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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, June 16

Gapers Block

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steven / April 8, 2008 8:54 AM

Yes, Fitness Formula Clubs, East Lakeview. 2 blocks away. I try to go 2-3x per week, but lately I've been a bit lax. I figure the packing and cleaning I'm doing in preparation for the May move is exercise enough. At least I hope.

jennifer / April 8, 2008 9:35 AM

Yes, Cardinal Fitness. I haven't gone since November, and need to just cancel my membership. It's hard to get up the gumption to go because it's a drive from my house, or a really long walk from my work.

I need a gym that is 2 blocks from either home or work or I will never, ever go.

R / April 8, 2008 9:54 AM

I go to Cheetah right now, and attend 3-5x/week.

anne / April 8, 2008 11:03 AM

Yup. Cheetah. I go 5 times a week, first thing in the morning.

Macca / April 8, 2008 11:19 AM

Bally's, three times a week.

And yup, Jennifer, picking a gym close by where you work (preferably) or home is the key. Work is better (to me) because I can go on my lunch hour. If I have to wait until I get off work to go (too tired), or have to get up super-early before work (again too tired), chances are I will blow it off quite a few times.

one of those olgas / April 8, 2008 11:45 AM

I go to David Barton Gym several times a week and have found most people pretty friendly and polite. To me it feels much less like a meat market than XSport, my former gym. The trainers are great. My only complaint is that it's been getting a little crowded.

I read Bora Un's piece yesterday and found it distasteful -full of anger bordering on hate. I kept thinking about it and felt disturbed by it all day.

fluffy / April 8, 2008 11:46 AM

I belong to a gym and work out 3-4x a week. It really helped to go this past winter.

printdude / April 8, 2008 11:49 AM


or At least MY sort of gym

jen / April 8, 2008 1:02 PM

one of those olgas -- i agree. it was like something i would've thought in middle school. i would expect a piece like that on chicagoist, not gb.. =/

i am currently between gyms. signed up for the xsport opening sometime soon (maybe?) in logan square, but in the meantime got mail from bally's offering me $9/month or $90 for a year plus three free months. so tempting.
but then again, i did get my bike out this weekend, so there's also that to help me get rid of the ol' winter belly.

Samantha / April 8, 2008 1:05 PM

Yep. YMCA Irving Park. It's super friendly and refreshingly free of pretension after I got totally FUCKED by Cheetah last year. I go 3x times a week when I'm in town, and work out for free at the Y in whatever city I travel to lately.

Josh / April 8, 2008 1:12 PM

Bally's. I only seem to take advantage semimonthly for the steam bath. A steam bath feels like being re-born every time.

Leelah / April 8, 2008 1:15 PM

Bally's has been my gym for years, so it's pretty cheap now. I go a lot more in winter than spring. Since I decided to train for the marathon, I've been running outside more, so I'm only there about twice a week.

Mindy / April 8, 2008 1:19 PM

I don't belong to a gym. I can't bring myself to pay a monthly fee for something I can do for free. Also, I ride my bike all year, so that cuts down on my need for a gym as well.

JasonB / April 8, 2008 1:24 PM

We have a gym in my building. Condo fee includes membership.

I pass by it every day.

Hookah / April 8, 2008 1:30 PM


Unless you have complete set of weights at home, that's the advantage of going to a gym. It's that combination of weight training and cardio/aerobics (like bike riding) that makes the complete package of exercise.

annie / April 8, 2008 1:32 PM

I belong to Executive Sports and Fitness and was going about 4 times a week and in the last 3 it's been about 2 times a week. I prefer going in the morning b/c it's less crowded but I guess there is another gym in this building that is being remodeled and all of those people are able to go to my gym and it's getting harder and harded to get on a machine. I hate that. The machines are all I use although they offer classes with the membership fee, I'm too afraid to go to one b/c I'm a huge clutz and I imagine I'd be knocking people over and/or breaking an ankle on the step thingys. But I feel horrible b/c it is pretty expensive and I hate to think I'm wasting money on it. This might be good inspiration....writing about it.

JasonB / April 8, 2008 2:02 PM

Excercise is excercise, whether it be done at a gym or not.

Nothing against those that choose to pay for access to weights and machinery; but, an equally effective regimen can be achieved in the comfort of your own home. You're just paying for convenience, and a few extra perks.

spence / April 8, 2008 2:03 PM

I'm employed at a university and take advantage of the gym in the winter. I use it for running & swimming, I'm not much one for weights. I'm just happy it's spring and I can run outside. I was starting to feel like a hamster.

