Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Today's gym profile is all about CrossTown Fitness—the no-bells, no-whistles, all high-intensity-training hub in the West Loop. (Okay, so there are a few fancy perks. But we'll get to that later.) Owner Charlie Graff filled us in on the gym's workouts, tips for CrossTown newbies, and more—including where to grab a quick paleo snack.
How do you know when a gym is right for you?
Most people shop for their club on the web first. Comb through the club's website, read online reviews, and do some background research. Treat the process like an interview—or dating! Then hit the phone, call two to three of your top prospects, and inquire further about the programs, demographics, and fitness level of the clientele. Finally, get physical. Try two to three clubs out with a trial pass or new-client offer. By the end, the decision will be clear.
What does CrossTown Fitness offer that's totally unique in Chicago?
Not only are we offering one of the best 50-minute, total-body workouts in Chicago, we also have great partnerships throughout the city that are included with our memberships. Perks include kayaking the Chicago River, stand-up paddle boarding, and Centered-Chef cooking classes and programs. There's also a CrossTown Fitness referral program. Refer a friend who buys a monthly unlimited package, and you get a free month if you're enrolled in the same program.
Walk us through a typical workout at CrossTown Fitness.
We offer unique, scalable, balanced, and motivating total-body workouts every time you walk through the door. Through a variety of drills that incorporate cardiovascular endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, and balance.
Sounds intense! How long will it take to see results?
Our clients are coming to the gym four times a week on average. The first class is the hardest, but once you break through that you can expect to see and feel results within the first 30 days. CrossTown Fitness [regulars] will see overall improved strength, flexibility, and weight loss along with more energy and confidence—and less stress.
What kinds of exercises would you recommend mixing up with your classes?
Because of the way our classes are designed, CrossTown Fitness members can participate five to six times a week if they choose. But a well balanced fitness regime is important for anyone, and mixing it up is key. I would recommend mixing in outdoor activities, along with yoga.
How would you describe the CrossTown community?
Approachable, relatable, and successful! I mean successful in the sense that clients set goals and resolutions, and have the motivation and fortitude to reach them.
What are some of CrossTown's amenities?
We offer The Daily Feed, a cafe that's open to the public and provides fresh daily grab-and-go food items. The cafe serves paleo, gluten-free, vegan, and pasture-raised chef-prepared dishes along with shakes, smoothies and espresso. We also offer childcare, private locker rooms, showers, and personal training,
What would you say to workout newbies who are timid to try a new gym?
Everyone is new and has their first visit at some point. Ask as many questions as you want over the phone or stop by the facility to see the club in action. This will help put your nerves at ease. It's the staff and club's job to make you feel comfortable. You should also bring a friend with you; it's great for accountability.
Finally, how do people get started? What are your rates, can they sample a class, and where do they sign up?
New clients can join online at or stop by the facility seven days a week for a tour. We offer all types of membership packages and programs from unlimited monthly passes to our Wedding Panic package. New clients can take advantage of one of these offers: three Visits in one week for $30, or a 30-day club pass for $80. We also offer punch cards, and monthly unlimited memberships as low as $150 a month.
· CrossTown Fitness [Official Site]
· Fitness Week
2014 coverage [Racked Chicago]