Winter in Chicago might mean the end of jogging the lake path, but it gives you a whole new excuse to explore the city’s endless parade of different gyms and exercise facilities. Whether you’re looking for a specific type of fitness class or just a new space to sweat, get moving this month and don’t let the indulgence of the holidays get the best of you.
East Bank Club
Chicago skyscrapers as seen from East Bank Club | courtesy of Flickr: Jason Rosenberg
If you’re looking for an all-inclusive, upscale gym experience, East Bank Club is the place for you. It sits appropriately on the east bank of the Chicago River in River North and boasts two full city blocks in length – and true to their advertising campaign, it’s so much more than a gym. Your membership fee of $190/month includes full access to typical gym amenities but also to their indoor tracks, multiple pools, golf and kayaking programs. And don’t forget about their restaurants, salon, spa, nutritional counseling, physical therapy, child care, dry cleaning and car wash services. If it fits in your budget, you would be hard-pressed to find anything better.
Cheetah Gym seeks to be your friendly neighborhood gym for young people and working parents alike. Their Andersonville location offers a no-frills, full-service gym experience for prices that are competitive with the flashier clubs. They also provide a free Kid’s Club room that includes supervised fitness and reading activities for your little ones while you exercise. Show your membership card around the neighborhood and get up to 15% discounts at participating retailers. To help you make the right membership decision, take their complimentary facility tour and enjoy one free day pass.
FFC was founded in Chicago in 1984 and has since expanded to 10 popular Chicagoland locations. They take pride in their Windy City heritage, claiming to know ‘better than anyone what it means to be made in Chicago.’ They draw on the city’s reputation of hard work in their facilities and fitness experience. Take advantage of their hot yoga, pilates and spinning studios or work your strength on their climbing walls. Relax at their spa and rooftop sundecks in the summertime. Join FFC for $70/month in East Lakeview, the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Halsted Street, Old Town, Union Station, West Loop, South Loop, Oak Park or Highland Park.
This chain gym has locations in Logan Square and on the Southport, as well as its original flagship in New York City. Wicker Park Fitness has three goals: serving the community – including providing outstanding state-of-the-art equipment – a clean workout environment and value-driven pricing. Enjoy their flatscreen-equipped cardio equipment, daily fitness classes and helpful personal trainers that are always on call. Join soon, because their extended fall sale lets you choose between six, nine or 12-month plans for a rare price of just under $35/month.
The Edgewater Athletic Club has you covered on a variety of classes. Dip your feet into several different areas of exercise to find something you love. Choose from weight training, yoga, pilates, group/private swimming, aerobic and dance. Their close proximity to Lake Michigan as well as public transit makes them a popular North Side option. They never charge an initiation fee, and you can work out without paying a binding monthly membership fee. Try their day passes or 10-visit passes for more short-term flexibility.
Planet Fitness may be a massive national chain with more than 1,000 locations, but they’ve grown in recognition for a reason. They claim to be the gym for the everyman, and home of the judgment-free zone. PF is famous for their laid-back atmosphere and rock bottom prices, appealing to the average person who might be new to fitness, or just looking for a simple workout experience. Several locations pepper the Chicagoland suburbs, but their main city outpost is in Streeterville. Join for a $10 startup fee and just $10/month with no monthly commitment.