Hi everyone! Carolyn here, back with the next edition of our Chicago workout review series. I’ve been looking forward to this post for a long time, because I’m talking about one of my absolute favorite workouts in Chicago. And from the sounds of it, a lot of you are big fans of Flywheel, too!
It isn’t always easy to get motivated for a fitness class (especially in the middle of Chicago winter), but Flywheel is a class that I pretty much always look forward to. There’s just something about the studio that’s so much fun, even if it is a super sweaty, challenging workout. If you haven’t tried Flywheel for yourself yet, here’s what it’s like!
The workout: Method 45 at Flywheel Sports Old Town
Quick description: High-intensity interval training on a spin bike, including hills, sprints, and mini-races, plus upper body training with weighted bars.
Price: I typically book throughClassPass, which costs 9 credits. Otherwise, a single class will cost $30, or you can buy various packages for as low as $20 per class.
What it’s like: I used to go for Sunday morning or weekday evening Flywheel classes, but lately, I’ve been signing up for the 6 am weekday slot in Old Town. It’s one of those things that always seems like a good idea at the time, is a little rough when my alarm goes off but feels awesome once the workout is over. And you can look forward to a post-workout smoothie at Real Good Juice Co. next door.
With that said, I’ve had a number of different instructors at the Old Town studio, all equally great! One of the best parts of Flywheel is the curated playlists—they’re a good mix of modern pop songs, hip-hop, remixes and power ballads, even the occasional throwback (my favorite). The room is essentially pitch black, aside from a spotlight on the instructor, lights from the bikes and the TorqBoards at the front of the studio.
I touched on this a bit in my SoulCycle review, but the TorqBoard is really what sets Flywheel apart from other classes. On every bike, there is a small screen that shows your RPM (rotations per minute), your resistance, and your Total Power (derived from the two). If you choose, you can have your Total Power displayed on the TorqBoard at the front of the class to see how you compare to your classmates. Personally, I never put my score up at the front of the class, but I do like being able to see my Total Power throughout the class. I’m numbers-oriented and a more than a little competitive, so it’s really motivating for me to track my progress over time and see how I’m stacking up against other Flywheel riders (I have the Flywheel App, which uploads all your data immediately after class!).
But even if you aren’t in it for the competition, Flywheel is a blast. The bikes are really easy to ride, the instructors are encouraging and inspiring, and as I said, you finish feeling like you got a good workout. By the time you get to the arm portion of the class, you’re more than happy to give your legs a break…but that doesn’t mean the arms are easy. I always ambitiously start out with double weighted bars but have to drop to a single by the end—even 3-pound weights start to feel heavy after non-stop pulses!
Overall impression: I love Flywheel! I’ve tried several other spin classes in Chicago, and Flywheel is one that I keep coming back to. In an ideal world, I would go at least once a week—it’s a great way to switch up my regular routine and get in some solid cross-training for running.
Have any of you tried Flywheel (in cities outside Chicago, too)? As always, let us know if there are any classes you would like us to review next!