Work Hard, Play Harder at Throwback Fitness

Throwback Fitness NYC


Crash Course: Re-live the fun and games of recess with Throwback Fitness, a unique workout designed around your favorite school yard pastimes. This small group class focuses on camaraderie, teamwork, and good old-fashioned competitive spirit to power through 45 minutes of high intensity training. Expect to play dodgeball and do burpees at the same time. Or maybe a relay race on the erg while your teammates jump rope or shoot hoops. Whatever the workout du jour, you can bet it will be enormously entertaining and a fitness experience like none other you’ve had in the city.  For more information about class times, check out Throwback’s schedule.

where: 303 Fifth Avenue, Suite 207

bring: water bottle

perks: towels

sweat score: 8 out of 10

wear: sweatbands and umbros

instructor: Ryan

cost: first class $19 | drop-in $32  

 


“What’s your favorite animated television show?” 

Standing in a circle with my classmates at Throwback Fitness earlier this week, I wracked my brain for something from my childhood that would be fun to share. There were so many choices, each of them nerdier than the next: Pinky and the Brain, Doug, Rugrats, Magic School Bus. When it came time for me to introduce myself with an answer, I blurted out the coolest cartoon that came to mind: “The Ninja Turtles.”

A total lie. But I was feeling some serious cartoon peer pressure and wanted to be sure the other kids knew that I took my Captain Planet with a side of street savvy, pizza wielding reptiles.

Throwback Fitness NYC
And thus began my experience at Throwback, the fitness studio where your childhood days on the playground come back with a vengeance, shake you out of your business casual, and demand you do ten more burpees.

When you walk into the space, you’ll realize that it’s set up to facilitate two things. The first being a nostalgic trip down memory lane. There are Karate Kid and Top Gun posters lovingly enshrined on the wall, nurf balls and super soakers waiting to be used in the corner, and a playlist dedicated entirely to early 90s hits cooing in the background. Even Ryan the instructor is wearing a uniform reminiscent of gym class days: polyester gym teacher shorts, sweat band, and a whistle.

throwback-nyc-gym-space
The second thing the gym is set up to do is deliver a legitimately tough, full-body workout.
 If you used your recess time to play patty cake, fold paper fortune tellers, or knot friendship bracelets, this isn’t the throwback you’re thinking of. An entire row of ergs lies in wait in the back. Free weights, medicine balls, battle ropes, chains, and jump ropes hang out in the front. And between the two is an enormous room just begging for a round of capture the flag.

Throwback Fitness NYC
Every workout is divided into four periods: warmup, phys-ed, recess, and stretching. 
Everything is done together as a group or as a team competition. The coaching staff usually consists of both Ryan and his polyester-clad partner in crime Brian, who orchestrate and lead the workout in classic gym teacher style. There’s a lot of cheering, encouragement, demonstrations of good form and technique, and of course, a heaping dose of friendly competitive spirit.

Throwback Fitness NYC
This evening’s line up was a doozy.
For warmup, we played hot medicine ball. Think hot potato meets musical chairs. If you’re caught with the medicine ball when the music stops, your punishment includes 200 meters on the rowing machine.

Throwback Fitness NYC
Up next: the portion of class called “phys-ed.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but my days of grade-school phys-ed were not ones I would like to re-live. Terrible shuttle runs. Embarrassing pull up competitions. And the endless, endless squat thrusts. Luckily, none of those were on the agenda this evening, but this was definitely the period of class where the focus was on working hard. Really hard. We partnered up into teams of two, switching off continuously between the rowing machine and a series of weighted exercises for a period of 16 minutes. The team who rowed the furthest during the allotted time was the winner.

My partner was fellow NYC fitness blogger Evann Clingan (hi there Evann!), who gave me the sage advice of not going too hard on the rowing machine at the beginning. This isn’t her first Throwback rodeo. “Sixteen minutes is a long time.”

Sixteen minutes is a long time, and I was slowly losing steam. Ryan was always just a step away, cheering everyone on while keeping the group abreast of the rankings. This was a competition, after all! And if you’re motivated by a bit of friendly rivalry, nothing sparks a fire under your stationary rower than being told you’re just 60 meters behind the first-placed team. Go, go, go!

