One-on-One Fitness Personal Training Service
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One-on-One Fitness Personal Training Service
One-on-One Fitness Personal Training Service
Keeping up a workout routine is hard enough without factoring babysitting schedules into the mix. These five Chicagoland gyms each boast top-notch childcare, simplifying the fitness equation for busy moms and dads.A Gym with a Side of Spa: EquinoxThree Chicagoland locations of this media-adored uber gym boast onsite childcare, but that’s only one of many upscale amenities. Besides expansive floors full of high-end equipment, the gym hosts carefully workshopped classes that feature fitness standbys (Pilates, yoga, martial arts, and cycling) alongside cutting-edge TRX, water aerobics, and mind-body classes. With the kids safely at play for up to two hours, you’re also free to extend your me time to include a steam-room session or a luxurious massage, facial, or laser treatment at the oasis-like spa.Childcare is available at the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, and Highland Park locations for kids aged 3 months and older. Rates start at $10 per session for members; there are special rates for two or more children.A Suburban Family Gym: Wheaton Sport CenterWheaton Sport Center is a windfall for busy parents. In addition to providing members with up to two hours of childcare for workouts, the staff also allows up up to two additional hours that same day (provided there’s at least a four-hour break between the two sessions). This gives parents time to sweat it out in a hot-yoga session or tennis lesson, run a few errands, and return later for a few laps around the indoor pool or even a haircut at the onsite salon and spa. All the while, kids have a ball engaging in seasonal activities, hanging out in the game lounge, or romping around the outdoor playground. A sizable, safety-trained staff allows for multiple play spaces separated by age group, and a healthy roster of youth athletic programs ensures kids feel fully included at this family-friendly gym.Childcare is available for kids aged 3 months to 13 years. Unlimited childcare is included in most family membership plans.A Gym that Keeps Kids Active: Cheetah GymCheetah Gym’s Edgewater location hosts its own unique Kids Gym, open seven days a week. Inside, foam floors cushion colorful mini treadmills and exercise bikes, and bright mats and a climbing wall encourage even more active play. A toy-packed TV and reading room offers still more amusement options for kids during their two-hour stays. Although little ones have their own separate area, they don’t escape parents’ watchful eyes: video monitors allow moms and dads to monitor their children’s playtime via any of the gym’s cardio machines, or on select TVs scattered throughout the facility.Childcare is available for newborns up to age 11. Unlimited childcare starts at $20 for members; discounts are available for multiple children.An Out-of-the-Box Gym: i.d. GymThe goal of the i.d. kids program, which includes after-school programs as well as weekday childcare, is to make kids fall in love with fitness. But the same can be said of the Lincoln Park gym’s adult programs, which include creative group classes such as the Caveman Workout—in which students swing sledgehammers and heavy ropes—and Fly Yoga, a circus-like approach to the ancient art form. While parents get in touch with their inner acrobat (or just stick to a more familiar Vinyasa class), kids can spend up to two hours trying out toys or playing games with the engaging staff. Be sure to ask about i.d.’s kid-focused basketball and sports-training programs.Childcare is available for kids aged 3 to 13. Rates start at $5 per session for members.A Gym with a Neighborhood Feel: Chicago Athletic ClubsThe CAC Kids Clubs are as varied as the four gyms that house them. All grant members up to two hours of childcare during designated hours, but many host special activities—such as Lincoln Square’s toddler-friendly PlaySchool, Lincoln Park’s youth ballet program, and West Loop’s Lil’ Kickers soccer program. All four locations regularly host movie nights, and most curate complimentary kids’ classes in art, drama, gymnastics, and even Spanish. It’s not only kids who seem to have endless options—depending on their club of choice, parents can pursue such athletic activities as bouldering, indoor swimming, full-court basketball, and up to 100 group fitness classes.Childcare is available at the Lincoln Square, Lincoln Park, West Loop, and Evanston locations for kids aged 8 weeks to 12 years (1–8 years at the Lincoln Square location). Rates start at $12–$16 per session; monthly passes are available.If you can't bare to part with your offspring, try one of these five "mommy and me" fitness classes in Chicago.Read More
