The term “family environment” sometimes conjures thoughts of shrieking toddlers and floors turned into flypaper due to discarded cotton candy, but those images evaporate the moment you step into any one of Air Fitness’ three pristine facilities. Here, families work out in an exclusive social setting, as each location accepts only 150 memberships. From grandparents to gradeschoolers, members work their way toward better health on Cybex and Precor fitness equipment, overseen by a friendly staff of trainers and nutritionists. For one-on-one attention, the trainers develop personalized programs customized to each patron's fitness goals, such as losing weight, lowering their blood pressure, or looking good in a new hazmat suit.
Most Popular Service: Time management strategies for success
Staff Size: 1 person
Average Duration of Services: 30?60 minutes
Pro Tip: Make an intention to be more productive. Take five minutes and write down five goals for the day.
The Chicago White Sox have some truly dedicated fans. In 1994, the team decided to reach out to the youngsters who worshipped their footwear. They sought to provide kids with the same conditioning and training they honed their skills with, so they started a sports-training summer camp. In a mere seven years, demand for the trainers' services necessitated that the program conduct year-round sessions in all types of sports, and the Bulls/Sox Academy was born.
Taught by the trainers who spend their life making sure that the Sox and Bulls are ready to hit the field or court, Bulls/Sox Academy's lessons bring professional techniques to aspiring athletes. Baseball programs teach functional speed movements for high-speed base stealing and help kids build the upper-body strength to knock balls out of the park and through the windshield of their least favorite neighbor's minivan. The basketball course divvies up training between shooting, skills, and defensive play. The fast-pitch softball teachers—both former professional players and longtime coaches—arm students to beat back high-velocity pitches without hurting the ball's feelings.
Ride Chicago and Rentaruckus are two different businesses that are bonded by their passion for promoting two-wheeled transportation. At Ride Chicago this passion manifests in a variety of classes, for which it supplies beginners with motorcycles or scooters. Once student riders are geared up, the facility’s state-certified instructors teach everything from scooter-riding basics to motorcycle licensing at controlled, off-street sites across the city and suburbs. This diverse curriculum allows people of all riding experiences to climb aboard a two-wheeler and learn safe canyon-hopping methods.
Rentaruckus’s mission is a bit more concise: get people behind the handlebars of a Honda Ruckus scooter. To do this, the staff offers rentals and organizes tours of Chicago, where swarms of the minimalist bikes buzz past the city’s historic neighborhoods and sights.
Root 66 Aquaponics Garden Shop has all the accoutrements of a standard garden supply¬—USDA-certified organic seeds, pots, and organic fertilizers. But Root 66 is hardly your grandmother's general store. Its focus is hydroaquaponics, which creates a symbiotic relationship between a tank of fish and the garden on top of the tank. The sustainable method uses a system of pumps and tubes to harvest and distribute plant food from the fish tank below. The fish, in turn, are fed, sheltered, and taught to use salad forks by the plants above them.
In the shop's introductory video, founder Shawn Odneal says that hydroaquaponics is, "the future of food production and the closest I can get to self-sustainability," by "taking traditional gardening techniques and applying them in a new way." In addition to specializing in hydroaquaponics, he also strives to make gardening accessible to city dwellers with rooftop and vertical gardens.
The Borrowed Earth Café is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:57 a.m. to 9:03 p.m. each day. Odd hours are just one way the raw, vegan food spot is doing things differently—and they’re renowned for the delicious results. They’ve been featured on “Check, Please!”, awarded five stars by Metromix, and earned the recommendation of the Michelin guide in 2012 and 2013. It all started in 2006, when husband and wife Danny and Kathy Living finished a 30-day detox. The program recommended spending a few days eating raw food before returning to a normal diet. For Danny and Kathy, a 'normal' diet meant a vegan diet, but they decided to try the raw food thing anyway. They loved it right away, but didn't love the 90-minute drive between them and the nearest raw vegan restaurant in Chicago. After the raw meet-up group they hosted swelled to more than 30 people, they realized that raw food was their calling and decided to open Borrowed Earth Café—a dream that came true in 2007. Today, from their spot in the heart of downtown Downers Grove, the couple dishes up a menu brimming with organic, raw flavor. Entrees range from a sweet potato quesadilla nestled in a corn-and-flaxseed tortilla to a gyro with "meat" made from savory spices, nuts, and seeds. For dessert, diners tuck into their signature vegan cheesecake and other specialties including a banana split made with almond butter, chocolate, and scoops of banana ice cream in place of the traditional steak.