Throwback Fitness NYC

The buzzer marked the end of phys-ed and I found myself lying down on the floor, staring at a Wayne’s World poster on the ceiling, listening to Bone Thugs ‘n Harmony. Despite being physically exhausted (and not winning the competition), I was happy. How could you not be? That was ridiculously fun. Little did I know, however, that the real fun was up next. Time for recess!

The group split into two for a friendly game of dodgeball. Ironically enough, the nurf balls we used were Ninja Turtle characters. That’s right. I was about to be pelted with a bunch of Ninja Turtles. What poetic justice. That’s what I get from telling a little white cartoon lie.

In order to earn an opportunity to throw a ball at the opposing team, we had to cycle through ten pushups, ten sit ups, and ten air squats. If you got hit by a ball, you had to do five burpees to get back into the game. If you caught a ball, the thrower had to do five. You get the picture. I lost track of time (and the number of burpees I had to do) because, truth be told, I was having a grand old time. Dodgeball and recess are fantastic endeavors and should be incorporated into adult life more often. Thank you, Throwback, for making it happen.

Throwback Fitness NYC
The workout ended and we huddled around for the cool down.
I remember this portion vividly because I was signing along to K-Ci & JoJo’s “All My Life” while doing quad stretches. Those 90s hits, man. Classics.

Evann and I grabbed our gym bags, guzzled some water, and headed out into the New York City evening on a high from the hilarious trip down memory lane. The studio is located right next to the Empire State Building, which makes for some impressive scenery on your walk home. Looking at this photo now I realize it was lit up with green lights. One last karmic tribute to the Ninja Turtles. Well played, New York. Well played.

A special shout-out to the kind folks at ClassPass for providing me with a free month so I can get a head start on my long list of NYC fit crashes – thank you!

 

 

As One: Small Group, High Intensity Training

As One NYC


Crash Course: As One‘s signature 65-minute class provides a full throttle interval workout focusing on strength, conditioning, and cardio in a small group setting. No two workouts are the same and each is designed as part of a comprehensive program cycle. The space hosts an impressive array of gear including sandbags, battle ropes, Jacobs Ladders, stair masters, rowing machines, and more. First time? Check out the First Timers class, which provides additional demonstration but doesn’t skip the intensity. Coaches are on-hand and hands-on to help with form and technique throughout the workout. Come prepared to work hard and play hard. Check out the As One class schedule for more information. 


where: Columbus Circle | 1845 Broadway, 3rd Floor

bring: water bottle

perks: shower, towels

sweat score: 9 out of 10

wear: clothes with full range of movement

instructor: George

cost: first class free | drop-in $35  

 


As One promotes itself as one of New York City’s toughest workouts. Heck, their motto is “discover intensity.” And after experiencing it for myself, I can honestly say they may be on to something. This isn’t the kind of class you go into thinking that you’ll just pop on over to happy hour after it’s all over. You’ll be drenched in sweat, a little wobbly, and ready for a nice long date with the foam roller.

This is the kind of class where you come to leave it all at the gym, and have a great time doing it. Let me explain.

As One NYC

First of all, depending on your mood, the place is either a candy store or a torture chamber. It’s packed to the brim with cardio and weight equipment of all shapes and sizes, including some old stand-bys like kettle bells and rowing machines and a few new things I had never experienced before (I’m looking at you, Jacobs Ladder). The sheer variety of things to play with was incredible, and a total dream come true for any workout junkie.

As One NYC

When I arrived, I walked up to the third floor and entered upon a scene of loudness and sweat. The class ahead of me was huffing and puffing through a circuit workout. It was a whirlwind of limbs and grunts. The music was blaring. Equipment was clanking and thumping. Coaches were yelling encouragements. I stood at the door wondering if I should slowly back away before anyone noticed me or wait quietly in the corner until the siege was over.

Before I could plot my next move, I was approached by one of the coaches and warmly welcomed with a big smile. Terri gave me an overview of the studio layout, the workout we would be doing that evening, and then asked if I had any injuries they should be aware of. I’ve had a wonky knee since I tore my meniscus in 2010, which I shrugged off as something I know how to handle. Nonetheless, she said they would take note of it and make sure my form wasn’t doing anything to aggravate it further.

