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How to Sweat, Stretch, and Breathe During Social Isolation

Our regularly updated guide to Chicago-based (but available anywhere) workouts, meditation sessions, and more.

Photo: Pgiam / iStock

In an uncertain time, physical and mental well-being are more critical than ever — but because of social distancing and bans of large gatherings, most of the city’s studios, gyms, and wellness centers are now shuttered.

But while working out or meditating with a group IRL is nice, it’s not essential for strengthening muscles, cranking up your heart rate, or zoning out. A growing list of the city’s facilities and trainers have gotten creative, offering virtual sessions via Zoom, Instagram Live, and other services. Some charge up front while others are free (though most will accept donations or payments; many of their profiles include a Venmo link).

Know of a workout or related offering that isn’t listed? Email us.

Cardio, strength, and combination workouts

Get stronger with or without equipment using virtual sessions from LIFT Chicago. $99 gets you a 30-day, progressively more challenging LIFT at Home programs delivered directly to your mobile device, while live Zoom classes offer various strength and conditioning options.

Brooklyn Boulders offers daily virtual workout classes and workshops, including body-weight, strength, and yoga workouts; game nights; and movie screenings. Check out the schedule online.

Andersonville’s Gus Giordano Dance School is offering free live online classes for the next two weeks on Facebook.

Life Time Fitness is offering ”Classes on Demand”; members and non-members alike can stream cardio, strength, and yoga classes for free.

Men’s Health once named him a Top Trainer — now, you can do free 30-minute bodyweight workouts with Riptensity and Shadowbox Chicago’s Gideon Akande at 5 p.m. daily on Instagram Live.

Kelly Amshoff teaches at Flywheel, Shred415, and Fitness Formula Clubs; she’s currently offering free HIIT (high-intensity interval training) classes at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday via Instagram Live, and a KidsFit class at 10 a.m. Fridays.

Wellness media company aSweatLife.com is offering #BetterWithFriends workouts on Facebook Live, including cardio, strength, and sound bath meditations. More details, and other online workout ideas, here.

Martial arts specialist Jason Bender has a free workout available on Facebook, then $5 classes at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily via Zoom. Message him on Instagram or Facebook, or text 773-655-6305 to join.

CrossFit Notorious offers home workout videos with a bonus: Each athlete is assigned a coach to replicate that “in-class” feeling. The only equipment you’ll need is a backpack. Email info@crossfitnotorious.com for details.

CrossTown Fitness has a daily workout challenge at 8 a.m. and an at-home workout at 10 a.m. on Instagram, and also offers an archive of quick-yet-effective CTF On the Move Workouts on YouTube (free), and additional workouts on Instagram.

River North–based Ethos Training Systems offers free classes via Instagram Live, as well a virtual training program with mobility training, home-gym workouts, and more through a platform called TrainHeroic (free for members with a two-week trial for others; email info@ethostrainingchi.com for details).

Trainer Sara Elizabeth Farias of SaraTonin’ is offering free, 45-minute at-home HIIT classes on Instagram Live using equipment you’re likely to have around the house (including toilet-paper rolls).

Fitness Formula Chicago is offering several free, live workouts daily — including yoga, chisel, and core — on Facebook Live.

Take Groove with Zoom classes from onetime Beyonce backup dancer Ashley Rockwood and her team at Free Mvmt Shop ($10 single classes or $45 unlimited classes).

Owner and trainer Tami Haukedahl — a retired commander with the Illinois State Police — of Rolling Meadows–based Hauk Fitness posts free bodyweight workouts at 7 a.m. each morning on Facebook Live (and if you message her, she’ll send you more options via YouTube).

Fitness equals activism for Tanya Lozano, the founder of Pilsen-based Healthy Hood. Her instructors have taken to Instagram Live to offer classes like Beginner Salsa (6 p.m. Thursdays), Cardio Latino (7:30 p.m. Fridays), and Soul Flow (5 p.m. Sundays). Free, but donations accepted.

