CHSO January 2013 : Page 64

64 | | January 2013 SHRED415 PHOTO BY MELISSA HAYES PHOTOGRAPHY; BODY R+D PHOTO BY NEIL BURGER THE RADAR | HEALTH Boutique Bods Traditional gyms are so 2012—the hottest trend of 2013 is picking one class and putting your body in its hands. Welcome to boutique fi tness. | By Korey Huyler | BODY BASICS Clockwise from top: Working out at R+D Body in Lakeview, which specializes in Megaformer machines that lean, tone and strengthen; a Power Sculpt Fitness class led by owner Heather Hughes; the Shred415 studio in Old Town “I just quit my gym,” my friend Emily told me one night over drinks. “I’m only doing Shred415 now.” It was shocking to hear this from my formerly addicted-to-the-elliptical pal. But over the next few weeks, I heard similar statements time and again. My neighbor Heidi? Ditched the gym for Power Sculpt Fitness. My co-worker Elise? Obsessed with Reform Chicago Pilates, which gave her the attest stomach in the o ce. My dear pal Amanda? A Flywheel addict, going every day of the week. And the newest arrival on the scene: e Mercury Method, a Wicker Park studio where you sweat it out in a 98.6-degree room under the tutelage of Pilates DVD star Lara Hudson. Her signature workout ups the cardio level and focuses on strength, stamina and control. For many tness bu s, nding an e ective class they love and getting to the studio three to ve times per week sounds easier than clocking solo hours in a traditional gym setting. Labeled “Boutique Fitness,” the trend—which really began with the yoga craze more than a decade ago—is based on the idea of a studio centering its o erings on a speci c tness philosophy. In neighborhoods around Chicago, you can now nd Pilates studios, yoga studios, barre-class studios, pole-dancing boutiques and cycling studios all within blocks of each other. Most charge a set price per class (typically between $16 and $24), and o er packages that make the classes slightly less expensive. Corinne Clifton’s Reform Chicago Pilates studio promises a better physique after 10 of its fast-paced, 55-minute classes. “What I love about [boutique] studios is that I can pop in, throw my stu in a cubby, hop on the machine and get a full-body workout in an hour,” Clifton says. It’s a more e cient use of time, she argues, than wandering between machines, a juice bar and the steam room at a gym—all while getting not much done, tness-wise. A focus on individuality and the feeling of a tight-knit community also has lured followers into the studio fold. Jillian Lorenz and Ariana Chernin opened Barre Bee Fit, their River North studio o ering barre classes with short bursts of cardio, with the idea of creating a supportive environment for women that promotes a fun, healthy, balanced lifestyle. “A big part of our mission is to accept ourselves and our classmates for who we are,” says Lorenz. “We work hard to eliminate any negative competition, judgment or pettiness.” ... Catherine

The Radar Health

Korey Huyler

Boutique Bods

Traditional gyms are so 2012-the hottest trend of 2013 is picking one class and putting your body in its hands. Welcome to boutique fitness.

BODY BASICS

Clockwise from top: Working out at R+D Body in Lakeview, which specializes in Megaformer machines that lean, tone and strengthen; a Power Sculpt Fitness class led by owner Heather Hughes; the Shred415 studio in Old Town

"I just quit my gym," my friend Emily told me one night over drinks. "I'm only doing Shred4l5 now." It was shocking to hear this from my formerly addicted-to-theelliptical pal. But over the next few weeks, I heard similar statements time and again. My neighbor Heidi? Ditched the gym for Power Sculpt Fitness. My co-worker Elise? Obsessed with Reform Chicago Pilates, which gave her the flattest stomach in the office. My dear pal Amanda? A Flywheel addict, going every day of the week. And the newest arrival on the scene: The Mercury Method, a Wicker Park studio where you sweat it out in a 98.6-degree room under the tutelage of Pilates DVD star Lara Hudson. Her signature workout ups the cardio level and focuses on strength, stamina and control.

For many fitness buffs, finding an effective class they love and getting to the studio three to five times per week sounds easier than clocking solo hours in a traditional gym setting. Labeled "Boutique Fitness," the trend—which really began with the yoga craze more than a decade ago—is based on the idea of a studio centering its offerings on a specific fitness philosophy. In neighborhoods around Chicago, you can now find Pilates studios, yoga studios, barre-class studios, pole-dancing boutiques and cycling studios all within blocks of each other. Most charge a set price per class (typically between $16 and $24), and offer packages that make the classes slightly less expensive.

