Students should bring: A yoga mat, water bottle, and towel
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Average class length: 60 minutes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: 2 hour free parking
Pro Tip: Classes at Navy Pier are first come first serve. Plan accordingly.
Different people want to get in shape for different reasons, and they go about it in many different ways. Fortunately, Fitness Formula Clubs' trainers understand this. They start every new member at their gym with four complimentary personal-training sessions that not only help hammer down each individual's goals, but also provide a solid foundation of knowledge and motivation. From there, equipment and guidance help each client reach whatever heights they're after.
Programs that focus on endurance in running, swimming, and cycling pair with Pilates work and basketball courts to develop well-rounded regimens. There's also classic equipment?cardio machines and free weights?offsetting a selection of less-than-traditional equipment?an artificial rock wall which lets clients build upper-body strength while practicing lines for their Cliffhanger: The Musical audition.
Founded in 1978, CARA is the third-largest nonprofit running organization in the nation, and is dedicated to supporting and celebrating Chicagoland runners. Pavement pushers of all abilities can take advantage of membership perks that include discounts on gear from local stores, discounted race-entry fees, access to CARA's race-day tents and gear checks, and a one-year subscription to Runner's World (a $16.99 value; not included in a youth membership).
At Wilson Fitness Studios, instructors help build better bodies through specifically designed workouts and plenty of personal attention. Led by owner and personal trainer Jessica Wilson, the gym’s team of seasoned instructors build classes around a strategic order of exercises designed to shape and strengthen the entire body. Their FIT classes keep muscles guessing with variable exercises, and Fitness After Baby classes help recent mothers get back in shape through a gently progressing workload.
iFit's certified trainers and sparkling new facilities incinerate calories with a menu of classes that capitalize on the gym's expertise and equipment. Sixteen-thousand square feet of natural cork flooring support the gym's ab-crunching and cardio-pumping machines as class attendees break sweats in boot camps, break bad posture habits in yoga, and break framed photos of Benedict Arnold in kickboxing. The 45-minute sessions are all designed to embrace the four pillars of iFit's fitness philosophy—cardio, core training, strength, and stability—which support the ceiling of healthy living and goal achievement.
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.
When owner Mike Meluch founded Co?p Gym, he had a vision of a very different kind of workout environment. One that was welcoming, not exclusive. Encouraging, not intimidating. Stocked with cardio and weight equipment, not heavy snakes. Co?p Gym's West Town and West Loop make his vision a reality, with classes where, in his website's words, "you don't have to be fit to fit in." Yoga sessions welcome participants of all skill levels to deepen their practice, and fitness programs range from solo guided workouts to year-long plans with private training, smoothies, and supplements.