LINCOLN SQUARE – Adrienne Farrell trained in big box gyms before having her first child in 2013. She returned to those gyms after becoming a mom – but their childcare options weren’t ideal, she realized.
Soon Farrell was just practicing at home.
But now, after years of planning, Farrell opened Brush Park Gym, 4646 N. Rockwell St., earlier this month, catering to families with young children who want to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.
Brush Park, just off the Rockwell Brown Line stop, offers cardio equipment, kettlebells, racks and pull-up bars, and group fitness classes for adults. For toddlers up to the fourth year, there is a personalized play area with a climbing wall, magnetic wall and hanging pods. There’s also an outdoor playground, social area, and fully-equipped family bathrooms.
Kids can enjoy supervised active play sessions at daycare with gym staff while their parents work out.
The gym’s name is a nod to Detroit, Michigan, where Farrell’s parents and grandparents grew up.
“Brush Park is the name of an old neighborhood over there,” Farrell said. “I wanted to point out that this is a neighborhood gym and honor my family and my heritage in this city.”
Farrell trained in exercise physiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. After having her son and avoiding the gym, she resorted to workouts in the living room between her son’s naps.
But Farrell realized she couldn’t be the only new parent to see a lack of childcare options at area gyms, so she started asking other parents about their experiences. .
While some gyms offered lackluster babysitting services, others didn’t have the option at all. The parents took turns training while the other supervised the children, Farrell said.
“It was a bit of a kicker for me. It was this obvious problem with all the parents I spoke to, ”she said.
Farrell spent the next few years researching what it would take to open a family gym that parents like her would enjoy. She had a second son and started looking for suitable spaces in 2018.
When the Rockwell Street space became available, Farrell contacted the owner, secured a loan to purchase the building, and began the multi-year process of renovating his first floor in his gym.
The first floor was originally made up of three storefronts, and construction consisted of knocking down walls to create a large open space for the gym, as well as installing new storefront glass, casting a back patio. concrete and add other features.
The building authorization process took longer than expected. Once construction began, the pandemic hit Chicago, causing supply chain slowdowns. Some of the shortages and delays included delays for wall panels and climbing timber. Farrell even struggled to acquire resin and styrofoam at one point, she said.
Farrell paused for one thing on his wishlist: Rody Horses returned to stock at a suburban store.
“I went to a toy store in Oak Park and bought all of their little Rody horses, these little horses,” Farrell said. “My children and I went in there and left carrying them all. It was probably a pretty funny scene.
Farrell offers classes suitable for people of different activity levels. For example, she recommends that parents who haven’t been able to exercise regularly after having kids take her “reset” course, which includes strength, core and cardio training aimed at restoring mobility.
Personal trainers guide and modify workouts, Farrell said.
“Instead of investing in all of these different workout machines, which can be confusing, I wanted to invest in people who are really well trained to help program and meet individual fitness levels and goals,” said Farrell. “So when my mom comes in, they can design a job for her or one for a new parent.”
Parents can easily watch as they workout and see their children running around the play space with trainers.
“We don’t teach them exercises or anything like that. Because to me it’s just not part of our philosophy, ”said Farrell. “We don’t want to teach kids lunges or anything like that. It’s more like we want the kids to play and incorporate movement while the parents on the other side learn to move better and increase their mobility.
Memberships are $ 37.50 to $ 47.50 every three months. You must be a member to register for adult fitness classes and play sessions at the daycare.
As Brush Park kicks off, Farrell said the overall goal is to help families create an active lifestyle together. Fitness programs should be accessible and sustainable so that people can develop healthy habits throughout their lives, she said.
“Parents have an incredible amount of things to juggle, especially new parents. They’re often at a breaking point, and something usually ends up being dropped and that’s usually fitness, ”Farrell said. “I come from the perspective of meeting people where they are and creating a sense of community so that their children can come. “
Brush Park Gym is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends.
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