Crash Course: The TRX/Kettlebell class at Reformation Fitness is 50 minutes of intense cardio, weights, plyometrics, and agility training sure to kick your keister into crazy shape. Warning: this is not a class for the faint of heart or for those who don’t like to sweat when working out. This is a class full of traditional, good old fashioned hard work that makes every minute and every move count. Prepare to be tested mentally and physically. Suspension trainers are tricky, and swinging kettlebells is harder than it looks. If you want a total-body workout to work you over and leave you with nothing left in the tank, this is the class for you. Click here for a schedule of classes.
where: 1302 9th Street NW
perks: small class size, towels
sweat score: 8 out of 10
wear: whatever you like to sweat in
instructor: Ivan Black
cost: $22 drop-in
I feel the need to provide full disclosure regarding the photos in the post. They were taken after my class at Reformation Fitness because I was too busy getting my tush handed to me during the session itself to stop and snap a few. So that serene, calm expression on my face in the photo above? Fake. Staged. Aspirational at best. Consider this your friendly warning. Now on to the good stuff.
I know two things to be true. TRX suspension training is incredibly challenging. Kettlebells are also incredibly challenging. Put the two together, and wham bam holy sweat factory, you’re in for one heck of a ride. When Reformation Fitness reached out to me about crashing this class – one of the newer listings on their schedule – I knew I was signing up for a full-body beat down. And I was excited about it.
I crashed a pilates reformer class around this time last year just after the studio first opened and hadn’t been back since. Imagine my surprise when I arrived to discover that the place more than doubled in size during that time period. The new area sits adjacent to the original studio and includes a downstairs room full of fun fitness gadgets (where the TRX class takes place) and an upstairs room used for yoga and other classes.
There was another class going on when I arrived, so I ducked into a bathroom in the waiting area to change into my workout clothes. I grabbed a towel off of a rack by the cubbies, filed up my water bottle, and waited for the next session to begin.
The first thing I noticed when we all filed into the room is that we were working out in tight quarters. I never felt overly cramped, but just know that you won’t have a ton of space to spread out in while lunging or doing burpees. After a short dynamic warm up, we started into the first set of the day: an ungodly number of pushups, lunges, TRX mountain climbers, dolphin plank dips, and other adventures.
As Ivan was going over each part of the set, I almost thought it was a joke. Were the moves challenging and sure to work up a sweat? Absolutely. But after 80 lunges and 80 pushups I’m bored. I want out. I would honestly rather be doing anything else. There’s something to be said for switching things up and keeping the pace of class quick and interesting. Obviously, this experience was unique to that day’s designated workout, but I bring it up because it’s one of the things that stick out most prominently in my mind.
Things really picked up during the second half of class, when we did a ladder of exercises involving the TRX and steelbells (which are basically neoprene disks filled with heavy sand). We didn’t actually use any kettlebells during this particular class, but I wasn’t disappointed because throwing the steelbells around was just as challenging.
The ladder included all sorts of fun and unique exercises, including dynamic lunges with resistance bands around the ankles, steelbell overhead slams, TRX rows, and lateral ski jumps. I was impressed with how Ivan weaved together strength, cardio, and agility moves, making sure the second half of class was well-rounded into a total body conditioning experience. While I was frustrated with him for making us do seemingly insurmountable repetitions of (in my opinion) boring exercises, I began eating my words during the second half of class and left with nothing but the best impression of his training. The man knows his fitness, and I would absolutely love to come back and workout with him again just to see what he comes up with.
So, what’d I think of the class? I‘d say it’s a no-nonsense, effective, creative full body experience built around the principle of good old-fashioned hard work. This class will make you sweat and will push your body beyond your comfort zone. Ivan is upbeat, fun, plays good music, and encourages you every step of the way. It’s a great addition to any current conditioning program, or an excellent place to build a foundation for new fitness goals.
If you go or if you’ve been, please leave a comment and share your experience!
Note: While Reformation Fitness invited me to try a free class, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience. Thanks for reading!
