Anytime Fitness, which boasts more than 1,800 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fitness seekers challenge themselves on cardio and Hammer Strength machines and hoist Iron Grip free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or hop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
Travelers follow Jo Daviess County's sprawling fields and undulating hills toward Massbach Ridge Winery?s 18+ acre estate. Founded by the Harmston family in 2003, the winery?s proprietors grow the grapes to concoct their batches of reds and whites. Members of the winery family escort guests on impromptu tours before rendezvousing in the tasting room or on the patio for samplings. The outdoor patio grants a heightened view of the vineyards below, which visitors can wander through on quests for vine-ripe copies of The Grapes of Wrath. In addition to its frequent tastings and tour sessions, Massbach Ridge Winery hosts a number of wine-related events each year.
The Stockton Park District hosts outdoor community events throughout the year, including craft fairs, basketball tournaments, and 5K and 10K run/walks. Brothers Steve, Andy, and Tom Jordan organized the first annual 5K in 2008. They used their skills from hosting a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to plan and advertise the event. The first year, they signed up 91 runners and raised money for a tennis court behind the high school and a paper-airplane factory at the middle school. Since then, the brothers have worked to improve the race and transform it into a community event with entertainment and an increasingly challenging and interesting course.
Fitness Lifestyles boasts such a bounty of amenities that virtually anybody should be able to find a way to get fit. In addition to the usual weightlifting and cardio equipment, there are four indoor tennis courts, a pool, and even two massage therapists on call. A full schedule of classes includes aquatic aerobics in the pool as well as dry-land calorie-burners such as boot camp, spinning, yoga, and Pilates. After a strenuous workout, head to the spa to unwind with a hot stone massage or customized facial.
No men, no makeup, no mirrors. It's a philosophy that?s helped members of the Curves community since 1992. Part fitness center, part community center, Curves is a women?s only club that takes a streamlined approach to health, fitness, and weight loss. Curves has teamed up with health and fitness coach Jillian Michaels to develop full-body, 30-minute workouts that kick-start weight loss, combining strength training, cardio, and stretching into sessions that torch fat, build strength, boost intensity, and prevent plateaus. These workouts are enhanced further by the Curves Complete Program, available for an extra fee, which is rooted in Curves' method for effective weight loss in that it supplements efforts at the gym with personalized meal plans and weekly one-on-one meetings with a certified Curves coach.
Though Larsen's Landing Outfitters has always been family owned, the stretch of wilderness under its care has two additional overseers: a pair of eagles. The birds patrol 30 acres of sheltered trails, two open fields, and miles of marshes, watching visitors as they paddle rental canoes and kayaks down the pristine Kishwaukee River, which has been rated as one of the three cleanest rivers in the state. Visitors aren't alone, though. Beavers, turtles, otters, and sandhill cranes make their homes on the bank, sharing the shore with endangered black terns and mulberry wing butterflies. They move amidst towering trees, including the sycamores that gave the river its name, a Potawatomi word for river of the sycamore.
Like a grumpy scorpion, the river's flourishing ecosystem benefits from minimal and respectful human contact. Larsen's Landing Outfitters preserves this status while still permitting visitors to explore the environment. The staff plans canoe, kayak, and camping trips with package options, from tutorials on steering a boat to picnic buffets. Travelers can park their vessels at any point to indulge in a swim, go fishing, or relax on a sandbar?and at overnight sites, campfires and pig roasts imbue the air with nostalgic, smoky aromas.