La Grange gym a big hit for elliptical-based exercise

Zen Burgos hates running.

In fact, she dislikes it so much that in 2015 she opened The HIT Locker, a gym in which elliptical cardio and strength training guide workouts. Now the gym is rebranding as ELLIPTIHIT to make it even clearer that at Burgos’ gym, running isn’t the only way to get fit.

“I used the elliptical for years and years,” Burgos said. “You can do simulated runs, hills and sprints without joint pains. After I moved back to La Grange, I looked around and saw nothing like [ELLIPTIHIT].”

While the gym’s rebranding is in part because of marketing strategies, Burgos said she also wanted to make it clearer to any passerby what her gym is all about.

“It’s been great because people understand it right out the gate,” she said about the rebrand’s effectiveness. “With HIT Locker, people were like, ‘Oh, HIT Locker – is that a boxing gym?’ And I’d say, ‘That is a good name for a boxing gym, but no.’”

In a typical ELLIPTIHIT workout, both elliptical cardio and strength segments are present in intervals. Each segment generally lasts between 30 seconds and a minute, Burgos said, making the workouts much more “doable.”

“You need cardio and strength for body composition changes or general weight loss,” she said. “So if you don’t love working out, this is really efficient.”

Burgos said her gym is the only one of its kind in the United States, and she said it’s not because her workouts are trendy. Longevity is built into the program so people of all ages can do her workouts.

“Without impact and joint pain, you can go a lot longer,” she said. “If you start [ELLIPTIHIT] as a teen, you can keep going until you’re 80 years old. The longevity factor is one that a lot of boutique fitness places don’t have because people get hurt.”

The exercises at ELLIPTIHIT are designed to prevent injury, Burgos said. At least 50% of regular runners get hurt each year, according to Yale Medicine, and she said that’s a low estimate. Working out on an elliptical offers a low-impact alternative to the sport.

“Treadmills can really bug your joints,” Burgos said. “For anyone who has a little extra body fat – more weight, more pressure – it’s much better.”

All of Burgos’ class teachers are certified as personal trainers, which further decreases the likelihood of injury. Beyond safety, she wants to encourage an environment where working out is enjoyable, and she thinks the rebrand will help achieve those goals.

“It’ll reach more people, it’s more efficient, and it’s more fun,” she said. “With all those reasons, I said ‘Let’s do it.’”

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