The clients at CrossTown Fitness follow the gym’s motto of “Eat clean. Train dirty.” During group and personal training sessions, trainers challenge athletes with high-intensity interval workouts divided into cardio and strength-training segments. Usually 30 or 60 minutes long, sessions involve dynamic combinations of exercises such as free weight strength training, TRX suspension training, and kettlebells.
Chicago Elite Fitness is a haven where athletes can come and work out together in a fun community with intense drive. At the facility's CrossFit Bucktown section, certified CrossFit coaches design a different Workout of the Day (WOD) each day, which blends exercises from various fitness disciplines such as gymnastics, weightlifting, plyometrics, cardio, and strength training. Though the WOD is never the same, athletes may be tasked with lifting weights, running, rowing, or working out with less conventional equipment such as ropes, tires, and kettlebells. The facility also houses the Chicago Barbell Club and a team of USAW-certified coaches.
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.
CircuitFit's dynamic approach to fitness melds cardio, strength, and core training moves, resulting in efficient total-body workouts. In 45- to 60-minute classes, patrons sculpt lean physiques at multiple rotating stations designed to target specific muscle groups with exercises such as pushups, agility drills, and suspension training. In between strength-training work, cardio stations enhance endurance and shake off stowaway calories picked up on cruise-ship buffets. The varied schedule rolls out classes seven days a week, with early-morning and evening options.
Harvard graduate, Northwestern alumnus, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt are just a few words that describe Misho Ceko of Chicago Mixed Martial Arts. Along with a team of instructors that includes a professional UFC fighter and experienced Brazilian jiu-jitsu coaches, Misho leads jiu-jitsu and MMA classes for students of all ages and skill levels. Classes range from Brazilian jiu-jitsu and kickboxing to boxing, mixed martial arts, and CrossFit.
Located inside the historic former Washington Park YMCA, Mettle Fitness welcomes guests who are serious about getting in shape. The facility's owner, former NFL player Jason Burns, oversees the fitness programs, which include boot camps, CrossFit classes, and sports training sessions. One glance around the facility and you'll notice the lack of fitness machines, mirrors, and other items you'd expect to find in a gym. In their place are functional forms of resistance such as free weights, kettlebells, and exercisers' own body weight, which can be increased by eating cheeseburgers.
“Routine is the enemy,” say the trainers at CrossFit Alpha Dog, whose students never see the same workout twice. Since the body adjusts to repetitive workouts, the team keeps it guessing by mixing up exercises with unpredictable combinations of organic movements, sprinting, plyometrics, and gymnastics. These workouts are designed to improve functional strength—practical musclepower that head trainer Tommy Moon calls upon during his firefighting career and that students may need when carrying an injured person to safety or a healthy person to a salad bar.
The gym itself reflects this functional approach. Gymnastic rings dangle from webbings of monkey bars, and a wide-open space offers ample room for lunges, sprints, and push-ups.