There’s practically an entire industry devoted to returning new moms to their “pre-baby shape,” but there’s a good reason why it’s so hard to bounce back from a baby belly. It’s called relaxin, a hormone produced at high levels at the end of pregnancy with a name that’s true to its function. “It relaxes your muscles [and the] connective tissue,” says prenatal and postnatal Pilates instructor Joan Van Geison, who previously walked me through prenatal exercises. Relaxin eases the birth process, but it can make new moms feel “mushy,” like they can’t build muscle tone no matter how hard they try—and the hormone can stick around for months after giving birth. “Oh! Nobody says that! Nobody ever told me that,” is the common refrain Joan hears after delivering this news. Another common postpartum misconception is the idea that intense, high-impact workouts will spur faster weight loss. In reality, this practice may be harmful for new moms, particularly if they’re breastfeeding. “Vigorous or intense, prolonged exercise is not recommended for mothers who are breastfeeding, as this may increase the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles, which in turn may cause breast milk to taste sour,” Joan explains. It can become a cycle where a fussy baby refuses to feed and the mom “gets frustrated and works out more to release their frustrations.” At Soulistic Studio & Spa, Joan’s low-impact postnatal Pilates classes aren’t as much about regaining a pre-baby body as they are about ensuring a safe and healthy recovery. Because of this, the classes are highly customized to individual needs: “It’s all about what happened, so you listen to the birth story before you do anything,” Joan says. This process involves some highly personal questions, but it’s all so Joan can recommend exercises that don’t aggravate existing conditions. “Yeah, you’re up in people’s business,” she admits. Most new moms don’t get a doctor’s clearance to begin working out until six to eight weeks after giving birth, and Joan finds that most women are grateful for the break. “They are happy to have some ‘me’ time. It is critical to have that time to focus just on yourself. If you can't keep yourself healthy, then you can't take care of others.” During my visit, Joan walked me through three common postnatal exercises. Even as a regular Pilates student—and without having had a baby myself—I’ll admit I found them challenging. I walked away slightly sore and with a better appreciation of the challenges of postpartum recovery. 1. MARCHING ON THE BALL Lying on your back on the reformer, place a small inflatable ball right at your tailbone, then place your feet on the bar and grab a wooden handle with each hand. As you press your pelvis down against the reformer, drawing the hip bones together, bring your arms straight up to the ceiling. Staying steady atop the ball, bring your right leg into the “tabletop” position (knee bent at about a 90-degree angle) and bring your arms forward slightly, moving the carriage about an inch. Bring your left leg up into tabletop as well, keeping the carriage steady, and inhale as you lower the right leg just a few inches. Exhale, and bring the right leg back up; repeat with the left leg. Perform the exercise a total of five times on each leg. Though this exercise involves the legs and the arms, you should really feel it in your core. The goal here, says Joan, is “re-engaging the abs.” “The abs have done this humongous job by keeping the baby supported, but they have stretched, so a lot of times women lose the connection with the abs.” She’ll often begin postnatal workouts with this exercise because it imparts a valuable muscle memory of how to keep the core engaged during the rest of the session. 2. THE ROLL-DOWN WITH TRAPEZE Sitting on a Pilates cadillac or tower, place one foot against each pole, keeping your legs straight. From there, grab the trapeze bar with both hands placed about shoulder-width apart. Tucking in the tailbone and keeping your shoulders down, inhale, and as you exhale, engage your abs as you slowly roll down, articulating the spine one vertebra at a time. When you’re lying down, inhale, then exhale as you begin to curl yourself up slowly, keeping your tailbone tucked and your abs engaged. Once you’ve reached the starting position, roll all the way down again and slowly pull the trapeze closer to your chest as you exhale, drawing your elbows away from each other. Pull the trapeze a total of three times, then roll up to finish. “The roll-down is about shoulder stability and about abs,” Joan says. Women often adopt a hunched-over posture while breastfeeding, which contracts the muscles in their chest. Opening up the shoulders stretches out the chest muscles and allows for a deeper connection with the abs, which work with the shoulders to keep the body steady during the roll-down movement. The chest press with the trapeze further stretches the shoulders as it works the pecs and rotator cuffs. 3. BRIDGE SERIES WITH ONE-LEGGED BRIDGE Lying on your back on a mat or a flat, cushy surface, bend your knees with your legs hip-distance apart and your arms long by your sides. Press down into the feet, keeping your shoulders down and chest open, inhale, and as you exhale, curl your hips up slowly. Hold the bridge position for an inhale, then exhale as you slowly roll your hips down, one vertebra at a time. Repeat once more. As a progression, you can repeat the bridge exercise beginning with your right leg in tabletop position, making sure not to shift to one side as you raise your hips. Repeat again with your left leg in tabletop; perform the one-legged bridge a total of two times on each side. Similar to the roll-down, the bridge series is powered by the abs, which control the articulated movements, and it further opens up the shoulders to engage the upper-core muscles. As an extra challenge for the glutes and hamstrings, the one-legged bridge also connects to the abs and “makes you keep yourself centered,” Joan says. She’ll often incorporate progressive exercises into her postnatal routines to gradually build up strength until students feel comfortable returning to regular Pilates classes, usually within two or three months. Photo: © Michelle Klosinski, GrouponRead More
