DHF Lakeview is what I refer to as my Saturday gym. Meaning unless I'm out of town, I look forward to going there every Saturday. Why? Well it doesn't hurt that it's super close to my house...but the real reason is that I love the classes!
DHF stands for Dan Hicks Fitness. Dan is the owner and teaches all of the group fitness classes. He is one of the most outgoing trainers I've ever worked with. In just a few training sessions, he felt like an old friend who I want to go back and train with every week. His classes are really small - I've never been there with more than 4 people in a class - so it feels very personal which is a unique change from so many gyms in Chicago. He also has some great regulars who I see every week and have enjoyed getting to know.
The classes are interval training with multiple stations, similar to many other gyms in Chicago. Because the class is so small, Dan modifies the class each day depending on what works best for the folks in the class. Often times he'll ask me what I focused on the day before and give those muscles a break (which I was so grateful for after one tough Friday arm day!). He has tons of unique fitness devices that I haven't seen at other gyms including the Surge360 (which Dan is on above), the Step360, and the Total Gym GTS. He balances those with lots of familiar equipment like free weights (dumbells and kettlebells), TRX, steps, ropes and gliders. He also uses some traditional gym equipment (like an adjustable cable crossover machine) in unique ways that I've never seen before.
The class itself is non-stop. Dan doesn't give you any time to get bored with exercises. You typically are on each exercise for 30 sec to a minute and instead of repeating it over and over he chooses another exercise that works the same muscles for the next round. He has tons of variety in the class and I've done everything from box jumps and medicine balls slams, to TRX rows and kickboxing drills (with gloves). It really keeps you on your toes!
The aspect of Dan's class that I find most unique and awesome is the directed stretching, both at the beginning and end of class. So many trainers start class off with a cardio warm-up and at the end either just tell you to stretch or quickly walk through some basic stretches. Dan really takes the time to help you learn how to stretch right. I've heard for years how great foam rollers are, but never really knew how to use them beyond the most basic rolling along my back and legs. Dan walks you through how to maximize using the foam roller, which helps with some of those hard to stretch muscles like the IT-band. He'll also walk through how to stretch on the ground, with the TRX, or on a table. I've never been to another trainer who paid this much attention to stretching but I think it's really great!
Bonus: his girlfriend, Val (who is super nice) teaches yoga a couple days a week at the studio as well!
Trainer: Dan Hicks
Class: Group Training
Where: 644 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613
Price: $25 drop in, $200 for 10 classes (your first class is free!)