ass formed in March 2015 as frugality tips for those living in Chicago. It developed into much more. While Maddy still writes 3/4 or so of the posts, she has expanded to feature more contributors who focus on certain topics within the blog. The main topic remains good deals within Chicago. but there are posts regarding events, restaurants, open houses throughout the city & more. 

Overall, Chicago Cheap Ass has developed into a guide on how to live a well rounded life in Chicago.  Whether it be through activities Chicago Cheap Ass is contacted about or events that they seem to stumble upon, this is a well rounded guide for all things city related.

TIDBITS OF TRUTH:

Favorite blogs to follow? Digital marketing blogs (since the industry is constantly changing) like: Seth GodinConvince and ConvertMarketingProfs and Buffer
What's your ultimate meal? Bacon 5-Cheese Mac n'Cheese with onions, Tacos al Pastor or Lava cake. 
How do you take your coffee? No coffee. Instead, basic green tea with honey. Or lemon. Or both.

BOTTOM LINE:

Chicago Cheap Ass is a 20-something's guide to living on a budget, specifically in Chicago.


Maddy is a Lifestyle blogger who shares her tips for finding the best deals and values in the city at Chicago Cheap Ass. On a professional level, she helps businesses use digital marketing to accomplish different business objectives at The Blogsmith. She loves exploring Chicago and finding out more about it every day!

Explore cheap life with Maddy on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest Google+!

SoulCycle with Kathryn of FoodieGirlChicago

WORKIN' ON OUR FITNESS:

I've been talking about wanting to try a spin/cycling class for a long time. I finally got my opportunity with Kathryn of FoodieGirlChicago and I stopped by SoulCycle Loop. All I can say is, I get it now. I get the huge following behind SoulCycle. It's fun and upbeat. The Hip Hop theme made it super easy to follow along and it was great music. I appreciated the dark room because it made it feel more intimate and reassured me that everyone wasn't staring at me fumbling along. It was a fast pace but workable and really got me sweating. The end incorporates some arm weight movements, which was a nice change up and good for some total body fitness.

Usually, classes where I have to move to certain beat (like Zumba or spin) make me self conscious. I'm an uber perfectionist and if I'm not doing the moves exactly right I completely stop, stare at the instructor and then start going again. I come out feeling like I did everything wrong and didn't get a workout. My first experience at SoulCycle was anything but this for me. It's a fun atmosphere and a good workout. I don't see it being my primary fitness activity but a great opportunity for some cross-training.

SoulCycle charges only $20 for your first ride, including shoe rental. Check out the studio locations to find one near you!

IT'S WHO YOU KNOW:

Kathryn, a California girl and huge foodie, moved to Chicago and transplanted herself into a food haven. It's easy to get carried away with so many epic restaurants, but she manages to keep a nice balance between going out and cooking at home (both usually involve wine.) This balance also factors in her desire to get fit, so she takes some classic dishes and some favorite dishes and shares a healthy version. With so much love for food and trying new things, her friends were constantly looking to her for input on places and meals to try. FoodieGirlChicago is Kathryn's way of sharing this input with them and with the world! 

GOOD READS:

Visiting FoodieGirlChicago, you'll likely notice right off the bat something a bit unique. It focuses mostly on 2 serving recipes. Kathryn realized early on that there was a lack of recipes like this and sometimes it just isn't possible to cut one in half. Who can REALLY measure "half an egg." The recipes you'll find are inspired by restaurants, recipes she sees online, foods she loves or just what sound good at the moment, like her Stuffed Grilled Peppers. This is one of her recipes for 2, so it works perfect for you to have leftovers or to share with someone.

On top of original recipes, FoodieGirlChicago also offers sneek peeks into menus from local Chicago spots & Kathryn's opinions on them. There's also information on great wines, how-to guides and a series called "Monthly Musings." That's a series that features a list of places, peoples, blogs, really anything, that Kathryn is loving that month! A great read to discover something new, I highly recommend you check it out.

While FoodieGirlChicago may be a hobby for now, in a dream world it could be a full-time job. Until then, be on the look for more love on wine, foods, restaurants and more@

TIDBITS OF TRUTH:

Favorite blogs to follow? The Chunky ChefEngineering in StylePlatings & Pairings and RecipeTin Eats
What's your ultimate meal? A really great burger. Cheese is a favorite. A favorite food group is seafood - crab cakes, tuna, etc.
How do you take your coffee? Mocha with skim milk

BOTTOM LINE:

Kathryn constantly has a desire to try something new whether it's food, a new restaurant or a different type of wine. FoodieGirlChicago is here to inspire you to do something you haven't done before!


