Favorite Fitness Classes

chicago outdoor fitness gear cold weather

Like pretty much everyone, exercise and healthy eating was on my list of things to focus on this year. I’m pretty good about working out most of the time, it’s the eating part where I throw caution to the wind. My goal this year is to focus on mixing up my workouts. Since I moved to Chicago, I got in a routine of doing the same workouts over and over and kind of hit a plateau. I want to add a few more things to the mix to shake things up a bit, and you know, see results!

black beanie with pom pom

I seriously can’t believe February is next week… January has been kind of a strange month, no? It started off strong with all of these new goals and such, but I’ve been in a funk this month. Getting sick didn’t help, but I’m majorly blaming Mercury being in retrograde. I’m normally super up-to-date with my astrology happenings (go ahead, judge me), but I was kind of slacking this month. When I caught up this this past Sunday, suddenly the whole month just made sense. Mercury was in retrograde from January 5th through the 25th, aka: like the whole freaking month. Thank goodness it’s over now! Let’s do this, 2016.

chicago riverfront path

I’m a fitness class fanatic. Since I work from home, and most usually by myself, I really appreciate the social aspect of fitness classes. I used to be able to hop on the elliptical and zone out listening to music, but I just get kind of bored nowadays. I’ve found that the key for me sticking to a workout routine is classes, so that’s what I focus on! I get a lot of questions about my fitness routine, so let me break it down…

cut workout clothes

Spinning / Cycling – I’m addicted to SoulCycle classes – I go almost every day. People often ask me “Why SoulCycle?” and what sets it apart from other spinning classes, but for me it’s just a feeling. SoulCycle was the first workout that I ever got excited about and looked forward to going to! It’s not even about burning calories for me… It’s such a mental release. It’s 45 minutes in a dark candle-lit room, rocking out to your favorite music. No phones, no talking, just you and your bike and the rest of the pack. It’s all about the instructor, as each instructor has their own taste in music. I might be biased, but in Chicago, Hallie W is my favorite. 😉 If you’re in New York, my favorites are Parker, Marvin, Madison, and Lindsay. In LA, Kara is my go-to!

Yoga – Because I spin so often, my hips and legs are always tight AF. Yoga is essential to stretch out… I need to make it more of a priority! I prefer hot Vinyasa flow yoga, but I also like going to restorative yoga classes once a week to really focus on stretching. You can never do enough yoga and stretching! (If you’re in NYC, I love Lyons Den!)

SculptMy yoga studio also has a class called Sculpt, which is an absolute kick in the butt. I kind of dread going, but it’s such a good workout. It’s taught in the yoga studio, which is a heated room. You’re on your mat, but don’t be fooled – it’s a whole lot more than a yoga class. You incorporate free weights into your yoga sequences and even do a few different cardio bursts, like jumping jacks, burpees, etc. It’s a whole lot of sweat, a towel on your mat is essential.

Pilates, for lack of a better term – I was obsessed with SLT in New York. I miss it so, so much! (If anyone from SLT is reading this, please please please come to Chicago!) In Chicago, I found a pilates studio that only works with reformers, Flex Pilates. (I hate pilates mat classes!) I really like going, but it’s pretty pricey so I only go about once a week.

Barre – I tried my hand at barre classes when I first moved to New York, but it never stuck because I just didn’t love it. I loved the results, but I just couldn’t get motivated to get to class for some reason. Before I moved back to Chicago, I went to a different studio and liked it, but then, you know, I moved. I just recently decided to give it another go in Chicago and I have really enjoyed it so far! The studio I am going to, The Dailey Method, has an awesome 6-week package for first timers, so I’m going to try it out for the full six weeks. It’s been one week so far, let’s hope it sticks! I have a feeling it will, but I can keep you posted.

do work fitness leggings

With any fitness studio, it’s all about the studio vibes, am I right? Sometimes I’ve loved classes and instructors that my friends have not, and vice versa. My best advice is to take recommendations from people who share your same tastes in workouts, but also TRY NEW THINGS! Easier said than done, but just give it a go. I was nervous to try this new barre studio, but I grabbed a friend and went during a more empty time slot to feel more comfortable. It’s never as scary as it seems, promise! Just keep trying until you find what works for you and your body. It’s worth it!

do work leggings

Since my workouts are all over the board, but usually pretty heavy on the sweat, I need workout clothes that really fit a number of occasions. I don’t like to have tops that are just for yoga, and pants that are just for spinning, etc. I strive to make getting out the door (the hardest part of working out!) as easy as possible. To do this, I focus on clothing that works for every occasion and clothing that I actually want to wear.

do work workout leggings

I’ve said it before, but investing in new workout clothes is SO worth it. If you don’t feel strong and confident, you probably won’t have it in you to make it to the class and push yourself to your limit. Ditch the old college t-shirts, and ditch the leggings that you also pair with sweaters and such. Invest in a workout wardrobe to motivate yourself to get your sweat on! If you’re rolling your eyes and thinking that it’s just not in the budget, it doesn’t have to be expensive, I promise!

do work workout pants

Old Navy just launched a new line of activewear, and they focused on three main categories to make sure you’re wearing the best gear for the workouts you like to do. Running, Studio, and Training. The Running collection is focused on being fast & light – all about functionality and innovation. The Studio collection is specifically designed for bending, stretching, and sweating. And then there’s the Training collection that’s made for workouts from A-Z, gym and outdoors.

grey high-low zip-up hoodie fitness

Everything I’m wearing here is from the Training collection, simply because I like to keep it streamlined. Most of the studio collection would work with the classes I take, but I want workout wear that will allow me to take it outside, too. One stop shop, you know?

