ClassPass: Sweat Puddle Status

It has been about four months since I started ClassPass back up and the results are finally starting to show! The baby guns have popped in with a bang and the abs are peeking through nicely. After pulling back training for a couple of weeks due to a strained arm, I was back at it full-force this weekend at a new gym: SWEAT.

Where I definitely became a massive puddle of sweat.

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SWEAT is an upscale boutique fitness studio that offers HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. During the week, varying equipment is used to create workouts that focus on a specific muscle group. However, on the weekends SWEAT offers "Total Body" fitness classes that mix it up. This "Total Body" class is what I ended up attending. The class involved a series of strength sets and sprints such as: rowing, running, and even skiing.

Walking into the workout studio, a row of SkiErgs lined one of the walls.

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At first, I thought that these were rowing machines propped up against the wall. But I very quickly figure out that they were meant for something different. These machines simulate the motion of cross-country skiing and better engage that gluteus maximus (aka booty gains).

The workout was broken into three segments: warm-up, self-paced HIIT, and tabata. The warm-up and tabata portions of the workout were instructor-led, however the main HIIT segment of the class was self-paced.

For the self-paced HIIT, screens around the room listed alternating strength training and cardio sets—such as 20 dumbbell curl 'n press reps, followed by a 200 meter sprint on the treadmill. Each individual started at a varying point in the listed sets, then worked their way through the list at their own pace for 40 minutes. I made it through the list of 10 sets twice, and had just started my third round before the instructor called time.

During these 40 minutes, two instructors circled the room constantly, providing feedback and making adjustments to form. This proved to be helpful and extremely motivational, since the workout was pretty brutal.

However, this self-paced workout did come with challenges. First off, the room was highly disorganized, with people doing their strength reps wherever they pleased. There were no defined "stations" of any sort. This made it a challenge to traverse from one portion of the room to another. You were constantly dodging dumbbells trying to reach the rowing machines or get to the water fountain.

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The other thing that I didn't quite love was that some class attendees mistook the concept of "self-paced" for "race." People sped through their strength sets, ignoring the concept of maintaining good form. More than once, an overly competitive participant bumped into me as they jetted across the room towards a cardio machine.

This self-paced setup also seemed to be difficult for individuals attending the class together. Some people were always waiting around for others, while some were rushing through their sets. This probably resulted in a less-than-ideal workout for everyone involved.  To play devil's advocate, it seemed as through SWEAT's normal classes were not typically run this way, but were typically entirely instructor-led and paced (hopefully making the class less chaotic).

The self-paced HIIT was followed by eight rounds of tabata, which was instructor-led. Tabata is a form of HIIT that makes you want to become an even bigger puddle of sweat. Each 30 second round consists of a 20 second all-out push, followed by 10 seconds of rest. These eight rounds of tabata were a solid end to an already brutal workout.

All-in-all, SWEAT definitely kicked my butt and gave me a killer workout. I was dripping in sweat by the time we reached the tabata rounds. Currently, SWEAT is only located in Gold Coast. But a Lincoln Park location is in the works for this summer! The new location will be just blocks from the North & Clybourn red line stop. I'll definitely be back again, but hopefully for an entirely instructor-led session!

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