Over the course of the last couple weeks, I had the opportunity to visit Refinery, a gym local to Champaign-Urbana. This idea of trying out a new gym/fitness studio every month is not only fun for me to explore and play in a new space but I love making new connections with others in my community while spreading the word of the amazing places there are to workout here in my town!

Refinery is located on John Street in west Champaign near Centennial Park. It's been in the community since 2004 and it's a bit of a hidden gem, or rather hidden gym. Literally, it's underneath apartment buildings on John St. and if you didn't pay attention to the sign indicating Refinery you might never know there is also a gym there! Refinery is a complete full-service gym with a variety of cardio equipment, several strength training machines, more weight space than I've seen in a gym, large dedicated spaces for group fitness and childcare which is always a bonus!

The cardio equipment lineup has everything you'd desire for getting your heart rate up. From ellipticals, bikes, recumbent trainers, stairmills, rowers and treadmills they have it all.

They also have a few Woodway treadmills which, I think, are THE BEST treadmills. I spent some time on a Woodway during my visit and if I have to run inside Woodway is my preferred way to go! I had my first run post half-marathon on one of those Woodways and thanks to that amazing treadmill it was even better than I anticipated!

The weight lifting area is legit. It's a serious (and not-so-serious) weight-lifter's gym. There are several squat racks, free standing weights, punching bag, tons of dumbbells with multiples of weights so you don't have to wait for the pair you need, cable systems, any weight machine that you can think possible and an area for suspension training using TRX trainers. I did my weekly strength training sessions while at Refinery and had a blast trying out the variety of equipment they have available. Not to mention, while there were several people working out the same time as me, I never had to wait for anything. There is such a great variety of equipment options that a) you will never be bored with your routine and b) if the machine you're heading to is taken, there is likely another option available just a few steps away.

There is a nice wide open space with mats, medicine balls, resistance bands, exercise balls, kettlebells, Plyo boxes, ropes, bosus and the like to finish up your cardio or strength training workout with some core and flexibility training. I love having a large space to stretch out and get my mind right following my workout.

Refinery also has a team of personal trainers that you can leverage for one-on-one and/or two-person personal training. The trainers focus on providing a well-rounded fitness program to their clients with areas of concentration including body composition, balance, flexibility, strength training and plyometrics. If personal training at Refinery interests you, check out pricing details on their website for more information.

One thing I failed to mention is that all this (cardio equipment, weights, etc) is downstairs when you first walk into Refinery. On the main level, you'll find studios that are dedicated space for group fitness classes. Group fitness classes are offered every day of the week with a batch of classes early morning through lunch then picking up again around late afternoon through the evening hours. There are a variety of classes including several Les Mills offerings like BODYPUMP, BODYFLOW, CXWORX and BODYSTEP but they also have a few other options like Beachbody's Insanity, Piyo and Turbokick. There are also Zumba, yoga, cycling and bootcamp classes available. Lastly, Refinery offers group fitness options specifically for seniors. Silver Sneakers classes are available a few times a week giving seniors a time and space dedicated to them in the group fitness studio.

Also on the main level is a small childcare area which is an awesome perk! Having the ability to bring your kiddos (ages three months to eleven) with, providing a space they can run and play, while you get in a workout is always a plus. Childcare has a small drop in fee of $4 for members, $6 for non-members as well as unlimited monthly payment options which makes it a great deal. It's all worth it if that helps you make it to the gym! Kids get their energy out, you get in a workout. Total win-win.

Another unique offering at Refinery is a juice bar including made-to-order smoothies, sports drinks, light snacks and protein bars. It's nice to grab a smoothie post-workout on your way out the door. I tried one of the smoothies following my strength training workout and it was delicious!

All in all, I had a great experience these last few days at Refinery. Everyone I met was super friendly and welcoming. Nuria, the Marketing Coordinator in Member Accounts, showed me around the facilities and set me up with everything I needed to get a great workout. During my visit, I also met Dan, Director of Operations, Ty, Gym Manager and Seth, Personal Trainer...all great people!

If you're interested in checking out Refinery for yourself, you can purchase a day or week pass for a nominal fee. Additional membership prices and personal training packages can be found on their website. They have a variety of options including short-term for those that only find themselves in the gym for a portion of the year. Think those that prefer outdoor running in the summer but want a place to workout indoors in the winter or college students coming home for the summer. Whatever you're looking for, there is probably something that will work for you.

If you have any questions about my experience and are interested in finding out about something that I didn't address in this post, send me a note and let's chat! You can also follow up directly with the team at Refinery and they would be happy to help you.

In case you missed my previous month's featured gym posts, you can find them all below.

November - Stephens Family YMCA
December - Pursuit Fitness & Performance Institute
January - Hatha Yoga & Fitness

And, stay tuned for March's feature, Unyoked Crossfit, where I will truly be getting uncomfortable trying a totally different workout style!