As One NYC
As soon as the class ahead of us finished, those of us in the First Timers group gathered around for a dynamic warm up. Then Coach George talked through the day’s workout, which included three stations of 30 seconds on/10 seconds off intervals:

  • The first: alternating between sandbag exercises and the Jacobs Ladder
  • The second: alternating between sprints on the wind bike and bodyweight arm exercises
  • The third: alternating between the stair master and various burpee-esque creations

As One NYC
I started on the Jacobs Ladder machine, which was completely new to me.
The best way to describe it is like a ladder treadmill for your hands and feet, and the motion is similar to bear crawling across the floor. The amount of concentration and coordination it takes to keep up is dizzying, but I loved the cardio workout it gives you without any impact. One of the coaches was on hand at all times to make sure we were safe and on target with your pace.

As One NYC
Despite being in a group fitness class, the entire thing felt like a small-group personal training session.
There was never a moment when I didn’t have a coach near-by giving encouragement, clapping, and helping me with my form. I was really impressed with the amount of attention everyone received. Which helps, when you’re feeling like you’re going to explode from burpee overload.

As One NYC
The other thing that struck me about this class environment was how welcoming and unpretentious it was.
Perhaps it’s because most of us were new. But there were plenty of members there as well. I think it’s the environment created by the coaching staff coupled with the agonizing camaraderie of going through that workout together. I’ve been to a number of studios were, as a newcomer and beginner, I didn’t feel entirely accepted. It’s not fun. It makes the workout experience awkward. Here I felt like part of the team.

As One NYC
I mean, these folks even found time for laughter among the quivering arms and abs.
And that’s a beautiful thing.

When the circuits ended, we grabbed foam rollers for a cool down. High-fives were abundant. I was sufficiently wiped out and ready for a good night’s sleep. I thanked the team, grabbed my stuff out of my locker, and wobbled down the stairs to the metro subway (still getting used to the NYC lingo).

As One NYC
To recap: did I get my keister handed to me by this workout? Yes. Did I have an awesome time? You better believe it. 

Have you been? Going for the first time? Be sure to let me know what you think!

Biking Down Park Avenue: NYC Summer Streets

summer streets nyc 2014

Last weekend I dusted off my road bike, pumped up the tires, and joined thousands of other New Yorkers for a local August right of passage: Summer Streets

For three Saturdays each summer, the city closes Park Avenue – a wide, two lane boulevard that runs through the middle of the island – and welcomes bikers, runners, rollerbladers, and pedestrians of all types to enjoy a rare, trafficless stroll down what is typically one of Manhattan’s busiest streets. There are rest stops with free water and lemonade, sponsored booths providing everything from bike maintenance to fitness assessments, art installations, and even a farmers market. But the real spectacle is the event itself: seven miles of open road through tree-lined neighborhoods and cloud piercing skyscrapers.

summer streets nyc 2014

Having just moved here, I was particularly excited to use this as an opportunity to get to know the city a little bit better. My activity the past two weeks has largely been restricted to where I work and live, and I haven’t had much time to get out to the other areas of town just yet. Mercifully, my road bike made it through the moving-truck experience unscathed and I was able to take it on a maiden voyage through the city streets. Thank goodness I was able to ease into it during this event, because I’m not sure I would have had the gumption to take it into Manhattan traffic cold turkey.

summer streets nyc 2014

My favorite thing about Summer Streets? The people. A tidal wave of humanity descending on Park Avenue with the common goal of enjoying an active afternoon in the city. There were bike riders, rollerbladers, walkers, runners, scooters, jugglers, recumbent bikers, pogo-stick riders, and skate boarders. There were entire families, herds of small children, couples on dates, friends, and everything in between.

I even ran in to a bike riding bird. No really. Check it out.

summer streets nyc 2014

My least favorite thing about Summer Streets? The people. The tidal wave of humanity that descended upon Park Avenue was overwhelming. In fact there were so many people, particularly closer to downtown, that became very difficult to ride a bike safely. Wobbly kids were weaving erratically to and fro on trikes. Adults who hadn’t been on two wheels in ages tested out their muscle memory, sometimes stopping in the middle of the oncoming crowd to adjust a seat or take a breather. Or, even better, take a selfie. We were all packed so tightly together that it made biking uncomfortable at times and nerve-wracking at others.

