Hidden Gem: Iron Fitness Extremes in Burr Ridge

t’s all out of love when Ray and Wendy Johnson push their clients to the maximum at their Burr Ridge gym, Iron Fitness Extremes.

In boot camp style, they’ll get in your face and tell you to keep going even when your body may feel it has reached its limit.

“We’re tough love here,” Ray says.

“We want to help our clients produce the best results,” Wendy adds. And the gym’s special exercise equipment makes up a part of those ideal results.
Iron Fitness Extremes offers cardiovascular exercise and strength training through the use of kettlebells. Kettlebells are derived from Russia and is made of cast iron that resembles a cannonball with a handle. They can weigh as low as 12 pounds and increase by four-pound increments to as high as 97 pounds, Ray says.

It varies from a dumbbell in that it works the heart and conditions the whole body, as well as leans muscle, improves joint mobility and changes a person’s overall physical well-being.

“You can’t just pick it up and learn it,” Wendy adds. “There’s a technique behind it.”

There are three basic moves with a kettlebell: the swing, Turkish getup and goblet squat. “When our clients have those three basic moves, the workout is limitless,” Wendy says.

The Johnsons, who’ve always been serious about fitness, discovered kettlebells in their search for an ultimate workout. After exercising with the kettlebells, the couple developed an interest to teach the exercise and traveled to Minnesota for a three-day training course to become certified kettlebell instructors.

They began with training six clients in their 400-square-foot garage in Lemont about two years ago, before opening the gym in Burr Ridge in October. Now, he and his wife trains more than 15 clients during weekdays and nights in their 625-square-foot gym.

Aside from their beginning to intermediate classes, the Johnsons plan to offer boot camps for athletes, including high school and college aged.

Tami Daker of Burr Ridge joined Iron Fitness Extremes to get leaner muscles, and she feels she’s accomplished that with the intense workouts.

“I love it,” she says. “It’s perfect. It was something new, and it’s basically smaller amounts of people, so you get more instruction to get the moves right.”

“It’s easy to sell something that you believe in and that you know works,” Wendy says.

Ray adds: “Kettlebells can deliver it ... like no other (exercise) equipment I’ve used. It really does change your body.”