November Project Chicago usually meets Wednesdays at 6:18 a.m. and Friday mornings at 6 for a free group sweat session. Now, they’re gathering on Zoom instead (complete with a post-workout coffee klatch).

Athletes of all levels — including the Chicago Red Stars — train with Emily Hutchins and her crew at On Your Mark’s West Loop and West Side locations. Now, OYM trainers are posting daily workouts on Instagram and via Zoom; check the schedule (and register) here.

Train Moment is releasing free daily workouts at 6 a.m. on Instagram Live; each is 45 to 50 minutes of strength and conditioning, requires no equipment, and includes optional modifications to make it more or less challenging.

Chris Mosier is a pro Nike athlete, hall of fame triathlete, All-American duathlete — and most recently, an Olympic Trials–qualifying racewalker, as well as a coach at EDGE Athlete Lounge. He’s posting a daily 20-minute no-equipment-needed NoCoronaVirus Work(out) from Home challenge (free).

Rae Reichlin of Ladies Who Lift offers free workouts on her Instagram feed and online. Group or custom personal training available for a monthly fee (from $45).

Runaway Fitness is best known for killer treadmill classes, but with the Streeterville studio closed, they’re posting several daily bodyweight and Pilates workouts via Instagram Live, with rotating instructors.

Instructors from HIIT, cycling, and yoga hotspot Studio Three will teach on Instagram Live at 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily, with a 12:30 p.m. Lunch Crunch Meditation & Q&A (free).

Stuntwoman and all-around badass April Sutton is hosting free, live at-home workouts on Facebook and Instagram. Check the schedule — and equipment required — here.

Ultifit has three area locations — Ravenswood Manor, Naperville, and Libertyville — and until doors open again, they’re delivering free, daily HIIT workouts on Instagram and Facebook.

Snag a new circuit, cardio, or stretch session each day on the Urban Athlete YouTube channel (free).

Personal trainer and former soccer player Dannah Bollig — and her business partner/husband/former Blackhawks player Brandon — have free resistance-band workouts on Instagram. They’re also selling the bands themselves on their site, Dannah Eve, and will soon launch a subscription service with more options.

Studios Fuse on Halsted — the brainchild of Chicago trainer Andrea Metcalf blending surf, yoga, barre and reformer Pilates — offers free daily fitness classes at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., as well as nutrition education and social virtual meetups.

Family-friendly workouts

While on hiatus from its programs in Chicago Public Schools, nonprofit Chicago Run is posting at-home fitness activities on Instagram at @chicagorun.

Hi-Five Sports Zone Northbrook Court is posting regular Facebook Live sports drills you can do with your kids.

Total Sona Fitness already specialized in online and in-home training in Chicago and the North Shore suburbs. Now, they’re offering live online kid classes, along with remote personal training and live classes for grown-ups; a portion of proceeds from personal training packages will be donated to The Ounce of Prevention Fund, to help with emergency supplies for Chicago families. Book here.

Becca Faira, a trainer and group fitness instructor at FFC, is listing daily 30- to 45-minute classes on Instagram Live, then archiving on IGTV (suggested donation of $5 to $10).

Head back to gym class with Rachel Jablow of Get Roped. She’s doing free daily 10-minute home jumping sessions on Instagram Live, weekdays at 5 p.m.

Join RxBar daily on Instagram Live on weekdays for #RXercise: 8 a.m. Yoga and Sculpt with Candace Ramos; noon HIIT with Anthony McClaim; and 5 p.m. full body with Gideon Akande.

Pilates-based studio Solidcore provides home core workouts on YouTube.

Trainer Sue Wen pumps you up with 30-minute strength-training sessions at noon daily on Instagram Live (free).

The Xponential Fitness family of brands – CycleBar, Club Pilates, Pure Barre, Row House, StretchLab, and YogaSix, all with area locations—each have daily remote workouts on Facebook Live.

Yoga and Pilates classes

Online offerings from Bloom Yoga include yoga and meditation, kids classes, and mom-and-baby sessions. Single classes $9, 10-pack for $60, or $39/monthly.

Rogers Park-based Centered Studios is offering yoga classes via Zoom; register on MindBody and receive a link 15 minutes beforehand.

