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Why do you join a gym? To have access to cardio equipment and weights? Because paying for a membership motivates you to make progress towards your health and fitness goals? To have a place to productively blow off steam after a stressful day at work?
All of these are great reasons to join any gym. But why join Chicago Athletic Clubs in particular? I’ve been a loyal member for several years, and CAC offers lots to keep me around: clean locker rooms and workout areas, up-to-date equipment and convenient-to-me locations, to name a few.
But if I had to pick just one reason why I’d recommend CAC to a friend, it comes down to the instructors and variety of classes.
No matter what you’re into — whether you want a hardcore sweating workout or a more restorative one, whether you want to put every single muscle to work or want to hone in on your abs, whether you want an intense class or a one that simply gets you moving around — any Chicago Athletic Club location has a class to match your preferences.
What’s more, the instructors are super awesome! These guys and gals are pros, and they’re all intensely passionate not just about fitness, but also about everyone having a good time. Each instructor truly infuses their own personality and style into their classes.
I have my favorite classes and instructors who dish out workouts that keep me coming back (even as I curse them in my head.) Here are just a few who offer some butt-kicking classes that I love. I invite you to check them out. And if you end up loving these instructors as much as I do, save a space for me at their next class!
I never thought I’d be into suspension training, but via baby steps Jenna got me into working out with those scary-looking yellow and black things with handles. Jenna keeps things fast-paced and I always leave her class feeling like we hit every single muscle. Abs, shoulders, glutes, you name it. A lot of the movements are ones that are already familiar such as pushups, squats or bicep curls. Jenna also has this super sneaky trick of always being upbeat and positive when she’s leading you through an intense exercise that makes your lungs scream or muscles shake.
If you’re looking for a leisurely bike ride as you can day dream the class away, then Frank’s spin class might not be the best fit for you. When you show up to Frank’s class, he challenges you to really show up and give it 110%. He will scold you for sloppy form or phoning it in, but it all comes from a place of love. If you’re going to make the time to work out, you might as well put in your best effort and make the most of it. In fact, if you barfed over your handlebars, he would probably consider that a success! Frank’s classes can get pretty packed because it just so happens that I’m not the only member who appreciates his no bullsh*t approach. So make sure you get there a few minutes early to snag a bike.
I’ve never met a teacher who cares more deeply about his students than David. He makes a point to get to know everyone’s names and you always feel like he’s throwing a mini party in your honor every time you come to his class. If he knows it’s your birthday, he’ll even make a special birthday mix and make sure the whole class knows! David always arrives early to get the music going and welcome students as they walk into class — and he often teaches at 6 a.m., so that’s no easy feat. If a negative thought has ever popped into David’s head, you’d never know, because he always brings incredible positivity and energy to class. Every time he teaches, he makes his students feel as if there is absolutely no place in the world he’d rather be, hanging out with us, leading us through a set of jumps or sprints.
What I appreciate most about Stephanie is her dedication to designing a challenging yet interesting workout every single class. I imagine that after teaching for a few years, it can be difficult to keep things fresh, but Stephanie always folds in new moves and combinations. Often she’ll mix together two movements at once. She comes from a dance background, so she brings that mix-it-up choreography mindset to design her classes and select the music to match. I always try to challenge myself to match each rep with the beat of the music. Even though Stephanie’s classes are super challenging, they’re so upbeat and fun. I have tried to duplicate Stephanie’s workouts on my own, and it’s tough! I can never remember all the different things and interesting combinations she had us do when I’m on my own.
What about you? What are your favorite classes and instructors? Why not check out the class schedule and try something new?
Betsy Mikel is a freelance copywriter whose passion is telling the stories of entrepreneurs, brands and businesses that challenge the status quo. When she’s not biking or running all over every city she visits to find its best taqueria, you can find Betsy on Twitter at @betsym | betsymikel.com
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