If you like intense workouts, like high energy instructors, like variety and don't mind a little sweat, then Shred415 is for you. I stopped by to check out the newly-opened second Shred location at 230 W. Division and was not disappointed. Co-owners Tracy Roemer and Bonnie Micheli didn't miss a beat in setting up their Old Town studio with great instructors, equipment and a formula for a killer workout that is second to none.
If you're not familiar with Shred415, the "415" is a big part of the workout. Broken out into four 15-minute segments, the class is a combination of non-stop floor exercises and treadmill intervals. The Tuesday 6:45am class I took was so full of energy from the moment I walked in, it could have been a 6:45pm class. All the treadmills will filled, so I found a space on the floor. Our class instructor, Mark Beier, who is a staple to the fitness community here in Chicago, started the packed room of Shredders.
The floor exercises were built around the use of light-weight dumbbells (anywhere between 4 to 10 pounds), a TRX suspension system, a step and awholelotta body work. Never ever underestimate a workout done by using mostly your own body weight. That would be a mistake, especially at Shred415. The class I took was called "Butt and Legs," so I figured Mark would go heavy on lower body exercises. What I liked about Mark's lower body floor workout was the variety of exercises. We moved from one exercise to another quickly, but not so fast that you couldn't keep up. With people of all different fitness levels in class, I didn't see anyone who had a problem scaling the workout to their pace.
After about 15 minutes on the floor, our group moved the the treadmills, and the group that started on the treadmills moved to the floor. I could hear what Mark was calling out to the treadmill group while we did our floor exercises, so I knew a lot of climbing was involved. I could also see the sweat pouring off the runners on the treadmills, so I knew was going to be challenged. Fortunately, the treadmills are Woodways. Rarely do I geek out about equipment, but these treadmills are amazing. Personally, I feel like I'm running with a lot less impact on a Woodway than on any other treadmill. The first treadmill leg of the workout started strong. We were already warmed up, so we could literally hit the ground running. The incline of the treadmill crept up and up - right along with my heart rate. With short breaks peppered in between each intense treadmill interval, I reminded myself that this was only the second 15-minute interval. I loved the workout my body was getting, but had to remind myself to keep pace in mind.
Moving back down to the floor, Mark had us use more of the TRX, which I am a big fan of. This allowed us to get into our core, truly strengtheningourabs. The clock along the side of the room counted down the minutes, and before long I could see that the third 15-minute intervals had nearly flown by. Wow! Already 45-minutes into class. Time was flying. I could hear the runners on the treadmill finishing up one last tough interval before giving it up to the floor. I knew that the incline and speed would both be relatively high, so I tried to psych myself up.
One last shot on the treadmill, Mark had us all start jogging, then bring the incline up. Every time we brought the incline down, the speed came up. By the end of my run, I was pushing a 5:30 minute mile, which - after a class like that - was an accomplishment. Thanks to Mark, my legs were turning over faster than they'd turned over in a very long time.
I highly recommend Shred415 if you are looking for a way to feel motivated about your fitness. For pricing, schedule or directions to Shred's Lincoln Park or Old Town location, check them out online.
Traci D Mitchell is a Chicago-based health and fitness writer and spokesperson. She's on-the-go everywhere trying out new and healthy things with a Chicago appeal. You can reach Traci through ChicagoNow or www.tracidmitchell.com.