When you’re on the road for business or pleasure, the first thing that goes by the wayside is your workout. Your excuse, of course, is a good one. Beyond the list of impressive Chicago hotel gyms, the majority of local hotel fitness centers are pretty limited in scope. There’s typically a pool, some scattered exercise equipment, and if you’re lucky, aerobics classes available.
That’s not very motivating, and because you really want to stay on track while you’re in town, we’ve gathered a good list of fitness studios certain to make you sweat. What’s particularly awesome is that many of these spots have deals for those visiting Chicago. From Pilates and yoga to a number of unique aerobics activities, here’s what you can discover.
River North's not all about fine dining and cocktailing. For some, it's about getting in one of the most intense workouts at Barry's Bootcamp. Just don't let all the friendly faces of the instructors and members fool you. Once you enter the booming workout room illuminated in red lights, everyone goes into beast mode. A highly trained instructor leads the dual class as some run on treadmills while others hit the floor with weights. The routine is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), high-energy bursts of activity with short periods of lower-energy activity, for an hour. Resistance training includes the use of hand weights, resistance bands, booty bands and more. Participants supposedly burn up to 1,000 calories. There's a stretch lab for winding down after class, and FuelBar featuring signature protein smoothies, sandwiches and more. The Lincoln Park Barry's studio, which opened in February 2017, includes everything except the Stretch Lab. 11 W. Erie St., 312-202-0840 or 1937 N. Halsted St., 773-857-0901.
Visitor Fees: Single classes are $30.
Yet another updated version of Pilates, this Hollywood import promises to burn 500-700 calories per class. That, right there is an incentive, but it certainly will not come easy. It's located near Lincoln Park hotels, and the studio’s outfitted with 10 MegaFormer machines offering a combination of a moving platform, adjustable tensions, adjustable resistances, pivot bars and handlebars. Each machine is adjusted to the individual’s personal preferences and the workout is also customized for the optimal experience. Its original Hollywood studio boasts a number of celebrity clients who sweat it out on the MegaFormer when they’re getting ready for roles. Body R+D offers classes for groups, couples, and individuals. 2940 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-935-3200
Visitor Fees: $10 for first-time drop-in; $75 for three-class visitor's pass (first timers only); $37 per class
Spin enthusiasts will find so many cool perks at the stylish Gold Coast and Old Town gyms, including the privilege of reserving a bike in advance. Flywheel offers stadium seating so that no student’s view of the instructor is obstructed. Contemporary music cranks in to energize students and the room flickers to dim so that students may concentrate on their rides.
The 45- and 60-minute classes include light weight training as students continue to spin on their bikes. That’s pretty much unheard of. FlyBarre, a revolutionary form of body sculpting blending the best of yoga, dance, circuit training, Pilates and strength building, is only offered at the Old Town location. The gyms provide complimentary spin shoes, towels, water and fruit. 710 N. State St., 312-624-8485 and 1653 N. Wells St., 312-724-7554
Visitor Fees: $30 for a single class, check for special first time rates
Located in the heart of Pilsen--and only eight to 10 minutes from downtown--this DIY workout facility is ideal for those not into group fitness classes. It feeds off the high energy within the venue, as folks grind on state-of-the-art equipment ranging from Hammer strength machines to ellipticals. Looking to knock out some aggression? You'll want to attack the punching bags or step in the boxing ring. There's an adjacent juice bar serving up fresh smoothies, juices, fruit salads, vegetarian sandwiches and more. 2180 S. Canalport Ave., 312-226-9491
Visitor Fees: Three-day free trial
True to its name, ENRGi Fitness specializes in high-energy, high-impact group classes. The descriptions alone tempt you to want to drop in for a session instead of heading out to the usual booty-shaking bars. Chisel fo’ Shizzel may sound like an intro to Snoop Dogg, but it’s actually hardcore strength training that’s choreographed to contemporary beats. Students use free weights until muscles fatigue in this 30- or 45-minute class.
The Spartan Workout pays homage to the strenuous workout routines actors from “300” endured to get that enviable, chiseled look. It’s only 30 minutes--so you know it’s insanely intense--and is 300 repetitions of resistance and plyometric exercises. ENRGi also offers cardio bootcamp classes, barre, rowing and yoga classes. 215 W. Ohio St., 312-846-6989
Visitor Fees: $26 drop in
The River West venue is the flagship location for what’s considered the Midwest’s premier yoga studio. Teachers instruct in traditional methods, particularly ashtanga, hatha, Mysore and tantric. World-renowned yoga teachers visit Moksha to instruct and learn, and you’ll also find the occasional celebrity practitioner slip quietly in class such as Russell Simmons and Sting.
Moksha also holds regular meditation classes, workshops, and teacher training. 2528 W. Armitage Ave., 773-235-9642
Visitor Fees: $15 for one-hour classes; $20 for regular single classes
The River North-based boutique gym showcases a number of high-impact classes as well as yoga and Pilates. What sets it apart is the running/Triathlon sessions, which customizes programs for elite athletes as well as first-timers to marathons. There are also athletic spa services on premises. 314 W. Superior St., 312-291-9466
Visitor Fees: $25 drop-in; $33 for first-ever three classes
The woman-owned business comes from two fitness experts who broke out on their own after establishing themselves in Chicago and beyond. Their specialized, high-intensity interval training consists of alternating between cardio on a treadmill and weight training.
It sounds super scary, but students get to customize their experience with the treadmill (walk, jog or run) as well as weights, so all levels are welcome. Each class is an hour long. 2150 N. Clybourn Ave., 773-360-8228. A second location is in Old Town at 230 W. Division St., 312-291-8722
Visitor Fees: $28 single class; $60 for a three-class introductory package