new nike sneakers grey

Also, if you do a lot of sweaty workouts and don’t have Tide Sport, you’re doing it wrong. 😉 It’s THE BEST!

nike juvenate sneakers

Get the Look…

Old Navy Zip-Up Hoodie
Old Navy ‘Do Work’ Leggings
Nike Sneakers (also available here!)
Valentino Sunglasses
Nordstrom Beanie
Black Gloves

old navy activewear
nike juvenate

Created in partnership with Old Navy

Current Faves

Leave a Comment


  1. 1.29.16
    Beth said:

    I love this post! Your fitness overview was very thorough and informative. I loved your insights! For me, I’ve stuck with yoga for the past 10+ years whether at home or in a studio (although i prefer studio practice). I’m going to try Pure Barre next week. It seems like a well-rounded workout. I usually spend one of my weekend days at the gym with my husband working on cardio and weight training. It’s so refreshing to get your perspective!


    • 1.29.16
      Jessica said:

      Built-in personal trainer, I love it! The couple that works out together stays together. 🙂 I rarely ever do any yoga poses at home, I need to start doing that even if I can’t make it to the studio.. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. 1.29.16
    Rena said:

    Thanks for the overview and I really like your fitness look!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  3. 1.29.16
    Emma said:

    Super cute outfit, I’d wear this even if I wasn’t working out!

  4. 1.29.16
    Lauren said:

    I tried a barre studio for about a month last year but really wasn’t crazy about it. I danced most of my life, so I was super-surprised I didn’t love it more. I really need to try a new studio!

    Fizz and Frosting

    • 1.29.16
      Jessica said:

      It’s all about the studio! I’d try a few more before you write off barre, especially if you were a dancer!

  5. 1.29.16
    Brenna said:

    Do you see a difference with using the Tide Sport laundry detergent? I have a lot of sweaty workouts multiple times a week but I haven’t tried that detergent. I’ve read workout clothes should be washed on the delicate cycle using cold water. I’ve also heard soaking them in some white vinegar first is a good method too?

    • 1.29.16
      Jessica said:

      Oh my gosh, yes!! I highly recommend you try it. I wash all of my clothing on delicate in cold water, including workout clothes. I’ve recommended it to lots of family and friends, it’s the only thing that gets the sweaty smell out! Not sure I have it in me to try the white vinegar trick… Sounds even more smelly! haha

  6. 1.29.16
    Katie said:

    I HIGHLY recommend The Barre Code in Chicago. I’ve tried other barre places, but nothing compares. It has totally changed my life!

  7. 1.29.16

    Such a cute outfit, Jess! And LOVE the fitness class roundup… I never know what to sign up for so this is perfect! 🙂

    Kelly | Kelly in the City

  8. 1.29.16
    Meagan said:

    Soul Cycle hasn’t made its way to San Antonio yet, so I have never been to a class, but does the instructor not talk? It is only music?

  9. 1.30.16
    Hilary said:

    Hi! Have been reading for awhile now, loved this post! I had been looking for some new sneakers and pulled the trigger on these in black. I am curious, I read that they can be worn sockless, do you ever wear them that way? Do they get gross (my biggest fear)?? Thanks! Love that you support Old Navy!

  10. 1.31.16
    Mary Linn said:

    Give an Orange Theory Fitness class a try. If you like sweat, you’ll love it. You wear a HR monitor so you can always tell how hard you are working and an accurate idea of the total calories burned.

  11. 1.31.16
    Stephanie said:

    I love switching up my workouts as well. Currently Orangetheory is my favorite. You will definitely sweat a lot in the class 🙂

  12. 1.31.16
    Lucy said:

    Super cute workout outfit! And I love your fitness class ideas! I usually just run on the treadmill but I love Scenic Cycle in Sydney where you watch huge screens and “travel” as you cycle.


  13. 2.1.16

    Hey Jessica,
    It has been fun following you on IG and ready your blogs! Especially your most recent one about fitness ruts.

    I have a fully equipped Pilates studio in the amazing West Loop on Madison. Like you, I am new to Chi-town! I sold my Pilates studio outside Charlotte & moved here a little over a year ago after meeting my now hubby!

    You should come on in & I’ll take you through a workout on all the equipment (with minimal mat work )

    Check out my site & let me know what you think…
    My IG is

    Chat soon!

  14. 2.2.16
    Meghan said:

    I second The Barre Code and Orange Theory recommendations! The Barre Code is more than just barre, and although, I’ve never been to Soul Cycle (there is not a studio in Michigan), I’ve been told that The Barre Code is the Soul Cycle of barre 😉

    • 2.5.16
      Jessica said:

      I’ve heard good things about Orange Theory, but I don’t run because of chronic shin splint issues. (I never did Barry’s Bootcamp in New York because of the treadmill aspect, either!) I wonder if it’s possible to just stick to the rowing machines and weight stations? Sounds like I definitely have to try Barre Code, thanks for the recommendation!

  15. 2.5.16
    Sasha said:

    You should try out the Barre Code as well!! I know they have Chi locations and also a pretty good beginners package. They have so many different Barre classes (traditional, dance, kick boxing, HIIT, etc) – it is the best studio that I’ve tried for sure!

    • 2.5.16
      Jessica said:

      Definitely going to look into it! Thank you for the recommendation!

  16. 2.24.16
    Samantha said:

    Love the workout gear! I do yoga on and off, but I’ve been dying to try spinning! Thanks for all the insight into classes! — SC at http://www.samanthachic.com

  17. 11.22.16
    Nyelson said:

    Oh I’m so glad you posted this. I am sure they will really helpful! Thanks for sharing these tips!