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GOAT studio review

Finding time to workout can be tricky. After work, before dinner, or before work, after dog walk? It takes dedication to carve out an hour in the studio, not to mention the commute time, showering time, and recovery. 

When I heard that GOAT Cryo and Climb classes were only 30 minutes, I was immediately intrigued. Shorter than cycling and most other fitness classes, this sounded ideal. Even if it was hard, it’d be over in the length of a FRIENDS episode, with a warm-up and cool down.

And it was hard!

GOAT fitness

After tricking one coworker into [solidcore], I needed a new, unsuspecting person to take to GOAT. Luckily, my co-worker Carolyn was a willing victim. She’s a fan of rock climbing and was excited to try out a machine that works the same muscles. 

The versa climber is favored by athletes, including the GOAT Lebron James, as a low-impact workout that combines strength training and cardio in a fat-blasting, sweat-drenching workout. 

GOAT fitness

I got the studio early and stored all of my stuff in the lockers. GOAT has showers in the locker room, and a nice slate of amenities including deodorant, dry shampoo, and hairspray. 

GOAT fitness

I went on a tour of the cryo section of the studio. The “legends lounge” offers a chance to recover with the greatest. A large wall mural has the original GOATs: Serena Williams, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Jordan. Cryo refers to “cold therapy,” where chambers can drop to negative 200°F.  GOAT offers an infrared sauna ($29 for 30 minutes), cryotherapy ($65 for chill), cryoskin facials ($350 for one), and NormaTec ($20 for 30 minutes). NormaTec is a form of compression therapy. These are priced outside of the gym session. GOAT offers packages and specials as well. 

GOAT fitness

If you’re looking to try out cryo, plan to do it before your workout because you have to be entirely dry before entering the chamber. While I did not try any of the packages, I was intrigued by the benefits of cryo which include pain release, weight loss, and skin tone evening. 

Climbing classes are available on ClassPass, and drop-in climbs are priced at $26. 

GOAT fitness

When it was time for the workout, a GOAT staffer helped me set up my machine, including putting my name into the tablet attached to the versa climber. The tablet would sync my machine to a screen in the front of the room, to show how I compared to the class in terms of feet climbed and effort given. 

The class filled up with a nice mix of beginners and Adonises. I recommend wearing tight fitted pants, since the stepping motion could cause chafing in running shorts. The climbers have a water bottle holder and you’re provided a towel to wipe up your sweat, which you’ll want to keep close by.


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The climber felt like a glorified stair stepper, with handles that were fit to my shoulder height. The three types of steps are full range, where you allow the pedals to go all the way to the ground, mid-range and short. The instructor gives cues of where you should be, and the tablet shows where your stride is.

The last tool to learn before class started was a small resistance knob in the center of the climber, that can add weight to make it more challenging. Similar to resistance in spin, the instructor has certain songs that you add weight on for, but on the versa climber, a little goes a long, long way. 


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My instructor was a sub from a boxing gym, but she brought an intensity unlike any other fitness classes I’ve taken. Pacing the room with her voice raised, Angelica demanded that we not quit and keep pushing. It was motivating, but aggressive. 

It was quickly apparent that I would not be leading the pack in the climb to the top, but even at my modified pace, it was an impossibly hard workout and my muscles were quaking eight minutes in. Thank goodness it was only 30 minutes. I could not have gone any longer!

There was only a short stretching session at the end, so Carolyn and I stretched in the “legends lounge” after class. Plan to do a proper cool down after so that you’re not incapacitated with soreness the next day. 

The Bitches Say: Five Sweat Drops

This workout claims the crown as the hardest of all time. If you’re looking to take your fitness routine to the next level, GOAT is for you. 

GOAT Cryo and Climb, 300 W Ontario St, Chicago, (312) 643-1144

Kirsten Ballard

Chicago Food Editor & Social Manager

Kirsten is our Chicago Food Editor & Social Manager. From 9-5, she works at a Great Lakes nonprofit, but after hours she loves exploring Chicago, looking for dog-friendly bars and good Southern biscuits.

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