Can Music Help You Get In Shape? These 5 Fun Fitness Classes Prove It

News you can use: There’s now scientific evidence that your Ke$ha-heavy soundtrack is helping your efforts toward a better bikini body. In a new study from Brunel University, researchers found that swimmers exposed to a soundtrack during the 200-meter freestyle swam significantly faster than those who didn’t listen to music and reported a jump in their motivation to work out. Other studies have shown similar results for runners, cyclists, and more who move to fast-tempo tunes.
Who can argue with science? So, in the same vein, these five Chicago fitness classes, all set to punchy playlists, will help you get the most out of your next workout.

Body R&D

This amped-up, total-body Pilates class (the reformer is swapped for the megaformer, a spring-loaded machine with straps, pulleys, handlebars, bungee cords and more) is led by a former L.A. music video producer whose iTunes library is out of control. During a typical class, he’ll play everything from Britney/ to the Foo Fighters. “Flashback Fridays” feature “Footloose” and other ’80s tunes. Cost: $30/class, $199 unlimited monthly pass.

Body R&D, 2940 North Lincoln Avenue (at Wellington Avenue); 773-935-3200.


Cheer enthusiasts Jena Ertel (“the Jenarator”) and Matthew Hollis (“Mattrick Swayze”) blast Bruno Mars, Kylie Minogue, Rock of Ages mash-ups and more during this killer cardio workout — a blend of cheerleading dance moves and aerobics. Two Sundays a month, shake your pom-poms during themed workshops, such as Gay Pride-honoring Big Gay June, a 90-minute class set to music from Madonna, Gossip, Joan Jett, Scissor Sisters and Erasure. Cost: $15.50/class.

Indigo Studio, 213 West Institute Place (at Franklin Street); 312-612-9642.


This hip chain of cycling studios hired a DJ to ensure its classes are set to songs like no other. Instructors can choose from a curated database of thousands of high-tempo tracks, including remixes and mash-ups. Since each instructor choreographs his or her own classes, regular riders often sign up based on who best aligns with their musical taste. Depending on the teacher, we’ve heard ’90s boy-band songs, Top 40 flavors of the moment, old-school rap and, once, “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 65. Cost: $25/class.

Flywheel, 710 North State Street (at Huron Street); 312-624-8485.



When you’re revving a treadmill up to 12mph — which some runners do during this crazy-effective, kick-ass running/strength-training workout — you need killer music. Some of owner Bonnie Micheli and Tracy Roemer’s favorites to play in class right now? Ke$ha’s “Dirty Love,” J.Lo’s “Live it Up,” PMZ’s “City of Dreams” and DJ Marathon’s running remix of “Blurred Lines.” Cost: $24/class, $205 unlimited monthly pass.

Shred 415, 2156 North Clybourn Avenue (at Shakespeare Avenue); 773-360-8228; 230 West Division Street (at Well Street); 312-291-8722.

ViPR at Equinox

“Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore, “Right Now” by Rihanna, and “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” by Fergie are just a few examples of the songs you may hear while lifting, twisting ,and tilting a weighted rubber tube during ViPR, a total-body workout focused on functional movement, balance, and agility. Want something new for your iPod? Equinox has online workout playlists curated by artists from Jason Derulo to Carly Rae Jepsen. Cost: Free for members, $35 for guests of members.

Equinox: The Loop, 200 West Monroe Street (at Wells Street); 312-252-3100.

Photo: Courtesy of Equinox

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