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.
In a shop lined with more than 100 bikes models from all around the world, Upgrade Cycle Works' pro mechanics channel their love of cycling whether they are aligning the frame on an old single speed or fitting guests for a brand new road bike. During the fit process, staffers employ the same computerized system used at the Olympic training center as opposed to tracing your body outline on a large piece of construction paper. Next, they’ll help guests choose from bike brands such as Felt, Masi, and Raleigh, and an in-store selection of rides that includes road bikes, single speeds, and hybrids.
In Upgrade's workshop, pro mechanics perform comprehensive tune-ups and repairs, revitalize faded paint jobs, replace punctured wheels, and align frames. The staff also hosts repair clinics to teach cyclists how to fix flat tires and adjust brakes.
Move Your Feet Sports' hour-long lessons teach all ages and abilities to serve and volley like professional bowlers who used to be tennis title holders. Classes for beginners, intermediate players, and advanced players ($25 each) are available at all three facilities. The staff of experienced instructors pump each hour-long lesson full of heart-pounding cardio moves, skill-building exercises, and techniques to crush competition like monster trucks crush hot-dog carts. Look under the Groupon tab on Move Your Feet Sports' registration page to see class options.
During the four one-hour tennis lessons, you'll learn the basics of tennis from one of XS Tennis's instructors, each an experienced professional. Master the art of the backhand, draw power and sustenance from the strength of the serve, or unravel the allure of the mysterious drop shot, all while getting exercise that doesn't involve hitting a bag of potato chips with a hammer. The lessons are group lessons, giving students the chance to make new friends or potential athletic rivals between grunts and fault-fueled arguments. Customers can apply the value of this Groupon toward an upgrade to another XS Tennis class or lesson and just pay the difference directly to XS Tennis.
Brothers Aaron and Asher Gershenzon and friend James Morro grew up in the city, but always possessed a passion for the outdoors. They practiced wilderness kayaking for most of their lives before earning their American Canoe Association certifications on Lake Superior. Each of them brings dual passions for their home city and outdoor sports to the company’s group and private kayak tours. Tours change on every outing as guides blend downtown architectural commentary and little-known Al Capone stories with tie-ins to current events. Though each guide tells different stories, often interspersed with humor, all of them focus on environmentally friendly touring. Tours utilize a fleet of lime-green Confluence Watersports kayaks, and staffers often wear lime-green shirts—all of which render them easily identifiable from the riverwalk, but well camouflaged in supermarket produce sections.
One guide leads six tour participants and prepares them with a briefing on paddling techniques, rules of the river, and assurances of the stability of their wide-river kayaks. The guides' watchful eyes and constant advice have instilled confidence in even the most unsure participants, including basketball player Andre Iguodala, who slowly grew accustomed to his kayak by the end of his session. When not leading tours, staffers provide their single and tandem kayaks to customers who want to explore the river on their own. They extend their easygoing atmosphere to their office—nestled across the river from the Centennial Fountain's Water Arc—where picnic tables stand by the storefront, and the owners' chocolate Labrador frolics inside around a hanging hammock.
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.