The first time I attended CrossTown Fitness was back in March as part of my NTC Resolution Crew. I loved the atmosphere! The music was pumping (with live music by DJ Sye Young - not that last time I saw him at CTF!), which started everyone off with lots of energy. The exposed brick and turf give CTF an urban feel that makes you want to work and sweat. They had tons of equipment from treadmills to large medicine balls to lots of free weights. They gave us a free pass to come back for the rest of the week, and by the end of that week I was hooked. I bought a Living Social deal for an unlimited month and have been back to visit even after my month was up!
Every workout at CrossTown is totally different. It's based on high intensity interval training (HIIT) but the number of stations, the time at each circuit and of course the exercises vary widely. I've done classes where the time at each circuit decreased then increased (60 sec-45 sec-30 sec-45 sec-60 sec...that last round was TOUGH!), I've had ladders where you went down a list of exercises, did a block run, then went back up the same exercises, and I've done more traditional circuits where you go through 3 or 4 times with tabatas in between and then change to a new set of exercises. I like that the treadmill is often incorporated into the circuits since I am not a great runner and it gives me short intervals to train and get better.
Since all of the classes are different, some are definitely much harder than others, but they're all very scalable. There is lots of variety by trainer too. Kailee has tons of pep and keeps the energy really high the whole class. Betina's classes have lots of variety and push you to work hard. Andrea is tough and pushes you beyond what you thought you could handle. Mike really focuses on technique (he seriously improved my deadlift game after a full hour of deadlifting during a Strength class). And Dawn is the nicest person ever...but her workouts will still kick your butt.
At my most recent class, Kailee was subbing for Betina and had me laughing the whole class. She is so much fun and keeps you smiling, even when you're working your hardest. And man, was I working my hardest! We had 6 stations with 2 exercises each. We spent 6 minutes at each station, cycling through 12 rep sets of each exercises. Yes, we were moving CONSTANTLY! And the exercises weren't easy - there were burpees, sumos on the bench, push-ups, kettlebell swings, etc. Plus one of the stations was the treadmill where we increased the incline 2% for every 0.1 miles we ran. Talk about exhausting! All of the members at CTF are pure motivation - they work their butts off. When I got to the burpee station, one of the girls who'd just completed it told her friend in my group that she did 58 burpees (sets of 12 burpees with 12 toe touch crunches between each set). When I got around to my last round she had set a goal in my mind that pushed me to finish instead of giving up. I love that! It was an all around awesome workout that left my adrenaline high!
Bonus: I can stop at Mariano's nearby on Halstead on the way home!
Trainers I've Tried: Kailee Martin, Betina Gozo, Andrea Hassberger, Michael Mendoza, Dawn Guliuzza
Class: Total Body
Where: 1037 West Madison Ave, Chicago, IL 60607
Price: Unlimited $150-180/mo, punch cards/drop-in $18.25-25/class (or $30 for three visits in your first week)