The Joliet Park District sprawls across more than 1,000 acres, engaging visitors with everything from sports to nature. Guests can wander through the foliaged paths of the Pilcher Park Nature Center and the organic community garden, or treat their senses to the floral colors and aromas that fill the bird-haven greenhouse. The 10,000-seat Joliet Memorial Stadium hosts high-school and college sporting events, while a dozen athletic fields fill with recreational players hitting baseballs, catching softballs, and spiking soccer balls when the referee isn't looking. During the summer, inner tubes transport patrons down Joliet Splash Station's high-speed water slides and 865-foot lazy river, and the glittery strands of Fourth of July fireworks color the skies above the stadium.
At HomeTown Fitness, guests of all fitness levels can pinch inches in a spacious gym, more than 20 exercise classes, or personal training sessions with knowledgeable staffers. Equipment including treadmills, elliptical machines, and free weights help clients build muscles on their own, while group spinning, kickboxing, and yoga classes can also be tailored to meet each individual's fitness goals. The upscale health club caters to different age groups as well. The nationally recognized SilverSneakers program targets senior citizens, and a Kid's Korner engages children 3 months to 11 years old with games, activites, and Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions led by trained babysitters.
Inside Bikram Yoga Plainfield’s cozy studios, soaring temperatures allow students contorted in muscle-building postures to deepen their stretching and expel toxins through perspiration. Expert instructors lead students through a series of 26 postures, each building off the next to help them build flexibility, strength, and enough confidence to never again be intimidated by a pretzel. Parents can drop off mini-yogis for childcare five mornings a week before stretching out muscles on their own mat or one rented from the studio.
UFC competitor Clay Guida's job is to lock himself in a cage with a sinewy monster who is just frothing to roundhouse, uppercut, and strangle him until he can't move anymore. More often than not, he's the last one moving. With four knockouts, 15 submission holds, and nine matches called by the ref, Clay's winning record—and his allergy to getting knocked out—speak to the well-rounded approach to strikes, grappling moves, and defensive techniques he teaches his students.
Whether he's training fighters for the ring, kids to stand up to bullies, or hearts to pump right in MMA family-fitness classes, he maintains a comfortable and controlled environment. Martial-arts classes, striking workshops for women, and children’s programs take place in Clay’s 6,500-square-foot facility lined with shock-absorbing Zebra and full-wall mats. Students spar in full octagon and boxing rings to simulate real-world blood sport and hammer home their techniques on a plethora of striking bags and pads. For people who want the fitness without the fighting, his exercise sessions take place in a separate strength-and-conditioning area filled with kettlebells, weights, ropes, treadmills, sandbags, and tires.
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.
Surrounded by wooden floors, large mirrors, and minimalistic equipment, the instructors behind A Whole Lotta Class help students forge fitter frames with exercises that exploit the body’s natural, intuitive motions. During TRX classes, students develop chiseled cores as they battle against elastics designed by a Navy SEAL, eschewing heavy steel plates in favor of resistance bands that increase or decrease workout intensity using each student’s own body weight. Certified also instructors teach Piloxing classes—which ramp up traditional Pilates techniques with a cardio workout—alongside endurance-boosting boot camps and strength-building interval training. In contrast to the other classes, Zumba takes an otherwise grueling workout and turns it into a party with Latin-based moves found in salsa, merengue, and interpretive-dance editions of Virgil's Aeneid.