(Credit: lakeshoresf.com)

(Credit: lakeshoresf.com)

By Meredith Lyons

Getting in shape or dropping those few extra pounds are among the most popular of New Year’s resolutions. Once the resolution makes it on your list, however, how do you see it through? Local trainer Jeff Shapiro of Lakeshore Sport and Fitness lays out five tips for getting fit in Chicago.

Jeff Shapiro
Lakeshore Sport & Fitness
1320 W. Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 477-9888

Jeff Shapiro is currently the Director of Personal Training at Lakeshore Sport & Fitness, a role he’s held for the past year and a half. He’s been training for seven years and managing trainers for five of those years. Currently he works mainly with runners, although he has done every kind of personal training over the years, helping people with an assortment of goals from post-natal to injury recovery. “I don’t necessarily do a lot of training sessions,” Shapiro says of his present position, “most of what I do is talk to new members and new potential clients to see what they’re looking for, what they’re goals are, what their exercise history is and then try to fit them with a trainer that matches what they need.”

Tip #1: Work with a trainer

There are great trainers all over Chicago. You can find them at big gyms like Lakeshore Sport and Fitness or you can find them at small training boutiques like Studio E in River North. Studio E runs with only four trainers, but each is extremely capable of training any gym member. Make sure you ask around to find out which trainer will fit you best. Talk to some of the employees to see who they’d recommend you pair up with. Match your goals to what the trainer has done in the past and what their specialties are as well as personality, which is something you kind of have to find out though the working out process. People are more likely to stick to routine workouts when they have someone to help motivate them.

Tip #2: Set a plan every week

If you don’t want to set up a time with a trainer where you meet every week, you can opt instead for group fitness classes. If you join a club and there are group fitness classes offered for free, take advantage of them. There are gyms all over the city where you can pay for drop-in classes. Try to set your schedule around which ones you like and attend them every week.

Tip #3: Guest passes

Every gym in the city wants you to come check out what it has to offer. Many will hand out guest passes to give the gym a try for free. This is a great opportunity to get a workout in and see if this is the type of gym you can return to a couple times a week. If you don’t feel comfortable with the layout and equipment, you likely won’t make an effort to continue your training. Make a list of what’s important to you before each gym visit because many locations offer only one free pass.

Tip #4: Sports

If you grew up playing sports, it can be extremely difficult to be happy with individual workouts in a gym setting. If gyms won’t work for you, research some local sports leagues to join. Each season brings with it new opportunities to participate in different sports. In spring, research a softball league to join. Colder winter temperatures might make a hockey or basketball league more fitting. Even if you’re new to a particular sport, you’re never too old to try it out.

Tip #5: Find an indoor track for winter

In the winter, it’s hard to run outside. Most runners will try to find some way to run indoors. If you find treadmills to be boring and would rather get out of the gym in your high-rise building, don’t let the frigid winter months stop you. When running outdoors is not an option, find a local facility that provides an indoor track. Even in the summers, this might prove to be a nice escape from the overly crowded lakefront paths.

Related: Best Indoor Tracks To Exercise In Chicago

Meredith Lyons is an actor, competitive fighter and fitness instructor in Chicago who also owns an amazing cat named Jake. Meredith has been writing on Examiner as the Chicago Martial Arts Examiner since 2008. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.