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Best of Chicago 2008: Fitness

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FITNESS

Best Gym

Reader's Choice: Galter Life Center

There's something to the fact that this fitness facility is called a "life center" rather than a gym or athletic club. Affiliated with (and right behind) Swedish Covenant Hospital and dedicated to overall wellness, Galter houses the hospital's cardio-rehabilitation unit, offers child care, sponsors community events such as fun runs, and has massage therapists and nutrition counselors on staff. As far as fitness facilities go, Galter competes with (and surpasses) many traditional gyms. Amenities include two pools, an indoor running track, and ample machines and equipment, and many of the usual classes (yoga, Pilates, spinning) are free with membership. As an added bonus, if you get carried away on the StairMaster, you'll be surrounded by a first-rate cardio team in no time. a 5157 N. Francisco, 773-878-9936, galterlifecenter.org, individual initiation fees range from $240 to $260 and monthly dues for individuals range from $68 to $78 per month; discounts available for couples, seniors, and students. —Kathie Bergquist

Readers' Choice: Quads Gym

a 3727 N. Broadway, 773-404-7867, quadsgym.com.

Best Martial Arts Studio

Readers' Choice: Rising Phoenix Martial Arts at Quads Gym.

Best Running Store

Reader's Choice: Fleet Feet Sports

Fleet Feet Sports is one of the best stores in Chicago, period. Their products are diverse and fairly priced, and the sales reps, many of them serious runners, are knowledgeable and welcoming to walkers and marathoners alike. The store carries 13 shoe brands, giving geekier companies like Saucony and Brooks equal footing with giants Nike and Adidas, and a broad selection of apparel and accessories appropriate for a multitude of sports. Owner and triathlete Dave Zimmer says FFS was the first in the city to offer customers a gait analysis—an examination of your biomechanics to determine the best fitting shoe—now standard practice at running shops. The store is also extremely active in the community: aside from the thrice-weekly fun runs it hosts, it sponsors or produces hundreds of races, aid stations, and training courses each year. The new Wells location (it moved from around the block on North in January) is roomier, with two treadmills and a jogging track. a1620 N. Wells, 312-587-3338, and 4555 N. Lincoln, 773-271-3338, fleetfeetchicago.com. —Ryan Hubbard

Readers' Choice: Fleet Feet Sports

Best Yoga Teacher

Readers' Choice: Allison English

a Equinox Fitness, 900 N. Michigan, 312-254-2500, equinoxfitness.com.

Best Personal Trainer

Readers' Choice: Joel Rabb

a Progressive Resistance, 312-593-8661, progressiveresistance.com.

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