Spynergy Wicker Park
Liza Solberg was born to teach fitness. Or, at the very least, she was born into a family of fitness teachers who all share a passion. Liza is the owner and operator of Spynergy in Wicker Park, and while this is her first independent business venture, it’s not Chicagoland’s first Spynergy. The original studio has been operating for over twenty years in the northern suburb of Winnetka, with Liza working as one of the trainers as soon as she could. “I grew up teaching Teen Spin in high school, and I taught in college for P.E.,” she explains, adding, “I don’t think I really remember a time when spinning wasn’t a part of my life!”
Of course, many of us who grow up around a particular career may have loftier plans to chase other dreams, maybe even to get away from your hometown. After attending college in New York, Liza moved to Colorado for a marketing job. It was a classic situation of choosing the best possible location and finding the right job to make it fit. “I chose Denver because I love being active. I love skiing, hiking, all that stuff.” While she still taught spin on the side, Liza found she missed working directly with people every day. The corporate world of staring at computer screens and communicating only through email was taking its toll, and Liza began toying with the idea of how to create lasting connections with clients and make them feel like neighbors and not just business associates.
Not only that, but the fitness world itself was becoming more corporate, more regimented. Liza missed the community relationship that made working at her mother’s studio so wonderful. Then it hit her: the very thing she grew up doing was the job that provided everything she wanted most. In 2015, Liza pulled out a notebook and began crafting a business plan for her very own spin studio.
The choice to move back to Chicago was simple and practical. Denver offered big outdoor spaces to run and bike all year long, and spin studios rely on staying indoors with temperature control. “I don’t want to be stuck inside in Denver,” Liza says with a laugh. “I’d rather be stuck inside in Chicago!”
She moved back home and continued to teach in Winnetka while looking for space in Wicker Park. “I know they say you shouldn’t be emotional about real estate, but I couldn’t help it. This was my first studio, it felt just as important as buying a first home.” After touring nearly thirty buildings, she found herself drawn to the first space she saw: a small building tucked away in an alley off Division, constructed in the nineteenth century and badly in need of a tune-up. “It was definitely higher risk, but it was the coolest space I’d seen. The huge skylights, the garage door, the old barn door… I felt that if we were going to be real OG Chicago, I needed to be in a space that reflected that.”
As of 2019, Spynergy Wicker Park is a little over a year old, and recently Liza rediscovered that handwritten business plan from 2015, back when she was missing personal connections out in Denver. “One of the things I jotted down was that the studio had to have a garage door! I didn’t even remember writing that.” And now, settled into an inviting, friendly studio all her own, Liza got the garage door, and a plethora of excited neighbors walking through it every day.
Throughout her search, Liza never strayed from Wicker Park. Opening the studio in a diverse neighborhood was essential to her plan to make fitness a part of being at home, not a part of the workday routine. “I didn’t want it to be something you just checked off a list,” Liza says, explaining that the studio is designed to feel right next door, rather than another place along the commute to a day job.
This is key to her fitness advice as well: balance and consistency. The cardio Liza gets from Spynergy is more about mental health than physical, offering a stress relief after a long day. She balances this with strength training and yoga at CHI50 and Zen Yoga Garage (both featured on our Bucktown map series).