Corinne Clifton's Reform Chicago Pilates studio promises a better physique after 10 of its fast-paced, 55-minute classes. "What I love about [boutique] studios is that I can pop in, throw my stuff in a cubby, hop on the machine and get a full-body workout in an hour," Clifton says. It's a more efficient use of time, she argues, than wandering between machines, a juice bar and the steam room at a gym—all while getting not much done, fitness-wise.

A focus on individuality and the feeling of a tight-knit community also has lured followers into the studio fold. Jillian Lorenz and Ariana Chernin opened Barre Bee Fit, their River North studio offering barre classes with short bursts of cardio, with the idea of creating a supportive environment for women that promotes a fun, healthy, balanced lifestyle. "A big part of our mission is to accept ourselves and our classmates for who we are," says Lorenz. "We work hard to eliminate any negative competition, judgment or pettiness." Catherine James and her business partner, Elisabeth Settimi, now own five Bar Method studios around the city. James says she scheduled her life around her Bar Method habit when she lived in San Francisco, and when she was looking for an exit from the corporate world, all signs pointed to making a new career out of her fitness passion. "I was an addicted runner from age 10," she explains. "I thought group exercise classes were for wimps." The same goes for Settimi, who says she was hooked after her first Bar Method class and thought, "I could do this for the rest of my life." The pair says many clients come to their studios seven days per week.

Kimberly Burt, a devotee of Shred4l5, which offers highintensity intervaltraining workouts at studios in Old Town and Lincoln Park, got on board a year ago and says she's never looked back. "Shred4l5 is the most intense, effective workout I have ever done," she says. "It has changed my body, and increased my strength and endurance beyond expectation."

But while the initial glow of a studio class may feel unbeatable, Bonnie Micheli, co-owner of Shred4l5, says she recommends doing the classes three to four times per week. "Cross-training is so important, and we don't want our clients to get burned out," she says. "Taking a break and filling it with yoga or Pilates is a good way to stretch in between."

Thus, it seems, a studio circuit may be the best way to get the most from boutique fitness. And speaking of circuits, what will become of gyms in this new era of competing workouts? Will they fade away? "Life is too crazy," says Micheli.

"There will always be people who only have 30 minutes to get in their gym workout at some random time."

But Reform Chicago's Clifton says more people are thinking about the cost/benefit equation of their exercise choices. "Why pay $150 to $250 a month for a gym membership that I highly doubt is changing your body?" She asks. "I guarantee that spending $200 a month and doing Reform 10 times will provide much better results."

The Classes

The Barre Bunch

From Barre Bee Fit to The Dailey Method to The Bar Method and beyond, these workouts (about $20 per class) are rooted in the elongating principles of ballet moves but also incorporate isometrics-based strength building, core conditioning and muscle toning using light weights. Barrebeefit.com, thedaileymethod.com, barmethod.com

Shred415

Designed to burn fat and calories quickly, Shred415's classes ($24) in Old Town and Lincoln Park alternate between cardio work on high-quality Woodway treadmills and weight lifting using weight amounts of the clients' choosing. Walkers, joggers and hard-core runners are all encouraged to take the class at their own pace. Shred415.com

Reform Chicago Pilates

Reform puts a spin on traditional Pilates by using the Allegro machine during group classes ($26) and using them to perform exercises outside the discipline's traditional realm. The class format is faster-paced, and the machines' gliding motion provides a low-impact workout using the client's own body weight as resistance. Reformchicagopilates.com

Body R+D

This Lakeview studio offers classes inspired by the cult Hollywood workout Megaformer, which "isolates and attacks muscles until they can no longer move." Fun, right? Fans say it is; R+D claims to burn 500 to 700 calories in each 50-minute session ($30), and the super-intense combination of weight training and Pilates is set to thumping, go-get-it music. Bodyrnd.com

Power Sculpt Fitness

Bursts of cardio and strength training are alternated in affordable classes ($15) that aim to provide continuous calorie burn. Developed by personal trainer Heather Hughes, the Power Sculpt schedule offers a range of options (Super Sculpt, Core Express, Kickbox Interval and more), many of which use TRX suspension equipment. Powersculptfitness.com

Flywheel

Studio cycling—widely known as "spinning"- became popular more than a decade ago. But these days it's a whole different beast, as studios like Flywheel ($25) use high-tech monitors to track stats while playing perfectly choreographed soundtracks to keep motivation levels high and adding an arm workout with weighted bars. Flywheelsports.com

Flirty Girl Fitness

Don't let the women-only setup fool you. The hard-core classes ($25) at this primarily pink spot-such as Fitness Fusion and Babes With Bands-will give you a workout like no other in town. Flirtygirlfitness.com

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/The+Radar+Health/1271382/140291/article.html.

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