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.
A cadre of accomplished students mans hp: the college's three Chicago-area salons, where they learn the beauty trade while enhancing client appearances for less than at standard studios. Founded in 1979, the college instructs fledgling stylists in the latest trends and aesthetic remedies with products from Moroccanoil, Wella, and Dermalogica. At all three locations, sleek black styling chairs contrast with colorful bottles of hair products and OPI nail polish set amid the comfort of plush pedicure chairs. As students ply their skills on ravishing haircuts and clarifying facials, aesthetics pupils use carefully blended botanicals to add aroma, hydration, and palm-sized zen gardens to manicures and pedicures.
LA Boxing offers fitness classes in boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts. The proprietary style of the LA Boxing workout is a mixture of genuine fight training, engaging fitness, and stronger-than-earth gravity. Quasi-boxers and martial artists usually burn a significant amount of calories during these total-body routines, which combine external inspiration with jukes, jabs, and kicks. Both men and women are welcome in the ring, where they'll learn new techniques and methods to blissfully break into a sweat in an energetic group setting. Gloves are provided during the one-month trial membership, as are a set of reusable pro-quality hand wraps and complimentary motivational mumbling from Mickey Goldmill (all three subject to availability).
Gotham Dream Cars lets drivers grip the throttle of exotic speed machines such as the Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Bentley Continental GT for personal rental or specialized thrill experiences. During the Dream Car Sprint, auto enthusiasts slip into a Ferrari or Lamborghini on a closed course and whip their more than 500-horsepower drive three times around the autocross track, learning how to tame their power with the aid of an instructor before coming out of the third lap on a straightaway to open the engine up to its full potential. Drivers conduct an orchestra of firing pistons and camshafts for three laps before crossing the finish line and parking to the pianissimo of the softly purring V8 engine. Gotham Dream Cars snaps pictures of the sprint, so drivers are sent home with hands they will never wash and a CD of images to parade before jealous coworkers and humbled shopping carts.
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.
Flying High Sports & Rec Center started in a small, converted office space. After over 20 years of business, the family-friendly center now boasts more than 1,000 students and has grown into two facilities that house a wide variety of programs. Inside, the qualified instructors lead gymnastics, martial arts, and dancing for all ages, mentoring tykes as young as 18 months old. In the cheer program, youngsters learn choreography and tumbling moves, and in gymnastics courses, kids learn to execute eye-dazzling flips and to navigate balance beams and the uneven bars, depending on their skill level.
The staff also hosts open-gym sessions, in which two foam pits, a rock well, four trampolines, and an inflatable obstacle course await those looking to burn off some energy or to network with potential lemonade-stand partners.
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.