Sunday, August 5, 2012

Studio review (kinda): Intrigue Fitness, Lake in the Hills IL

 I forgot to take any pictures, but here's a video of me practicing my routine at Intrigue.

So, full disclosure: I didn't actually take a class at Intrigue Fitness. I was there because I was performing at their grand opening party, which I was doing because I'm friends with the owner. So of course my opinions are biased, and I can't tell you anything about the instruction or other students.

To a New Yorker/East Coaster like me, Lake in the Hills sounds like the name of a fake rural town in some Midwestern place like Illinois. It is all that, except the fake part. It's a real town, and yes, I did pass by farms with rolling hills and white fences and barns to get there.

Intrigue Fitness is a brand-new pole-and-other studio, and they have their shit together. Easy to find, professional storefront, bathroom with tampons available, and a wide selection of merch. Is there hot pink? Yes, much. But on the videos I was taking of my practice session, it looks kinda reddish, which makes me happy.

Me and two of my fellow performers in front of the dazzling merch selection

There are two main fitness rooms: an open room, for stuff like yoga and hula-hooping and Zumba, and the pole room, which is the one we're interested in, obviously. (I mean, Zumba your heart out, but this is a pole/aerial blog and that's why you came here.)

Pole room: OMG AWESOME. Dude, the ceilings are 13 feet high. 13! How many studios can boast of that much height? Plus, the studio is half 50mm and half 45s, so you can use either. (I think for our performance, half the performers used the 50 and half used the 45.) They are Platinum Stages spinning/static convertibles (the kind with the pin you pull out), which is what I have, except theirs are stainless steel (mine is brass). I found both times I went there that they really needed to be warmed up. Probably because they're not in constant use yet, they were "fresh" every time I touched them. Plus, they have fierce air conditioning, so when the room's not full of people, the poles get cold quickly. But once they were lightly warmed up (cleaned and slid down), they were fine to work on, even for a brass monkey like me.

There are 8 poles, and plenty of room around them. Weird thing though: no mirrors. The yoga/Zumba room had mirrors, but the pole room didn't (yet?). Even though mirrors can be a crutch, I like having them to check my positioning on things like iron X and flagpole and other moves that need to be parallel to the ground or else they don't count. For most other things, I find videoing something and watching it back is more effective than a mirror anyways.

Oh, and they have cool lighting! I mean, they have regular lighting, but for our performance they turned the lights down and put on some club lighting, with dancing light flickers and everything. From my experience teaching in studios, students tend to like that sort of atmosphere, so I'm sure it's a popular option for their classes.

When I was there to practice, each pole had a little "supply" station, with a buckled-up yoga mat, a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol and a cleaning cloth... there was probably other stuff in there but I didn't notice what; I guess that was all I needed! But I thought that was a cute way of staying organized. It's a pain usually when everyone has to go to the same stack of mats and drag one out, and it creates kind of a bottleneck, so having all the supplies set up by each pole seems convenient.

Anyways, the long and short of it is, it's about the long. These are really tall poles, so if you wanna do any serious aerial training, go here and knock yourself out. Srsly, if I weren't moving (oh yeah, I'm moving btw), I'd probably go there once in awhile just to practice challenging climbs that I can't get much juice out of at home. And it's a really nice, shiny studio in general. Slick and professional all around. I don't know what classes are like, but if you're in the area, it would definitely be worth checking out.

Intrigue Fitness
Equipment: 8 13' Platinum Stages stainless steel spinning/static convertibles, 4 50mm and 4 45mm
Amenities: a bathroom in the general fitness room as well as some miscellaneous exercise equipment (dumbbells, exercise balls), couches in the entrance room and a really nice selection of merch, as well as stiletto shoes for sale
Drop-in price: $16-22 for non-enrolled students. Linda says the first week of drop-ins is free; I dunno if that's forever or just a grand opening promotion, but I'd get in there ASAP!

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