Children are best equipped to develop analytical skills for current and future learning between the formative ages of 3.5 and 14. That's why Best Brains sets students off on the right foot by offering focused courses in subjects such as math, English, abacus, and general knowledge. Certified teachers help students develop skills in writing, grammar, critical thinking word problems, and basic computational math, using an abacus counting tool to help develop spatial memory.
Red Lobster, Wicker Park’s Mirai Sushi, and Lincoln Park punk bar Delilah’s are three seemingly disparate venues. However, they have something in common—all three have hired graduates of American Professional Bartending Schools of Illinois to mix their drinks and man their bars. The schools have been landing graduates at notable Chicago establishments for more than 60 years, but their connection with alums doesn’t end with their first gig. Graduates receive lifetime, personalized job-placement assistance and can call the school’s career hotline 24 hours a day to find out about job openings or trade meatloaf recipes.
The schools' focus on employment also shows in their bartending classes, which are modeled after on-the-job training and led by teachers with an average of more than 20 years of industry experience. Taught at bars complete with realistic faux liquor, the sessions cover topics from mixology to presentation and etiquette.
Mike Semerau and the instructors at Chicago's #1 Drum Lessons have a trick up their sleeve. In addition to in-person tutelage, they provide professional pre-recorded take-home videos of proper drumming techniques for students to refer to while practicing. This kind of constant visualization and repetitive watching is what the instructors claim makes their students so successful as they drill new techniques such as double bass, ostinatos, and stick control. During lessons, teachers also cover subjects such as soloing, learning a student’s favorite song, creating original beats and fills, and teaching yourself. Chicago's #1 Drum Lessons has a play-along machine stacked with more than 1,000 songs, all of which have no drum track so that students can provide their own percussion and experience the sensation of playing and keeping time with other instruments.
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.
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 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.
Elmhurst Park District's Courts Plus gathers exercisers of all ages to its facility that boasts 60 fitness classes per week, an indoor climbing wall, and experienced personal trainers. From aquatics to martial arts, Courts Plus's troupe of trainers help their members and guests hone lean physiques, and a large gym boasts 70 pieces of cardio equipment, 38 strength-training machines, and impressively accurate mirrors. Youth programs abound as well, including summer camps, junior tennis lessons, and a strength-training program customized for ages 6–15.