BARRY'S BOOTCAMP

CHICAGO'S BEST GYMS & STUDIOS

15 PLACES

UPDATED FEB 3, 2020

We know the amount of fitness studios in Chicago is enough to make your head spin! That’s why we’ve burpee’d, pedaled, and flowed our way to finding the very best. No matter what your preferred workout style and goals, you’re guaranteed to find your new fit fam.

author

BETH SMEETON

FITT CHICAGO CONTRIBUTOR

The dark room. The red glow. The high-energy vibes — Barry’s Bootcamp will get your heart. pumping! This high-intensity workout moves you from strength training floor workouts to treadmill sprint intervals. Inspiring trainers at all Chicago outposts will push you through each fun-filled (yes, we said fun-filled) hour-long session, encouraging you to do your best. And since you can adjust your speed and weights depending on your fitness level, all are welcome.

This Aussie-based team training workout has 36 different (and named) workouts you could see from day to day! Meaning your time here will be anything but routine. Here, the F = functional and the 45 = the length of each session. Each class at their numerous Chicagoland studios combines interval, cardio, and strength training by creating different stations of equipment, keeping you guessing and guaranteeing you’ll be blasting fat and building lean muscle in no time.

Walk into any of the Old Town, Southport, North Shore, or The Loop SoulCycle locations and you’ll find a clean, light atmosphere with empowering mantras on the walls. Then, proceed to immerse yourself in the dark room, the bumping music, candlelight, and inspiring words from your instructor as you conquer each ride. This is a tight-knit community (some say even a bit cultish) that’ll have you coming back for more sweat and more camaraderie!

When you break down an hour-long class into four 15-minute intervals, your workout will fly by — and that’s exactly what you can expect from Shred415. What else? Well, the lights will be low, and the energy is always high. You’ll spend half the class is lifting weights on the floor and the other half kicking ass on the treadmills. And props to the intense instructors for counting reps and keeping everything straight! But don’t be scared — all activity levels are welcome!

The hammock-focused aerial yoga and fitness classes at AIR will strengthen and lengthen your core by literally sweeping you off your feet. But don’t worry if you’re a beginner — they offer a special class to help you get a handle on all the moves (and you should take it). What’s the secret to this workout? While you are suspended in the air, you are working your abs, obliques, and back for a surprisingly challenging workout. Prepare for lift-off in River North, Lincoln Park, the South Loop, and up north in Winnetka.

River North’s Studio Three is a fitness junkie’s dream come true. Three floors are equipped with an interval training studio, a cycling studio (with a top-of-the-line sound system), and a yoga studio. And the Graze cafe in the lobby offers coffee, smoothies, sandwiches, acai bowls and more for some delicious post-workout fuel. Also, no need to worry about being late for work after a sweaty session, as there are plenty of bathrooms, towels, and showers to accommodate all three levels. Fitt Tip: there's an even bigger, second Studio Three in Lincoln Park.

TITLE Boxing Club’s mission? To have you beat up a bag and relieve some stress while having the best hour of your day. Each class is divided by warm-ups, active rest periods, three-minute rounds, and a core workout finisher — but the amount of rounds depends on the length of class, which ranges from 30, 45, 60, or 75 minutes. And with up to eight classes per day, seven days per week, at over four Chicago locations (plus a couple further afield), you’ll be sure to look shredded in no time! FYI: lockers and gloves are provided (if you don’t have your own) and your first class at any of the Chicago locations is free.

[solidcore] is in a league of its own when it comes to Megaformer/reformer/Pilates workouts. With their own methodology and custom-designed machine named "[sweatlana]", the studios deliver a low-impact, small-class, sculpting, strengthening workout that will leave you sore for days — and that's not an exaggeration after your first, or even fifth class. But that same soreness yields serious results. The small resistance movements will test your balance, core and leg strength, and mental toughness. We would say buckle up, but [sweatlana] doesn't have seatbelts.

CTF Chicago caters to those with busy lifestyles! Offering over 150 weekly 50-minute sessions in the West Loop, Roscoe Village, and North Side locations, you no longer have no excuse to skip that workout. Whether you’re free in the morning, afternoon, or night there’s a time slot for you. Plus, each class varies depending on the instructor’s choice of powerful exercises and energetic music. And did we mention you can torch up to 1,200 cals per sweat session?! On top of that, the combination of interval, cardio, and strength training is designed to get that beloved ‘after-burn’ effect. Sign us up!

Windy City Strength & Conditioning, home to Windy City CrossFit, is equipped with all the must-haves for the ultimate box: cool loft space stocked with boxes, kettlebells, rowers, gymnastic rings, and more. Plus, they offer multiple group classes as well as personal training, so you can get that one-on-one opportunity if you need a little extra instruction. Though, if you do go solo, we’d have to recommend still getting to know the fellow WODmates around their Lakeview gym — the community is amazing.

With 30 locations within the Chicagoland area, how can you miss a chance to flow with CPY? New to the scene? Try for a week free! CPY offers traditional yoga, a combination of strength + yoga, or cardio + yoga. The music is almost as hot as the class, no matter if you choose heated or unheated varieties. Oh, and there’s a retail boutique at each studio loaded with activewear so you’ll be sure to be stylin’ at every class.

Hailing from NYC, Shadowbox came out swinging in 2019. The signature workout, which they refer to as "meditative" and also "sweat dripping" will immerse you in boxing technique, have you going toe-to-toe with your own 150lb heavy bag, and ramp up your heart rate with all-out conditioning. The state-of-the-art sound system and the cast of experienced and motivating instructors make this workout accessible and exhilarating, while the mind-and-body connection and amenity-packed locker rooms make it the experience almost like self-care.

An explosive high-intensity workout, SWEAT's signature classes can burn up to 1,000 per workout. You'll work a different muscle group every day of the week — whether it's Total Body Tabata Tuesdays or getting that Friday feeling with Cardio & Core, you'll keep coming back for more. And being that you could be using TRX, medicine balls, rowers, ropes, kettlebells, and more on a given day at their Lincoln Park and Gold Coast studios, you'll never get bored.

The name says it all. Gold Coast’s Exhale will have you doing just that, profusely, after one of their barre, cardio, or yoga classes. And because Exhale is a spa as well, you can sign up for a massage, facial, or mani after class! Plus, if you’re interested in taking your health and fitness to the next level, Exhale offers experienced nutrition and wellness professionals who provide meal plans based on your lifestyle.

If you've ever taken a class at ENRGi Fitness, you'll immediately know what we're talking about if we call it "the place with the neon green monkey bars". With the sheer amount of equipment and classes they fit into this one-floor space in River North, you might just call it a playground. From rowers to kettlebells to sandbags, and strength to MetCon to yoga and dance, ENRGi's many, many areas of expertise make for a killer workout. And to make sure you never miss a class, they've got a dedicated recovery area with NormaTec compression boots, foam rolling, and more.

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