The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The Best Spots to Work Out in Hyde Park

One reporter’s review of a variety of gyms in the Hyde Park area.
Finn Hartnett
Students at the Ratner Athletic Center.

If you thought Hyde Park was only good for education or overpriced fusion restaurants, think again! It’s also a great place to get fit. Here are some of the best workout spots in the Hyde Park area: 

Anthos Training Club

1558 East 53rd Street 

If you are deep of pocket and have no problem taking orders, give Anthos Training Club a go. Judged “the best gym in Chicago” by the Chicago Reader, Anthos pampers its clients with a training plan tailor-made to their body type, goals and something called “movement patterns”. It also assigns to each client a personal trainer who supervises their workout and ensures they stick to the plan without being injured. 

As someone who cherishes autonomy and revels in the possibility of a semi-planned or unplanned gym session, I cannot help but view Anthos as anything but the gym equivalent of a nanny state. On the other hand, I was assaulted by a rogue dumbbell during my workout the other day. Maybe I should look into this personal trainer thing. 

Planet Fitness

1301 East 47th Street 

If you have an erratic schedule, enjoy late-night lifts, and don’t mind seeing people swinging from cable machines, Planet Fitness is for you. However, if you plan on frequenting this establishment during the day, be warned: Planet Fitness is not for the faint of heart. 

Planet Fitness is known nationwide as a playground for gym-going renegades, a safe haven for free spirits who have no qualms about using barbells to stick fight or weight plates as frisbees. Unsuspecting casuals who have set foot inside a Planet Fitness have described the experience as a fever dream: costumed individuals using pulldown machines to bungee jump, old men running backwards on treadmills, people lying face-down on weight benches with the barbell perched on their backside. What are these people training for? A revolution, perhaps? A robbery? No one can say for sure. 

Still, it is the only 24-hour gym on this list and is said to calm down by nighttime. Also, their cheapest membership plan costs only $10 per month, making it one of the most affordable gyms in the Hyde Park area. 

OrangeTheory Fitness

5109 South Harper Avenue 

If you are lonely, looking for a cardio-focused workout, and the gullible type, look no further than OrangeTheory Fitness. OrangeTheory offers 12-minute group workouts consisting of rowing, treadmill-based cardio, and strength training, the idea being that spending this amount of time at a certain maximum heart rate boosts your metabolism and allows you to burn calories long after the actual workout ends. 

Exactly how much of this is backed by science and how much of it is a fad is unclear. Regardless, your fitness is bound to improve if you work out intensely a few times a week, even if it is only for 12 minutes at a time. Unfortunately, their most basic membership costs $119/month—around $30 per 12-minute session—meaning OrangeTheory is unlikely to be a serious option if you’re broke or financially literate. 

LA Fitness

5224 South Lake Park Avenue 

If you just want a regular gym at a reasonable price, go to LA Fitness. There’s not much to say about this place other than that it is a decent gym with a wide range of equipment, as well as a pool, a sauna, and a whirlpool spa if you’re feeling a little fancy.  

Gerald Ratner Athletics Center and Henry Crown Field House

5530 South Ellis Avenue (Ratner); 5550 South University Avenue (Crown) 

If you are a University of Chicago student, you really shouldn’t be working out anywhere other than at these two on-campus spots, unless perhaps you would like a 24-hour option like Planet Fitness (or are just itching to waste money). However, even non-students should consider Ratner and Crown—they have all the equipment most people need and even offer other amenities such as basketball courts (both), swimming pools (Ratner), and a running track (Crown). Non-students must purchase yearly memberships to use these gyms. 

Between around 3:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Ratner is usually chock-full of people, while Crown is usually sparsely populated other than between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., when it is swarmed by student-athletes.  

Gyms with Student Discounts

Finally, the University of Chicago has partnered with four Hyde Park studios to offer students, staff, and faculty at the College discounts on membership plans. Unfortunately, not one of these studios is a traditional gym. So if you cower at the prospect of actual exercise and prefer half-baked workouts my grandmother could use to warm up, try Pure Barre, S3 Studios, The Space, or Yoga Six. Each place offers a different brand of new age, nonsense exercise, from Pure Barre’s “low-impact, small movements” workouts to S3 Studios’ “flow and strength classes.” 

Then again, my joints creak when I walk, and I can’t stand up without groaning, so maybe a little flexibility work isn’t such a bad idea. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to Chicago Maroon
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Chicago. Your contributions go towards our annual website hosting costs and equipment costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Finn Hartnett, Head Sports Editor
Finn Hartnett is a fourth-year at the College from New York City. He was given the Sports Editor title in June 2021, and since then he has enjoyed the work greatly, whether that means interviewing people at local sports events or writing ballads to his favorite Chicago Cub. Occasionally, he contributes to the News and Grey City sections as well. In addition to The Maroon, Finn has contributed articles to the non-profit The Borgen Project, the website CATALYST, and the Long Island newspaper Dan’s Papers. He has also interned for the non-profit investigative newsroom New York Focus. In his free time, he enjoys petting his cat.
Donate to Chicago Maroon
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Chicago Maroon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *