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Events, Fitness, Life,

Protein Bar gets Sweaty at Flywheel Chicago

Protein Bar is one of my favorite healthy fast-casual concept restaurants in Chicago. I love them so much that I featured them in my roundup article about where to get salads in the loop. I recently ran into Protein Bar’s Brand Manager Teddy at the Social Media Day event, who invited me to take a spin class at Flywheel a few weeks out. Protein Bar recently struck up this partnership, as the brands both target a similar demographic and they both promote healthy lifestyles.
Protein Bar and Flywheel
So while I’ve never been to Flywheel before, I have taken my fair share of spin classes. I used to work out at David Barton Gym on a daily basis when I worked at Groupon. Spin was a critical part of my cardio days, even when training for races, because it’s awesome cross-training. What I love about spin is:
– Cardio with resistance and elements of HIIT so you’re burning hundreds of calories
– The instructor tells me what to do. I don’t have to think, I just have to show up
– It’s fun! Spinning to a loud, uplifting beat is an awesome way to spend my lunch break
– I’m tired but energized when all is said and done
Anyways, David Barton Gym did a great job with their spin program, but Flywheel specializes in spin. They’re able to produce a much better product, because it’s all they do.
So what makes Flywheel different from your typical spin classes?
– They have special shoes that click into the pedals. At David Barton Gym, my feet sometimes felt weird because they weren’t specially-designed for spin and fit differently into the pedals.
– Flywheel has a special gauge that shows resistance, pace, and energy output in an easy-to-read format
– It’s competitive! Regular attendees are assigned a username and they can track their energy output through class, that week, that month… all against other regulars!
Besides the differences in the class, the facilities were really nice. The lockers didn’t require a lock – instead you program an easy to remember four digit code. The showers were clean and stocked with everything you need to get ready after a sweat session, including shower necessities like shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo, spray deodorant and more.

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After class, Protein Bar hooked everyone up with cold-pressed juice, headbands, free smoothie cards, and special Protein Bar trail mix. The cold-pressed juice was a refreshing tangy mix of greens – perfect for rehydrating after class. I later redeemed my smoothie card for an Avo-Matcha smoothie – a new favorite of mine.
Flywheel and Protein Bar


All in all, Flywheel is expensive. There’s no way around it. Depending on the package you buy, it’s about $20-25 per class. What I can tell you is that if you’ll actually use it, it’s definitely worth it. You’re not going to get that kind of workout on your own (unless you’re REALLY good at motivating yourself and know what you’re doing), or at a fitness studio (barre, pilates, etc.). For people who want to be fit or are looking to lose weight, this is a great step in the right direction.
At any rate, I’m definitely going back – who’s with me?
Thanks to Teddy from Protein Bar for providing photos!
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Fitness, Life,

HIIT Yourself Today For a Fitter Tomorrow

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Right now, I’m going to coin the phrase, You’ve Got to HIIT to Get Fit!

 I can see all of you jumping up and down yelling, “I want to get fit, I want to get fit!” Perfect! I’m here to help.

 What is HIIT you ask? Great question! Allow me to go in-depth about the intricacies of HIIT.

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and if done correctly, it can streamline your physique and pump up your metabolism better than any other type of training.

HIIT Options: 

The term HIIT extends to a wide array of training protocols and styles of exercise that have the ability to provide similar benefits, with some styles having additional benefit depending on the protocol selected. While the list below should encompass a large portion of the available options to perform HIIT, this list is not all inclusive.

1. Sprint Interval Training(SIT)

– SIT can be done anywhere, anytime, by anyone. Performing SIT requires literally no equipment (but can be done with equipment if desired). All you have to do is alternate going fast and slow doing your desired form of cardiovascular exercise. Whether it’s summer and you want to run, bike, walk, swim or roller blade outside, or you prefer to go inside and use the stair stepper or elliptical, that’s up to you. 

-Interval times:

Across literature there is a lot of debate and dissimilar information regarding optimal interval timing. From what I’ve read and utilized, these are the SIT intervals that have worked best for myself and my clients:

Beginners: Utilize a work to rest ratio of 1:3. For example, sprint as hard as you can for 10 seconds, and then walk for 30 seconds.

Intermediate/Advanced: Utilize a work to rest ratio of 1:2. Example, sprint as hard as you can for 10 seconds and then walk or jog for 20.

Bonus Tip: As you become more advanced, you can amp up the ante by increasing the resistance during the sprint portion (via resistance on a cardio machine or wearing a weight vest) or increase the difficulty of your rest period by not allowing your heart rate to recover as much between sets. 

2. Tabata Training 

– Tabata is by far the most difficult style of HIIT around, requiring strong mental focus and hardy willpower to complete a round. The caveat? Tabata only requires 4 minutes of your time. Created by professor Izumi Tabata back in 1996, he showed that by performing 4 days of super high intensity Tabata regimens combined with one day of stead state cardiovascular(AKA low/moderate intensity for a longer duration), one could see cardiovascular changes similar to someone performing steady state for all 5 days.

– Interval times:      To truly perform Tabata training as intended in the study done by Izumi Tabata, one must utilize a work to rest ratio of 2:1 for the entire duration, with the fast portion meant to be as intense as possible. For example: Biking all out for 20 seconds, resting for 10.

Today, Tabata encompasses a wider array of training, with some people including weighted exercises (such as barbell squats, pushups, etc) as part of the intervals. For Example: Doing pushups as fast as possible for 20 seconds, and then resting for 10. After that, either do the same exercise again or switch exercises. For best results, try to do each body part throughout the 4 minute time span.

Reminder: Tabata is extremely difficult and not recommended for brand new exercisers. While effective, make sure your cardiovascular health, cardiovascular strength, and mental fortitude is high enough in order to correctly and safely perform this protocol.

3. Class Based/Strength Based HIIT

-The great thing about the world today is that exercise professionals exist to take the guess work out of training, as well as making sure exercise is modified and safe for each individual. While strength based interval training can be done on ones own using body weight, medicine balls, dumbbells, etc, just like tabata training, it’s best to seek the help of a professional to ensure safety and proper progression.

Interval times/Class offerings:

-Just like SIT, the primary interval times when done on ones own are 1:2 and 1:3 depending on fitness level. The only difference is the addition of weights in the exercise. 


XSport Fitness XIT/Queens X Programs:

These classes help individuals achieve their highest level of fitness by continuously challenging their clientele. Classes are lead by the XSport Elite Personal Trainers. These trainers have gone through special training in addition to their training experience and certificates in order to teach XIT classes. One of the greatest assets to these classes is the Polar CardioGX system, which displays every members current heart rate, heart rate percentage based on maximum, name and calories burned for the coach to see and monitor throughout the class so that each client is working correctly based on the current interval timing and exercise choice. Classes routines are changed every 3 weeks so that the body has time to make adaptation, but not to plateau. The other main benefit is that a person would have access to other areas of the gym as well, in addition to their classes. More information can be found at, or just e-mail me with questions!


Personal Training:

If you don’t think a group atmosphere is for you, go find and sign up for a personal trainer and tell them that you want to do HIIT style training! That way you get the one on one help of an exercise professional but don’t have to deal with a group atmosphere.

HIIT Benefits: 

I hear you! HIIT sounds hard. Why should I do HIIT, you ask!? Because HIIT will make you a better, more fit, you. 

Performing HIIT can provide the following benefits: 

-Increased Cardiovascular Health (Endurance and strength)

-Increased Lean Muscle Mass (Especially with Strength/Class based programs)

-Increased Metabolism (Increased Resting Metabolic Rate)

-Increased Mood (Via Release of endorphins)

Increased Athletic Performance Potential (Higher power output, anaerobic strength)

-Improved Insulin Sensitivity

-Decreased Body Fat (HIIT encourages the body to use Fat as energy)

These are but a few of the benefits of HIIT. At the end of the day, if you want to get fit, you’ve got to do HIIT. Get your head on straight, focus, and get to work. Building a strong heart as well as strong muscles through HIIT will benefit you throughout your life. If you have any questions about HIIT, other articles or subjects you’d like to see an article on, shoot me an e-mail at

GO get out there, get fit, and go HIIT yourself!