Gym Class: Don’t take the Summer Off. Take it On!

Exercise Workout

The warm breeze and park setting are deceptively peaceful. My partner races to meet me as we finish another lap. She’s winded but strong. Falling to the ground like a baby pigeon from a tree, I complete one full legit push-up before deciding it’s best I finish knees down. Each pull of air takes a full shot of willpower. It’s not looking good. Literally. Everything I do is ugly. My form is horrible and I’m sweating like a footballer in Qatar. If I live to see the other end of this hour…

But I did live, obviously, and I feel really good about it.

One word to best describe the new Summer Camp Series at Equinox, I’d say, is challenging. Not painful, not unbearable, and definitely not impossible.

Collectively, Chicago has been preparing all year for swimsuit season. It’s now time to relish in our hard work, hit the beach, street festivals, restaurant openings. Eat cheese, drink, and take it easy.

Well, Equinox is saying “um, no.” That’s a direct quote. Instead of taking the summer off, take it on!

“If you haven’t noticed, Equinox gym is campaigning for a reputation as the most butt kicking, name taking… gym in town. Its current promotional campaign features chiseled bodied men and women streaking in the streets, biking in swimming pools, and soaking in ice baths all because “Equinox made [them] do it”. About a week ago, I got an email asking if I’d like to [workout] with these crazy people and I said yes, because apparently I’m a masochist now.” – from Lollaride 2014.

Up for the challenge? Here’s what to expect.

Equinox Summer CampSummer Camp Series at Equinox

The class is hosted twice a week for one hour each. It’s completely outdoors, in the middle of tranquil Lincoln Park. You can smell the zoo, farm, grass, and flowers as your body begs for mercy. The idea is to develop and maintain full-body strength, so you’ll never focus on one muscle for too long. Switching it up like this, by the time you’ve hit your threshold you’re already moving on. Ideally, anyway.

Today was the start of the first series which runs through July. It went a little something like this:

Exercise Workout

Jog: A light jog from the gym to the park warms up our bodies. The pace is fast toddler. Everyone is happy, chatting, smiling.

Stretch: Once we reach the grass, our group of about 15 persons breaks up into lines of five. We stretch, then pair off.

Run: It’s time to push. My partner and I run in opposite directions in an oval around the park. No one is breathing down our neck, telling us to push harder. Instead, there’s only encouragement. “Good job! I like that!” scream both instructors. We meet at the other side and immediately complete a rep of 10 squats. We take off and meet again on the opposite side, then completing 15 reps, running, and then finishing the set with 20 squats.

Strength: I’m feeling good here. My squats are kinda sorta decent — low, chest up, knees behind feet, arms out. But then it’s time to run, meet up, and replace those squats with lunges, then push-ups, then abs. My chipper morning self has conceded to my evil inner coffee addict. I’m tired, on so many levels, but we’re not done.

Run: We now must push through for the run back to the gym. Full disclosure: this run back is only like 200 feet. Yea, I know. Doable.

Stretch: We stop short at a stretch of grass in front of the gym’s entrance, stretch, and it’s all over.

No two classes are alike, and I have little idea what to expect this Thursday. Whatever it is, though, I’m ready!

If you’re interested in trying the new Equinox Summer Camp for yourself, find more info here.

  • Session 1: July 5th – July 28th
  • Session 2: August 2nd – 25th — Member registration opens Wednesday, July 13 at 8:00AM. Non-member registration opens Wednesday, July 14 at 8:00AM.


Non-members cost includes membership to Equinox Lincoln Park for the duration of the session.

A big THANK YOU to Equinox or allowing me to try the class!

Equinox Lincoln Park

1750 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

Phone: (312) 254-4000