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We're always looking for off-the-beaten-path gyms that will challenge our stamina but build us up rather than drain our batteries.

That's why we're keen on Crowbar Cardio, the studio that focuses on three popular types of exercise but does so in an encouraging manner. Here, a little of what to expect:

RealRyder Indoor Cycling Sure, the 55-minute class tests your lung capacity (as any stationary-bike class would), but because the bikes rock from side to side, more of your muscle groups get in on the action. The result is an intense workout that won't make your joints suffer--the bike absorbs most of the shock.

Indo-Row Even beginners are welcome in this class that treads the same high-intensity, low-impact terrain…but with a watery twist. While traditional rowing machines have cables that pull fans, these feature cables that actually pull blades through water. No need to wear a swimsuit--only part of the machine is submerged in water.

Barre It's not all ballet positions and pretty piano music. Unlike similar classes at other gyms, Crowbar's barre work features peppy, up-tempo music and heart-pumping routines.

Crowbar Cardio, 5726 Belmont Ave.; 214-887-1200 or

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