LINCOLN PARK — A return to the gym after months of holidays, eating, drinking and extended time inside is hard.
A workout with a twist can be just the thing to break out of the winter slump.
Lincoln Park's fitness scene is booming, with boutique studios popping up all over the neighborhood, joining a number of larger established fitness centers.
One of the hottest local and national fitness trends, barre-based workouts, is now available at Halsted Street and Dickens Avenue at Pure Barre Lincoln Park.
The studio, open for about three months, has seen an influx of first-timers looking to mix up their workout routines, according to owner Ashley Gertz.
"There's great music. The class is very musically driven," Gertz said. "There's enough variation, and you just see changes so quickly."
Gertz said it's all about a welcoming environment for new attendees, with positive reinforcement from the instructors and a sense of community within the studio.
The exercises seek to tighten different areas of the body, such as the arms, thighs, abs and butt, during each 55-minute class.
"It's for people who are really looking to tone up those different areas of the body," she said. "That's really the goal."
The classes follow the same flow of a warm-up, arm section, thigh section, butt section and ab section, but there is variety in the type of exercises each time.
Many clients are women who are pregnant, who recently had a baby and are looking to lose weight, or who are preparing for a wedding, Gertz said.
The gym is offering a new client $99 special for the first month of unlimited classes.
Another new boutique studio, which opened in December, features a hybrid type of workout.
Studio Lagree, 1123 W. Armitage Ave., was created by Sebastien Lagree and has been a hit in Hollywood among such celebrities as Sofia Vergara.
Lagree, who was teaching classes in the studio last weekend, said Usher and Michelle Obama are fans of the M3 Megaformer machine, which is the basis of the class.
"What makes this different, is this really combines many workouts together," Lagree said. "This combines weight training, it combines Pilates, yoga, cardiovascular all in one class."
Classes are based on the Megaformer machine, which features a low-impact resistance system that stretches and works out the entire body.
"This is, for the first time, a fitness methodology that integrates all of the elements," Lagree said. "You get strength, endurance, core, balance, flexibility — all integrated into one workout."
Lagree said the key to keeping New Year's workout pledges is to build a community, whether by regularly attending classes or finding a friend to work out with.
"I think everybody could start fitness at the new year because they are all really pumped up, but to stay pumped up you need more than yourself," he said. "You need a support system, and it's not just the trainer."
If running is your thing, but you aren't up for the challenge of avoiding black ice while fighting off nose icicles, Equinox offers the next best thing.
Equinox's newest workout class, precision running, was designed with the help of five years of research at UCLA to provide interval training on a treadmill.
About a dozen runners line up on their treadmills and are coached through a 60-minute class that includes sprints broken up by jogging.
The system uses a mathematical formula to build up a runner's strength through speed, incline, duration and recovery.
"We don't expect them to understand the science behind it. They don't need to. But within two or three classes they feel it in their body," said Jenn Hogg, group fitness manager at Equinox.
Beginners and expert runners alike are welcome in the class, as each pace is based on a baseline rate that each runner sets.
"Nobody can really see your screen, so you are in your own secure little bubble, and this class automatically progresses as you get stronger," Hogg said.
While running on a treadmill for an hour could seem like a bore, the class includes changes by the minute.
"You are never really doing anything for more than a minute," Hogg said. "You are constantly hitting those buttons. It keeps you engaged."
And for the nontraditional workout fan, AIR Aerial Fitness classes provide a circuslike thrill.
The Lincoln Park AIR studio opened in 2013 at 2217 N. Clybourn Ave. and is equipped with sheets of fabric that hang from the ceiling and are used during the workouts.
The workout is like Pilates, strength training and yoga all rolled into one, according to operations director Catherine Aldana.
Clients of the studio "find it pretty inspiring to be able to move with the fabric," Aldana said. "It makes you feel like you accomplish something right away once you are able to do a certain trick or certain exercise. It's got that instant gratification."
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Studio Lagree was the first of its kind in the city. Body R+D in Lakeview began offering Lagree workouts in 2012 and continues to do so.
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