On a trip to Chicago from his native Italy, young Mario Tricoci changed his life forever. The fledgling hairdresser stopped in at a prestigious salon, where he impressed the owner with his impeccable display of skill and landed himself a job. The next six decades brought strings of industry awards and the opening of his very own salon, which soon exploded into 26 locations in four states. With his styling prowess proven both to the industry and to the clients he encountered each day, the coiffeur decided to share his gift with others. In 2004, he established Tricoci University to foster a new generation of cosmetologists and spa technicians trained to thrive in the luxury-spa industry.
Throughout the Midwest, Tricoci protégés study a rigorous curriculum in high-end salon and spa surroundings to learn how to create beautiful hairdos, choose skin-flattering cosmetics, and beautify nails and skin. A team of experienced industry professionals readies pupils for the beauty world with in-depth classes, and outside education arrives via video demonstrations and guest-artist lectures on Vidal Sassoon's Wedge-Bob Postulate. More advanced students get a preview of their career to come by beautifying real people during instructor-supervised treatments, which lend the stylist essential experience as the client enjoys a pampering session at a discounted rate.
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.
Motivating, highly trained staff and spacious facilities complement Charter Fitness's battalion of cardio machines and strength-training equipment. Huge flat-screen TVs motivate gym-goers as they lift weights, stationary bikes, and their reflections in large mirrors. Seasoned personal trainers who all hold certifications or four-year degrees in their specialty guide members through an initial personal-training session, introducing clients to the best equipment for their fitness goals. After workouts, private showers or public water fountains sluice away sweat.
With locations in Carol Stream and Downers Grove, ATI Fitness Center helps its members get in shape and recover from injuries. Its expert staff can work with clients for physical therapy, personal training sessions, and sports training sessions. Meanwhile, instructors lead group classes such as cycling and Total Chisel, a strength-training class incorporating weights, barbells, and stability balls. Alternatively, members can work out on their own with equipment such as circuit-training machines.
Under the umbrella of the Addison Park District, Club Fitness regales guests of all ages with 44,000 square feet worth of exercise equipment, group fitness studios, and aquatic amenities. Amid the clang of cardio and strength-training machines, certified instructors lead members through a range of free fitness classes, including Zumba, yoga, cycling, Pilates, and aquatic fitness sessions. Seasoned swimmers, 17 and older, can splash about within a six-lane lap pool, and runners can train for upcoming races by looping around the indoor running track in dramatic slow motion with arms outstretched. Those more interested in relaxation can sweat away anxieties in the hot tub or sauna. Before changing clothes within the modern locker rooms, parents can drop their tots off with the friendly attendants at the onsite childcare area.
Leo Passage came to the United States in 1958, traveling with his wife Lenie and pair of shears. Leo was a rising star in the European hairdressing world, and had already gained noticed for his cuts that were a little more creative than most. He drew inspiration from the Bahaus principles of art and design as a starting point for his hair styles. His creative approach to personal style won him 95 hair dressing competitions and the title of World Supreme Champion and Hairdresser of the Year at New York's famed International Beauty Show in 1961. A year later, Leo decided to pass on his knowledge to a new generation of hairdressers, and founded the first Pivot Point Academy on the north side of Chicago.
Now, more than 50 years after its founding, Pivot Point's schools still embrace Leo's creative vision. Instructors arm students with top notch hair cutting and aesthetic skills, as well as an impeccable eye of style. The schools invite clients to come experience just how talented their students are with services such as haircuts, manicures, and pedicures, the cure for a listless foot.