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.
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.
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.
The name is a little misleading. Yes, Hell Run entrants will be running, but they'll also be ducking through dark tunnels, sloshing through muddy swamps, tackling tire mountains, and clambering up walls. Among other feats. The obstacle-strewn run may be hellaciously taxing, but conquering it makes the after-party all the sweeter. Along with bragging rights, finishers get a medal, a beer, live music performances, and the opportunity to watch sweat make cool patterns on their mud-covered limbs.
The team at Wisdom Fitness welcomes clients to one of the country's most spacious personal-training studio, HiFi Fitness. Its 30,000-plus square feet are devoted entirely to personal and small-group training, which means its equipment stays on par with changing trends. Kettlebells, battling ropes, sledgehammers, and tires number among the tools they use to push clients toward their individual goals. Even at outdoor boot camps for groups, participants enjoy some individual attention from the trainer.