Ab & Flow is offering Pilates mat classes through Zoom — check their Instagram for updated schedules ($15 for 50-minute sessions).

Frog Temple Pilates hosts a daily mat session at 5 p.m. weekdays on Instagram and Facebook Live.

Ganesha Yoga is streaming more than 20 classes per week — everything from Yoga Basics to Queer/Trans Yoga — then loading them into an always-accessible video library ($60/month).

Trainer, marathoner, and aerialist Cicely Green is teaching virtual Pilates; email cngreen11@gmail.com or direct message on Instagram for rates and details.

Katy Hanlon of Sprinkle Cheer offers virtual classes (starting at $15) as well as free mini-flows on Instagram

Logan Square’s Tula Yoga is also virtual only (single class $22; packages and memberships also available).

In real life you’d find her at Bare Feet Power Yoga, The Space Between, or Lululemon, among other studios; on Instagram, Maggie Umberger offers soothing words and 20- to 60-minute flows (she also takes requests).

Physical therapist and yoga instructor Andrea Bunch of Vital Body Yoga offers breathing exercises and yoga series — including seated options — on YouTube.

Yoga by Degrees is offering free virtual classes; view the schedule here and register at least one hour in advance (they’re all listed under the Elmhurst location).

Meditation and other health sessions

Chill Chicago hosts free live meditations on Instagram at 9 a.m. and noon daily, Monday through Friday, along with free access to a new app, Chill Anywhere. Longer online classes are $22 each with packages and monthly memberships available.

Chicago-based digital emotional wellness brand Get Your Feelz On (GYFO) is offering its daily programming — including meditations, mantras, breathing exercises, and other tools — for free throughout the pandemic.

Intuitive coach and reiki healer Terry Opalek & Michael Frontier offer community, connection, and meditation at live 20- to 30- minute centering workshops at 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays.

Chill Chicago hosts live meditations on Instagram at 9 a.m. and noon daily, Monday through Friday (free).

Dietitian and TV host Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D.N., hosts a daily Pantry Party at noon on Instagram Live, where she helps a guest brainstorm a fun, nutritious meal with ingredients they have on hand.

Live Better Co. cofounders, trainers, and coaches Jason Loebig and Bret Gornik will offer reflection meditations, book suggestions, mindset workshops, and more on Instagram Live (see this week’s schedule here). They’re even offering a two-day virtual wellness retreat April 4 and 5, complete with workouts, yoga flows, mindset workshops, and a DJ happy hour. From $100/day; get 25 percent off with the code LIVEBETTER25.

Optimal Performance is offering telehealth appointments that include range of motion assessments, corrective exercises, nutritional coaching, and supplement guidance; email jesi@opmovement or call 312-810-0886 for details.

Mar Soraparu — a life coach, yoga instructor, and chief wellness officer at Bian, a private wellness club opening this fall — offers virtual coaching sessions to individuals or couples. $55 for 30 minutes and $110 for 60; schedule here.

Running

Run with a coach and teammates — from a safe distance — using the Charge Running app, founded by Tinley Park’s Matthew and Julie Knippen. Access live running classes, virtual races, group chats with trainers, and more. Seven-day free trial, then subscriptions from $9.99 per month.

The Chicago Area Runners Association has a sequel to its popular Social Distance Run: Run Solo, a virtual run dedicated to practicing safe striding. Register and choose a shirt at SocialDistanceRun.com though April 15, then submit your results through April 19. $25.

Fleet Feet Chicago is offering four free weeks of workouts usually only available to the Fleet Feet x New Balance Racing Team for free. Sign up through TrainingPeaks. (The stores are also offering virtual shoe fittings, curbside pick-up, and same-day home delivery on online purchases.)

If you have access to a treadmill, the RunBetter app — created by Chicago coaches and entrepreneurs — offers the chance to run famous race courses like the Boston and New York marathons anywhere. Subscriptions are $4.99 a month, but there’s always a free course to try before buying; currently, it’s the run portion of the St. George Triathlon in Utah.

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