“I want people to get exercise into their DNA," Lara Hudson says. "I want it to be that they couldn’t imagine life without fitness in it. I want it to be in their culture.” Exercise has been in Lara’s DNA since she was 6, the year she first discovered gymnastics. She only spent seven years as a gymnast—when she shot up in her early teens she quite literally outgrew it—but her experience with the sport was the beginning of a lifelong devotion to fitness. That devotion landed her in the dance company Diavolo during her college years at UCLA and eventually drove her to Pilates, which she began studying after her injured husband found relief in the practice. Lara eventually became one of Crunch Fitness’s most popular Pilates teachers in San Francisco—sometimes 40–50 students would cram into her classes—and won the gig as the Pilates instructor for the 10 Minute Solution series of fitness DVDs. But despite her love affair with exercise, Lara still understands that staying in shape is an everyday struggle. Before recording a new 10 Minute Solution, she always undergoes a six-week slim-down to get to her so-called “fighting weight,” a ritual that began with the first DVD, for which she was required to drop 10 pounds. “I don’t live at that fighting weight,” she admits. “I live about 5 pounds higher. You don’t have to be a skinny, scrawny Hollywood starlet to be fit [or to] enjoy life. I’m very much about moderation.” With the struggle of the everyday exerciser in mind and the tenets of Pilates as her foundation, Lara devised a new workout: the Mercury Method. The routine crams an efficient round of exercise into a single hour. “I have a finite amount of time, and I want to get the biggest bang for my buck in the 60 minutes—I just want to work my muscles,” she explains. To pilot the new workout, Lara and her husband, Darren, relocated from the saturated Pilates market of San Francisco to the Windy City. As you might have guessed from the name, the Mercury Method starts with heat: Lara’s Wicker Park studio is perfectly calibrated to 98.6 degrees. It takes effort for the body to regulate its internal and external temperatures, which kicks up the cardiovascular aspect of the workout without drenching exercisers in sweat. With Big Ass Fans—the actual brand name—circulating fresh air throughout the studio, it never gets stuffy or humid like a Bikram yoga studio. To put it in perspective, Lara compares the Mercury Method studio to Arizona, whereas Bikram studios, she says, are like the Amazon. Lara and her instructors then guide clients through series of Pilates, yoga, and strength-training exercises designed to aggressively transform bodies. But despite the challenging nature of the routines, students of all fitness levels will find themselves welcome at class. “I want everyone to be really successful, I want them to be really pushed, but I want them to be able to do at least 98% of the class,” Lara says. “So the exercises are designed to be really tough, but not impossible.” Don’t have an hour? All is not lost. Here Lara gives us five Mercury Method–inspired moves that can help you tone up at home in just 10 minutes. 1. The Dojo Sit-up 10–15 reps | Works: core, legs, and back Put your hands in a “Bruce Lee grip,” extend your legs, and then curl up. Your lower back should stay on the ground as you curl; if it doesn’t, lift your legs a little higher (the lower the legs, the harder the ab workout). 2. Side Plank with a Twist 5–8 reps on each side | Works: shoulders, obliques, and hips Come up into a slide plank, place your hand behind your head, and then twist forward. This move helps whittle the waist and strengthens obliques. 3. Skydiver 10 reps | Works: entire back of the body Lie flat on your stomach, and lift your thighs, chest, and arms as high as you can. This exercise strengthens back muscles, helping correct poor posture—but only if you lift your limbs high enough to trigger a good amount of resistance. 4. Mountain Lion 5–8 reps, alternating sides | Works: shoulders, stomach, and hips Start in downward-facing dog with your knees deeply bent, as if you’re about to pounce. Then launch forward to high plank and bring your knee to the shoulder on the same side, making sure to move from the core, not just the limbs. Alternate knees for each rep. 5. Minotaur 5–8 reps on each side | Works: legs, core, back, and spine Kneel with your knees at right angles, one raised and one on the floor. Curl forward (like a sit-up) for an exhale, and then arch your back the opposite way on your inhale. Do 5–8 reps on one side, and then switch your legs before doing another set.Read More
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