Mindy / April 8, 2008 3:18 PM


My weight training is done at work, where I lift 11 lb bars of chocolate, 30 pound wedding cakes and 50 pound bags of flour and sugar, which is enough to keep my muscles toned and firm.

Hookah / April 8, 2008 4:03 PM


well... you didn't mention that before, but that would definitely qualify as weight training!

Mindy / April 8, 2008 6:15 PM

it sure does, Hookah, it sure does.

Steven / April 8, 2008 10:02 PM

Gym in the building. Complete set of free weights. Latest cycles and stairmaster things. And that pulley system stuff. Very well maintained and never a line. Oh and one of those big balls. Floor to ceiling windows facing Hollywood Beach. I think about using it about every other day. But really, isn't using CTA exercise enough?

Jared / April 8, 2008 11:56 PM

Jason- Not really. I mean, any exercise is better than none, but if you have set serious goals for yourself in terms of strength and overall fitness a gym is almost mandatory. Sure I COULD buy 600 lbs of free weights, plus benches, assorted bars and the like. It STILL wouldn't give me the well rounded, diverse workouts I get at my gym. Plus I don't want all that stuff cluttering up my apartment, nor would I want to have to drag it out and put it back after every use. Anyway, I use Crunch on Orleans 3 to 5 times a week. They have a fair range of equipment, plus it's rarely very busy. There's also a refreshing absence of the preening, strutting types that infest most other gyms I've used.

Samantha / April 9, 2008 12:11 AM

Yeah, I agree that a gym membership is more than just convenience and a few perks. Riding a bike does count as excercise, but there are serious impediments to me using that as a stable form of working out. There's weather, a lack of hills, chance of getting hit by a car, etc, etc. Plus there's no way I could fit all the equipment I use in my studio. And the $45/month I pay for my membership would never cover the cost of purchasing said equipment + bigger place to keep it.

Plus isn't there something nice about leaving your house, being around other people? Oh yeah, I guess we covered that -- depends on if you hate your fellow gym-goers. I happen to like the old people at the Y.

Dutch101 / April 9, 2008 5:21 AM

I go to Cheetah, usually 3-6 times a week. I used to go to the Y that is behind that Whole Foods off of Lincoln, and that was great. Mostly poor younger folk like me, or old dudes.
Cheetah is OK, very nice staff and good facility, though their management and thus future is somewhat questionable.

That piece about the gym is pretty depressing. That person has some issues.

John Boy / April 9, 2008 6:09 AM

My version of the "Looking Better Naked" story:

I got up. Then I went to lift.

The End.

katie / April 9, 2008 8:46 AM

I used to go to the Lakeview Y - very low-key, normal people, but they took out a lot of the weight machines to put in more treadmills. I like to pretend that was the reason I stopped going.

And yeah, that Look Better Naked article... no thanks. Marks off for excessive use of 'cute', two misuses of 'peak' and general inanity.

Spook / April 9, 2008 9:19 AM

Chicago Park District wieght room. I go four days a week. These days I'm mostly lifting by myself because the Park District keeps raising its fees. I use to reall enjoy working out with folks from the community.

Hop / April 9, 2008 10:13 AM

I use the Women's Workout World on LaSalle. It's women's only and about $22 a month with no money down. If you're going to the gym to people watch, this place can be pretty amazing but it's completely unpretentious.

I go during lunch 4 days a week and then do yoga/pilates on the off days. I also bike to work weather permitting.

Jill / April 9, 2008 10:14 AM

A friend gave me a 60-day membership at POW for Christmas, which I just finished. POW is hard-core martial arts, which I had about zero interest in. However, I went 3x/week to boxing and yoga blend classes (the "blend" stands for "jump rope"), got in MUCH better shape and finally got over one of my weight loss plateaus.

The Boy and I also belong to the Lakeview YMCA, which we got so he could learn to swim. Now that I'm done at POW, I'll be headed there a few times a week for their classes and to keep up my new boxing skills.

We'll have to see how it goes in the summer because I like to bike and run outside--hopefully the gym membership won't go to waste.

kelly / April 9, 2008 10:33 AM

YMCA to swim laps 3-4x a week. It's about a block from home. And no one dresses up to work out.

