USA Karate Federation Hall of Fame honoree and four-time Panamerican Karate champion John Fonseca teams up with three-time world karate champion Elisa Au Fonseca and a cadre of talented instructors to lead their charges through martial-arts and fitness classes that strengthen minds and bodies. Though the martial-arts program mainly focuses on shotokan and shito-ryu karate, the sensei also offers aikido, judo, Gracie jujitsu, muay thai kickboxing, and wing tsun classes. Bushy-tailed neophytes start at the beginning, learning the basics of their chosen form, whereas advanced students delve into such mind-focused arenas as chi energy training and personally apologizing to every punching bag they have ever hurt.
Instructors also lead fitness-centered sessions that build muscle and burn calories. Cardio-kick classes merge elements of martial-arts, boxing, and aerobics to form an ever-changing cardiovascular workout infused with heart-pumping kicks and punches. Boot-camps delve athletes even deeper into whole-body fitness by challenging them to nonstop military-style drills for a full 45 minutes, or approximately the time it takes to jump rope through an entire episode of Magnum, P.I..
Lisa Faremouth Weber, the founder and owner of Heaven Meets Earth, wanted her studio to be a sacred space where students could come for a regular yoga practice and leave refreshed. That's why her commitment to student health reaches beyond the classes and into the very nontoxic paint that coats the studio's walls. Heaven Meets Earth is one of Evanston's only green yoga studios, featuring sustainable bamboo floors, an eco-boutique, and paper products made out of still-living trees.
Certified instructors lead the studio's workshops, teacher-training, meditation classes. They teach students to control their breath and build strength during Sacred Vinyasa classes, and also branch out into Pilates and dance-fitness classes. Teen, child, and family classes instill a sense of peace and focus in the light-filled studio, which features a wall of inspirational quotes.
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.
Eirith Garza, the trainer behind Chicagoland Fitness Camp, channels his 10 years of experience into each 30- to 45-minute workout session to help his clients burn fat quickly. Each class hosts up to 15 coed students within the 2,000-square-foot studio, which boasts soft floors and a climate-controlled atmosphere. Instructors then guide pupils through muscle-sculpting exercises to tone thighs, mold abs, and out-flex Michelangelo's David. Classes meet Monday–Saturday, and students are welcome to purchase a membership or pay by the session. In addition to fitness classes, Chicagoland Fitness Camp's staff stocks a free health-and-fitness library and offers nutrition seminars, grocery-store tours, and accountability groups.
The Wellness Spot’s 6,000-square-foot facility houses comfortable massage rooms hedged with exposed brick, as well as spaces for personal training and boot camp. Clients hobbled by carrying their desks to and from work can stride into treatment rooms set up in feng shui style for a spine-soothing massage, while exercisers vanish into rigorous boot-camp sessions or one-on-one training with a nationally certified trainer.
For their Pilates program, Fit Stop Inc. coaches people at any and all fitness levels—even instructors. Whatever your fitness goals, the certified instructors here can create custom workout plans that employ either personal training or small, intimate group Pilates classes. The beginner Pilates classes introduce students to the traditional Pilates workout, and the intermediate and advanced Pilates reformer classes employ any combination of 100 exercises. For Pilates enthusiasts, there's the gym's Pilates teacher training program, which sets the stage for anyone to become an official instructor. It covers Pilates mechanics, instruction techniques, and how many apples per day it takes to keep doctors away.