Anchored by owner and certified personal trainer Damon Burrell, Heaven and Hell Bootcamp's staff of workout wonks help clients conquer fitness goals in group boot-camp classes and private training sessions. With a regimen of 15 boot-camp classes lasting 40–45 minutes and held every weekday—as well as three Saturday morning sessions—Heaven and Hell keeps chests heaving, heart rates thumping, and sequined leotards shimmering at a rate that suits almost any schedule. The high-octane group workouts change each day, but typically feature agility training, calisthenics, cardio exercise, and core strengthening achieved by hoisting dumbbells, jumping rope, and stealing medicine balls from the nests of predatory birds of flight. For more individualized attention, the gym plumbs the murky depths of clients' fitness capacities to craft custom training regimens for use in private personal-training sessions.
CrossFit Rise nurtures growth in clients' personal muscle gardens with a combination of body-weight exercises, weightlifting, and high-intensity cardio drills. With intimate class sizes and an ever-changing workout regimen, CrossFit Rise encourages each student to stay engaged and inspired on the path toward health, wellness, and intimidating mirrors. The foundations program, taught by certified trainers, instills students with the primary movements of CrossFit, with classes meeting twice a week for four weeks. Commitment to attending each class is crucial, as the workouts constantly build upon each other. After completing the four-week foundations course, students can shed metaphorical training wheels to immerse themselves in the general-training sessions.
Explosive Speed Gym’s website warns that it is no “vanity gym,” meaning there are no televisions or mirrors. Instead, the knowledgeable staff—comprised of a certified personal trainer, a PhD of physical chemistry, and an NASM-certified corrective-exercise specialist—opts for a serious environment where athletes of all ages can become faster and more agile. Their high-intensity workouts are composed of plyometric exercises, sprints, and body-weight lifts. Improvement is carefully monitored through performance testing so members can track their progress without competing in obstacle courses against their cats. The efforts and techniques of Explosive Speed Gym’s staff secured them positions as the speed and agility trainers for the Chicago Inferno soccer team.
A slideshow of Midwest Training Center's star fighters depicts them in various states of victory: sporting championship belts, hands raised by crowning referee, or slamming an opponent into the ground. Perhaps they owe their athletic prowess to the 3,000 square feet of space that the training center offers, complete with two fighting cages and one ring. That's where its instructors drill battling skills into fighters and teach MMA classes such as muay thai and Brazilian jujitsu.
Getting in shape wasn't just a good idea for Tami Haukedahl; it was the law. The state required the now-retired trooper captain to pass regular fitness exams during her 27 years of service. Today, she brings the techniques that kept her hale for three decades to her students, helping them to achieve their health and fitness goals through her boot camps and one-on-one personal training.
Patrons of all fitness levels and ages gather at her camps, where she cultivates an uplifting atmosphere of camaraderie built on positive reinforcement and respect. Using free weights and body-weight resistance exercises, Tami motivates students to increase their strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance. Her boot camps take place outdoors during the summer months, leading her students in dodging nature's obstacles while laughing in the face of minor precipitation. During the winter, boot camps move to an indoor facility, mostly to avoid all the leering snowmen, where campers work up a sweat while completing similarly varied routines.
Any martial-arts education involves hard knocks and tough falls, but U.S. Elite Martial Arts & Fitness Center cushions the blows with its 4,000 square feet of matted floors. Atop them, trainees exchange blows in boxing and muay thai kickboxing classes. Brazilian jujitsu, wrestling, and judo fighters perform takedowns as elegant as they are brutal, following up with holds and joint locks that immobilize an opponent’s body. The center also trains children in self-defense, tying their lessons into school to raise grades and impart nonviolent antibullying techniques, such as calling a playground summit.