Chicago, IL

Chicago's New GOAT Climb Class is an Exercise in Humility for This Writer

Rene Cizio

I’m trying to get fit for hiking this summer (I type while eating Raisinets), so I took the “Beginner Climb” class at GOAT Climb and Cryo in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.

Guys. I have four letters for you, G.O.A.T., followed by three more W.T.F. Goat climb class, will get you in shape or kill you.

GOAT stands for Greatest Of All Time – and also, goats are great climbers. Cryo is what you will do during this class – just kidding! It’s cold therapy.

The class, using a special machine, essentially simulates doing jumping jacks while climbing a mountain. That’s where WTF comes in.

Why am I here?

The class started with instructions on how to use the VersaClimber. The machine is a verticle bar with step peddles and armbars that move in opposition to each other.

It is advertised as being “Lebron’s workout of choice.” So, of course, I signed up. If Lebron can do it, why not me too? I mean, our physiques are so similar. No brainer.

It is estimated that you will climb from 1600 to 2500 ft and burn 600 to 800 calories per class, which is more than any other studio-based class. To this, I say, no shit. I was exhausted after just the orientation.

Get ready to sweat

On the website, they tell you multiple times that you will “break a sweat” and to bring a towel. They seriously try to drive that shit home, so you understand what is about to happen.

They also say the workout combines power, strength, and cardio in a low-impact, fun, and inspirational environment. It is inspirational if your instructor yelling, “I didn’t say you could stop!” is inspiring. Somehow it was.

My Instructor Richard was somehow actually made of energy. He does these classes back-to-back, only stopping to take dance breaks. I thought only toddlers had stamina like that.

My new friend Richard

During class, Richard led us with super upbeat, fast-paced music and guided us to “keep climbing” with short, medium, and full-range movements ranging from “If I look like I’m moving, he won’t come over here” to “Did I just tear my armpit and groin at the same time?” He consistently urges us to go faster, climb higher, Just *bleeping do it already.

Imagine doing jumping jacks up the side of a mountain while a cheetah chases you. That’s how this class feels.

My heart was beating so fast, and my arms and legs were literally burning with exertion. I was going so fast and hard – KILLING IT. I looked around at the stats of those around me — bah — I was the slowest person! Why is my body so fat and old? Why are all these people so young and fit?!? I hate them.

There was an empty space right in front of me, so every couple of minutes Richard would hop off his climber, run over, and dance right in front of me while yelling some encouragement.

“Faster, let’s go! What are you here for?!?!?”

Well, Richard, look at me. Why do you think I’m here? Do you see my beat-red face and sweat pouring off my body like a waterfall? Obviously, I’m here because I want to die. At this point, I can only assume you’re here to ensure that is exactly what happens, so thanks, Richard. This is fun.

10th place for the win

Out of 12 people in my GOAT climb class, I placed seventh for effort and 10th overall. My goal was not to be last, so mission accomplished.

I was easily 15 years older and 30 pounds heavier than anyone else in the room, so I don’t know what the lazy kids who came in behind me were doing (probably praying to stay alive). No judgment, tho.

Find GOAT Climb and CRYO at 300 W. Ontario, Chicago IL. T: 312-643-1144

And for the record, Richard was really awesome. He’s going to get me in shape, so I can write more about adventuring and less about crying in workouts.

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Digital nomad, solo traveling full time. I write about travel, adventure, universal energy, and the journey through life. Pictures on Instagram @renecizio

Chicago, IL

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