Head coach Todd Gardiner and the team of talented instructors at Illinois Gymnastics Institute, which boasts a lengthy list of championship-placing gymnasts, have taught and trained athletes of all ages, levels, and sport aspirations for more than 30 years. The 35,000-square-foot athlete factory was established in 1979 when Gardiner began teaching gymnastics using his personal sport experience and detailed origami diagrams. Since that time, the Illinois Gymnastics Institute has trained hundreds of athletes, including Junior and Senior U.S. National Vault Champions and U.S. Olympic Trials–qualifier Liz Tricase. The gym's experienced instructors host programs for students ages 18 months–18 years, and their leadership has helped more than 98% of IGI graduates to obtain NCAA full-tuition scholarships and numerous awards for Most Convincing Impersonation of a Sailor's Knot.
My Gym Children's Fitness Center, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 months—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6–8, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
Flying High Sports & Rec Center started out small, but 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.
Flying High also hosts open-gym sessions and birthday parties. Additionally, two foam pits, a rock wall, four trampolines, and an inflatable obstacle course await those looking to burn off some energy or to network with potential lemonade-stand partners.
The sounds of hockey sticks slapping pucks, ice skates carving figure eights, and trampoline springs squeaking fill Midwest Training and Ice Center. Adding to the soundscape, experienced staff members shout words of encouragement during adult and youth activities that unfold throughout the 34,000-square-foot gymnastics training facility and the Olympic-sized ice arena.
To help visitors grab an edge on their competition, personal trainers stage workouts in the fitness center, which includes strength and cardio equipment, group classes, and locker rooms equipped with a sauna?one of the best ways to relax post workout, and the second best way to cook a turkey. Though the facility focuses on competitive-training programs, its doors also open for public skates, open gyms, youth summer camps, and birthday parties.