8 Awesome Chicago Lunchtime Workouts

Between your job and personal obligations, squeezing in a workout can almost be as challenging as the actual sweat session — but don't throw in the gym towel just yet. There's a small window of time that occurs smack dab in the middle of your day that's perfect for a calorie burn: your lunch hour. But because we know you're busy, we've rounded up eight awesome classes that are guaranteed to make you feel a heck of a lot better than a burger and fries. Not only are you relieving some of that icky workday stress, you're getting fit and toned in the process. So, enough with the excuses. Pack that gym bag (and that healthy lunch) and get moving.
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Photo: Courtesy of AIR Ariel Fitness.
AIR Ariel Fitness
If you’re looking for that new routine to banish workout boredom, this is it. New to the Chicago fitness scene, AAF incorporates Cirque Du Soleil-type moves and an airy hammock (seriously!) to lengthen, strengthen, and tone your physique. Still need convincing? Claire Danes is a fan, and we all know how rockin’ her body is.

The Class: AIR Foundation
Time: 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday
What: A must for anyone new to this type of workout before graduating to the regular AIR class, which is also offered at the same time slot. You’ll learn the basics for balancing on the nifty hammock, body alignment, and aerial exercises 101. This just may be one of the coolest ways to spend your lunch break.
Cost: $30 for a drop-in class, or $100 for a month of unlimited classes for new clients. Additional packages available online. AIR Ariel Fitness, 2217 North Clybourn Avenue (between Webster and Greenview avenues); 980-219-8425.
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Photo: Courtesy of Bar Method.
The Bar Method
If your joints aren’t forgiving when it comes to high-impact workouts like running, The Bar Method uses the interval method (short bursts of high-energy activity followed by less-intense movement) for getting down to business. Even though you’ll be sweating up a storm, the exercises are low-impact, so you’ll be able to workout longer from both a short and long term perspective — lucky you!

The Class: Mixed
Time: 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday
What: This class welcomes all levels, so it’s just a matter of how hard you want to push yourself that will determine your results. Bonus? You can bring your pal who may not be as advanced as you — or vice versa.
Cost: $25 a class. There’s also a new client special: $100 for an entire month, or $175 for return clients.

The Bar Method, 180 North Wacker Drive (between Adams and Lake streets); 312-332-9150.
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Photo: Courtesy of Barre Bee Fit.
Barre Bee Fit
Think BBF is just about bar classes? Think again! We’ve got a sweat-busting reason for you to visit the new Michigan Avenue studio.

The Class: Barre Brawl
Time: 11:15 a.m. on Monday
What: We have nothing against the power of the plié squat, but this class is the perfect remedy to banish eating (and drinking) regret from the weekend. A combination of cardio kickboxing and strength work, Barre Brawl was recognized by Self magazine as one of the top workouts in the nation — so, why wouldn’t you try it?
Cost: $8 for your first class, $18 for a drop-in. Packs of five and 12 are sold for $80 and $180 respectively. Become a monthly member for just $90 ($80 for your first month), which grants you unlimited classes at all four studio locations.

Barre Bee Fit, 324 North Michigan (between Wacker Place and Macchesneyer Drive); 312-621-8770.
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Photo: Courtesy of Shred415.
A Hollywood transplant, we love Shred for its one-stop shop approach to getting fit. All of the classes are designed to go at your own pace, so if you’re not a runner, nobody will look at you funny for taking it down to a jog — or a walk — during the treadmill portion of this interval-style workout.

The Class: Total Body
Time: 11 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on Friday
What: This calorie buster alternates between treadmill work and strength training ensuring you get a full-body workout that covers all bases.
Price: $24 for a drop-in class. There is also a three-day introductory pack for $60 and a 30-day new client unlimited monthly for $145. Additional options available on the website.

Shred415, 230 West Division Street (at Wells Street); 312-291-8722.
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Photo: Courtesy of Flex Pilates.
Flex Pilates
When it comes to staying fit, we're willing to try just about any type of workout that promises a great result. Enter Flex Pilates, a hot Hollywood transplant (yes, another) that blends traditional Pilates and dynamic strength training for an amazing full-body workout.

The Class: Lunchtime Reformer
Time: 12:00 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays
What: As the name would suggest, this is Pilates in its true form — which is nothing like the mat version. But don’t worry — the super-sweet instructors make every student look (and feel) like a pro.
Cost: $40 for a drop-in class, or sign up for a five-to-twenty class package for $190 to $640. Additional packages are available online.

Flex Pilates Chicago, 213 West Institute Place (between Wells and Franklin streets); 312-857-3539.
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Photo: Courtesy of Flywheel.
Flywheel Sports
Sure, you’ll sweat enough to necessitate a quick shower before heading back to the office — but this spinning sensation is well worth the extra couple of minutes to execute that DIY bun afterwards.

The Class: No fancy names. Just spin, period.
Time: 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
What: Music, motivation, and good fun. Trust, it’s the best spin class you’ll ever take.
Cost: First class is free. After that, it’s $25 each or $117.50 for a pack of five.

Flywheel Sports, 710 North State Street (at Huron Street); 312-624-8485.
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Photo: Courtesy of Equinox.
We love that this club is constantly introducing new and innovative classes, so you can’t help but challenge yourself. Workout plateau be damned!

The Class: Animal Flow
Time: 12:45 on Wednesday
What: For all the times you partied like an animal, now you can work out like one. Using your own body weight, you’ll use primal movements used by both animal and man to gain strength and balance in a way that’s safer on the joints than traditional weight lifting. Added bonus? It feels more like a day on the playground versus a crazy workout.
Cost: The classes are complimentary for members but non-members can get a trial pass to try the classes by signing up here.

Equinox, 900 North Michigan Avenue (between Delaware Place and Walton Street); 312-254-2500
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Photo: Courtesy of Crossfit.
Don’t look for a treadmill or elliptical trainer at this place. CrossFit specializes in functional movement training, so you’ll be using equipment like weighted balls, pull-up bars, and kettlebells to get into tip-top shape.

The Class: CrossFit WOD
Time: 12:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
What: With workouts that are constantly varied and catered to your fitness level, you’ll probably never repeat the same workout twice. With that in mind, CrossFit newbies are required to complete an elements course to learn the ropes before diving in 100 percent.
Cost: $25 for a drop-in class, $200 for ten classes, and $360 for 20. Monthly memberships are also available.

CrossFit Chicago, 1444 West Willow Street (rear unit); 773-281-0411.