By Meredith Lyons

CrossFit is growing nearly as quickly as MMA did when it first hit the fitness circuit. The idea of a ‘hardcore’ workout that is adaptable to any individual regardless of age or current fitness level has led droves of former couch potatoes to the gym, or ‘box’ as crossfit gyms are called. The boxes are usually no-frills warehouse or garage-type locations and the workouts are reportedly grueling and addicting. There are a plethora of CrossFit boxes across Chicago and here are some of the most raved about.


Windy City CrossFit
4043 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 536-9223

Windy City CrossFit is a large facility in the Lakeview area with plenty of equipment and knowledgeable coaches. New students start out with a three-month foundation class to get them up to speed on the various lifting techniques and workouts. The foundation classes are kept purposefully small and are designed for more one-on-one coaching. The goal is to get each student ready and in shape to participate in the main classes by their third month. The workouts are extremely challenging and the community is supportive. If you’re looking for a larger gym with a longer ramp-up time, Windy City may be one to check out.

Related: Best Spinning Classes in Chicago


Chicago Elite Fitness
1918 N. Mendell St., Suite 100
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 834-7487

Located in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, Chicago Elite Fitness offers Group CrossFit classes every hour from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekdays. The club is a warehouse location without any bells and whistles, but its clientele raves about the workouts. The price is affordable at $100 for monthly unlimited access (various pricing packages are offered to suit different needs). If you’re looking for a little something besides Crossfit, Chicago Elite Fitness also has its own climbing wall with Open Climb until midnight on Monday and Thursday. The hours are convenient for those who work late with weekend hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here for a schedule of classes.


CrossFit Defined
1235 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
(312) 659-5940

Another Lakeview-area ‘box’ is CrossFit Defined. Located in a basic garage setting with no mirrors, what sets CrossFit Defined apart is not the tough workouts, but the feeling of community that the members seem to enjoy. New members wear name tags for their first few intro sessions until the trainers know them on a first-name basis. They’re also accommodating with changing schedules. This works for many in professions that may not allow them to attend normal group fitness hours. CrossFit Defined’s schedule is diverse with WOD classes offered nearly every hour from 5:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Other classes are offered as well, such as yoga and kettlebells.


Atlas CrossFit
1030 N. Larrabee St.
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 664-0130

Located on the north side of the city, Atlas CrossFit has a large facility with an extremely diverse schedule of classes including CircuitFit, TRX and MMA classes in addition to CrossFit. As with most CrossFit gyms, the first intro session is free. After that, you’re encouraged to take six small group classes (or a few individual personal training classes if the group classes don’t fit your schedule) to get you up to speed.  Membership prices range form $135 to $275 depending on the package selected and all options are detailed on the Atlas website. The trainers are friendly and attentive; email inquiries are responded to very promptly.


CrossFit Chicago
1444 W. Willow St.
Chicago, IL 60642
(773) 281-0411

CrossFit Chicago recently relocated to a new location and may be a good fit for any who want the gritty workouts of CrossFit but miss the ‘niceties’ of standard gyms. The box has two levels and still has a standard warehouse feel but with a few plush couches and chairs set around a table on the upper level for the members-only lounge, which includes free WiFi and cable as well as men’s and women’s locker rooms.   CrossFit Chicago offers a strength program, a 12-week rowing program and yoga for athletes in addition to the standard WOD classes. It also offers several Women’s Only classes for any who may be intimidated by a co-ed program. CrossFit Chicago’s blog is also good for a little encouragement and includes everything like paleo recipes, nutrition or technique tips and even inspirational stories from other CrossFit Chicago members. Check out the blog here.

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