Shelton Matsey knows how to whip people into shape. As a former Air Defense officer for the U.S. Army, he motivated his soldiers to reach their peak levels of fitness, resulting in some of the highest physical training scores in his unit. He now helms a squad of certified personal trianers and dietitians to share their ample fitness expertise across the studio’s Chicago, McCook, and Tinley Park locations. The studio’s signature indoor boot-camp classes set muscle groups alight with cardio drills, leap-inducing plyometrics and strength-building exercises, such as heaving free weights in the form of balls, oversize tires, and lethargic moose. Cardio Core classes utilize high-intensity interval training to push patrons to burn fat, increase endurance, and strengthen cores during short workout sessions, and the non-contact kickboxing classes work multiple muscle groups as students strike, jab, and jump rope. Fit Code’s staff nutritionist also hosts cooking classes, which elucidate tips on healthier eating and nutritious food demonstrations.
Motivating, highly trained staff and spacious facilities complement Charter Fitness's battalion of cardio machines and strength-training equipment. Huge flat-screen TVs motivate gym-goers as they lift weights, stationary bikes, and their reflections in large mirrors. Seasoned personal trainers who all hold certifications or four-year degrees in their specialty guide members through an initial personal-training session, introducing clients to the best equipment for their fitness goals. After workouts, private showers or public water fountains sluice away sweat.
Flying High Sports & Rec Center started out small, but after over 20 years of business, the family-friendly center now boasts more than 1,000 students and has grown into two facilities that house a wide variety of programs. Inside, the qualified instructors lead gymnastics, martial arts, and dancing for all ages, mentoring tykes as young as 18 months old. In the cheer program, youngsters learn choreography and tumbling moves, and in gymnastics courses, kids learn to execute eye-dazzling flips and to navigate balance beams and the uneven bars, depending on their skill level.
Flying High also hosts open-gym sessions and birthday parties. Additionally, two foam pits, a rock wall, four trampolines, and an inflatable obstacle course await those looking to burn off some energy or to network with potential lemonade-stand partners.
The certified yoga instructors at Stardust Yoga Studio lead class members through series of flowing poses to harmonize body and mind. Adult and youth yoga classes—in a variety of styles including vinyasa flow, hatha flow, and cardio-core—cater to busy schedules with sessions held day, noon, and night.
Bursting with two fully equipped dance studios and a philosophy of noncompetitive learning, Dance Center of LaGrange brings skilled teachers and a miscellany of dance types to the feet of dancers both young and old. Tykes can twirl toward the 45–60 minute summer-session classes to introduce tentative toes to preballet and creative movement (ages 3–4), learning new moves and gaining confidence while composing a rhythmic symphony with their 10-toed orchestra. The Storycise class (ages 3–5) combines storytelling and exercise to produce a hybrid fitness adventure filled with heart-pumping moves and poses that spell entire novel chapters. Teens can hit up the modern/jazz class for a medley of Broadway-style shimmying, and grown-up steppers can twist into adult tap, lacing up specialty shoes to conquer rapid routines and drum out grocery lists onto the hardwood floor.
Michael Ockrim enjoys being between a rock and a hard place. As the creator of Backyard Beefcake Fitness, he expounds on fitness workouts that make use of the natural and manmade world to build functional strength and total-body fitness. Michael eschews treadmills and bicep curls for chopping wood, pull-ups on a tree limb, or sit-ups while suspended from the peak of Mount Everest. Preaching an attention to the mind-body connection, he leads indoor boot-camp sessions, personal-training sessions, and outdoor camps that help prepare for an upcoming mud run or obstacle-course race.