Hibernation-itis. Treadmill-distopia. Netflix-ion. A Chicago winter can take its toll on the most active among us. But fear not, there are plenty of indoor options in Logan Square to get your blood pumping and ward off the winter blahs — no gym membership required. Where exactly? Why, let me show you.
From the Monument, take Kedzie south to Fullerton. If you’ve ever danced to a Rihanna song, shaken what your momma gave you or had a conversation entirely with your hands, head in to 101 Dance Fitness (3228 W Fullerton Ave.), a studio that offers Zumba, Zumba toning and Mixxed Fit (urban dance with attitude).
I was feeling pretty feisty so I went in and spoke to co-owners Angela Reyes and Veronica Perez. Like two giggling high-school friends, they were more than happy to chat.
“At some gyms you don’t feel welcome,” Reyes says. “They’re dry and not personal. We wanted this to be a place where everyone was welcome.” Perez nods. “It’s not about, am I going to be J.Lo by the end of the month. We just want people to say, ‘I can do this.’”
Perez, Logan Square born and raised, adds that they are only studio in Logan Square that offers these classes. “For our neighborhood,” she says, “it has to be accessible. It has to be affordable. It has to be economical.”
True to their word, classes are weekday evenings and Saturday mornings — $8 each.
If your goal this winter is to not recognize yourself in 2016, then look left and you’ll see people punching, kicking, lifting, crunching and squatting their hearts out in the window of Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping (3201 W. Fullerton Ave.). It looks hardcore, but from what I hear, this place is about more than tough love. I asked head coach Jason Heddon.
“We are not a ‘box’ gym. We are program based and results driven,” he says. “Each member of our staff has made their own personal transformation. We are a community of everyday people helping everyday people.”
And what is this “program?” A 45-minute kickboxing workout, strength training with resistance bands (not weights), nutritional guidance, support — and accountability. Punch “like a girl”? No problem. Are a girl? You’ll join many others who praise this studio for transforming their bodies and resurrecting the half-dead items in their closet.
If you’re up for the challenge, the next 10-week session begins Jan. 9. Classes fill up quickly.
Prefer exercise as escape? Head east on Diversey and soon you’ll hear the violent plucks of the Spanish guitar. As handclaps get louder and louder, your furry boots will turn into flamenco heels. You are at Studio Mangiameli (2845 W Diversey Ave.).
Owner/instructor Chiara Mangiameli, a former actress, traveled to Spain and was so inspired by the richness and intensity of the songs, and the Andalusian culture that gave birth to this art form, she decided to make it her life’s work.
The benefits for the average Logan Square resident? “The technique necessary to master this art,” she says, “involves coordination and strengthening of both the lower body for percussive footwork, and the upper body, especially shoulders and core muscles of the back and abdominals, for the arm movements and twisting of the torso.”
Since we’re on Diversey, let’s head east and check out the Visceral Dance Center (2820 N. Diversey Ave.). Perfect for people with a secret love of Bob Fosse, ballet outfits, or So You Think You Can Dance?, the training center of the performing company of the same name is known as one of the best. Yet surprisingly, classes in hip-hop, ballet, jazz-funk, modern/contemporary, breakdance, and creative movement are an affordable $15 — less if you sign up for a package.
Still not motivated to leave your apartment? Then go to YouTube and search for any beauty/fitness icon, exercise trend or dance craze and you’ll get a medley of routines you can do at home with your cat.