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Chi-Town

by Meghann on September 14, 2012

Good Morning!

I’m currently 30,000+ feet up in the air, on my way to Chicago for the 2012 Anytime Fitness Annual Conference.

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I had the pleasure of working with Anytime Fitness during the #Surviveon35 challenge back in July. To be honest, before the challenge I knew very little about the company (I wasn’t even sure if there was a gym in Tampa – turns out there’s one not to far from my end of town) or what they were about. When they extended the invitation for the conference, I took it as an opportunity to not only learn a little more about them for myself, but to also fill in a few details for others who probably know as little about the brand as I do.

Here’s what came in the invite:

“Ten years earlier … it started as an idea. Could you give a key to a member and let them use your gym whenever they want? Will they be safe? Would someone actually want to do this?

Ten years later … we have 1.6 million members and nearly 2,000 clubs in 11 countries. We are the largest co-ed fitness franchise in the world. Accolades regarding the concept stream in regularly – and hundreds of people bare permanent purple pride with Running Man tattoos etched on their skin.”

I didn’t realize how young Anytime Fitness was. Ten years? That means they started in 2002 and, is it just me, or do all dates that start with a “20″ feel like yesterday? Kudos to them.

I’m really looking forward to getting to know the Anytime Fitness team a little better over the next couple of days. Should be fun!

Any Anytime Fitness members out there? Holla!

I was reminded once again this morning why I love the Tampa Airport. Where else can you be dropped off less than an hour before your flight and still have time to check-in, breeze through security, grab breakfast (+Starbucks!), and play a few rounds of Spider Solitaire on your iPad before boarding begins? Love it!

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I packed some cereal and granola for breakfast (with plans of buying a yogurt in the terminal), but the craving for a bagel sandwich got the best of me.

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This was a multigrain bagel with egg, ham, tomato, and a guacamole spread. Sometimes salty triumphs sweet in the morning (I know – I can’t believe I just wrote that either).

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And that was the last photo I took before my point and shoot started screaming “lens error! lens error!” and pooped out on me. Grrr…. right before I boarded my flight to Chicago too. Perfect timing. I’m just going to pretend that the error will fix itself before I get to Chicago, otherwise I’ll be lugging around the fancy schmancy DSLR all weekend (LOVE my DSLR, but usually prefer my p&s for conferences). Or you can just look forward to some cameraphone heavy posts. ;)

On another note, I’m pumped to be heading back to Chicago! I was last there in 2010 for the Healthy Living Summit

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Chicago – August 2010 – Healthy Living Summit

And then when I ran the Chicago Marathon on 10-10-10 (still my favorite marathon to date!)

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Chicago – October 2010 – Chicago Marathon

My brother’s girlfriend Adena started her dermatology residency there back in July, so I’ll have at least once friendly face to visit while I’m in town. I’m probably more excited to see her than anything else. I miss Adena!!

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(photo also from 2010)

Check back for Chicago-land updates and please feel free to leave any “must-sees” or “must-do’s” while I’m there in the comments!

See ya in Chi-town!

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Krissy @ Shiawase Life September 14, 2012 at 11:30 am

Can you ask them to stop using ABC Financial as their mode of payment/membership? I had the worst time trying to break my contract and TBH Anytime Fitness was great through the whole process but I still have a bad taste in my mouth about the way they handled it all.
Krissy @ Shiawase Life recently posted..TRAINING BEGINS.

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2 Lisa in IL September 14, 2012 at 11:57 am

Took me 3 months and finally a trip to the bank where I had to cancel my debit card & have a new one issued because I couldn’t get my contract cancelled, grrr.

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3 Krissy @ Shiawase Life September 14, 2012 at 11:58 am

Me too! We had to do this, and thought it was all settled between both companies, then had a debt collector come after us months later! It was a totally nightmare.
Krissy @ Shiawase Life recently posted..TRAINING BEGINS.

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4 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions September 14, 2012 at 11:35 am

Welcome back to Chicago! You’re coming in on a great weekend — it’s supposed to be beautiful!