Next year, I’ll try going earlier in the morning when perhaps the streets aren’t as full. I had grand plans of biking across the Brooklyn Bridge when I got to the end of the course, but by that point I had officially had my full of biking en mass, so I turned around and enjoyed the seven mile trip back uptown.

summer streets nyc 2014

Summer Streets is really a neat event and I have to tip my hat to the city for making it happen. It’s no small feat to close down a major artery of the city for hours, and the sheer number of volunteers and police in attendance was staggering. All of the participants seemed to be truly enjoying themselves; there was an abundance of smiles, waves hello, and head back, mouth-agape, awe-struck stares at the buildings towering above our heads. Despite the hassle, the dedication to creating an active space for New Yorkers to enjoy a fun and healthy afternoon is impressive and makes this fitness blogger one happy lady. Way to go NYC.

Juice Generation
After making it back home safely, I payed a visit to one of the juice joints in my neighborhood for a snack.
Fourteen miles isn’t the Tour de France, but it’s certainly not nothing either, and I was in the mood for a smoothie packed with greens to cap off my active morning. Luckily, I found just what I was looking for. There’s no shortage of smoothie and juice places in New York City – you can get them everywhere from shiny brand name franchises to tiny hole-in-the-wall bodegas. I’ve been here less than three weeks and have already sampled five different varieties. Guilty! But there are worse things to be gobbling up on the regular, like those delicious black + white cookies beckoning to me on my walk to work every day.

So, a Saturday of bike rides down Park Avenue in the morning and great big green smoothies in the afternoon? Oh yes, I think I’m going to like it here.

Updates from NYC + Calling All DC Fit Crashers

new york city

Hello!

It’s been a little quiet on the blog as I get settled into my new routine here in New York City. For starters, I don’t have the internet set up at my apartment yet. And secondly, I’ve been giving myself much-needed time to land in this great big city, take it all in, and find my footing. Oh yeah, and unpack all of these boxes!

It honestly feels like it’s been months since the grand ordeal of moving out of my long-time DC apartment, driving a U-Haul up the Jersey Turnpike, taking a wrong turn through Times Square, and double parking on a one-way street for two hours while hauling box after box after box into my new home. But in reality, it’s only been ten days. Months. Days. When did those two things become so similar? Funny how time warps sometimes.

I am itching to get going on some serious fit crashing in my new home town. I’ve already broken-in the saddle at SoulCycle (post coming soon!), checked out the running path along the Central Park reservoir, scoped out some new fitness fashion hot spots, and created a mental map of every juice bar and green smoothie shop within walking distance of my apartment. Which is a lot, by the way, and I can’t wait to try every single one of them.

I’ll be back in the swing of things soon, so stay tuned! Until then, be sure to update your social media and bookmarks with my new info:

Calling all DC fit crashers!

I’ve had lots of questions about whether the DC fit crashing content will continue. So many, in fact, that I’d like to make it happen! But I need your help.

If you are interested in being a contributing blogger, please send an email to fitcrasher@gmail.com and tell me why you’d be the perfect fit. I’m looking for someone who can contribute regularly and consistently.

Strong writing, photography, and sweating skills required. Solid sense of humor a plus. Ability to take ridiculous selfies while attempting crazy fitness feats gets you bonus points. Show me what you’ve got and let’s make it happen!

 

NYC’s 305 Fitness Launches in DC

305 fitness bodysmith gym dc


Crash Course: 305 Fitness is a fast-paced, heart-pumping dance cardio experience complete with a live DJ and high-energy instructor. Hate dance-based classes? Well, this one’s a bit different. Think more cardio, less choreo. No need to memorize any sequences or complicated routines; just follow along with the instructor’s moves and you’ll be sweating in no time. This is a dynamic class with lots of jumping, plyometrics, moving, and grooving, so be prepared and modify if needed. Check out the 305 Fitness website for a full schedule of classes


where: Bodysmith Gym | 1630 14th Street NW

bring: water bottle

perks: shower, towels, juice bar on site

sweat score: 8 out of 10

wear: clothes to dance + sweat in

instructor: Natalia

cost: drop-in is $26 

 

bodysmith gym dc logan circle

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of meeting the team behind 305 Fitness, a high-energy cardio dance class from New York City. They wanted to expand their sweaty empire beyond the Empire State and had their sights set on the fitness buzz happening here in DC. Needless to say, I couldn’t have been more excited to serve as a spandex-clad ambassador for what the District has to offer and wholeheartedly vouched for DC as the place to be.

