Working On My FitPoints: Chicago-Style

Last week my work took me to Chicago, which is my first time in the “Windy City!” I was super excited to explore a new city, and excited to get out of my workout rut. Or lack thereof. 

You see, I’ve been slacking on my workouts for, well, two months, so it was time to get back on track and what better place than Chicago?

I threw the question of “Where to workout?” to the TCFC community, and I settled on three different workouts for three days: 105F Yoga, SoulCycle and Shred415. 

First up was 90 minutes of Bikram Yoga. I’ve done Bikram a handful of times, and what I always enjoyed was that the the heat really stretched your muscles farther than you think and it forces you to focus. My mind tends to wander during traditional yoga – grocery lists, blog ideas, you name it, but the heat and the mottos make you truly zone in on what you’re doing. 

105F Yoga has a couple studios around the city, and they have a variety of classes and packages available. Obviously I didn’t have a mat with me, so I was able to rent one (and a towel) right there. 

Katie was my instructor for the day, and while some of her instructions reminded me of other instructors I’ve had, her interaction beyond the instructions was unexpected, and really appreciated. She let you know when you were doing well, doing better or needed to try to approach a pose from a different angle. That was cool, and I appreciated it. Also, her notes to my classmates and I really helped all of us because everyone could learn from each other.

I was a sweaty, sweaty mess when it was over, but I left feeling happy and light and accomplished.

The next exercise adventure I undertook in Chicago was SoulCycle. I have had the biggest block up about trying a SoulCycle class, and when I thought about it honestly, I realized I was being ridiculous. Yes, it would be intense. Yes, it’s intimidating. Yes, I was worried about not knowing what to do and when to do it. But when has that EVER stopped me in my life or on my weight loss journey?

So I booked a bike, in the back but elevated so I would have a good view of the instructor and those in front of me. And because maybe I’m a glutton for punishment and maybe because I had something to prove to myself, I booked the 60 minute class, “Soul Survivor,” instead of the traditional 45 minute class.

No sugarcoating? This class was intense and it was HARD. I was sweating within five minutes and there were a couple times where my feet cramped badly and I thought I would have to stop. But the instructor Brent was SO positive and uplifting and just really pushed me to work not to keep up with the front row of “the pack,” as the riders are called in a class. I liked the dimmed lights, the pulsing music and the positive messaging, and I definitely feel like I pushed myself WAY outside my comfort zone. 

And to round out the weekend, I was invited to take a class at Shred415, which is a treadmill class with other exercises built in, depending on the class. I was not intimidated by this workout – but I should have been. Maybe it’s my dislike of running, maybe it was my lack of coffee, but this was the most intense and grueling workout I had during my trip. If I’d taken Mariah’s class first, I’m not sure I would have had the leg strength for the other workouts!

The “Abs & Arms” workout combines treadmill runs with abs and arm workouts (weights, crunches, planks) and they throw in some bootcamp favorites like burpees and man makers, too.

Mariah was my instructor and she was in my ear the entire hour, pushing me further and reminding me why I was there – to get better, be fitter and lose weight. 

Imagine 2.5-3 miles of interval runs, with some recovery jogs in between. Now imagine every time you’ve gone faster and harder, that becomes your starting pace for the next set of runs. Cray cray.

I struggled with the fast pace of the ab/weight workout a bit since it was my first time, which is why I was glad for the low lights and Mariah’s constant pushing. At first her pushing intimidated the heck out of me, but about 40 minutes into the hour I found it SUPER motivating. No one is doing this for me but me. I AM worth my effort. I DO remember why I started, etc!

This workout was intense, and not for the faint of heart. But I was walking around sore and super proud of myself after, so I’d say it was worth it!Coming out of Chicago, I am excited to get back to the work of my weight loss. I want to center myself and focus on my own body’s strength like I learned in Bikram. I want to challenge my own fears like I learned at SoulCycle. And I want to push, really push myself like I learned at Shred415. 

I’m worth it, and no one is going to do it for me but me! 

Want more info on the studios I visited in Chicago? Check out:

105F Chicago’s Original Hot Yoga




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