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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Compact Fitness Owner Was Warned Against Opening In Little Village. Now, His Gym Is So Popular It’s Moving To A Bigger Spot

Owner Danny Diaz said he's reached capacity at his current location and the new spot a few blocks away is about five times larger, allowing him to offer more classes to Southwest Siders.

Compact Fitness, 2006 S. Washtenaw Ave., opened in Little Village during the pandemic, bringing a style of fitness that wasn't really available in the neighborhood.
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LITTLE VILLAGE — A gym that offers strength training classes on the Southwest Side is expanding after finding success amid the pandemic and outgrowing its home.

Owner Danny Diaz opened Compact Fitness, 2006 S. Washtenaw Ave., in September 2020. Diaz, born in Chicago but raised in Texas, said he wanted to open a gym on the Southwest Side once he moved back to the city after high school. The gym specializes in group strength and conditioning classes, similar to CrossFit.

“All the CrossFit gyms are really expensive gyms, and and they’re not anywhere close to our area as they are on the North Side and like Downtown,” Diaz said. “So a big thing for me was to kind of bring it to our neighborhood where we don’t really have it accessible.”

Diaz said in the next two months he plans to move into a new location at 1954 S. Troy St. — just a few blocks west of the current building and five times larger. Both locations will be open at the same time temporarily before the Troy Street location becomes the only one, he said.

“We’ll just be able to serve a lot more people. We are maxed out basically at our spot now,” Diaz said “We can’t really service any more people than we have in per day and per week. We’ve gladly outgrown it.”

Despite opening near the start of the pandemic, Diaz said the gym has done well in the area. He said he has 70 members and most, if not all, live in the neighborhood.

“It’s funny, because a lot of people were like, ‘Oh, like I don’t think you should take that to that neighborhood,’ like, ‘I don’t think that’s really like the type of fitness that people are into in the area,'” Diaz said. “And I just think we didn’t have access to it, really. That was the only thing that was preventing people from doing it.”

Diaz said his goal is to make the gym approachable to people who have never tried this style of fitness, which means not implementing typical gym policies like contracts or early cancellation fees.

“I just believe that it’s not going to be for everybody and I feel like everybody should have a chance to try it and not be forced to stay if they don’t like it,” he said. “We’re very community based. We host events and we do fundraisers and we do everything we can to be part of the community and let people know we’re there. Hopefully with a bigger space, we’ll be able to introduce ourselves to a couple more people in the neighborhood.”

Diaz is offering a special throughout July where people interested in Compact Fitness’ classes can sign up for a free introduction session on Sundays. To reserve a spot, message through the gym’s social media or its website.

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Owner Danny Diaz said the new location at 1954 S. Troy St. will hopefully be open in the next two months.

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