Well, the stars aligned and as of this month 305 Fitness officially launched in Washington, DC at Bodysmith Gym in Logan Circle. High-fives all around! I was invited to attend one of their inaugural classes a week or so ago, and despite being knee-deep in cardboard boxes and packing chaos, I dropped everything to finally check out what this NYC dance cardio phenom was all about.

305 fitness bodysmith gym
To get to class, I hopped on a Capital Bikeshare after work and pedaled my way up to Bodysmith Gym, where I was immediately greeted by a long line of excited sweat junkies waiting to get into class.
Always a good sign. After putting pen to paper on the appropriate gym safety waivers, I went upstairs to change into my 305 Fitness tank, a generous gift from the team to celebrate the launch. While this is almost certainly as nerdy as wearing the race t-shirt to the race itself, I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I mean, the thing is feather-light and has “make sweat sexy” emblazioned in big, bold, hot-pink letters. You better believe I wore it.

305 fitness bodysmith gym dc

The all-purpose room was absolutely buzzing with energy. The din kept building as more people packed in, and the DJ was already setting a party vibe with some pre-class tunes. I put my water bottle and towel down at the back of the room and scouted out the best place to stand.

I wanted to blend into the crowd, but also wanted to take a few photos without disturbing the class. On top of all that, I have a tendency to interpret dance moves by flailing my arms and legs in various directions, so for the safety of others I thought it’d be best to keep a wide radius. The only available spot that fit my needs was right next to the DJ, who was awesome. Thanks for appreciating my spastic running-man and for dropping some serious beats, DJardent!

305 fitness bodysmith gym dc

Just when I thought the noise level of the room couldn’t get any louder, Natalia the instructor took things up a notch with her introduction. Ladies and gents, she is energy and personality personified. Part entertainer, part motivational speaker, and part girl you wish you could keep up with on the dance floor, she commanded our attention and held it there from start to finish. Having fun and giving it your all in class isn’t a suggestion, it’s mandatory. I have a feeling this is par for the course with 305′s instructors, so get ready.

305 fitness bodysmith gym dc

We jumped right in from the very first song. Literally jumped. And lunged. And high knees. And sassy sashayed across the floor. And then squat jumped, because who doesn’t throw a few squat jumps in on the dance floor? While at first there were a few tepid hoots and hollers from girls around the room enjoying the moves and the music, it quickly crescendoed to an all-out sweat party by song three.

Now I’m going to be brutally honest: I don’t typically enjoy dance classes. Without fail, I feel awkward, self conscious, and uncoordinated. But for some reason those feelings quickly faded during this class. Sure I got some of the steps wrong. I may or may not have fallen over at one point. But, unlike Zumba or other dance classes I’ve crashed, for the most part the steps were easy to follow along with. And on top of that, there was such an emphasis on “making it your own” and just moving and having fun that I quickly stopped trying to perfect the moves. I just did what I could and made up the rest. I have to say, having a live DJ somehow helps set a more care-free vibe, too.

305 fitness bodysmith gym dc
There was a brief (very brief) break in the middle of class, where many of us spilled out of the room in search of extra towels to mop ourselves with.
At any point during the session you can stop to towel off or get some water, but the time goes so quickly that having a designated break in the middle was helpful. While the first half of class was mainly dancing to one song after the next, the second half of class consisted of some sprint intervals (running in place, more squats, you get the idea) and then an absolutely brutal arm sequence. We didn’t use any weights but instead repeated different small movements, and holy smokes were my arms burning. Don’t let it fool you. We capped everything off with a good long stretch, which was clutch after putting your body through so many dynamic moves.

Bottom line: 305 Fitness is an incredibly fun and entertaining way to get your full body cardio conditioning. There is anaerobic and aerobic training. Plyometrics. Endurance. Sprints. You name it, you’ll do it, and I have a feeling you may even enjoy it. I know I did! I’m excited to get up to New York City and try it again.

bodysmith gym press juice bar dc

After class I stopped by Press located on the ground floor of Bodysmith. They have a small but very delicious selection of vegetable and fruit juices and smoothies. After all of that sweating, I opted for an ice-cold smoothie with chia seeds, coconut water, banana, blueberries, and spinach. It was the perfect way to quickly replenish and refresh.

press juice bar bodysmith gym dc
Thanks for inviting me to crash, 305 Fitness. Welcome to DC and I can’t wait to visit again in New York City!

 

 

1 2 3 38