Crash Course: Studio Body Logic is located in Ballston and Alexandria and best known for teaching authentic pilates. Open since 1996, the studio offers five different levels of mat class and an impressive number of apparatus options. Lesser known are the studio’s other sweaty offerings, including evolved sculpt, yoga, ballet, and Barre Body – a 55-minute cardio workout with a foundation in classical ballet moves. Expect weights, balls, therabands, upbeat music, and a sore tush the next morning. Click here for a full schedule of classes at Studio Body Logic.
where: 4001 N. 9th Street, Suite 108 // Arlington, VA
perks: small class size
sweat score: 6 out of 10
wear: sticky socks
instructor: Adrienne Pough
cost: $25 drop-in
Studio Body Logic is a hidden gem in the heart of Ballston, tucked away on the first floor of an unassuming apartment building. I had a very hard time finding it in the building itself, so if you’re going for the first time, give yourself five extra minutes to make your way through the maze of doors in the sprawling complex. Or, better yet, learn from my mistake and ask the front desk attendant how to get there before wandering into the labyrinth alone.
The space is well-lit and cozy, with every square inch occupied by strange contraptions with names like the “electric chair” and the “Pedi-Pole.” Don’t let their sleek and minimalist look fool you, these devices will make you beg for mercy. I’m itching to come back and try a traditional pilates session here. Something tells me, by sheer deviceage alone, this studio can whip up some mean workouts.
Thanks to a bad combination of DC traffic and the last coughs of winter weather, I was running late to class. I shimmied my way into the already-started Barre Body session of 12 ladies, hoping not to cause a fuss or disrupt anyone. Karmic irony would dictate that the only spot still available was right in front. Of course. Totally busted.
Luckily, the class was still warming up and doing a stationary leg march with an added arm lift, so I did my best to join in and follow along. I’m not the most coordinated, so it took me a few counts before I synched up with the rest of the class, but I eventually fell in line. Right arm lift, left leg lift. Right. Left. Okay, I think I got this. The warm up was definitely more aerobic than I was used to in other barre classes, which I liked because it got my heart rate up and made my forehead glisten. I like to work up a sweat when I work out, what can I say.
The exercises and motions in Barre Body were also different than I was used to. Not enormously so, but enough to make you feel like you’re trying something a little different than your traditional tuck and lift barre class. In fact, there was zero awkward tucking, which I give two big thumbs up to. However, we did an entire series of floor exercises that mirrored something out of a Jane Fonda workout video. At first I was skeptical. Laying on our side and doing leg lifts and sweeps? Pass the leg warmers please. But by the time rep 15 came around, the burn was real folks. And the reps kept coming. And I started to wonder what the heck I had gotten myself into.
We also did a series at the barre doing squats and plies with a ball between the legs for added resistance. I had one hand on the barre for balance and another around a two pound weight extended out to my side. Again, my inner skeptic scoffed at the two pound weight. What the heck is that going to do? And then we began to squat, plie, squat, plie, releve, plie, releve. Oh my word. It was much more challenging than I had anticipated. My inner barre critic was eating her words.
Adrienne – who was an awesome instructor with serious command of the moves and a killer playlist, by the way – finished the class with a final cardio segment. I was officially tuckered out at this point. My legs were wobbly, my arms were burning, and the glisten on my forehead morphed into a full-on sweat stream. The closing stretch and cool down was magnificent, and my body was so very thankful for a chance to take a break and work out the kinks. Was I sore the next day? You betcha. Abs, legs, and arms were all thanking me for trying something new.
So how did Barre Body stack up? Here are my takeaways:
- More cardio-centric than your average barre class.
- Lots of props, get ready for some creative burn.
- Not as much focus on “tucking.” A plus for those of us who think it’s a painfully awkward movement to do in public.
- The moves are more fluid with a heavy emphasis on their ballet and dance origins.
- Tiny class size with a personal, causal atmosphere.
Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Note: While Studio Body Logic invited me to try a free class, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience. Thanks for reading!