Kathryn is part of LinkedIn's Sales Solutions team, where she provides social selling expertise to her clients.  Kathryn also blogs at FoodieGirlChicago sharing her thoughts on food, wine and cooking, with a special focus on cooking for two.  Kathryn grew up in California and her love of food started at a young age.  She loves to cook and entertain, and also loves checking out the Chicago food scene, especially when good wine is involved!

Experience more of her food & wine adventures by following along on FacebookTwitterInstagram Pinterest!

Reformer Pilates with Fenique of Chic in Chocolate

WORKIN' ON OUR FITNESS:

I met Fenique on a blazin' hot day in September for a Reformer Pilates class at Body R+D in Lakeview. Let me tell you, before setting this up, I hadn't even heard of this type of workout. Yes, I know of pilates but even my knowledge of that is limited. By limited I mean, my description of it would have been "like yoga but with more strengthening." Needless to say, I had no idea what to expect. Also, any class that requires you to wear "grippy" socks totally throws me through a loop

What makes this class different from others is the use of a reformer machine that is used in conjunction with traditional pilates moves. The reformer uses pulleys, bars and straps to make each move a bit more challenging. As a newbie, I was a bit intimidated, but our instructor was extremely helpful and made an effort to get to know each of us (nice personal touch!) They say it takes 3 classes to pass the "learning curve" and I can see why. It takes a bit to get used to coordinating movements with the machine and it's different resistances. Either way, at the end of our session I was sweating and my muscles were shaking. The best part was feeling like I got a good workout without being super sore the next day.

PS - Body R+D offers your first class for only $10! Check out their website for more information.

IT'S WHO YOU KNOW:

Originally from Chicago, Fenqiue is a self-proclaimed fashion lover. She loves to tell people what to wear. I only spent a couple hours with her, but what you see is what you get. Fenique is extroverted, friendly and full of input on everything from fashion to beauty to being your best self. On top of that, have you seen her outfits? The girl is killin' it in fashion!

Before Chic in Chocolate, Fenique used to use Polyvore to show off different out varieties. She decided that blogging would be interesting and fun. It would allow her to get her opinion out there and share her ideas with friends. Last year, she revamped the blog into what you see today.

GOOD READS:

With Chic in Chocolate, you'll never get bored. This lifestyle blog covers just about everything you could dream of. Posts range from skin care to fall transition to Fenique's experience with a 22 day plant-based diet. Fenique also takes time to cover local events in Chicago that she attends. 

The variety given by Chic in Chocolate also extends from topics to types of posts. This favorite of Fenique's was a single post called Black & White Obsessed. For fall transition, you could get inspiration from not just one, but two different posts. Through her site, you can get a full glimpse into Fenique's evolving style and current obsessions to provide you just the inspiration you need!

Stay tuned! With the aspiration of a user channel on YouTube, Chic in Chocolate is a blog to keep your sights on for exciting current and future moves.

TIDBITS OF TRUTH:

Favorite blogs to follow? Karlas ClosetBrooklyn BlondeFashion Bomb DailyBambis Armoire and Damsel in Dior.
What's your ultimate meal? Healthy meal - vegan tacos. Corn tortilla browned in olive oil with asparagus, avocado/guac, pan seared black beans & lettuce. Or lemon roasted potato nuggets. If splurging on an unhealthy option - french fries or pizza (Home Run Inn sausage or cheese or Pequod's deep dish, half spinach/half sausage)
How do you take your coffee? No Coffee. Drinks tea or a double chocolately chip frappuccino with a pump of pepperment

BOTTOM LINE:

Chic in Chocolate provides style and beauty inspiration. It's about being fearless of being who you are. Never fear being yourself or who you want to be. Be fearless in fashion, your skin, what you wear, what you say. In all of that.


Fenique, the editor and chief of Chic In Chocolate, is also a social media professional at a Fortune 500 retail company. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Fashion Marketing & Merchandising. Fenique has coordinated photo shoots, contributed to various blogs, worked in retail for over 10 years and is a self proclaimed fashion lover. 

Her love of fashion, writing and being opinionated birthed Chic In Chocolate, a lifestyle blog that heavily features fashion and beauty. Any knowledge Fenique can share, she want to share. Dion Sanders said, "If you look good you feel good, you feel good you play good, you play good they pay good, they pay good you live good." Looking your best makes you feel your best and perform your best. Overall Chic In Chocolate is about being your best self in your truest form with no apologies. 

Indulge your fashion obsession &  Fenique on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram!