The crowd's roar flooded the streets of Chicago as Darcy Zenker crossed the finish line of her first marathon, clocking in at 3:35. After she had been running for years—placing among the top finishers at four half-marathons and competing on the Southern Illinois University track team—she decided she needed a break. She then immersed herself in a new athletic pursuit—group fitness instruction.
Three years later, she became the head trainer of her own boot-camp fitness program, NowFitness, where her years of athletic training and certification in fitness instruction shine through in her workouts. In parks throughout the local area, she and her staff of fellow trainers lead groups through high-intensity workouts that take advantage of their surroundings. She motivates patrons to scale stairs, do crunches on benches, and hoist planks across grassy fields. The trainers also offer a stroller-based boot camp for moms, in which participants blast through cardio and strength-training exercises that incorporate their stroller with baby or a watermelon they've dressed up to look like a baby in tow. In addition to hosting classes, NowFitness pairs patrons with certified lifestyle and weight-management coach Amanda Bickel for a comprehensive five-week nutrition program.
Chief Instructor Mike Cochran is a living contradiction of the idiom that “those who can’t do, teach.” Having spent 23 years in the U.S. Army, including 11 as an operator with the 1st SFOD-D Delta Force, Mr. Cochran shares his expertise by training military forces, law enforcement officials, and civilians in tactical situations at his expansive facility. His team of instructors, which comprises additional military special-forces members and former SWAT operators, oversees shooters, who learn the basics in a 100-seat classroom before practicing in one of the outdoor facilities. There, they are allowed to draw, move, and shoot in dynamic scenarios where they make use of cover and engage multiple targets.
Xenon International Academy's accredited beauty-school curriculum teaches aesthetician aspirants to administer mani-pedis, haircuts, and other pampering services under the watchful eye of licensed and experienced instructors. Customers opting for the mani-pedi will plop into padded seats before extremities technicians direct their focus to prettifying digits of all sizes and decimal points. Skilled keratin crafters will tend to hand parts with expert care during luxurious spa manicures, before sprucing backup fingers with soothing spa pedicures. Those who choose today's second option will also receive a haircut, shampoo, and style under the deft hands of a studious hairdresser. Trained sculptors of scalp whiskers use high-quality products from Peel's Salon Services as they trim, wash, and style manes in 30–45 minutes, the same time it takes to finish a game of full-contact hopscotch.
Midcoast Motorsports hosts an inventory of used cars, SUVs, and vans. Additionally, their technicians carefully perform auto detailing for vehicle exteriors and interiors. They also offer oil changes, brake services, and alignments.