Happy DECEMBER!!

So – I love group fitness.  Having a membership to something that I have to attend in order to get my $$$ worth keeps me accountable, and having an instructor tell me what to do allows me to get the best workout that I can.  However, Minneapolis has a TON to choose from.  How does one pick?!

Fret not!  I decided to write a post that I personally could have used myself a few times – a critique and breakdown of some of the different “boutique fitness” places in Minneapolis.   I have done a ton of research, and by research, I mean gym hopping.  I got the firsthand scoop on seven different boutique fitness gyms that I want to break down for you.  To help minimize bias, I also interviewed my roommate and workout buddy, Lauryn, and my friend, other workout buddy and employee of Lift Brands, Lexi, to weigh in their opinions.

Some of these studios can be found nation-wide, so take a peek regardless of where you live.  Below are prices for a month of membership (most places also offer “class packs” where you pay by the class), new student deals, a breakdown and some opinions.  Spring break bodies efforts start December 26.  Happy sweating!!

Skip to the end for our rankings!

Alchemy | Membership: $155 | Try a free week here.

I did Alchemy regularly before spring break last year.  It starts and ends with strengthening yoga, with ten or twenty minutes of more intense muscle training in between.  I would vouch that this is a good workout for people of all fitness levels – it can be as modified or as difficult as you need it to be.  It is also done barefoot, which is fun.  I definitely recommend Alchemy!  I would suggest this class if you are looking to tone up and build muscle.  Even though I’m sweating and exhausted during the workout, I leave the class feeling refreshed both physically and mentally from the cool-down yoga at the end.  It is a great way to start the morning 🙂

Lexi: My favorite part of Alchemy is the community/inclusiveness. They will never let you leave feeling like you’re not valued, and they hold so many fun events that they seriously nail the whole “community” thing better than anyone. Plus, it’s a KILLER workout and since it is only 10 or 20 minutes, you can ramp up the intensity. (Intensity > duration, personally.) I think Alchemy is the perfect blend of weights and yoga and I feel great (and v sweaty) every time I leave.

ALTR | 8 classes: $159 – Unlimited: $199 | New clients get 2 for $28

IMG_3356LOVE ALTR.  I have done it twice, and it has kicked my butt both times.  It is an hour of high activity and high energy – it is done in a station-style circuit, so it does not get boring.  Lots of variety with the “moves” – there are a lot of props involved.  It filters in cardio to keep the heart rate high, and works all the different muscles in the body.  I would recommend ALTR for both weight loss and muscle building.  The studio is SUPER CHIC, and has its own kombucha bar.  Do you die?  I would consider a full-time membership here if it was a lil bit cheaper.

Lexi: Last time I ALTR’d I fell asleep for an hour after, that’s how exhausted I was. The workout is awesome, they use a lot of different equipment to hit a lot of different muscle groups, giving you a great full body workout every time. I would say the vibe of ALTR is a little more exclusive than the other places. I’m obsessed with the space – the lighting / decor is on point – very insta-story worthy.

Lauryn: Such a cool atmosphere! Idk what it was but this place just has such good vibes. The class was so so tough, even after going to OT on a regular basis now I was sore all over the next day from ALTR. Also, the circuit layout makes the class go by super quick. There is cardio but I’d say less so than FF and OT. It is more strength training so it is nice to mix this in!

CorePower Yoga | Membership: $139 | Try a free week here.

I did my free week of CorePower before spring break last year.  This class makes you SWEAT.  It is hot-yoga, but not the stretchy kind.  CorePower is all about muscle.  I found CorePower very challenging, in a good way.  It definitely is a class where you feel the burn- great for toning up!  I recommend for yoga lovers that want to take it up a notch.

Lauryn:  I have done Corepower for a couple years and loved it. It was a great exercise that always works different parts of the body. I personally really like cardio so I love that they do the burst of cardio in the middle of every sculpt class. I have done the C2 class once because it is much slower paced but I was surprisingly sore after this class too – long slow holds! The sculpt classes made me much more flexible, which is great for me because I run a lot and runners typically lose flexibility. I would recommend this for runners who need to mix in something else because flexibility + running will save your body from possible injuries in the long run.

Lexi: CP is so well-known for yoga that there’s really no disputing how great it is. I’m not into yoga, but I am into YogaSculpt. I love that the room is heated because approximately 1 minute in I’m dripping sweat even though we haven’t even gotten to downward dog. YogaSculpt is a great blend of light weights and (obviously) yoga, and I think you really can’t go wrong with a CP workout.

Fly Feet| Membership: $179 | New clients get 3 for $30

I tried one class at Fly Feet through Class Pass.  It is a mix of cardio via treadmill and muscle.  In between muscle moves, the treadmill is utilized to keep the heart rate up.  I HATE running, but it was easy to handle because I knew I would only be running for short spurts of time (I ran a maximum of 40 seconds at a time with a 20 second break for eight minutes in between each circuit) (AND, it was on “dynamic mode, where the treadmill wasn’t on – it moved from sheer horsepower (me).  horrifying but effective AF).  This is definitely a high-calorie burning class.  I highly recommend it if you’re looking to lose weight, maintain, or tone up.

