Studio Review: Flywheel Old Town

Here in the Windy City, we’ve been spoiled with the greatest variety of studios, gyms, boxes, and everything in between. You want it? You’ll find it. And while I have my favorites, I definitely do my best to visit as many places as possible so that when I’m educating on our fitness community in the store, I have a good arsenal of knowledge to choose from.

So today let’s talk about Flywheel + Flybarre!

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Flywheel has been in the Gold Coast community for a few years now, but they recently opened up a new studio in Old Town, just off the corner North and Wells (Sedgwick Brown Line stop for you locals).

Flywheel was actually the first studio I began to frequent when I moved to the city, and while your first time at any small studio can be a little uncomfortable (everyone seems to know each other, where everything is, etc.), I quickly felt at home there. The staff is always friendly and they have people on hand before each class ready to help you if you’ve never used a spin bike before.

The workout itself is awesome for a few reasons.

  • It takes place in a dark, club-style room with stadium seating and bumping music, so every workout is a party. The instructor picks music that goes with the drill you’re currently doing (hills, sprints, etc.) so it all feels like a cohesive workout
  • It is only 45 minutes, and those 45 minutes FLY (no pun intended). Whenever I go to Flywheel I feel like I’m in and out in a matter of minutes, but I always leave feeling like I got my butt kicked.
  • It’s competitive. Now, I know this might actually be a downside for some people, but I like that my personal performance is tracked on a computer screen in the front of the room. I love that I can see what “place” I’m in and try to catch up to the person in front of me.
  • You are given complimentary towels and cycling shoes, so you basically just have to show up and the rest is done for you. It’s the type of workout I can decide to go to last-minute, which is helpful for those of us who are always on the go (and really, who isn’t?)

The Gold Coast location was my go-to for months, but when they opened up the Old Town site I was excited to try it out for one reason: SPACE! It’s a huge, huge space compared to its counterpart. The new space provides showers, beauty bars, couches, and a barre studio.

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A few other great tips about Flywheel, if you’ve never been:

  • As I already shared, they provide you with cycling shoes and towels, free of charge. They also have an awesome fruit bowl in the lobby so grabbing a post-workout snack is free and convenient.
  • Water bottles are available for purchase at the front desk
  • You are able to choose which bike you are on and if you want your profile to be displayed on the tracking screen in the front of the stadium
  • The lockers have digital locks — you do not have to bring your own
  • The showers are filled with all the essentials — shampoo/conditioner, body wash, spray deodorant, dry shampoo, lotion, bobby pins, hair ties, cotton balls, makeup remover, etc.
  • They provide bags to keep your stinky wet clothes in post-workout. MUCH appreciated.

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As I also mentioned, the Old Town location offers a second workout option: Flybarre.

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I’ll just throw this out there: barre is not my thing. Not for any reason other than it doesn’t get me sweaty enough. I’m a fan of high intensity, loud music, and sweat running down my face to the point where I can taste the salt. Barre just doesn’t deliver that for me. But for the sake of at least knowing what I was talking about, I tried a class here.

Flybarre is a total body toning workout that  focuses on leaning out and lengthening the muscles. It works your muscles from head to toe, to the point of muscle exhaustion (that’s the only way I can think to describe it, so forgive me, barre-lovers, if there is a more technical way to describe it). And while I don’t normally love barre, I actually had a really fun time going post-spin. I thought that together they were a great balance of workouts. Not to mention there were only four of us in class so we turned it into a bit of a dance party.

What I love about this space is how casual it is. You can walk in and get your cardio on, lengthen/strengthen your muscles, chat with your favorite instructor (I love Gideon and Candy), or eat a banana on the couch and recover while getting to know other spinners. It’s busy, but not too busy. You could truly hang out there for some time after you work out. I think this is one of my favorite differences between studios and gyms. Gyms are in-and-out — studios seem to have so much more opportunity for community-building. Flywheel + Flybarre definitely brings that to the Old Town community.

PS ClassPass is dang cheap right now and your first class at Flywheel is free, so if you ever want to hit up a class with me, just shoot me an email! You know I’m always down to fly πŸ™‚

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39 comments

  1. I really wanted to love barre but just dont for the same reasons you mentioned. I need to sweat! I also want to love cycling but I think I am horrible at it and it’s just no fun for me. I may need to give it another chance, but right now we don’t get along.

    1. Gideon is by far my favorite (but he’s my favorite TRAINER in Chicago haha he also works at Shred). I loved Erin but she just moved to Michigan. She’ll be back for a few classes a month though so if you see her name on the list sign up asap! Otherwise I like Candy a lot.

  2. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one day we will have a Flywheel here! We have REV which is also very awesome, but I’ve never heard a bad Flywheel review. I want to try it!

    1. Fingers crossed! I’d love to do all these workouts side-by-side…REV, Flywheel, Soul Cycle…just to get a better idea of what makes each one unique. Luckily we’re getting a Soul Cycle here later this month!

  3. Anyone looking to try Flywheel the first class is free! Lauren you need to try Will’s class if you haven’t yet!

  4. I wasn’t *super* crazy about Flywheel the one time I went, but I’m also not *super* crazy about spin in general, so I think that’s much less of a Flywheel thing and much more of a I-just-don’t-like-spin thing. Haha. I didn’t hate FlyBarre, though. Barre, also, is not my thing (mostly because of the clientele it tends to attract. Hello, pretension [in my experience, at least]), but I liked the teacher I had the day I went. Not something I necessarily want or need to do again, but you know. At least that’s something. Hahaha.

    1. To each his own πŸ™‚ yeah there are a lot of reasons why people don’t like barre, and I have heard that one. I know a lot of wonderful people who do it to, though, so it’s hard to generalize (as with everything else in life haha). You just have to try all the studios — but unfortunately you can’t because it’s so expensive — so your first experience at most studios tends to be your solid opinion on the workout in general from then on.

  5. looks like a cool place — dig that poster of the chick on the bike. i’m also not into barre — tried it once and it wasn’t my thing either (aka i also didn’t feel like i was sweaty enough or had just done a “workout”). i haven’t done Flywheel but would check it out…i used to be into spinning but it’s been a good 2 years, i’d say. they have a place here called Peleton that is getting all sorts of hype & i used to date a guy who works there, so hopefully i’ll swing by there sometime.

  6. I’ve never taken a class at a gym before! How nuts is that?! My gym is special to me though because when I go, it’s a bunch of old timers, a couple dudes and myself. They are so nice and inspire me to continue to be active my whole life! I’m now intrigued about spinning and fly wheel. Great review!

  7. Flywheel sounds a lot like SoulCycle and The Rush – the latter of which I think is local to my area. I love the dark room & bumping music – it feels more like a club than a workout, am I right?! I had a spin workout at The Rush scheduled today but missed it due to accident traffic. GRR.

  8. Nice review. The studios look and sounds like a place I would enjoy working out in. I never heard of fly wheel before but I would love to try it out, it sounds like I would be in the best shape of my life if I give it a try. I just checked where I can find a studio near where I live so I can go. lol. Thank you for the info.

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