Motivating, highly trained staff and spacious facilities complement Charter Fitness's battalion of cardio machines and strength-training equipment. Huge flat-screen TVs motivate gym-goers as they lift weights, stationary bikes, and their reflections in large mirrors. Seasoned personal trainers who all hold certifications or four-year degrees in their specialty guide members through an initial personal-training session, introducing clients to the best equipment for their fitness goals. After workouts, private showers or public water fountains sluice away sweat.
Working out at a gym can become monotonous—completing the same reps over and over again. But at Bombshell Movement Studio, the emphasis is on fun, as women shimmy and spin themselves into shape during a variety of pole-dancing classes. Each entertaining session builds students' confidence and endurance as they twirl or create a burlesque dance routine for their next condo-association meeting. Within the supportive environment, women can also celebrate bachelorette bashes or girls' night out with flirt-enhancing parties or learn lap-dance techniques and sultry moves in workshops.
Licensed aesthetician and massage therapist Sigita Wendorf leads the staff at The Body Shop Day Spa in crafting spa treatments more relaxing than a lullaby duet by Yanni and Enya. Several massage modalities, including reiki and reflexology, relieve muscle tension, while facial and body treatments soothe skin. A fireplace in the waiting room casts shadows on vases full of blossoms, and throughout the spa, the walls showcase images from nature, such as fog-obscured trees and beach turtles playing Marco Polo.
UFC competitor Clay Guida's job is to lock himself in a cage with a sinewy monster who is just frothing to roundhouse, uppercut, and strangle him until he can't move anymore. More often than not, he's the last one moving. With four knockouts, 15 submission holds, and nine matches called by the ref, Clay's winning record—and his allergy to getting knocked out—speak to the well-rounded approach to strikes, grappling moves, and defensive techniques he teaches his students.
Whether he's training fighters for the ring, kids to stand up to bullies, or hearts to pump right in MMA family-fitness classes, he maintains a comfortable and controlled environment. Martial-arts classes, striking workshops for women, and children’s programs take place in Clay’s 6,500-square-foot facility lined with shock-absorbing Zebra and full-wall mats. Students spar in full octagon and boxing rings to simulate real-world blood sport and hammer home their techniques on a plethora of striking bags and pads. For people who want the fitness without the fighting, his exercise sessions take place in a separate strength-and-conditioning area filled with kettlebells, weights, ropes, treadmills, sandbags, and tires.
The Joliet Park District sprawls across more than 1,000 acres, engaging visitors with everything from sports to nature. Guests can wander through the foliaged paths of the Pilcher Park Nature Center and the organic community garden, or treat their senses to the floral colors and aromas that fill the bird-haven greenhouse. The 10,000-seat Joliet Memorial Stadium hosts high-school and college sporting events, while a dozen athletic fields fill with recreational players hitting baseballs, catching softballs, and spiking soccer balls when the referee isn't looking. During the summer, inner tubes transport patrons down Joliet Splash Station's high-speed water slides and 865-foot lazy river, and the glittery strands of Fourth of July fireworks color the skies above the stadium.