This weekend was quite the fit crashing fiesta. I’m still buzzing from the endorphin high coaxed from a perfect combination of sunshine, sweat, and spandex. Between Cherry Blossom yoga on the National Mall, the DC Fit expo, the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, and commuting by bike share all over town, I’m not sure I could love the past two days any more. So in the interest of helping me wean myself off of all the awesomeness and ease into Monday, let’s recap everything for the folks at home.
Cherry Blossom Yoga
Lululemon hosted this year’s Cherry Blossom yoga event, which brought 3,000 yogis together to stretch and flow under the watchful gaze of the Washington Monument. Local yogic rock star Mimi Rieger led the hour-long class and assistants from across the DC yoga community waded through the crowd to help with adjustments.
The day was brilliant and breezy. Just the kind of early spring weather to coax people outside to begin the season of outdoor activities and playing around in the grass. I set up my mat in the back of the pack and next to my friend Jenny, who has been my workout buddy since college. We were both running the 10 miler on Sunday and thought a good old-fashioned stretch would be just the thing to get us race-day ready. And it was!
Despite a few technical glitches – including the audio dropping out a number of times during key points of the class (last audible instruction was plank pose…do I have to hold this till they fix the mic?) – the class was extremely well done and accessible for any and all levels. It was so darn cool to look around and see a sea of humanity breathing, yoga-ing, and coming together to enjoy a little quality time in the sunshine. There were crazy advanced yogis, beginner yogis, and everything in between. I even saw a few tourists stop, watch, and then decide to join in. How cool is that?
After laying on my mat for a few minutes of sunny savasana, traditional Japanese drummers took the stage for a surprise performance. What at first seemed ridiculously out of place soon turned into an intoxicating, energizing performance that perfectly capped off the class. People clapped, cheered, danced, played with yoga poses, and just generally enjoyed themselves. It was a sight to see!
I rolled up my yoga mat and made my way over to the event tent, where I ran into my friend V from Goûter and Krista the crazy-taleneted yoga teacher I obsessively stalk on Instagram for bendy inspiration. Seriously, folks, if you’re looking for an out-of-this world yoga account, Krista’s got it. V generously shared two of her latest tonics – a green detox blend and a root veggie and goji berry concoction – and I had to hold back from drinking both then and there. Yum!
Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Expo
I popped the tonics into my backpack, said goodbye to V, Krista, and Jenny, and set out on foot with yoga mat in tow to the National Building Museum to for Cherry Blossom 10 miler packet pick up. The entire process was so quick and easy – I was in and out of that place in under 15 minutes. Hats off to the event team for a top notch operation!
In The Capital’s “DC Fit” Expo
After a quick whirl on bike share up 9th Street, I dropped in on the DC Fit expo hosted by In The Capital. It was a day-long event filled with free fitness class demonstrations, expert panel discussions, delicious food, and vendors. I’m sorry I had to miss out on most of the activities, but I came in time to catch the Dance Trance demo, a panel on half-marathon training, and to say hello to friends from Sweetgreen, Drop In, Nike, Reebok Fit Hub, Disrupt Fitness, and Pole Pressure.
Great event, In The Capital, thanks for bringing together such an awesome group of folks for a day of fitness fun!
Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
The main event this weekend was Sunday’s Cherry Blossom 10 miler. I had been kinda-sorta training for three months for this race, my first in just over a year. I felt capable, but not entirely ready. The honest truth is that I hadn’t put much thought into the race at all. The first time I looked at the race map or start time was Saturday night. I picked out my clothes the morning of. I showed up to the start line 10 minutes before the horn. And you know what? I think the casual approach worked, because I had an amazing time on the course and finished way stronger than I could have ever anticipated.
I had fun. And I didn’t worry about training or splits or gel packets or the dead zone at Hains Point or anything else. I just ran the race for me. And it was freaking fantastic. So new race policy: get your head out of the game, fit crash like crazy, get in a few long runs, and let your body do the rest. It seemed to work!
What was your favorite fit crash from this weekend?
