Subscribe To My Intermittent Newsletter

Get updates with new articles I’ve written and podcasts I’ve recorded – as well as links to the most interesting  things I’ve found over the week in fitness, entrepreneurship, and music.

Looking for accountability, fun and challenge?

One of the most common questions people have before getting started is…”So, what does all of this cost?”


Todd Nief, Founder – South Loop Strength & Conditioning

Do you want to look better? Feel better? Have more energy? Tone up? Lean out? Build muscle? Burn fat?

What else is new.

The fitness industry is littered with these kinds of words. Why? Because that’s how people talk when discussing their fitness goals. And, in an ultra-competitive space, people do their market research and learn to use the words that their customers use.

The trick is that it’s one thing to use a list of key phrases gleaned from market research, and it’s another thing to truly deliver results.

And, although there’s a lot of bad information out there and a lot of silly gimmicks, the truth is that most fitness programs probably do actually work (almost anything is an upgrade from a typical American lifestyle)…provided people follow them.

What’s missing for most folks isn’t the perfect workout plan, or a dialed in macronutrient ratio.

It’s steady, consistent effort. It’s, to paraphrase Dan John, showing up, not quitting, and asking questions.

Now how do you get that? You have to care. You have to be held accountable. Your training has to be fun.

We have a community of like-minded people working towards their goals, which means that we show up when life gets crazy, we ask questions and learn from each others’ experience, and we make lots of steady progress with occasional “big wins.”

Our group classes offer tiered programming for different fitness levels and goals. It’s not as simple as just “scaling” one workout of the day for everyone.

Some people want to win and others just want to look a little better and have more energy at work. This needs to be addressed in the program design, and our different tracks reflect those pieces. We offer programming for fitness, performance, and competition.

Similarly, some people have been lifting weights for 10+ years, and some have never touched a barbell. There needs to be different strength progressions in place for these two individuals, as well as an upfront assessment process to guide people to the best program for their goals and abilities.

Another key component to our group classes is the coaching. Almost everyone in our modern world suffers from information overload, and the best coaches are capable of distilling this information into top priority, actionable cues.

Let’s use an example of a basic movement pattern that’s actually quite difficult for most of us: the squat. I know when I first tried to squat, I tipped over backwards immediately. It took months of practicing using a doorknob as balance to be able to truly get into a below-parallel squat.

The squat requires so many different things of the body, and inadequate mobility or stability through almost any joint can make it nearly impossible? Is it the ankle? Is it the hip? Is it the low back? The upper back?

Impossible to say, but a good coach will be able to triage these issues and give guidance. And, the truth is, maybe all of the above need some work. But, if you’re not breathing properly, I know I probably want to start there.

To get started with our group classes, we require everyone to go through our Elements cycle to learn the fundamentals of technique on the primary lifts we use, the feeling and goal of different types of training sessions, and to learn what kinds of weights and intensity are appropriate for you to get started.