After spending a few years in the fitness industry at a large health club, Tony Barbanente realized he wanted more. His vision was to lose the retail-store vibe that plagued big gyms, and to instead curate a comfortable atmosphere to encourage members and trainers to focus on just one thing—fitness.
His family-owned fitness facility offers members 8,000 square feet of pristinely maintained equipment. Rows of ellipticals, stationary bikes, and treadmills help guests ramp up their endurance in preparation for competitive races or chasing cars, and strength machines and free weights, including kettlebells, bolster muscles.
In addition to the choose-your-own-workout route, V-Tone's class schedule includes indoor cycling and 20-minute Buns 'n' Gunz workouts to sculpt glutes and upper bodies. For those seeking individualized attention, trainers customize personal-training sessions to each trainee, seeking to improve their lives through better health and fitness.
Rachel Ladd was born to move. The former dance major started strutting her stuff on the ballet and tap floors at the tender age of 2, and by the time she got to the kinetic classrooms of Columbia College Chicago, she'd already garnered experience teaching jazz, tap, and ballet for all levels. When injury diverted her from the dance floor, a series of acupuncture and massage treatments ignited a new interest in holistic wellness that led her to seek certification in everything from massage and reiki to Pilates, sports nutrition, and Zumba. Today, she and her instructors lead classes that she hopes will inspire students to respect and care for their own bodies, sharing the physical and mental benefits of yoga with everyone from pregnant mothers and kids to consummate athletes and the stiff cats lounging in Chicago's back alleys. Styles ranging from Vinyasa and Forrest yoga to Hatha yoga for beginners comprise the studio's schedule, which boasts classes every day of the week.
Since the age of 6, Fernando Rodriguez knew that fitness and athletics would play a big role in his life. While most kids his age were busy at play, Fernando was swimming four hours each day and eagerly counting the hours until his next meet. His hard work paid off, earning him a spot on the Mexican Olympic swim team and instilling him with a passion for fitness that would continue into his adult life.
Today, Fernando draws from his years of athletic and coaching experience to guide others toward their fitness goals in his own private training studio, The Underground Lab. Alongside his staff of fellow certified trainers and fitness aficionados, Fernando leads group workouts that combine traditional exercises with imaginative and innovative techniques. The team also conducts personal-training sessions, employing a variety of cardio and strength-training equipment, and designs a unique 19-day nutrition program to help clients lose weight rapidly in preparation for special events, such as a wedding or an outing in a flimsy rowboat.
When Sheila Kelley broke into the fitness scene, fitness pole-dancing classes were unheard of. However, in just a few years, the S Factor—her unique fusion of yoga, ballet, Pilates, and striptease—became renowned for its physical benefits and confidence-boosting ability. Due to this focus on both mind and body, the S Factor garnered widespread acclaim, with endorsements from Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, and Martha Stewart. The workout's mission is clear: engendering female empowerment, confidence, and respect through sultry pole dancing. The S Factor's healthful impact on its students' bodies can be attributed to its combination of diverse workout methods, all of which build lean muscle mass. The course's six levels build on one another, relying on stretches, pole work, and traditional dance to get students twirling around the pole safely regardless of their athletic experience.
Chicago School of Motion's certified instructors have come together from a variety of backgrounds—among them a choreographer, a raw-food chef, and a lawyer—to help students carve a path toward wellness and discovery of the inner self. As they lead a vigorous schedule of classes, each instructor's teaching style is shaped by their area of expertise and the studio's Eastern philosophy. Their inventive lineup of Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and hot Vinyasa yoga sessions focus on pranayama breathing techniques. The studio also hosts yoga booty ballet, Pilates and Yogalates, Butts and Gutts, and Piloxing, which is a combination of Pilates and boxing. All of In Motion Yoga's classes are limited to 25 students and are suitable for students of all levels. The instructors deftly juggle the inexperienced and expert students, refusing to leave any student behind while maintaining a class tempo that keeps advanced students engaged.
My Gym Children's Fitness Center, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 months—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6–8, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.