You may not know this, but our mission at CheekyChicago.com is to inspire all the fabulous women out there to not only be their best, most fabulous selves but also to be a little more fabulous…to each other. That’s partly why we throw our fun events each month: to bring together all those warm, openhearted, supportive Cheeky chicks to toast to that philosophy.
You probably do know this, but it’s also our job to scout out the most happening hotspots, under-the-radar boutiques and, my personal favorite, innovative and talented women in Chicago taking on really amazing, impressive ventures. Which is why we are so excited to introduce to you Charity Gonzalez, founder of Urban Fit Clubs, and hands down one of the sweetest, hardest working, independent and coolest girls we know. She is also the founder of one of the smartest business concepts we’ve seen in awhile.
So without further ado, we are proud to introduce you to Charity, our newest Cheekiest Chick You Should Know.
Cheeky: What is Urban Fit Clubs?
Charity Gonzalez: Urban Fit Clubs is a network that links together many of Chicago’s top boutique gyms and specialty studios under one easy monthly membership. Our network allows access to 24 locally-owned boutique gyms and studios in Chicago, including Shred415, Tru Harmony Yoga, Go Cycle Spin and much more.
Cheeky: What was the inspiration for Urban Fit Clubs? How did you come up with the idea?
CG: I’m a fitness fanatic who loves the experience of working out in specialized gyms and studios. I started Urban Fit Clubs because the schedule at my gym was so limited, especially at the times I was free to work out, and it had grown repetitive. I also observed that the best instructors – the few who were loved and had established a following – would leave to open their own fitness studios. I decided to explore some of these boutique gyms and soon I was taking the best classes in the city, including yoga, spin, Pilates, boxing, cardio and weights, when I wanted to take them.
Cheeky: How is this program different (or superior) to a standard gym membership?
CG: I found a higher quality workout, including better instruction and more interesting classes in fitness facilities specialized towards the specific workout. And I suddenly started to see new results from my workouts – a benefit of cross training. But, paying drop-in rates was expensive and so was juggling multiple gym memberships. That’s when I had the idea to connect the gyms under one easy monthly membership – one that could replace the standard gym membership for other “urban fitness warriors” out there, like me.
Cheeky: What are some of your favorite classes/instructors offered with UFC?
CG: I have so many favorites! The owners and instructors of the boutique gyms are often Chicago’s most specialized and respected names in fitness. Here are few:
Yoga Sculpt Bootcamp at Tru Harmony Yoga. Owner Megan Chappell teaches this amazing hot yoga class that incorporates weights to the music of AfroJack and Rihanna.
1,000 Kicks at POW! Kickboxing. Katalin Rodriguez, the owner, teaches this class and brings her badass competitive background (she has three black belts and a video game character modeled after her!) to mainstream women like me to get a killer cardio leg workout. She’s been featured in magazines such as Shape and Allure and it’s amazing to have access to her expertise.
Cardio Soaked Kickboxing at Kareem Team Fitness. Kareem’s background includes being a top global competitor in Taekwondo and an Olympic athlete trainer. His cardio kickboxing class is fast-paced, hardcore and fun. I feel like I’ve burned 1,000 calories every time I leave! A big plus in my book: he has a killer sound system and DJ-mixed music…I actually look forward to what he’s got next on his playlist!
Cheeky: Describe the Urban Fit Club Warrior?
CG: The Urban Fit Warrior is someone looking for specialty exercise experiences to curb boredom and maximize time spent working out. He or she wants the newest and best workouts – the most hardcore and fun exercise options – Chicago has to offer.
Cheeky: How and why did fitness become such a passion and integral part of your life?
CG: Fitness has always been a part of my life. I like the feeling of being strong and active. Plus, workouts are my therapy for stress.
Cheeky: You are in incredible shape. What are some of your fitness tips?
CG: Cross training is the number one way to really get in shape. I am working out the same number of days I always have, but since starting Urban Fit Clubs, I’m in much better shape and am more defined because I’m trying out new and different types of workouts all the time. One week, it’s Barre Method, Crossfit, hot yoga and dance. The next week, it’s Power Plate, rowing class, Pilates and spin.
Cheeky: Your diet tips?
CG: I try to eat ‘clean’ and follow a somewhat modified raw food diet. I try to limit sugar, but there is zero percent chance I could pass up a Sprinkles cupcake.
Cheeky: Tell us about your favorite spots in Chicago: bars, restaurants, boutiques?
CG: These days I am mostly in boutiques buying new gym clothes! Lululemon and Fleet Feet are two great spots for shoes and gear. I live in River North and enjoy the fun neighborhood spots. Paris Club is a beautiful setting for cocktails and I crave Sunda sushi. Also I love Bangers & Lace for its well-crafted cocktail list.
Cheeky: What does the word “Cheeky” mean to you?
CG: Cheeky is being confident, being yourself and pursuing what makes you happy.