The Joliet Park District sprawls across more than 1,000 acres, engaging visitors with everything from sports to nature. Guests can wander through the foliaged paths of the Pilcher Park Nature Center and the organic community garden, or treat their senses to the floral colors and aromas that fill the bird-haven greenhouse. The 10,000-seat Joliet Memorial Stadium hosts high-school and college sporting events, while a dozen athletic fields fill with recreational players hitting baseballs, catching softballs, and spiking soccer balls when the referee isn't looking. During the summer, inner tubes transport patrons down Joliet Splash Station's high-speed water slides and 865-foot lazy river, and the glittery strands of Fourth of July fireworks color the skies above the stadium.
Zip Fitness's staff strives to keep intimidation from creeping in to each of the five gyms. To welcome all exercisers—even those who have never had gym memberships before—Gym Geniuses stroll through each location donning bright-red shirts that signal their availability to help guests operate the various machines and guide them in drafting fitness goals and coming up with routines for the day. They've stocked each location with strength equipment from brands such as Precor and Life Fitness, and a guided strength circuit's 30-minute full-body workout takes the guesswork out of toning physiques. Rows of cardio equipment include treadmills, ellipticals, and upright and recumbent bikes, along with rowing machines and StairMaster step mills. For stretching and ab work, bands, balls, and body bars abound, and free weights include dumbbells, barbells, and tamed school bells.
Gold memberships unlock additional perks, such as unlimited access to Hex II tanning booths and the ActivTrax online fitness and nutrition coach, which plots out workouts and offers nutrition tools tailored to each user's goals, from slimming down to having the flexibility to comb your hair with your feet.
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.
Employing a battalion of teachers and other educators, Arrowhead Tutors pairs each student with a thoroughly screened expert to aid them in understanding any subject. The staff at Arrowhead Tutors is ready to coach students on an array of subjects, including foreign languages ($40/hour) and full 12-hour ACT prep packages (a $700 value). Students from kindergarten to twelfth grade can also opt for a Try Us package, linking up with a tutor at the cheerful facility before spending three hours immersed in untangling anything from Hamlet to the advanced ciphers used to communicate across playgrounds. In addition to the personal attention, tutees receive an assessment test based on Illinois State standards: 20–30 questions either centered on a single subject or focused comprehensively on grade-level-relevant material. Taking about an hour to complete, the assessment test both illuminates problem areas and sharpens each student’s ability to use No. 2 pencils as makeshift chopsticks.
The experienced instructors at TM Martial Arts aim to help their students strengthen more than muscles in their hapkido, tae kwon do, and self-defense classes. They prize the character development and cognitive benefits—such as self-confidence, perseverance, and improved concentration—that people can experience with regular practice. That said, their American kickboxing and Ultimate Fitness programs blend strength training with sparring drills to help students reshape their bodies and embrace fitness for the rest of their lives, no matter their age or starting level.