In the summertime I swim @ the outdoor community pool in my burb.

eric / April 9, 2008 11:28 AM

I used to think I was better than the hamster wheel runners in the gym. I could get all the exercise I needed from playing sports, and that was better because there's the thrill of a game that accompanies the exertion. But now that I don't have time to commit to a sports team, I've really come to love being that hamster wheel runner, weight lifter, yoga class goer, etc.

What going to the gym does for me is it temporarily turns off the voice in my head, the one that says, "Why haven't you made more of your life, what's wrong with you, you're not good enough, blah-de-blah-blah-blah."

Janaynay / April 9, 2008 12:08 PM

Yep, Bally's. I try to go 4 times a week, but it usually ends up being 2-3. I also do workout DVDs at home on occasion. Those Biggest Loser ones (the latest batch) are actually challenging, despite what you may think.

irisheyes1212 / April 9, 2008 12:59 PM

I go to the XSport on Elston...when I go. I really hate working out, as much as I need to do it. I am ucomfortable and feel like everyone is looking even though of course, they are not. Bah. I need to get back. Monday.

Eric G / April 9, 2008 1:56 PM

I'm just glad that Hookah and Mindy are getting along now.

Eric G / April 9, 2008 1:57 PM

Oh yeah, um...YMCA 3 x week.

loadzone / April 9, 2008 2:00 PM

Irving Park YMCA is where I go. It's low key and you can do your own thing without getting annoyed by congestion and trainers (Reasons I disliked Xsport) ...I stay away from peak periods and get there early in the morning before work; so my experience is probably different from everyone else.

Being able to use Y's across the country is a nice perk.

My office building has a gym, but I equate all activities in the building to work; so it would feel like work if I signed up. Does that make sense?

Hookah / April 9, 2008 2:06 PM

The wedding is next month Eric G, and you're invited! Bring gifts...

HamsterWheelEric / April 9, 2008 2:44 PM

irisheyes1212, at the risk of sounding like a creep, I have to admit that I am constantly looking without staring at people at the gym. People's bodies are so damned interesting. I am committed to not judging because it takes courage to get into the gym; we are ALL caught up in looking good or avoiding looking bad. In few places more is this more apparent than at the gym.

Mindy / April 9, 2008 2:47 PM

I've got the cake covered!

Mimi / April 9, 2008 3:02 PM

I'm a member of DePaul's gym. I go 2-3 times per week. I get the alumni rate, so it's inexpensive.

Hookah / April 9, 2008 3:12 PM


Although I DO judge when I see Big SuperStrong Guy in the gym grunting and screaming while wearing the tightest workout clothes possible. Look, pal, I know you've worked on your glutes and your quads and your tris and your whatevers until they're at the peak of their development, but I KNOW you can find some shorts that aren't form-fitting and just barely cover your butt cheeks and then plot your sweaty derriere on the bench that I want to use next. What's up with that?

Oh, and Mindy, did you decided on a China pattern yet?

HamsterWheelEric / April 9, 2008 3:19 PM

Yeah, Big SuperStrongGuy is obsessed with looking good, so much so that he looks ridiculous to us. I may be committed to not judging, but yeah, I judge, too. It's human.

Kevin / April 9, 2008 3:20 PM

I ride my bike to work every day, and do Bikram Yoga three times a week. My wife commented that I'm looking pretty good right now the other day, so it must be working.

skee bop / April 9, 2008 3:22 PM

I do pilates at this place on Belmont near Damen. It's pretty low key, and I've been going about twice a week for about a year.

However, I just moved to Lincoln Square/Ravenswood and it's not too convenient anymore. Does anyone know of a good gym near Montrose/Damen?

Janaynay / April 9, 2008 3:41 PM

Curves is at Montrose and Lincoln...if you're a girl.

Mimi / April 9, 2008 4:22 PM

Yes, I would love it if a non-Curves, non-Women's Workout World gym opened in Lincoln Square. God, I thought I'd never say such a thing...

Mindy / April 9, 2008 4:50 PM

I realize this could be a deal-breaker, Hookah, but I picked it out the china in the club level gift shop at sox park on Monday.

Hookah / April 9, 2008 5:28 PM


WOO HOO!! I was hoping for a Sox-themed wedding!! Harold Baines is going to be my best man and Ozzie's going to sing "Oh Promise Me..."

Mindy / April 9, 2008 6:21 PM

haha...that'll be beautiful ;)

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