Fitness First! presents gym-goers with a recreational bounty of workout equipment, group classes, and relaxing amenities seven days per week. Headlining the facility's batch of features, a fully packed schedule of fitness classes invites guests to shed calories in concert, and seasoned instructors lead high-energy sessions such as Zumba, belly dancing, and kickboxing. A television-equipped cardio theater infuses workouts with entertainment, and basketball and volleyball courts coax competitors to summon a sweat while scoring points and impersonating cherished professional mascots. Amid the huffs and puffs of accomplishment, patrons can follow up exercise gauntlets by lounging in the center's sauna or whirlpool. As an added bonus, Fitness First! also harbors an indoor track, which allows runners to avoid the dangers of jogging in city streets or running in circles across a frozen Lake Michigan.
Matt Feeney and Joel Berman share a disability and a dream. Feeney broke his neck diving off a 100-foot cliff and Berman lost his ability to walk after a runaway flatcar hit him while laying rail tracks. Together they founded Adaptive Adventures to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities through participation in sports and outdoor recreation. The organization runs progressive sports programs year-round for children, adults, and service members who have been severely injured in conflicts abroad. They cater to people with a wide range of disabilities, including spinal-cord injuries, amputations, and cerebral palsy. The programs help build confidence and social skills in participants who could not otherwise afford equipment, training, and travel for recreational sports.
Home to a gymnasium, an indoor track, and a stable of 63 sets of cardio equipment, Niles Family Fitness Center is a 5,000-square-foot sanctum of wellness. The child-friendly facility features a wide range of options for the younger set, from childcare services ($6 per child per visit) to the 100-foot waterslide in the aquatic center, ideal for launching intercontinental cannonballs. Besides access to the health haven's fields of equipment, membership benefits include unlimited group exercise classes such as yoga, core conditioning, and cardio dance, all taught by trainers with either national certifications or a master's degree in exercise physiology. Students in Body Flex use hand weights, bars, and exercise balls to develop a toned, strong body, whereas turbo kickers raise their heart rates with an intense combo of kickboxing and dance fitness. Locking lockers and towel service are also provided to members, as is access to the sauna and the whirlpool, where athletes and their perpetual broccoli companions can enjoy steamy relaxation.
Sudsy drafts gush from foam-flecked taps at The Chubby Bullfrog, a neighborhood watering hole aglow with the flicker of televised Chicago sporting events. Gooey strings of cheese swing elastically, like a jazz clarinetist during his weekly yoga class, from thick slices of pizza studded with sausage or pepperoni. Boisterous cheers echo off the contours of golden pitchers filled with Miller Light, Blue Moon, or seasonal selections from Sam Adams, such as Winter Lager, Summer Ale, and White After Labor Day Stout.
The private rooms at Lincoln Karaoke act as a lyrical playground for parties of crooning compatriots fueled by audience admiration and refreshments from the kitchen and bar. Sofas cushion spectators as soloists belt out the lyrics displayed on flat-screen televisions, and two additional wireless mics aid in a capella renditions of the theme from Ghostbusters. A range of rooms is available to accommodate groups both small and large, with the biggest rooms seating up to 30 people. A menu of Italian and Asian favorites—such as pizza, dumplings, and orange chicken—sate hankerings and specialty concoctions from Dave the bartender wet parched throats between sets.
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.
By the clear waters of a competition-size pool, Chicago Scuba School & Dive Shop's students are guided through the fundamentals of submarine exploration. In groups of 10, fledgling divers bedeck themselves in the masks, oxygen tanks, and cardboard shark fins required to spend extended periods below the depths. Three instructors then usher students into the pool, teaching them how to properly wield the Aquamanesque powers of their scuba gear as they train in the course of four hours. The expansive pool provides plenty of space for divers to flex their flippers, and small class sizes ensure that students’ flawless underwater backflips receive extra attention. If they wish to further their aquatic expertise, Groupon-holders can opt to take a full scuba-certification course at a $100 discount.