WGN NEWS & A letter to the fitness community by: Josh Siroko

May 7, 2020

We are honored to be on WGN News to talk about reopening in a safe manner as curve continues to flatten. Want to read the full article? Click here! Below is a little letter from Co-owner, Josh Siroko.


To all my fellow Gym Owners, Gym Enthusiasts, and Average Joe’s-

What is normal now? Streaming services have replaced in person interaction. Zoom was once something just reserved for corporate settings and is now the go to happy hour destination. Where we as gym owners spent countless hours (and dollars) on setting our facilities apart through amenities and aesthetics, we are now streaming classes from our not so glamorous living rooms. There is an unfortunate truth to this new normal: motivation is most definitely lacking and attrition is at an all-time high. 

The last few months demonstrated the perfect storm of unexpected, underprepared, and overwhelmed families, friends, and businesses. Whether you are an avid gym goer or an industry professional, you know the Chicago Fitness Community is mighty. We are a ‘family’ of intermingling groups and individuals that exude friendship through exercise, fun, and progress. Just as real families have been quarantined apart, we yearn to be in each other’s presence once again. 

For those of us who have lost [anything] the uncertainty of the future is daunting. For those of us lucky enough to come out of this unscathed, the assault on our ‘normal lives’ will definitely leave scars. To be honest, the uncertainty of what is on the horizon may be more intimidating as it is unclear if we can confidently say we will ever return to normal. 

Through the fear and sadness shine hope and kindness. I witnessed streets blocked by lines of cars all waiting to honk and wish happiness on an unexpecting birthday girl. Her ear to ear smile would bring light to the darkest day and is a reminder of the power of community. I too received ‘drive-in’ birthday wishes at a time I began to assimilate into the emotional nothingness of our very own version of ‘Ground Hog Day’. Members of this community, many stricken by hardship, are continuing to offer their help with donations or continuing their dues, all to make sure their favorite places are there when doors open. Human positivity and kindness are powerful weapons; they can pierce through even the saddest situations. This, along with the hopeful reminder of [fingers crossed] ‘SummerTimeChi’ has us coasting along with anticipation that this is almost over.

We’ve seen long time pillars of the community shutter, and others look on, quivering at the thought they could be next. How long can this last?  As many display concern about if they will be able to weather the storm, others adapt and plan for the future. Our brick and mortar kingdoms have taken to the airwaves in the form of Podcasts, Live Classes, and Online Programming; we are evolving and we hope it is enough. As I spoke with a longtime friend and fellow gym owner, he reminded me that “being able to HAVE a business when the dust settles AND provide for your employees is a WIN”. Taking things for granted is often seen as a slight. But if you’ve worked very hard for something and that something is now a normal function of your life, it is very easy to have expectations that it will continue. In this sense, I long to get back to taking things for granted. 

To the outsider, the fitness community may seem invisible. But I assure you we are not. We are here. We are doing the best we can. We are growing and evolving the very definition of what a gym means. This letter is a reminder to all that the community exists. 

To quote a great chicagoan, Kanye, “Nothing is ever promised tomorrow today, but we will find a way.”


Josh Siroko

Founder, LIFT Chicago


What People Are Saying About Lift Chicago

  • Can't say enough good things about Lift! I started training with Abby after losing a substantial amount of weight and muscle tone and I can't thank her enough for her... read more

    Katie McCarthy Avatar Katie McCarthy

    I also love the open gym and the equipment. They are constantly adding new things to make the best experience for their customers!

    Juana Fermin Avatar Juana Fermin

    Great variety of classes, the instructors are awesome! All very helpful and help you with any questions you may have.

