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Where To Sweat It Out Around Town

The Best Boutique Fitness Studios in Chicago


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. The majority of hotel gyms pretty much suck. There’s typically a pool, some scattered exercise equipment, and if you’re lucky, aerobics classes available…when you’re not.

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 we discovered.

1. Body R+D

Photo courtesy of Body R+D
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. The Lincoln Park studio’s outfitted with 10 MegaFormer machines offering a combination of a moving platform, adjustable tensions, adjustable resistances, pivot bars and handle bars. 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; $29 per class regularly

2. ENRGi Fitness

Photo courtesy of ENRGi Fitness
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. 676 N. LaSalle St., 312-204-7333


Visitor Fees: $20 drop in; $35 for weeklong unlimited pass for first-timers; $49 for three drop-ins for first timers; $45 for unlimited week pass; $160 for one month, no contract

3. FitGirl Studio

Photo courtesy of FitGirl Studio
Women come to FitGirl Studio for Ballet Body Boot Camp because it’s the only place you’ll find it outside of Los Angeles. The hour-long workout builds endurance, improves flexibility and most certainly burns fat. Just so you know, no tutu is required; just bring your regular workout gear. You’ll need it also for classes like Barre, spin shred (with free weights), spin flow (with yoga), sculpt fusion yoga (with weights) and candlelight restorative yoga. 2350 N. Clark St., 847-869-4475


Visitor Fees: $20 drop in; $20 for weeklong unlimited pass for first-timers

4. Flywheel

Courtesy of Flywheel Chicago
Spin enthusiasts will find so many cool perks at this stylish Gold Coast gym, 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. First-timers may ride for free if they create a “profile” on the website. The gym provides complimentary spin shoes, towels, water and fruit. 710 N. State St., 312-624-8485


Visitor Fees: $25

5. Indigo Studio

Photo courtesy of Indigo Studio
The cheery South Loop studio appeals to a large female audience with classes like Bootcamp Ballerinas, Beautiful Buns, Yoga Booty Ballet and Zumba, but it’s Cheerobix that gets us excited. The tireless instructor encourages students to release their inner-pompon girl with catchy routines . . . and yes, pom poms. This time you can bring your own. 213 W. Institute Pl., 312-664-0207


Visitor Fees: $15.50 drop in

6. Moksha Yoga Center

Photo courtesy of Moksha Yoga Center
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-renown 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. 700 N. Carpenter St., 312-942-9642 Additional locations are in Lakeview (3334 N. Clark St., 773-975-9642) and West Bucktown (2528 W. Armitage Ave., 773-235-9642).


Visitor Fees: Meditation and “community” classes free for all; $13 for one-hour classes; $18 for regular single classes

7. Shred415

Photo courtesy of Shred415
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. 2156 N. Clybourn Ave., 773-360-8228. A second location is in Old Town at 230 W. Division St., 312-291-8722


Visitor Fees: $24 drop in; $60 for three-class introductory package

8. Trainology Fitness

Photo courtesy of Trainology Fitness

Chicago's newest group-training fitness concept opened in early January 2014. Trainology specializes in three signature classes, which are 45 or 60 minutes: TRAINology (combines cardio and strength training with free weights, running, bands), HIKEology (treadmills going up/down a 30-degree incline with strength training) and GLIDEology (utilizes "glide" bards to offer later movement; also strength training). 309 W. Chicago Ave., 312-526-3268

Visitor Fees: First class is free
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