Chicago fitness studios

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 🙂

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