Lexi: Let me just start by saying I’m not a runner. Seriously. So I went into this absolutely dreading it, but I left feeling fantastic. They mix weights/floor sequence with running on the treadmill, and the running circuits were not too long. Most of all, the instructors were awesome and were so great at moving around the room, challenging people to push themselves and helping with form. I definitely left FF feeling a lot better than when I went into it.

Lauryn: I love fly feet. This place is unique in that you write down your name in chalk on the floor and then throughout the class you are writing the distance, speeds and reps you hit next to your name. The second and third rounds you are competing against yourself to reach that number again and to see if you can try to beat it. It is so motivating competing against yourself and constantly trying to reach new personal bests. If running is somewhat intimidating then I’d say this is great for you because of the short intervals.

Orange Theory |8 classes: $99 – Unlimited $149 | Try a free class here.

Orange Theory is my current studio.  It helps that is is literally a block from my house, but I absolutely love OT.  Similar to Fly Feet, it incorporates cardio and HIIT with one block of 30 minutes spent on the treadmill and another block spent on various muscle activities and rowing.  A unique part of OT is that you wear a heart rate monitor that tracks how many calories you burn and what your average heart rate is with access to an  app that keeps a log of all of this information.  This class is good for fat burn, weight loss and muscle building.  Highly recommend 🙂 Cashme in the uptown location.

Lauryn:  This is my favorite place of all time – I am literally obsessed. My mom was the one who got me hooked. I love that they have the heart rate monitors so you have the data in real time of how your body is actually reacting to the workout. They have so many locations worldwide so if you travel, they likely have one in whichever city you go! I had a wedding in Kansas City last month and went to OT there. OT is unique because its headquarters develops each day’s workout months in advance finding the perfect “formula” for a class routine and then this workout is sent to all OT locations worldwide daily so you know that there is a method to their madness to get your heart pumping with an after-burn effect lasting up to 36 hours after your workout. I think it is so effective and I love running and cardio so yeah, have I mentioned I’m obsessed?

Lexi: Ok, I have a very dif opinion on OT than pretty much everyone I’ve ever talked to, and so I’d like to try it again / try a different location. I only got one splat point during the whole workout and didn’t feel like I got to challenge myself really, which was disappointing. However, I’ve heard so many good things about this place from so many people that I’d be willing to bet it was just my one experience and that if I went again I would have a different opinion.

[solidcore] | Membership: $269 | New clients get 2 for $28 & reduced memberships month one

IMG_3322“OW” – every muscle in my body upon completing this workout.  [solidcore] is nothing like I have ever done before.  The website claimed it would “work muscles in your body you didn’t even know you had,” and it did just that.  It was another barefoot exercise that involved the machines pictured above, called a “sweatlana”.  This is not for the weak – it took a lot of muscle strength.  I would recommend this workout for toning up, and would suggest doing it only once or twice a week, maximum.  Another super cool studio.  Downfall – price.  Waaaay too expensive to invest in.  Pity 😦

Lauryn: This was such a fun class! I have only been once but it was a workout like I have never done before because, like Hanna mentioned, it is on their “sweatlana” machine – somewhat similar to other pilates machines, just a slight variation. Also I was surprised that it was a full-body workout! After looking into it more, some of their classes focus on just abs, so up to you which class you choose. If money were no object I would alternate this in with my Orange Theory membership – it just seems crazy expensive at 10 classes for $280 or unlimited month starting at $229/month.

The Bar Method |10 classes: $200 | New clients 14 days unlimited for $35 or 30 days unlimited for $99

This class reminded me as my days as a ballerina (so, me, age 4).  I was sore going into this class which I was nervous about, but I found it was a nice filler-workout.  The Bar Method had a super cute studio and a carpeted workout area, which was kind of cool.  You workout in socks and use light weights and a ballet bar.  I didn’t produce one drop of sweat (thankfully, or the carpet would be v gross) since the workout is more of a small motion, large rep class.  This class is great for toning up and increasing flexibility.  I think it is a great class to do in between an Orange Theory or ALTR type.  They also offer spray tanning at the studio, which is a nice little perk!  Sorry, boys, but this is the only class I would not recommend for you.  Like, go ahead, but you’ll feel awkward af.  Trust me.

Lauryn: I had never done barre before so this was another fun one as I didn’t know what to expect! I surprisingly didn’t sweat either. It was definitely still a good workout though with a TON of pulsing, little movements. Also great for flexibility. If I were to choose between this and Corepower I would probably choose CP just because I feel like CP is somewhat more challenging with the heated room and bursts of cardio.

IF I HAD UNLIMITED FUNDS and HAD to rank them based on what I would like a membership to (and, honestly, I would absolutely love a membership to each and every one of them, you cannot go wrong!!!) –

Me: ALTR | Orange Theory | Fly Feet | Alchemy | CorePower | [solidcore] | The Bar Method

Lauryn: Orange Theory | Fly Feet | [solidcore] | ALTR | CorePower | The Bar Method

Lexi:  Alchemy | ALTR | CorePower | FlyFeet | Orange Theory