Free + Cheap First Visit Fitness Classes - Chicago

One of my favorite aspects about living in Chicago is the access there is to a huge variety of fitness studios and classes. I absolutely love trying out new studios and finding workouts and instructors I love. But it can get expensive.

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Free + Cheap First Visit Fitness Classes - Chicago Suburbs

I've branched out from one of my most popular posts (Free + Cheap First Visit Fitness Classes in Chicago) and created a guide for those of you that live or work or work out in the Chicago Suburbs too! SO many of you asked and I finally finished compiling my list!

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Total Body Travel Workout [Guest Post: Get Real with Mel]

One of the most important things for me when I go on vacation is to not lose my motivation when it comes to fitness. I make sure to pack my running shoes, walk the city a TON and make time for some quick at home workouts. Sometimes, I even look up local studios to take classes at.

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SWEAT with Erin of Erin's Inside Job

This session is a bit different than my others. The workout I'm covering was a class at SWEAT Chicago. Not only have I been here before, but I'm a monthly unlimited member so I frequent it 4-5 times a week. On top of that, Erin is an instructor there! To switch things up, instead of us taking a class together, I made sure to sign up for a time when Erin would be leading the class. 


When I attended my first class at SWEAT, I had no idea what I was in for. I left the class with tired muscles and a disgustingly sweaty shirt. A year later, nothing has changed. Which is probably why I love this studio so much.

Each 60 minute high intensity interval class is led by one of SWEAT's certified trainers. They start off the class by showing you every move and going over technique. Then, they get down to business. Throughout the entire class, they motivate you, push you and (inevitably) provide you with some great karaoke. Because SWEAT only allows a certain number of students, there is plenty of room for each movement and the trainers are able to with their students on proper form and technique. At SWEAT, you get to know the other students and the trainers and become part of a whole new community of people! One big, huge, amazing community of people who like to get really, really sweaty together. 

The classes at SWEAT are intent driven, so each day they focus on a different group of muscles. If you want to work on your arms, go on Mondays. Needing some extra cardio? Fridays will wear you out. In search of a J.Lo booty? Go for the notoriously hard workout on a Wednesday. Aside from constantly working different muscles, each day has a different format, uses different equipment and incorporates new movements. Whether you are a beginner or a long-time student, you can make it through a class and have it be challenging (but do-able) for you. If needed, the instructors will provide modifications for movements to accommodate preference or injury, so you can always participate. There's also constant room for advancement and improvement so you won't max out of a class. Increase your weight, speed or your reps for a bigger challenge. If you don't, the instructors will be sure to do it for you (trust me!)

One of my favorite days of the week at SWEAT is Tuesday and I make a habit of going to Erin's 7am class. The workout format is Tabata, which consists of eight rounds of 20 seconds on then 10 seconds rest of each movement before moving on to the next set. I like this format because once you finish a movement, you never see it again. I might dread the incline sprints or the burpees, but I know that once I get through it I never, ever have to do it again. Well, at least not until the next class. Whether it's my favorite day or not, 7am classes suck when you know you could be sleeping. It takes a great trainer to make me want to leave my warm bed to go work out. Luckily, Erin fits the bill. She constantly encourages you and reminds you that it's "only 20 seconds." It can be easy to get a bit lost during newer movements or during transitions, but Erin does a great job of guiding you and correcting your form. She's also a solid DJ so you'll have a no lack of upbeat songs.

Have I gone on long enough about how much I love this place and have I convinced you to go now? If so, sign up for your first class for only $15! 


Even before meeting Erin, I followed Erin's Inside Job pretty regularly. If you have a serious love for food (like Erin) you will want to follow her. Aside from the occasional recipe or product post, you can enjoy recaps of her food missions, like scouring the city for the best smoothie bowls. It's that kind of dedication that really draws you in. Don't worry, these drool worthy indulgent foods are balanced out with clean eating recipes, a healthy amount of fitness and life lessons.

Originally from Maryland, Erin moved to Virginia with her husband before they made their way to Chicago. Most of her work had been in the administrative field while working to become a pharmacist. Although she had been working hard to reach her goal of becoming a pharmacist, her world was shaken up when her drug and alcohol addiction was discovered. As a result, she lost her job and started on the difficult road to recovery. This recovery is what led to Erin's Inside Job. Erin started her blog in September 2013 when she was inspired by other blogs she was reading. She felt she had a significant story to tell and that blogging was a way she could give back to others while learning more about herself. You can read more on Erin's addiction here.

One of the topics Erin enjoys writing about most is self-esteem and emotional wellness because that was something she struggled with for a long time. Playing on this topic, one of my favorite posts from Erin was titled "My Anti-Goals List for 2016." I'm a firm believer that focusing on negative aspects of yourself is one of the worst things you can do, so I love that Erin took the "what I won't do" route. Another love of Erin's is anything food related. She enjoys when companies reach out to her and give her the opportunity to test out new products and recipes. 

In the beginning, Erin's Inside Job was a healthy living blog focused on food and fitness. Erin realized that while she kept trying to make the outside look good, she needed to focus on the inside and overall wellness too. She began encompassing more emotional and mental wellness into her site. The more I read Erin's Inside Job, the more I can see it's a reflection of Erin and her growth as a person, as a blogger, as a trainer and as an almond milk latte aficionado. Erin plans to continue to work on producing good, helpful content for her blog. She is looking to post recipes and tutorials that will forever remain relevant to her readers (known in the blogging world as "evergreen.") Erin's Inside Job will keep it's the personal touch with her weekend recaps and her Friday Five posts, which really give you a glimpse into her day-to-day life. Bonus - Erin is writing a book which will talk about her personal story and also what she wishes she had known growing up about being a healthy, emotional person!

Between personal training, freelance writing, public speaking, teaching at SWEAT and working on her blog, I have no idea how Erin fits her day into 24 hours, but she does it. She works out, eats killer food, tries out new products, comes up with tips and tricks relevant to everyone and THEN she shares it with the world. 


Favorite blogs to follow? SuzlyfePinch of YumOh She GlowsHello to FitPumps & Iron and Katy Widrick
What's your ultimate meal? Chicken with lots of veggies like spaghetti squash and sweet potato. Or Pizza Mac n' Cheese at Dimo's.
How do you take your coffee? No regular coffee. Decaf doppio espresso or an almond milk latte.


Erin's Inside Job shows a way for people to live their best lives by improving their physical, emotional and mental selves.

Erin is a personal trainer, fitness instructor and blogger in Chicago. When she's not training others, she's busy focusing on her own fitness and exploring the city to find the best foods and share them on Instagram. That obsession led her to nab the Director of Social Media position at Sweat Chicago, so you can basically always find her on her phone. Her blog, Erin's Inside Job, focuses on helping others discover that true wellness comes from within and from balancing not only physical health, but mental, emotional, and spiritual as well. Her work can also be found in such publications as The Huffington Post and Refinery29.

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