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Thread: Chicago Gyms

  1. #1
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    Default Chicago Gyms

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    As some of you know, I'm in the process of moving from NYC to Chicago. I'm working in the West Loop and will be out there for the next two weeks working and looking for a place. I think the best fit neighborhood-wise feels like River North, as it seems a lot of like-minded entrepreneurial types with as close an approximation of lower Manhattan as Chicago has to offer.

    Next on my list after finding a place to live is finding a gym. Proximity to home and work is important, since I work a lot and train a lot. I'm completely spoiled, having lived across the street from my gym for the last two years.

    Here is a list of gyms I've found to check out. If anybody has advice or additions I'd appreciate it. I'm going to try as many of these on this trip as possible.

    1. Phenomenal Fitness (South Loop) 1450 South Michigan Ave
    2. GoPerformance (West Loop) 1001 W Adams (btw Morgan & Aberdeen)
    3. FitPro West (Loop) 564 W Jackson (btw Jefferson & Clinton)
    4. The Trainer's Gym (West Loop) 401 W Ontario St Ste 400
    5. River North Gym (River North) Merchandise Mart - this one I've trained at. It's pricey but well equipped.
    6. B&W (Andersonville) 5920 N Ridge Ave - Jordan turned me on to this one. It's exactly what I'm looking for, but 45 mins away on the subway.
    7. Quads (Lakeview) 3727 N Broadway (btw Grace & Halsted) - same deal as B&W, bascially - just too far.
    Last edited by danradin; 08-12-2013 at 05:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    B&W is awesome. But it certainly is in the middle of nowhere unless you live in the north.

    Quads isn't that far - it's off the red line train. Being right off the train is everything. But that only helps if you or work live near the red line. Conviction Fitness is another option, a lot of the 70s Big Chicago people train there, but it only makes sense if you live off the brown line (eg in Ravenswood or something).

    As for neighborhoods, River North has a lot going for it and I suppose it is one of the most like lower Manhattan. But don't rule out more staid neighborhoods like Ravenswood - benefit of that is having the gym between you and work.

  3. #3
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    Thanks gzt. Much appreciated. I think I'm pretty set on looking at River North/West Loop/South Loop and maybe a little River West/Streeterville/Old Town. This is more about convincing my wife to join me in Chicago than it is about my personal preferences...

    Google maps says B&W is 50 mins, Quads and Conviction are both 40 from my office. Too bad, they're just too far at least for the first year of Chicago living.
    Last edited by danradin; 08-12-2013 at 05:32 PM.

  4. #4
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    Personally, I'd prefer Streeterville and Old Town to River North, but that's just me. I'm kind of iffy about the South Loop, too.

    Yeah, "real" gyms are kind of scarce in the loop area.

  5. #5
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    Default Chicago - B&W

    Quote Originally Posted by danradin View Post
    Thanks gzt. Much appreciated. I think I'm pretty set on looking at River North/West Loop/South Loop and maybe a little River West/Streeterville/Old Town. This is more about convincing my wife to join me in Chicago than it is about my personal preferences...

    Google maps says B&W is 50 mins, Quads and Conviction are both 40 from my office. Too bad, they're just too far at least for the first year of Chicago living.
    I don't know where your office is, but if you're living in River North, B&W is a 25 minute drive from your apt. via Lake Shore Drive when there's no traffic. I get there from my office in 15-20 min usually. It's slightly less from Old Town or Streeterville, more from West Loop and South Loop.

    It's way more with traffic, but what isn't?

    I've got guest passes for B&W and would be glad to toss a couple your way, although the place is so cheap, it's ridiculous. Be aware, there are NO frills at B&W. No showers, no juice bar, no anything. Frankly, I don't think there's any air conditioning. My lifting partner and I refer to it as "Basement & Weights" because that's what it is. They just did some remodeling and got or are about to get a monolift, and it's pretty much a power lifting Mecca, but it is way way old school. It's basically 9,000 square feet of iron, racks, and as little bullshit as possible. I've never gotten a bad spot there, and it's just a decent place to work out.

    You might also look at some of the CF boxes. There are a bunch, and some near where it sounds like your office is. They are what they are, but they've got the equipment, and nobody is likely to give a care if you don't do the WoD and just work out.

    For a bunch of those neighborhoods, this place might also a good bet: http://chicagoelitefitness.com/ (it's a partial CF box).

    Given the types of neighborhoods you're looking at, you might also take a look at Wicker Park, Bucktown, and Logan Square (sort of in that order).

    Feel free to throw me a PM.

  6. #6
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    There's no AC at B&W.

    They do have a monolift.

  7. #7
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    Thanks gents. I tried two gyms in the West Loop yesterday and today.

    GoPerformance (West Loop) 1001 W Adams (btw Morgan & Aberdeen)
    -Hit this yesterday. It is basically a CF box without the CF branding. Nice people, expensive ($89), decent amount of space. Nice squat rack and equipment, but sparse in terms of serious PL gear. I flipped a 225-lb tire for conditioning, so that was fun. I also deadlifted the most profoundly bent barbell I have ever encountered.

    FitPro West (Loop) 564 W Jackson (btw Jefferson & Clinton)
    -Tried this one today and liked it a lot. It's a "personal training gym" but they also have members just come in and train. Nice and quiet. Small, but had everything I need including two power racks with Texas bars AND a squat rack. They cap membership at 300 and claim it's always pretty quiet. I might go back for my Friday session. All the equipment was brand new. Really impeccably maintained space and equipment. I think it was $65 a month or $99 for a couple.

    Wil, I appreciate the info and insight. I'll send you a PM.
    Last edited by danradin; 08-14-2013 at 09:28 PM.

  8. #8
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    I had an internship downtown this winter, at 200 S Wacker. FitPro West is like a <5 min walk from Union, so I joined there and trained in the morning 4x week.

    It was never crowded in the least -- I would say most mornings there were three-five other people using the place. Never once had to wait for something i wanted to use. And it's always immaculate. They don't push training on you or anything. Really enjoyed lifting there.

    The only thing I didn't like is that the DBs only go up to 110. It's not relevant now, but at the time I was squatting high-bar, and either had to squat in front of a mirror or face the street (which is distracting as hell), but w/ SS-style technique it shouldn't be an issue.

    BTW, the really fit blond trainer is/was an American Gladiator. Too bad she puts her clients through all the goofball shit. But she makes for good eye candy nonetheless :-) Oh and you get some hipster types from time to time who do the funniest shit, and have the most hilarious conversations about training/nutrition.
    Last edited by LJ5.0; 08-15-2013 at 08:30 AM.

  9. #9
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    That sounds like a winner.

    B&W is hella cheap and awesome, it's worth visiting occasionally, they have a serious group that trains on Saturdays and on that day guest passes are $5.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    BTW, I trained b/t 6:30-8:30am; never any other time. Don't know if it gets crowded at other times.

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