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

  • Love the Lift classes- they are really unique, with 5 circuits and a mix of weight stations with some cardio, too (rope pulls, sleds, etc.). The coaches are the best... read more

    thumb Carrie Sweeney

    I've been training at LIFT since they opened and the trainers here are second to none. They are highly skilled, consummate professionals, and just all around nice guys. ... read more

    thumb Chris Jamerson

    I’ve been training at LIFT for 1.5 years. Each and every one of the trainers are knowledgeable, friendly, professional, and extremely efficient. It’s surprising how great of a workout you... read more

    thumb Kendra Chavin
  • Positive: Communication ,  Professionalism ,  Quality These deserve more stars. Ive been rocking with these guys for years. Always fun and professional. They have help me... read more

    thumb Domique Bland

    Its always been a great experience with a professional environment, high quality and well maintained machines. I'd definitely recommend this gym to anybody wanting to reach personal goals for themselves.

    thumb Francisco King

    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

    thumb Mandy Jo Walker
  • One of the best workouts in the city. Always challenging and thoughtful workouts. Being able to see myself grow stronger and stronger week after week is all thanks to this... read more

    thumb Maddie Pass

    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

    thumb Jordan Multack

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

    thumb Juana Fermin
  • These deserve more stars. Ive been rocking with these guys for years. Always fun and professional. They have help me achieve my body goals by coming 3 days a... read more

    thumb Domique Bland

    Very attentive personal trainers. Very helpful in health and diet guidance.

    thumb Phillip Hernandez

    Lift is an amazing place! The trainers are knowledgeable and the workouts are tough. Being a runner, I was constantly getting injured. Lift has strengthened me overall and worked on... read more

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

    thumb McLean Richard

    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

    thumb Stephanie Silverstein

    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

    thumb Brigid Sweeney
  • Very spaced out, great welcoming staff and clean. My new go-to.

    thumb Melinda Davis

    Hands down the best gym and the best trainers in the city. The entire experience from start to finish is outstanding. The staff is friendly, the equipment is... read more

    thumb Kyle Portnoy

    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.

    thumb Allie Hurwich
  • Looking for a great workout with Chicago’s best trainers, in an immaculate space in Lincoln Park or River North? Then do not delay and book an appointment at LIFT today!... read more

    thumb Kristin Arnold

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

    thumb Lainie Augensen

    I have been working out at Lift Chicago for over 10 years. I love that the trainers create a new personal workout every couple of months for members and on... read more

    thumb Kenya Brockett
  • I've been working with Abby 3 days a week since October 2021, and it's probably not too much of a stretch to say I'm in love with her. In... read more

    thumb Ryan Carter

    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

    thumb Dana Rothschild

    I have always been a very active person but I have seen the biggest difference in both my strength and physique since working out at Lift. I’ve been to many... read more

    thumb Alison