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West Loop Fitness Club Aims to Move the Workout Out of the Gym

WEST LOOP — The first class when CrossTown Fitness opened Wednesday didn’t even take place inside the gym.

“At 5 a.m. we started here, worked out in the park and ended here,” said instructor Tres Rodgers, 51, of the West Loop.

When the weather is nice, instructors have the flexibility to offer classes in nearby Mary Bartelme Park, 115 S. Sangamon St.

“We’ll bring bands and TRX and mats. It’s going to be a lot of cardio and body strength training," Rodgers said.

Owner Charlie Graff said members will have a lot of opportunities for unique outdoor workouts.

“You can go and do stand-up paddle boarding at North Avenue Beach or you can go kayaking on the river. So, if you don’t want to work out here on a Saturday morning when it’s beautiful out, you can register for a class and go kayaking for a couple of hours instead,” said Graff, 32, of Ukrainian Village.

Even inside at CrossTown Fitness, 1031 W. Madison St., you feel like you’re outside. The floor is covered with the same artificial turf that’s used in stadiums. “It’s just like grass on the outside, but a lot softer. It’s actually better for you,” said Rodgers. 

CrossTown Fitness offers 200 classes a month, Graff said, with even more planned. He's also scouting locations in the city for two other gyms. Members would have access to all three locations. A month of unlimited classes costs $135, and a day pass is $25.

Starting May 27, classes will also be offered on North Avenue Beach at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

In the event passers-by want to join, Graff thought of that, too.

“You can purchase a day pass from your iPad or smartphone," he said. "You can sign up right on the fly. We try to get rid of any excuses for people not to join.”