Cardio-Free at Jim Karas Cardio-Free Studio

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Studio: Jim Karas Cardio Free Studio, 2669 North Lincoln Avenue

Class Focus: This small group training class focuses on revving up your metabolism while strengthening your body using weights, kettle bells, body weight, gliding disks and any other strengthening exercise the trainers may devise.

Cost per class: $35

Money saving offers: The studio offers different packages can help bring each session’s price down. 

  • $0: first two week trial that starts after you complete your new client evaluation
  • $250 for a month unlimited
  • $330 for 10 sessions
  • $200/month for a full-year contract

The Fab Fit Take:

Jim Karas Cardio-Free Studio, in the heart of Lincoln Park, seeks to tone up its members by getting them off of the treadmill and into a program filled with variety.

Before jumping into the Cardio-Free class, which is filled with lifts, exercises and motions that require attention to form, the studio makes all new clients go through an evaluation. It’s quick, and kicks off two weeks of free fitness classes at the studio. You don’t hurt yourself. You get to try it out for free. Everyone wins!

FabFitChicago’s newest contributor Kristen and I were excited to try this workout together and knocked out our evaluation at 8 am on a Saturday.

photo 1 After passing into the Cardio-Free class based on the evaluation of our form and fitness level (I will take that good grade in exercising to the bank, people), we grabbed some kettle bells and prepped for the toning-intensive class that was ahead of us. Our trainer, Ashley, broke the class into four distinct sections:

  1. Warm-up
  2. A kettle bell based toning series
  3. A second kettle bell based toning series
  4. Pull-ups/glute bridges with sliding disks.

Our session’s warm-up used body weight exercises like planks along with the TRX squats to get the body moving and ready to work. We did two sets of kettlebell exercises using a light kettle bell (~20 lbs) and a heavier kettle bell (~35 lbs) to target muscles from head to toe.

The first set targeted the side-body in a truly unique way by doing windmills and suitcases. I know – it’s sounds like a trip to the Netherlands, but it was real work. The second set brought us a half windmill and a kettlebell press, which worked similar muscle groups with enough difference to make it doable and enough similarity to the first set to make you feel it the next day.

Take a look at each exercise for yourself:





Kettlebell presses: [youtube]

Half windmills:


To finish, we grabbed a partner and alternated between pull-ups/hanging pull-ups and glute bridges with sliding disks under our feet. This was by far the most intense set of the workout in the moment, but the burn I felt the next day was in my lats. Combination killer from kettlebells and

Does it pay to go cardio-free? The results are walking around the gym, filled with toned, busy professionals of all ages. Get there and try it for yourself.

Date taken: 2/8/2014

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About Jeana Anderson Cohen

Jeana Anderson Cohen is the founder and CEO of a premiere wellness media destination that creates content and community to help womxn live better lives and achieve their goals. Before founding health-focused companies Jeana earned a degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison - and fresh out of college she worked on the '08 Obama campaign in Michigan. From there, she created and executed social media strategies for brands. aSweatLife fuses her experience in building community and her passion for wellness. You can find Jeana leading the team at aSweatLife, trying to join a book club, and walking her dog Maverick.