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updated: 9/3/2014 5:41 AM

Outdoor fitness program launches in Elgin

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  • Trainer Gary Nielsen of Youtside Fitness Club teaches a new "social fitness" class at Wing Park in Elgin.

       Trainer Gary Nielsen of Youtside Fitness Club teaches a new "social fitness" class at Wing Park in Elgin.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Youtside Fitness Club debuted with three locations in Chicago in April, followed by its first suburban location at Wing Park in Elgin in mid-August. Pictured is trainer Gary Nielsen of Carpentersville.

       Youtside Fitness Club debuted with three locations in Chicago in April, followed by its first suburban location at Wing Park in Elgin in mid-August. Pictured is trainer Gary Nielsen of Carpentersville.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

Those who want to get their fix of fresh air while working out -- come sun, rain or snow -- can do that through a new outdoor fitness program in Elgin.

Youtside Fitness Club debuted with three locations in Chicago in April, followed by its first suburban location at Wing Park in Elgin in mid-August, said company founder Patrick Kuehn.

Youtside -- as in "you" plus "outside," pronounced "yowt-side" -- is "for people that like that challenge, and people that prefer to be outdoors," Kuehn said. "That's really the genesis for the company."

Classes will be held regularly in winter as long as the weather is safe, Kuehn said.

"Our only concern is safety. We can cancel classes for example if the wind chill is too cool, or during thunderstorms or lighting," he said.

All instructors hold personal trainer certifications, including First Aid and CPR, he said.

Participants meet at the Youtside van, where they can store their belongings, in the parking lot of Wing Park, 1010 Wing St. They wear sleeveless jerseys of different colors over their workout gear to indicate their fitness level.

The 50- to 55-minute "social fitness" workout features "stations" with different exercises, trainer Gary Nielsen said.

"We center it around partnerships, group exercises, so people are engaging with each other, pushing each other and having fun at the same time," Nielsen said.

"It's creative ways to use each other's body weight and your own body weight instead of barbells."

Members have access to an online dashboard to track the results of their optional fitness tests as well as their performances averages to gauge their progress, Kuehn said.

"No two workouts are the same," he said.

Youtside is in talks with several Elgin employers who might want to partner for wellness programs, Kuehn said. The plan is to expand into the suburbs pending more local partnerships, he said.

While classes in Chicago have averaged 10 to 12 participants, Wing Park has been slower to ramp up, Kuehn said.

Nielsen, who lives in Carpentersville, shows up at the designated class times no matter what. Trial runs held last month did very well, he said.

"That was pretty cool, we had some fun there," he said. "We'll try to keep the ball rolling."

The program requires no advance reservation. The first class is free.

A one-time signup fee of $45 is being waived through Sept. 30. For more information visit youtsidefitness.com.

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