Depending on what your free time looks like, Chipotle has their free Cultivate Festival tomorrow in Lincoln Park. I don’t think I’m going to be able to make it, but it looks like a lot of fun!
Bethany @ Accidental Intentions recently posted..Thursday Things

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5 Emily September 14, 2012 at 11:03 pm

You’re in my city! I second this! There will be some famous chefs there. I would like to stop by at some point.
Emily recently posted..Day Forty-Three

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6 Anne @strawberryjampackedlife September 14, 2012 at 11:48 am

Chicago is seriously my favorite city! I’m jealous. :( Have a great time and eat some deep dish for me.
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7 Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer September 14, 2012 at 11:49 am

I’m in Chicago this weekend for the Pretty Muddy Mud run! Wish we could meet up! Ikea date? LOL
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8 Amy September 14, 2012 at 11:52 am

Welcome back to Chicago! It’s supposed to be mid-upper 70′s all weekend so definitely get out for a run or walk along the lakefront! Berghoff’s is having their annual Oktoberfest event in the Loop: http://chicago.metromix.com/events/mmxchi-berghoffs-annual-oktoberfest-event. Almost every neighborhood has a farmer’s market on Saturdays too!

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9 Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin September 14, 2012 at 11:53 am

I have always wanted to do the Color Run in a city I’ve never been to and there is one in Chicago next year so I’m planning on doing it! I’m going to use your Chicago post for ideas of things to do there :)

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10 Lisa September 14, 2012 at 11:54 am

I am visiting Chicago this weekend for the first time…maybe i will run into you!!

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11 Lisa in IL September 14, 2012 at 11:59 am

Don’t bother with the “new” cupcake store, we found the cupcakes to be just average & over hyped.

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12 Lisa September 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm

What are places you recommend?

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13 Emily September 14, 2012 at 11:04 pm

The Cupcake Counter, Molly’s, Sweet Mandy B’s.
Emily recently posted..Day Forty-Three

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14 Nicole N September 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Welcome back to Chicago! Looks like this is going to be a beautiful weekend, so I hope you get to be outdoors…perhaps a run on the Lakefront with all of the runners training for the Chicago Marathon?
Nicole N recently posted..I’m not a morning person

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15 Katrina September 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Go to Piece Brewery! The area it’s in (Wicker Park) is super cool (record stores, antique shops, etc.) and you can customize your pizza with crazy toppings (like mashed potatoes or clams). Plus brewery=awesome beer. I recommend it earlier in the day though. It’s insanely busy during dinner and they only take reservations for parties of 10 or more.

Right down the street is iCream… a custom ice cream/yogurt shop that you pick the base, toppings, flavour, and colour and they rapid freeze it using liquid nitrogen. Science and dessert FTW!
Katrina recently posted..Though You Treat Me Like A Dancing Bear

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16 Jenn (eating bender) September 14, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Aww…have fun in my former city! I’m sure I’ll be missing it when I see your photos!
Jenn (eating bender) recently posted..Birthday Boy

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17 Stacy September 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Welcome back! You DEFINITELY need to run on the lake shore path. I love Gapers Block (http://gapersblock.com/) to find stuff to do. Have fun!
Stacy recently posted..Worst. Week. Ever.

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18 Emily September 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm

If you have time outside of the conference for brunch, explore one of chicago’s amazing brunch places- I recommend Prasino and m. Henry but those might not be that close depending on where you are staying. I love Sprinkles Cupcakes (I know theyre in tons of cities now, but they are great!).

ALSO- check out Protein Bar. They have a few locations throughout the city and tons of options for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Quinoa breakfast bowls, oatmeal + protein powder bowls, delicious wraps and savory bowls as well!!

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19 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats September 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Some of us bloggers are hoping to meet up at the Chipotle Cultivate Festival tomorrow in Lincoln Park, it’s a cool event. And it’s right by the zoo which is one of my favorite places! (and it’s free, haha). Feel free to DM me on twitter if you have time and want to grab a meal, go on a walk with me and my brother’s dog (I’m puppy-sitting) or anything! Have a great time in Chicago!
Katie @ Peace Love & Oats recently posted..I can’t believe I’m saying this…

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20 Erin September 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Have fun this weekend! I’ll be touristy things with my in-laws who are also visiting the city. I think we’re going to Navy Pier tomorrow. Although, that’s not something I typically recommend for tourists. I’d much rather go to the Lincoln Park Zoo and then eat at La Madia downtown.
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21 Annette @FitnessPerks September 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Have fun in Chicago! Sounds like it’ll be a good time :)
Annette @FitnessPerks recently posted..10 Friday Things

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22 sue mills September 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Please don’t go to ginos or giodianos, so touristy. The zoo or the museum of science and industry are good choices. Navy pier is a waste. Bavettes is a new place that isvery good.

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23 Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale September 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I haven’t had a bagel in FOREVER. And suddenly, I’m craving one!! Safe travels, can’t wait to hear all about the conference, and have a fabulous time! :)
Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale recently posted..Favourite Fun True Facts Friday

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24 Kelly September 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Welcome back to Chicago. The weather here this weekend is supposed to be perfect. I hope you enjoy your time here.

