USA Karate Federation Hall of Fame honoree and four-time Panamerican Karate champion John Fonseca teams up with three-time world karate champion Elisa Au Fonseca and a cadre of talented instructors to lead their charges through martial-arts and fitness classes that strengthen minds and bodies. Though the martial-arts program mainly focuses on shotokan and shito-ryu karate, the sensei also offers aikido, judo, Gracie jujitsu, muay thai kickboxing, and wing tsun classes. Bushy-tailed neophytes start at the beginning, learning the basics of their chosen form, whereas advanced students delve into such mind-focused arenas as chi energy training and personally apologizing to every punching bag they have ever hurt.
Instructors also lead fitness-centered sessions that build muscle and burn calories. Cardio-kick classes merge elements of martial-arts, boxing, and aerobics to form an ever-changing cardiovascular workout infused with heart-pumping kicks and punches. Boot-camps delve athletes even deeper into whole-body fitness by challenging them to nonstop military-style drills for a full 45 minutes, or approximately the time it takes to jump rope through an entire episode of Magnum, P.I..
Lisa Faremouth Weber, the founder and owner of Heaven Meets Earth, wanted her studio to be a sacred space where students could come for a regular yoga practice and leave refreshed. That's why her commitment to student health reaches beyond the classes and into the very nontoxic paint that coats the studio's walls. Heaven Meets Earth is one of Evanston's only green yoga studios, featuring sustainable bamboo floors, an eco-boutique, and paper products made out of still-living trees.
Certified instructors lead the studio's workshops, teacher-training, meditation classes. They teach students to control their breath and build strength during Sacred Vinyasa classes, and also branch out into Pilates and dance-fitness classes. Teen, child, and family classes instill a sense of peace and focus in the light-filled studio, which features a wall of inspirational quotes.
CrossFit e-town's certified coaches guide students through exercises at the crux of every CrossFit workout—functional movements executed at a high intensity. Those movements include everything from pull-ups and weightlifting to rope climbing and squats. Each day, they change up the routine so that muscles can't plateau and students won't get bored and start designating certain floor mats as their "napping area." Besides the complete workout CrossFit offers, instructors teach the system because it readies students for all sports, work, and daily activities. It's also supremely scalable, making it accessible to those of all fitness levels. To initiate new students to the system, they've even designed a beginner course that focuses on fundamentals and safety.
Eirith Garza, the trainer behind Chicagoland Fitness Camp, channels his 10 years of experience into each 30- to 45-minute workout session to help his clients burn fat quickly. Each class hosts up to 15 coed students within the 2,000-square-foot studio, which boasts soft floors and a climate-controlled atmosphere. Instructors then guide pupils through muscle-sculpting exercises to tone thighs, mold abs, and out-flex Michelangelo's David. Classes meet Monday–Saturday, and students are welcome to purchase a membership or pay by the session. In addition to fitness classes, Chicagoland Fitness Camp's staff stocks a free health-and-fitness library and offers nutrition seminars, grocery-store tours, and accountability groups.
Co-owner Craig Kastning and his crew of devoted personal trainers push clients toward the finish lines of personal fitness goals through fat-burning and muscle-toning exercises. Fueled by motivational words from exercise gurus and promises of a MAS*H-reunion episode, customers reduce corporeal circumferences by relying on a nutrition cheat sheet and custom workout routines. In addition to burning calories and building up formerly dilapidated muscle groups, the trainers at Chi Town Boot Camps boost trainee endurance through jogging and other exercises that set heart rates racing.
Rush Performance: Personal Training Studio's certified trainers take positive attitudes and community support so seriously that if you complain during your trial of the Team Rush training program and bring any negativity, you won't be able to join Team Rush. And that would mean not torching hundreds of calories and toning up during strength, cardio, and sports conditioning sessions and high-intensity interval circuits.
Even the personal training requires supporting your fellow exercisers as it usually involves small groups of two to four working out together and forming a human pyramid to place any junk food out of reach. The trainers often use the FitRanX fitness-testing system to determine how fit a person is before they start Rush's programs and to monitor their progress throughout.