Zip Fitness's staff strives to keep intimidation from creeping in to each of the five gyms. To welcome all exercisers—even those who have never had gym memberships before—Gym Geniuses stroll through each location donning bright-red shirts that signal their availability to help guests operate the various machines and guide them in drafting fitness goals and coming up with routines for the day. They've stocked each location with strength equipment from brands such as Precor and Life Fitness, and a guided strength circuit's 30-minute full-body workout takes the guesswork out of toning physiques. Rows of cardio equipment include treadmills, ellipticals, and upright and recumbent bikes, along with rowing machines and StairMaster step mills. For stretching and ab work, bands, balls, and body bars abound, and free weights include dumbbells, barbells, and tamed school bells.
Gold memberships unlock additional perks, such as unlimited access to Hex II tanning booths and the ActivTrax online fitness and nutrition coach, which plots out workouts and offers nutrition tools tailored to each user's goals, from slimming down to having the flexibility to comb your hair with your feet.
As a branch of the not-for-profit Advocate Health Care system, the Advocate Condell Centre Club has filled two 60,000-square-foot locations with fitness amenities for exercisers of all ages and ability levels, captained by professional and welcoming staff members. The club's philosophy follows the Advocate network's holistic approach, taking on a mission of all-over wellness with features for exercise, rehabilitative therapy, sports performance, and spa services. Much like a territorial wolverine, each of the facilities' elements?from a trove of resistance-training machines to a demonstration kitchen for cooking classes?occupies its own specialized area. Lake County magazine and Libertyville Patch have highlighted the club for its weight-loss systems and free training program for cancer patients, respectively.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee. "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere."
To make this challenging, yet hopeful, philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. This focus, shared by Body & Brain Holistic Yoga and The Life Yoga, forms the basis of the studio's classes and consultations. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cooldown exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance.
It may seem like a paradox, but yoga can provide relaxation as much as it provides exercise. With a broad slate of more than a dozen types of classes, Total Body Yoga lets you have it both ways. The curriculum ranges from gentle restorative yoga classes to higher-energy sessions that feature more challenging poses at a quicker clip. Beyond the yoga mat, the staff also leads meditation workshops and weeklong children's summer camps that encourage kids to use their creativity constructively through yoga fitness, games, music, and crafts.
A staff of more than 30 qualified yoga instructors sporting diverse backgrounds, experience, and expertise have made Sanctuary Yoga Highwood an inclusive studio for practitioners of all abilities and interests. Credit for the place's welcoming vibes also belong to owner Amanda Small, whose Mississippi-borne Southern hospitality inspires her to create a warm space, in both the emotional and physical sense. Though not every class is heated, some of the Vinyasa flows are performed in temperatures as high as 98 degrees to promote deeper stretching and to detoxify the body. For a less strenuous session, students can try one of Sanctuary's specialty classes, such as Stretchy and Gentle and Yoga Basics. An adjoined retail lounge keeps guests outfitted with exercise apparel and accessories from brands such as Yogitoes, as well as with organic candles and aromatherapy products that freshen up homes filled with sweaty yoga apparel and accessories.