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25 Megan @ Megan's Munchies September 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Have fun! Can’t wait to get the updates!
Megan @ Megan’s Munchies recently posted..Birthday Cookies!

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26 Lindsey September 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Kit Kat Lounge has $20 all you can drink mimosas on Sunday morning!

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27 Jessica September 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Girl and the Goat was the best restaurant EVER– and is run by a former amazing & adorable TopChef contestant.

Gino’s East has amazing deep dish pizza.

Publican for to-die-for brunch in the cutest place with little booths with doors– to die for.

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28 Lisa September 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I am a new Anytime Fitness member. The story behind the company is very interesting. Company was started by two guys who worked in the fitness club industry. I read that they met each other while working for a club, decided to go and buy a struggling club, turn it around and then sell it. Then they did some studies/focus groups to see what people were really looking for in a club. They discovered a lot of people didn’t really like the big fancy clubs and just wanted a place to workout that was close to home and was open 24/7. The first club was actually opened in a small town in Minnesota (my home state). I’m very new to the club so I don’t have a lot of feedback, I do like the fact that it is a mile and a half from my house and is there whenever I want to go.

Can’t wait to hear feedback on the conferece.

Have fun!

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29 Meghan @ After the Ivy League September 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm

“Where else can you be dropped off less than an hour before your flight and still have time to check-in, breeze through security, grab breakfast (+Starbucks!), and play a few rounds of Spider Solitaire on your iPad before boarding begins?”

-Providence! Haha, our airport is so tiny. I love it.
Meghan @ After the Ivy League recently posted..Officially Responsible.

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30 Cate September 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm

if you want a good , stick to your ribs, comfort food breakfast, you HAVE to go to Ann Sather’s. And get a cinnamon roll. Oh. My. God.

I also recommend Toast and Yolk. Both are so fantastic for breakfast.

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31 Latrice September 15, 2012 at 1:47 am

I second that – Ann Sather’s has the best breakfast that will not break your bank. The one on Belmont is best!

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32 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More September 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Ahhh! You’re in my town – so exciting! There’s actually an Anytime Fitness not too far from my house though I’m not a member there…
Katie @ Talk Less, Say More recently posted..Fitness Friday // Oblique Sequence

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33 Suzanne @ Fit Minded Mom September 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I am a member of Anytime Fitness. I actually just switched from a different gym over to them. They are much smaller than what I am used but that is actually what I like about it!!

Small airports are great for getting checked in quickly but I do like my bigger airports for all the food/drink options. DFW however, is almost TOO big. I swear, it is like you enter another city when going to the airport!!
Suzanne @ Fit Minded Mom recently posted..A Perfect Combination

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34 Stephanie September 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Maybe a meet up while your in town? I missed the fro-up meetup in 2010 cause my pre race stomach was getting the best of me.

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35 Meghann September 15, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Ahhh.. I’m sorry, this was just a quick last minute trip and didn’t have time to organize a meet up :-(

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36 Courtney September 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm

How long will you be in Chicago? I’d love to meet up!!
Courtney recently posted..Photos From Today

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37 Meghann September 15, 2012 at 5:05 pm

I’m here until Sunday. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of free time for a meet up :)

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38 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles September 14, 2012 at 8:54 pm

A guacamole spread? I wouldn’t be saying no to that either.
Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted..Thoughts From a Hot Yoga Newbie.

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39 Jessica @ Keeping Mommy Sane September 14, 2012 at 11:03 pm

How funny – I saw a note at my Anytime Fitness this AM that we would be unstaffed today while attending their national conference! I have been a member of my Anytime Fitness here in Mass. for 3 yrs now and I love it. While I typically use the club during more traditional hours, I like knowing there is some flexibility. Plus they have Les Mills classes (Body Pump, RPM, etc) – yay! Have a great time in Chicago!

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40 Emily September 14, 2012 at 11:08 pm

I love this Chicago-Blogger meet-up idea.

I know you like burgers, so I would recommend DMK. If you want deep dish pizza, go to Lou Malnati’s. I have a ton of bakery recommendations on my blog if you need any. :)
Emily recently posted..Day Forty-Three

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41 Irina @ Chocolatea Time September 14, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Wooohooo for Chicago! It’s an awesome city, but I may be a bit biased ;)
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42 Theodora September 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm

I just went back and read all of the Chicago Marathon posts…that was so much fun :)
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