Third Ward's SPIRE Fitness offers crew, yoga and cycling.

When it comes to fitness, fewer choices for types of exercises and shorter, more efficient workouts are the latest trend.

SPIRE, a new boutique fitness studio in the Third Ward (102 N. Water St.), offers a curated experience with three of the most popular, effective and efficient workouts. Cycling delivers a great cardio workout; rowing is a full body workout combining cardio and strength; yoga provides balance, strength, flexibility, and restoration.

The yoga class I attended was a basic athletic-style Vinyasa class. If you prefer a straightforward class without all the “Oms” and yogi chants, this is a great one. The 75-minute class takes you through basic sun salutations, the warrior sequence and plenty of Chaturangas to power up your arms, chest and core so you feel like you are getting a workout and not just stretching.

All the classes at SPIRE are offered in a group setting and are tailored to people of every fitness level.

“We strongly believe in the power of group fitness to deliver results,” says owner Jarrod Scuglik. “The class-based model provides clients the motivation of the group, the guidance of an instructor and the energy of side-by-side participation that you just can’t get at a typical gym.”

One of SPIRE’s most popular classes is Rhythm Ride on Wednesday night. I felt amped when I stepped into the small studio with rows of bright orange, branded bikes. The room was dark with colorful LED lights and loud music reverberating off the concrete walls. Compared the a regular spin class, this 45-minute class is a full-body workout that often has people in and out of the saddle and even has you doing  presses and push-ups on your bike to work the upper body. Also, all bikes are equipped with clips or cages so you can wear your footwear of choice.

“We wanted to create a unique class-based experience that is like nothing else in the Milwaukee area. Our goal was to create a bright, high-energy environment that is fun and not intimidating,” says Scuglik. “We looked at all the large boutique studios in New York City and Los Angeles to get ideas on what we can offer Milwaukee that will be well-received and fit the local culture.”

My favorite class was Crew. The 45-minute class was broken into four sequences of sprint intervals on the rowing machine interspersed with one-minute blasts of push-ups, squats, crunches and other basic exercises off the machine. Form is crucial and starts with your legs. I picked up the rhythm quickly with the help of  the instructor who was a collegiate rower and now coach. The machine is pretty slick too – a water filled flywheel mimics the feel and resistance of rowing on a river. I am pretty sure every muscle in my body was sore the next day — in a good way — making me really feel the full-body burn.

SPIRE sees a lot of tri-athletes, so yoga is a great practice to integrate into their normal workouts. And, it allows people to visit the studio five or six days a week if they need a low-key workout after a heavy cycling/running week. SPIRE also offers a “Ride+Yoga” class that starts on the bikes and finishes on the mat.

Bottom line: if you enjoy small-group classes in a supportive, relaxed environment, this is the spot for you. And if you seek variety, but don’t want too many choices, SPIRE is a great fit.

The downside: little to no parking available on Erie Street for the evening classes, but there is a parking garage on Chicago.

Find more information including pricing and schedules at