Coaching at every level of the workout world, CrossFit Shoreside owner Michelle Larson and coach Will Howard share more than two decades of motivational fitness experience. They devoted more than 10 of those years to mastering CrossFit-specific instruction, know-how that they now puts to use with the help of their talented team of fellow instructors. At a studio nestled amid the shops and restaurants of downtown Evanston, the team leads intense 60-minute sessions built on exercises designed to increase functional mobility and flexibility. Although the experience is always challenging, it's also for everyone; thanks to the classes' small size, coaches can scale and modify the workouts to integrate students of all ages and ability levels. The gym even offers CrossFit classes for kids, where age-appropriate exercises encourage healthy habits at a young age, teaching students the benefits of an active lifestyle.
CrossFit e-town's certified coaches guide students through exercises at the crux of every CrossFit workout—functional movements executed at a high intensity. Those movements include everything from pull-ups and weightlifting to rope climbing and squats. Each day, they change up the routine so that muscles can't plateau and students won't get bored and start designating certain floor mats as their "napping area." Besides the complete workout CrossFit offers, instructors teach the system because it readies students for all sports, work, and daily activities. It's also supremely scalable, making it accessible to those of all fitness levels. To initiate new students to the system, they've even designed a beginner course that focuses on fundamentals and safety.
Rush Performance: Personal Training Studio's certified trainers take positive attitudes and community support so seriously that if you complain during your trial of the Team Rush training program and bring any negativity, you won't be able to join Team Rush. And that would mean not torching hundreds of calories and toning up during strength, cardio, and sports conditioning sessions and high-intensity interval circuits.
Even the personal training requires supporting your fellow exercisers as it usually involves small groups of two to four working out together and forming a human pyramid to place any junk food out of reach. The trainers often use the FitRanX fitness-testing system to determine how fit a person is before they start Rush's programs and to monitor their progress throughout.
Pushing, pulling, lifting, squatting, running: these are just a few of the motions involved in an average CrossFit workout. CrossFit 88's professional fitness coaches rely on two criteria—variety and intensity—when developing their daily workouts. These workouts are held in an open gym filled with functional equipment such as free weights, jumping boxes, and weighted sleds.
Though CrossFit is known for its high level of intensity, students need not be afraid of falling behind. The instructors make sure to scale each workout to individual abilities, which keeps the system inclusive and each student's goals in reach. Beginners can get acquainted with CrossFit in Fundamentals classes, in which the instructors teach the correct way to lift a barbell and dispel the common myth that all ropes are snakes in waiting.
Lifting weights is a tough, and Air Fitness' industrial atmosphere reflects this—the gym's name scrawls across the grey graffiti wall; kettlebells perch atop blocks labeled "Rogue" in bold, black letters. The cardiovascular exercises are equally rough and tumble, as treadmills are swapped out for high-intensity boot camp, and moose-milking classes.
Performance Factory Training doesn’t look like your average gym. Grunts and shouts echo off the rafters of the 5,000-square-foot facility, a cavernous warehouse that’s mostly empty, save for a smattering of kettlebells and cast-iron weight plates. The students here have little use for gimmicky equipment, as they focus on functional movements—pushing, pulling, squatting, and lifting, to name a few—that rely on body weight for resistance.
Though PFT’s instructors offer everything from personal training to football-specific workouts, their flagship program is CrossFit. This functional fitness phenomenon consists of a series of short, intense workouts that combine grueling strength and cardio training with basic gymnastics.
To prove that CrossFit’s for everyone, the instructors offer a two-week On Ramp program designed to get new students up to speed on the foundational movements. It’s hard not to get caught up in the daily workouts, seeing as how no two are ever the same. One day might involve shoulder presses and deadlifts, while another might require you to haul the tires of a car that was double-parked in the facility’s parking lot.