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Michael Ockrim enjoys being between a rock and a hard place. As the creator of Backyard Beefcake Fitness, he expounds on fitness workouts that make use of the natural and manmade world to build functional strength and total-body fitness. Michael eschews treadmills and bicep curls for chopping wood, pull-ups on a tree limb, or sit-ups while suspended from the peak of Mount Everest. Preaching an attention to the mind-body connection, he leads indoor boot-camp sessions, personal-training sessions, and outdoor camps that help prepare for an upcoming mud run or obstacle-course race.

9S550 Lorraine Drive
Willowbrook,
IL
US

Before they stretched beneath the studio's two skylights, the instructors at Bikram Yoga Burr Ridge had to prove themselves to the father of their art. They all attended and graduated from a nine-week intensive program led by Bikram Choudhury himself, emerging as certified teachers who were ready to helm their own heated practice space. They now manage Bikram Yoga Burr Ridge according to the Bikram discipline's specifications: 90-minute classes, a room warmed to 105 degrees, and a carefully ordered sequence of 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises.

These sessions strive to progressively work all areas of the body by passing newly oxygenated blood throughout its systems. The heat, meanwhile, renders muscles more pliable and reveals which of your fellow pupils are actually elaborate ice sculptures. Though the high temperatures take some getting used to, the studio's amenities are otherwise geared toward total comfort: changing rooms, showers, and a bright lobby welcome students. The heating mechanism is also environmentally friendly, conserving energy even as it prompts a cleansing sweat from Bikram practitioners.

145 Tower Dr. Suite 2
Burr Ridge,
IL
US

Darien Scene