The team at Cheetah Gym knows that getting in shape is hard work, but they try to add a playful spin to the task. In the WERQ class, for example, they play with the spelling of work itself—as well as with conventional cardio exercise, choreographing easy-to-follow dance routines to the latest pop songs or old-school hits.
In addition to dance fitness, the gyms each offer more than 130 group classes per week, ranging from Pilates and yoga sessions to cycling and boxing lessons. Outside the group fitness studios, visitors build cardio strength and muscle tone on equipment from Strive, Hammer Strength, and PreCor, rather than by trying to lift an entire bank of lockers in the changing room.
The intensely heated practice space and 26 standing and seated asanas used in Bikram Yoga Andersonville's 90-minute classes may intimidate newcomers at first. However, the instructors enthusiastically welcome yoga practitioners of all ages and fitness levels, helping them progress at a comfortable pace. As attendees learn established sequences of deep stretches, twists, bends, and mindful breathing exercises, they can experience the rejuvenating benefits of having oxygenated blood systematically pushed to muscle groups and organ systems throughout the body. Additionally, the sweat-inducing temperatures help loosen tight joints and ligaments and challenge students to pay closer attention to the connections between their minds and bodies. Practicing these asanas improves strength, stamina, and flexibility over time. Throughout each class, instructors are on hand to demonstrate proper technique, offer support and guidance, and teach you how to give effortless high-fives with your feet.
Pilates is an excellent way to kick-start a fitness routine. The challenging movements and full-body stretching are designed to increase core strength and stamina. For your two private sessions, you’ll receive guidance from FTC-certified instructor Patrick O'Brien, who will help you transition from a stale, store-bought pretzel to a soft, fresh-baked German pretzel. Work out on both the Pilates equipment and floor mat under his supervision. He will help you correct body issues from technique to alignment and tailor the lessons to your specific physical needs. FTC is one of Chicago’s longest-standing Pilates studios, having opened in 1994. Its focus is on the human form and on making sure it operates naturally and healthfully, in line with its proper structure and function. Call to schedule your sessions.
Kinetic energy reigns supreme at Creative Motion Chicago. Whether it’s the slow, deliberate movements unfolding in a Vinyasa yoga class or the rhythmic hip shaking in the Dance Diva class, movement is the marquee here. The passionate instructors, from certified yoga teachers to jazz dancers and former U.S.O. performers, lead the classes with zest and foster a strong community vibe within a positive studio environment. There are numerous yoga classes to choose from, including yoga basics and Vinyasa Glow, which takes place in a candle-lit studio where stress falls away like lemmings from a slippery cliff. A variety of fitness classes are offered, including barre, pilates, and piloxing, which promote muscle sculpting, core strengthening and toning. Ab-focused cardio and Zumba classes incorporate dance and fitness into fun, engaging classes that encourage slimmer waistlines and active feet. Creative Motion Chicago is located right off the brown line for an easy commute.
Equipment: Hoopnotica Hoops and Hoops created by local designers.
Students should bring: Wear comforatble yoga attire. Bring water to stay hydrated.
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5 people
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Parking: Metered street parking
Pro Tip: Hula hooping is a positive substitute for a cardio workout. Perfect for all ages and body types.
Namaskar YOGA began as a small studio, although it gradually grew to fill the entire 1,000-foot space with more than 15 instructors leading more than 40 classes every week. Now open for nearly 10 years, Namaskar continues to burnish its reputation as a friendly studio with high-quality classes and a big-hearted community. Primarily a Vinyasa Flow-based studio, Namaskar's classes are led by experienced teachers who challenge and support students' development while encouraging respect for the limitations and abilities of their bodies. As bodies loosen and minds open, students find greater freedom, strength, and flexibility. Class offerings run from the spectrum from the fluidity of Vinyasa Flow, to the strength building in Yoga for Runners/Athletes, to the depth and release of Restorative and Yin classes.