The Chicago White Sox have some truly dedicated fans. In 1994, the team decided to reach out to the youngsters who worshipped their footwear. They sought to provide kids with the same conditioning and training they honed their skills with, so they started a sports-training summer camp. In a mere seven years, demand for the trainers' services necessitated that the program conduct year-round sessions in all types of sports, and the Bulls/Sox Academy was born.
Taught by the trainers who spend their life making sure that the Sox and Bulls are ready to hit the field or court, Bulls/Sox Academy's lessons bring professional techniques to aspiring athletes. Baseball programs teach functional speed movements for high-speed base stealing and help kids build the upper-body strength to knock balls out of the park and through the windshield of their least favorite neighbor's minivan. The basketball course divvies up training between shooting, skills, and defensive play. The fast-pitch softball teachers—both former professional players and longtime coaches—arm students to beat back high-velocity pitches without hurting the ball's feelings.
For nearly half a century, the Illinois Institute of Diving’s certified instructors have led courses geared to swimmers of all levels at its full-service diving center. Swimmers can get a feel for flippers, masks, and bendy breathing straws during Saturday morning Discover Scuba courses, beginning with a classroom session to outline the basics, followed by a swim in the pool with an instructor. Alternatively, students can work toward certification through the open-water and pool-training course. In addition to providing mechanical gills and other necessary scuba gear, the school also gives students a kit that includes a logbook, handbook, and other necessary tools to successfully complete the classroom portion of the course.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee. "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere."
To make this challenging, yet hopeful, philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. This focus, shared by Body & Brain Holistic Yoga and The Life Yoga, forms the basis of the studio's classes and consultations. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cooldown exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance.
With more than 20,000 square feet of aerobic acreage, HealthTrack offers members a premier health-club experience. Begin the tour de fitness with a one-hour massage at the day spa (a $75 value), where a therapist will knead away knots and limber up muscles in preparation for an intense one-hour personal-training session (a $55 value). After equipping amateur exercisers with fit-focused survival skills, the trainer will free pupils into the vast expanse of workout options available to members. This Groupon entitles you to 14 days of membership after activation (a $90 value). HealthTrack offers top-tier equipment and more than 75 group classes each week, including cardio boxing, Pilates, spin, step, and competitive channel changing. Check the class schedule, or choose from a plethora of other sweat-breaking activities, such as basketball, swimming, tennis, running on the indoor track, or extreme relaxation in the gym's jacuzzi or sauna.
The certified Bikram yoga instructors at 26hot draw students from all over the western suburbs to their facility, conveniently located near the Roosevelt Road exit of I-355. Within the 1,800-square-foot space, which is kept at 105 degrees and 40% humidity, yogis move through 26 postures designed to build muscle and cardiovascular health. The one-legged balancing stick pose, for example, puts bodies into a T formation, and the tree pose encourages birds to alight on squared shoulders.
The studio's reception area appropriately greets students with fiery-red couches and warm-yellow walls. At the desk, students can rent yoga mats and towels or purchase beverages such as chilled coconut water.