Hello and happy Friday everyone! I’m fresh off the plane after a quick hop over to Boston this week. While I didn’t have a ton of free time during my stay, I made sure to get in at least one fit crash while I was there. To be honest with you, the idea of having to whittle down all of Boston’s fabulous fitness classes and pick just one was daunting. Intimidating. Perplexing, even. Thankfully, a few fellow bloggers and the kind folks at ClassPass came to my rescue, offering some suggestions: Btone (megaformers), Recycle (spin), Boston Body (barre), Flywheel (spin), Back Bay Yoga, and Exhale (core fusion).
If I had my way, I would have picked all of them. I could have used another day in Boston dedicated entirely to the fine art of fit crashing. Sadly, the world seems to follow its own schedule and I had time for only one. Specifically, I had time for one at 5:30ish p.m. So I did a little digging and found that the class with the most convenient time and location was none other than Barry’s Bootcamp. Something that has been on my “fit crash fantasy” list since I started the blog. Sold! After a few clicks here, a reservation made there, I was in.
This place is a SCENE. I walked in the door and felt immediately dwarfed by the sheer enormity of the brand. I have been hearing blogs and fitness outlets rave about Barry’s for years, and now by some sort of scheduling serendipity, here I was. I could go on and on about the atmospherics of the place before class, but I’ll cut to the chase.
The workout was fantastic. Basic. No nonsense. Full throttle. I entered the room and immediately got a high-five from the instructor. My internal dialogue was racing. What had I gotten myself into? Was I scared? I think so. Intimidated? You bet. Absolutely lost and praying to the fitness gods that I could somehow make sense of the chaos around me? You betcha.
Here’s the breakdown: you run intervals for 12 minutes, you do weights for 12 minutes, two times through. The instructor is a master in multitasking, yelling easy-to-follow commands into the chaos of a room filled with whirling treadmills and pulsating free weights. Oh, and did I mention the club-quality surround sound, mirrored walls, and weird red lighting (see above)? Yeah – it’s a scene folks. But it’s a sweaty mix of intense cardio and weights that I honestly wouldn’t have the chutzpa to do on my own. Worth it.
Now that I’ve had a day to stretch my aching muscles and reflect on the experience, here are my five key take aways from my first encounter with Barry’s Bootcamp.
1. Shredders = runners. Apparently if you are on the treadmill, you are a shredder. If the instructor yells out a command to the shredders, he or she is talking to you. Confusing for a first timer who may be a little slow on the uptake? Yep. But luckily I have excellent peripheral vision and was able to copy what the lady next to me was doing until I eventually figured it out.
2. There are two cardio segments. Not one. Not sure why I thought after only 12 minutes of running intervals I would be finished with the treadmill for the rest of class. Silly me. You get smoked during the first segment, then move on to 12 minutes of weights, and then move your sweating, panting, tired self back to the treadmill to do it all over again. Steel your resolve folks, this is not an easy transition mentally or physically.
3. Treadmills incline to level 15. I did not know this. I do now. Enough said.
4. The locker room products are fab. Use them. Trust me. I washed my face before class with a silky clean grapefruit face wash just to do it. Then I washed my hands with some fantastic herbal smelling soap. Oh, hello rich and luxurious body cream just asking to be slathered. Don’t mind if I do! Dry shampoo? Yes please! I was having a grand old time testing everything out. You should too. Hey, YOB(arry)O, right?
5. Put in your smoothie order before class. Barry’s has a first class smoothie bar conveniently situated mere steps from the locker room. Yummy flavors, lots of fresh ingredients, extra kale…the works. How do you say no? After ordering a PB&J smoothie (blueberries, strawberries, peanut butter, almond milk), I realized I was the only person lame enough not to have a smoothie order with my name on it ready to go after class. That’s when I realized the secret: put your order in before class, it’ll be ready as soon as you stumble out. Lesson learned.
After class, I took my wobbly legs and sinfully good smoothie out into the windy streets of Boston for one last little bit of sight seeing. Boston Common is a few blocks from Barry’s, so I made my way over there to check things out. Very pretty! But with crazy wind gusts and temperatures dipping below freezing, I decided to get my wet hair and tired body out of the elements and into the nearest cab.
