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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Making Fitness Fun with Goal-Setting and Community

Mar 26, 2013 09:27AM ● By Megy Karydes

RealFit Gym, in Highland Park, is a place to realize individual health and fitness goals. Co-owners Cecily Casey and Lucy Casey take a very active approach with their clients by developing a personalized plan together to achieve real-world results. Make no  mistake, though—this mother/daughter team doesn’t just work hard—they play hard, too.

Entering the gym, you will not see anyone logging miles on a treadmill, jogging in place on an elliptical machine or riding a stationary bike. That’s because those machines don’t exist at RealFit. “We’re a hybrid gym,” explains Cecily. It’s a small gym that focuses on training and coaching in a private, semi-private or group approach, taking into consideration each person’s unique situation. “We don’t offer drop-in classes, punch cards or anything like that,” she continues. “We offer a custom program for our members and take several factors into consideration to develop a plan that is right for them.”

Hybrid gyms are becoming popular in the United States as more members prefer a focused approach to their fitness goals. RealFit is part of an affiliated group of approximately 100 gyms around the country, which allows them to share best practices and stay up-to-date on the latest research. Best-selling author Cecily describes her Fit and Fabulous Forever Plan in her book, Results Fitness, on which she collaborated with other top fitness professionals from around the world.

“Working out for the sake of working out isn’t going to get you to your goals,” notes Cecily. “Our philosophy is to develop a plan to reach a goal. There has to be a road map to get us to the finish line. Individual workouts won’t get us there, but a comprehensive plan will.”

“We start all of our clients with a functional movement screen,” adds Lucy. “During the screen, they perform basic movement patterns and we create a customized program for them, based on how they perform those patterns.” Cecily explains that while we may not realize it, patterns like sitting in a chair behind a desk all day or driving around can affect how we move. The functional movement screen is part of the RealFit Gym Body Blueprint Consultation, which also takes into account health history and past injuries.

With that program in place, clients come to the gym to work on their plan—many between two to four times a week. RealFit Gym also offers a 30-day trial so clients can get a feel for

Cecily Casey and Lucy Casey
Cecily Casey and Lucy Casey
their approach before making a long-term commitment.

Both Cecily and Lucy realize making that first step can be the hardest, but they assure their clients that they are in it for the long haul with them and remind them that they don’t come from strictly athletic backgrounds themselves. It was an interest in getting healthier and stronger that brought both of them to this phase of their lives, one they feel helps them better identify with their clients, because they come from different generations, too.

“We like to tell our clients that we’ve been through it, too,” says Cecily. “I’m 52, Lucy is 25, we’ve had our ups and downs in our journeys. A mind shift has to take place.”

To make the gym experience more fun, Cecily and Lucy incorporate exciting challenges throughout the year to keep their clients motivated and looking forward to coming in. “At the beginning of the year, we introduced our New Year, New You Challenge and this fall we’re going to encourage our clients to participate in our Rock Your Jeans Challenge, where we’re going to help them fit back into their favorite pair of jeans,” says Cecily. They also help clients to train for events like the national Tough Mudder endurance race and the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, in San Francisco.

“We want to create a supportive community where our clients look forward to coming to RealFit Gym and are seeing results from their efforts,” says Cecily.


To learn more about RealFit Gym, located at 1480 Old Deerfield Rd., call 847-780-4932 or visit RealFit-Gym.com.