    Allen Hernandez Avatar Allen Hernandez
  • Lift is THE place to go to perfect your training, perfect your form, and have an incredible time while doing it. Josh and the other coaches are the smartest and... read more

    Jake Morrissy Avatar Jake Morrissy

    I’ve been training at Lift since it opened (and with Josh elsewhere for a few years prior). As a middle aged endurance athlete, I used to think I should strength... read more

    Dana Rothschild Avatar Dana Rothschild

    I have been training at Lift for over a year and I can easily say it is the best personal training experience I have ever had. Josh and the rest... read more

    Jordan Multack Avatar Jordan Multack
  • Highly recommended. If you want a personalized, thorough, concise workout this is it. Each personal trainer is excellent for listening to your fitness goals, celebrates your achievements and accommodates any... read more

    Kristine Kinder Avatar Kristine Kinder

    I've been going to LIFT for over a year and a half and I cannot say enough positive things about this gym. The minute you walk in, you are personally... read more

    Stephanie Silverstein Avatar Stephanie Silverstein

    Lift Chicago is an incredible gym. Unbelievable equipment that you cannot find at big box gyms. I’ve been working with Pete for the past two years and he consistently challenges... read more

    Jason Avatar Jason
  • Finished my first ten days of training here and truly impressed. The four trainers I alternated between were all very attentive and friendly. Paid attention to my goals and paced... read more

    Alexis Youn Avatar Alexis Youn

    I have been coming to Lift for a few months now. Staff is incredibly knowledgeable, flexible with schedules, and are great people to train with. I have noticed a significant... read more

    Matthew Brunstrum Avatar Matthew Brunstrum

    Positive: Communication ,  Professionalism ,  Quality Love the Lift classes- they are really unique, with 5 circuits and a mix of weight stations with some cardio, too... read more

    Carrie Sweeney Avatar Carrie Sweeney
  • I have a very busy schedule, so my training sessions need to be very efficient, staying under an hour at all times. LIFT provides a highly “efficient” workout protocol—... read more

    Pete Wilkins Avatar Pete Wilkins

    I have a very busy schedule, so my training sessions need to be very efficient, staying under an hour at all times. LIFT provides a highly “efficient” workout protocol—... read more

    Pete Wilkins Avatar Pete Wilkins

    I have been lifting here with Sam for a couple of months, and couldn’t say anything better about Lift! The gym is clean, equipment well maintained, and the staff is... read more

    Erik Swanson Avatar Erik Swanson
  • This best place to work out in Chicago. Intelligent trainers with a great atmosphere. You can tell they love what they do and are passionate about creating the best gym/workout... read more

    Danielle Spellman Avatar Danielle Spellman

    Amazing, diverse gym. Place to get strong and lean.

    Malika Whitmore Avatar Malika Whitmore

    I recently found Lift on Yelp like a month ago and I’m absolutely loving it. I workout with Sam, Isaac and Kyle and they’re amazing. I’m looking forward to continuing... read more

    Mandy Jo Walker Avatar Mandy Jo Walker
  • Sarah H with WMNxLIFT is the best!!! I’ve been active my whole life and she is by far the best coach I’ve ever had. She’s attentive, extremely knowledgeable, and has... read more

    Karen Liu Avatar Karen Liu

    Positive: Professionalism ,  Quality I started attending the women’s lifting class and absolutely love it! It’s exciting, fun and welcoming for all different ability levels!

    Lainie Augensen Avatar Lainie Augensen

    I have trained with the guys at Lift for a long time and consider my sessions to be some of my best long-term investments. My workouts there are sustainable, enjoyable... read more

    Brigid Sweeney Avatar Brigid Sweeney
  • I've been training with Sarah for two years and she has been amazing to work with! Both locations are clean and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. I highly... read more

    Kathryn Sugrue Avatar Kathryn Sugrue

    Love LIFT!!! What a kind, professional and motivational group of people! Thanks for making me feel so comfortable as I begin my strength training journey.

    Allie Hurwich Avatar Allie Hurwich

    Very kind staff. They handle health precautions significantly better than other gyms I have been to since COVID began.

    McLean Richard Avatar McLean Richard