BUCKTOWN — Big brother is watching you ... get fit.
A 24-hour gym that allows members to pay as they go and work out whenever they please is trying to muscle its way into the Bucktown fitness scene.
But staff members will be absent at the futuristic fitness palace, My Time Fitness on North Damen Avenue, which will instead be remotely monitored by its owner through an extensive network of cameras.
Wolner launched his first gym two years ago in Roscoe Village and expanded to West Town last year. Both spots have cameras, but the technology is not nearly as extensive as the new location.
Now he's renovating a 1,600 square-foot space at 2117 N. Damen Ave, just north of Dickens Avenue.
The space will be stocked with a broad range of cardio equipment such as elliptical machines, treadmills, steppers and bicycles. But there won't be any barbells "so nobody gets hurt," Wolner said.
If members do manage to hurt themselves or run into any other issue "Big Brother" will be watching—at least at the Bucktown location.
The technology featured at My Time includes a series of panic buttons that "go straight to 911" and notify Wolner.
There will also be a biometric keypad for access that will read thumbprints so users don't share memberships and a PIN code to gain access.
"There's a ton of cameras everywhere," Wolner said. "I could be out to dinner with my wife and kids and look in on the gym with my smartphone if I need to."
Motion-sensor cameras will guard the front and back exits. Inside, there will be seven cameras that are visible to patrons that cover every inch of the facility as was well as others that are hidden, monitored by Wolner and his assistant.
My Time charges members $3.75 per visit after a base monthly charge of $19 and a $99 technology/enrollment fee.
The maximum amount a user can be charged for one month is $49 (including the monthly fee), so every visit after the eighth during the same month is free. Fitness enthusiasts can also pay $400 a year upfront or $250 for six months and avoid the fee for the individual visits.
Members can schedule small group training sessions with a certified trainer that average "more like $30 an hour instead of $90 if you do it alone," Wolner said.
My Time outposts in Roscoe Village and West Town have about 300 members who come an average of once a week.
Yelpers have mixed but mainly positive reviews about My Time's 1448 W. Chicago Ave. space.
Frequent Yelp reviewer Caroline E. wrote, "I've waited to write a review, because I'm super selfish and I don't want this place to get crowded."
She credited the "no long term commitment" as a plus.
Wolner was a training manager for the West Loop's Dave Barton Gym from 2007 to 2011 and a founder of Lakefront Fitness, the city's first "open air" gym on North Avenue beach, which he sold to Bally's.
After the Bucktown opening, Wolner has his sights set on opening three more neighborhood My Times next year.