Thanks Boston and Barry’s for the fun fit crashing adventure – hope to be back soon!
Crash Course: Jaime Andrews is most well known for her popular bootcamp classes, but her business also offers a full roster of workout opportunities including personal training, yoga, and fitness getaways. Her latest class is called “Women & Weights”, a 45 minute total body workout using dumbbells, kettlebells, bands, medicine balls, and other tools of the trade to focus on strength and muscular endurance. It’s designed for women of all ages and fitness levels. This class is scheduled for Thursday mornings at 6 a.m. and Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. Visit the Jaime Andrews Fitness website for more information.
where: 1440 N Street NW // Logan Circle
bring: yourself, water bottle
perks: small class, towels, all ladies
sweat score: 7 out of 10
wear: anything you like
instructor: Jaime Andrews
cost: $35 drop-in
I had so much fun crashing Jaime’s outdoor bootcamp class last year and had been looking for an opportunity to come back. Logan Circle isn’t the most convenient neighborhood for me to get to, so unfortunately I put it off time and again. When she reached out to me about the newest addition to her class roster, I eagerly signed up for another chance to be part of her small, upbeat, no-fuss workout crew. If I’m willing to get out of bed at 5 a.m. for it, you know it has to be good!
I was up before the sunrise and slowly made my way through the city on a bikeshare bike, enjoying the quiet darkness and taking the downhill ride as a much-needed opportunity to wake up my sleepy body. I arrived to a bright and chipper studio occupied by five other ladies and Jaime.
We circled up, went through a few introductions, and started a dynamic warmup full of squats, swings, and stretches. Jaime then went over the breakdown of the mornings workout, demonstrating each move and explaining the mechanical breakdown of proper technique.
We did an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) circuit of three exercises at three stations with tabata intervals between each. Each station included a good mix of weights and cardio, ensuring we worked up a good sweat as we moved around the room. My partner and I started at a station that included 8 push ups, 8 dips, and 8 goblet squats.
The second station included 8 shoulder presses, 8 deadlifts, and holding a plank while pushing a dumbbell back and forth between your hands 8 times to throw off your balance. That move was so much tougher than it looked! By this point in the workout I was sweaty and starting to feel the fact that I hadn’t lifted weights in a few weeks. Clearly, this workout was just what I needed!
Our second tabata sequence involved weighted split squats. I wish I could tell you what the first tabata was, but it was obviously too early for my brain to remember. I remember it being challenging. I remember wondering how many gosh darn rounds of the 4 minute sequence we had left. But I can’t for the life of me tell you what the movement was. Oh well. Some things are best left to imagination.
The final station included 8 TRX rows, 8 kettlebell swings, and 8 resistance band arm curls. I was struggling at this point, but not in a “I’m going to collapse and pass out” kind of way. In the muscle-burn, this is going to feel good tomorrow kind of way. And let me tell you, I definitely felt it the next day. I obviously need to get back to some form of weight training, because my body let me know that it didn’t appreciate the sneak attack.
The class environment was casual, friendly, and very supportive. Jaime played good music and we talked throughout the entire thing, covering a wide list of topics ranging from marathon training to kids to the weather. It felt like a personal training session with Jaime and five friends. The time flew by and 6:45 came in the blink of an eye. We didn’t stretch as a group at the end of class, but I bet if you wanted to stick around for few minutes to cool down it wouldn’t be a problem. Most of the ladies had to leave right away to start their mornings and get ready for work.
All in all, I loved the experience and really recommend it to anyone looking to incorporate a little more weight training into their workout schedule. There were no “big lifts” involved, but that didn’t make it any less effective. I really enjoyed it. Jaime, can you open a studio closer to Cleveland Park please?
Bonus: read my review of Jaime’s outdoor bootcamp class here.
How do you incorporate weight training into your workout schedule?
Note: While Jaime invited me to try a free class, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience. Thanks for reading!