River West Fitness bottles up exercise routines inside a loft-style fitness studio with exposed brick walls and wooden beams. Dancer and personal trainer Heidi Milby inflects workouts with fluid movements rooted in Pilates, yoga, and gyrotonic sessions, which use pulley machines to strengthen and stretch muscles without jerky movements. Guests can chisel physiques during private lessons, wallop punching bags under the guidance of former professional boxer Johnny Higgins, or steal ab muscles by osmosis from others exercisers during group classes. Aching bodies can retreat to the massage table, where massage therapists soothe sores with the kneads of deep tissue, Thai, or Ashiatsu modalities.
As a broadcast journalism student, Kimberly Refilek found time between lectures, internships at Kiss FM and NBC, and papers to pursue her other passions: sports and fitness. Somehow she found the time to study and work while scoring goals for the co-ed soccer team and training in boxing and muay thai.
Inspired by her after-work and between-class endeavors, Kimberly's colleagues began to ask her to help them train. She balked at first, saying she only knew how to train herself. But at their insistence, Kimberly began to help and slowly she came to the revelation that not only did she truly love fitness, but she also loved helping others reach their fitness goals.
After graduation, Kimberly switched careers, swapping her steno pad for kettle bells and her pencils for more kettle bells. At Moirai Health and Fitness, Kimberly provides many forms of personal training and nutritional counseling but also teaches fitness classes including Moirai Surfset, a workout that approximates the core-toning experience of surfing.
Flashing lights and the glimmer of disco balls shoot across The MID's two-story interior as upwards of 800 people unleash inhibitions to the house beats of resident DJ's Zebo, Nathan Scott, and Gus Karas. Across the dancefloor, neon lights frame each of the Meatpacking District hot spot's three full bars as waiters shuttle drinks to club-goers nestled up to table and booths. High-octane beats reverberate off the exposed brick walls and dark baroque wall patterns, and a VIP room with its own bar, along with stunning views of the Chicago skyline add to the upscale nightclub's trendy atmosphere. When not hosting fashion shows and holiday events, the MID puts on curates an impressive roster of shows, including appearances by Talib Kweli and DJ Shadow.
Initially conceived as a one-off event in 2010, The Smoker's Club has since expanded, presenting fans with tours that unite skilled rappers and expert beat makers. One of the original members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Grammy-winning wordsmith Method Man spouts off dexterous rhymes in a gravely voice obtained by chugging asphalt smoothies every day for breakfast. Curren$y gently cradles ears with laid-back flow, and frequent Smoker's Club collaborators such as Big K.R.I.T., Smoke DZA and Fiend buoy the evening with additional verbal fireworks. Rattling bass shakes the historic Congress Theater's gold-domed interior and main floor as fans dance and weave through the crowds to try to snag an autographed poster, CD, or security guard.
As December 21, 2012, approaches, many Americans eagerly await the moment when Hades will emerge from the Underworld to recklessly devour raw egg. Until then, experience man-made terror with today's Groupon: $10 gets you a ticket to Chronicles of the Cursed: Hades Emerges, a massive, nightmarish haunted house adventure ($20 value). Be the first to witness the gory horror as it ascends from the depths to torture torture-hungry souls with an opening weekend ticket; good from 7 p.m.–10 p.m. for Friday, October 9; Saturday, October 10; or Sunday, October 11. Dare your friends to witness the spine-tingling goblins and humiliate your weak-bladdered enemies. Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
Emerald Smoke MMA stands as Chicago's only mixed martial arts-exclusive gym, fully equipping its training grounds with professional-grade gear alongside a regulation-size octagon cage. A sprawling six-day spread of group classes offers up a sparring smorgasbord robust enough to make Steven Seagal weep tears shaped like tiny fists. Soak up MMA fundamentals in a course of the same name, picking up a range of fighting techniques culled from kickboxing, boxing, and wrestling traditions. Or, hone skills in specialized jiu-jitsu and muay thai kickboxing courses, focusing on striking forms, core work, and stamina. Students can opt to round out their body-intensive fitness carte with a brawn-nursing core or yoga course, which employ deep breathing, stretching, and muscle milk bottles to tranquilize tendons left tender by their martial melee.