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7 fitness options that will really make you sweat

Stephanie Passoff Lakeview carries kettle bell during workout CrossFit Chicago Friday Aug. 13 2013.  | J.Geil/for Sun-Times Media

Stephanie Passoff of Lakeview carries a kettle bell during a workout at CrossFit Chicago, Friday, Aug. 13, 2013. | J.Geil/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 6, 2013 6:10AM



We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the facts are hard to ignore: The days are getting shorter and the weather cooler, which means those wonderful outdoor workouts you’ve been enjoying all summer long are about to end.

These days, though, exercising indoors doesn’t have to be a boring endeavor. Rather, there are plenty of innovative classes and programs around town that get results and — dare we say — are fun, too. Here, a few of our favorites:

CrossFit Chicago

With some 6,000 affiliated gyms around the country, this intense mix of aerobics, body-weight exercise and even some Olympic weight-lifting that eschews typical machines and cardio equipment has a passionate fan base. While most crossfit gyms are bare bones, this Lincoln Park location includes some frills, like men’s and women’s locker rooms and a lounge area. But don’t associate those niceties with a laid-back workout; expect the same level of sweating and grunting that’s typical of this varied program. 1444 W. Willow, crossfitchicago.com

Formula 94 at Fitness Formula Clubs (FFC)

Heated workout studios are nothing new, but this Chicago gym takes it a step further with this popular class offered at three of its nine locations. A blend of yoga, Pilates and sculpting with light hand weights — think 2½ to 7½ pounds — done in a room heated to 94 degrees, the 45-minute, non-stop movement class is a total, fat-torching body conditioning workout. $20 for a gym day pass; 10 S. Clinton, 1030 N. Clark, 939 W. North, ffc.com

Stacked at Equinox Fitness Clubs

This upscale gym is known for pushing the creativity factor when it comes to its group classes. And Stacked, one of its newest offerings, is no different. Offered at three of its four clubs, the 45-minute HIIT class — that’s high-intensity interval training to the uninitiated — uses Neoprene sand-filled weights (SandBells) and involves six targeted movements in intervals of 30 seconds. Your recovery stretch won’t come soon enough. $50 for a gym day pass; 900 N. Michigan, 1750 N. Clark, 200 W. Monroe, equinox.com

The Mercury Method

For proof the seven classes at this Wicker Park studio are the real deal, you don’t have to look much further than its founder, Lara Hudson, a fitness expert with a background in competitive gymnastics, yoga, dance and trapeze. The 60-minute workouts, ranging from Strength and Control to Stamina, are all performed in a room heated to 98.6 degrees and are designed to be challenging on a variety of levels. In other words: Its motto, “hottest workout on Earth,” isn’t just referring to the heat. $17; 1444 N. Milwaukee, themercurymethod.com

The Dailey Method

When it comes to perfect posture, a sculptured core and lean muscles ballet dancers have it going on. So it makes sense then that this barre-inspired routine will make you stronger and slimmer. With an emphasis on spine-neutral exercises, the Dailey Method is a good option for those with back issues, too. The one-hour workout features focused movements both on and off the barre, along with a series of active stretches. Its Northbrook location also features hybrid barre-cycling sessions. No tutu required. $23; 1714 N. Damen, 2301 N. Clark St, 949 Willow, Northbrook, thedaileymethod.com

Flywheel

Competitive types have a friend in this indoor cycling experience, which features a large-screen display that flashes stats for those who opt in. Bragging-rights aside, this 45-60 minute spinning class is an extreme workout with plenty of climbs and descents on the high-tech bikes. Arms get a workout, too, with weighted bars. The carefully curated music selection keeps the motivation going. Pedal to the metal, indeed. $25; 710 N. State, 600 Central, Highland Park, flywheelsports.com

Shred415

Since opening more than two years ago, this workout has quickly earned a loyal following of devotees who can’t get enough of its treadmill and strength training combination. With short intervals of sprints and inclines on the treadmill coupled with exercises with weights, this fast-paced 60-minute class is not for the occasional exerciser — but the results are so worth the effort. $24; 2156 N. Clybourn, 230 W. Division, 300 S. Happ, Winnekta, shred415.com



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