Archive of ‘combo’ category

Yoga + Martial Arts + Plyo Fusion Flow at Yoga Heights DC

yoga heights dc

Crash Course: Yoga Heights is DC’s newest yoga studio located just a  few blocks from the Georgia Ave/Petworth metro stop. It offers a variety of yoga classes, pilates, and nutrition counseling. It’s signature class is the Fusion Flow, a mashup of yoga, martial arts, and plyometrics that promises to deliver an intense, mix-movement interval workout. According to the website, the class is “geared towards building strength, power, and stability in your body.”  Sound like something you’d be interested in? Click here to see a full schedule for the next Fusion Flow class.   

where: 3506 Georgia Ave. // Georgia Ave. and Petworth Metro

bring: mat, towel, water bottle

perks: showers, easy parking, integrated nutrition center

sweat score: 9 out of 10



Do you all remember the crash I did at Athleta last year, the one with the interval workout that put me through my paces? The mastermind behind that class was Amy Rizzotto (photobomber extraordinaire, see above), who hinted to me that evening that she was working with a partner on a new yoga + wellness center in Petworth opening in the Spring of 2014. Well folks, it’s here! The amazing Yoga Heights is now open on Georgia Ave. and offers a really neat selection of unique classes to choose from, including hot power yoga, yogalates, pilates, beginners flow, athlete’s flow, and more.

yoga heights dc

yoga heights dc

Amy is a Certified Nutrition Coach and brings her passion for healthy eating to Yoga Heights through a variety of coaching services. Wellness and fitness isn’t just about sweating up a storm. You have to fuel your body to be its best, too. Yoga Heights brings it all together under one roof, something I have not yet seen in other studios. I’m such a fan of this integrated approach and hope it catches on at other places, especially the larger gyms with budgets to have an RD or nutrition coach on staff.

yoga heights dc

The studio is so new that the outdoor signage is still in process, so look for the white “Yoga Heights” banner hanging in the window. The front lobby area is clean and welcoming. The space has an industrial look to it, with exposed ductwork and clean lines. Amy and her business partner Jess Pierno decorated the space with wood and steel accents that really gives it an edgy-yet-comfortable vibe.

yoga heights dc

If you’re there on Wednesdays, check in with Andrew at the front desk (hi Andrew!) and make yourself comfortable. The lobby area has a selection of tea, a healthy snack bar or two, and a fridge full of Capital Kombucha. The two studio rooms are located down the hallway behind the front desk. The two bathrooms are all the way at the back of the space. I didn’t notice a dedicated changing room, so I popped into one of the luxuriously spacious bathrooms to do a quick-change out of my work clothes and into something more appropriate for class.

yoga heights dc

The bathroom has a shower in it – win! Bonus points for studios where I can freshen up after class and seamlessly get on with my day. I’m not sure if the other bathroom also has a shower, but one is more than enough and better than none!


Whenever I go to class right after work, I always like to have face wipes on me so I can take off my makeup before getting down to business. I’ve been using the Say Yes! blueberry wipes forever, but Biore sent me a sample pack and I figured it was worth trying something new. They definitely did the trick, but I don’t think I’ll be using them again. The ingredient list included a few things I’m not so keen on (including parabens) and I’d rather use wipes that are biodegradable.

yoga heights dc

With a squeaky clean face and clad in the fit crasher uniform of head-to-toe spandex, I walked into the room where our fusion flow class would be held that evening. It was pretty dim, so apologies that my photos turned out a tad grainy. If anyone has tips for low-light, high-activity iPhone photos, give a yell!

yoga heights dc

We organized ourselves into two rows of mats facing each other, with Amy in the middle giving instructions and demonstrating. I am so used to a teacher in front, students scattared in the back kind of setup that this new design totally threw me off. Probably a good thing not to get too comfortable, though, right?

yoga heights dc

The fusion class is a combination of yoga, plyometrics, and martial arts movements all fused into one crazy sweat fest. Think budokon with plyometric circuits sprinkled throughout. The class was broken up into a number of circuits, where yoga would build into martial arts and then culminate in a round of cardio or plyometrics. After a quick rest in child’s pose, we were back at in and on to the next round.

yoga heights dc

Let’s just say it got really sweaty, really fast. We began with some sun salutations, but before I could get too comfortable we moved into dolphin pushups and donkey kicks. I loved how each circuit built on itself, from flow to full-out plyo. Amy demonstrated each of the moves before we began the circuit, and I felt that I was able to keep up despite being new to quite a few of them.

yoga heights dc

There was quite a bit of jumping around, so if you’re looking for relaxing yoga, Yoga Heights offers that, but not in this class. I’d also recommend chatting with the teacher before class if you have any injuries or concerns. Since plyometrics are pretty explosive, this may not be the best option for folks recovering from injuries.

That said, if you like yoga but want to kick it up a notch with some added cardio and challenges, I definitely recommend checking out the fusion class. It’s a unique twist on your traditional yoga class that takes an extremely athletic approach. It’s also a ton of fun. I got a kick (literally) out of attempting handstands, learning a funky martial arts slash breakdancing move, and sweating up a storm.

yoga heights dc

Your first class is free at Yoga Heights, and after that drop-ins are $18. I’d love to come back and try the Athlete’s Flow or Yogalates class.

To Jess and Amy: a “thank you” to you and your team for hosting my crash at Yoga Heights. Congrats on the grand opening and welcome to the neighborhood!

Tabata Pilates Class at Fuel Pilates in Georgetown

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

Crash Course: The pilates tabata class at Fuel in Georgetown is a 45 minute zinger full of unexpected surprises and moves that will make you quake and shake. The class begins with a pilates warm up, then moves on to a series of four minute tabata intervals alternating between cardio and pilates exercises. Everything from burpees to teasers are fair game, so be prepared for anything. Check out Fuel’s schedule for class times and dates.

where: 3214 O Street NW // Georgetown

bring: water, sticky socks

perks: small class size

sweat score: 7 out of 10

wear: whatever you like, recommend socks

instructor: Robin Zahrt

cost: $22 drop-in


Fuel Pilates Georgetown

Fuel Pilates is a beautiful boutique studio tucked away on the quiet cobblestones of O Street in the heart of Georgetown. Owner Kelly Griffith also runs the trendy Xtend Barre studio in Shaw that offers the sweatiest cardio barre class I’ve ever taken. With that in mind, I was excited to come by and try her newest class concept at the original Fuel location: Pilates Tabata.

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

For better or worse, I know the streets and shops of Georgetown like the back of my hand. Great for giving directions to tourists, terrible for my wallet. But I had never noticed Fuel sitting quietly across from Wingos and next to late night favorites Kitchen No. 1 and Smith Point. Its lovely row house exterior blends into the neighborhood so well that it had escaped my detection for years – until now!

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

I arrived a few moments before class and checked in at the front desk, signing the appropriate waivers that promised I won’t die (or at least try my best not to) during class. I smooshed my backpack, shoes, purse, and coat into a cubby and proceeded through the sea of pilates equipment on the first floor to the staircase in the back of the studio.

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

The downstairs studio encompasses the entire lower level, with wall to wall mirrors and gleaming wood floors. There is a small bathroom in the corner in case you need it, and all of the equipment you’ll use in class is neatly displayed along the back wall. When I arrived, our mats, rubber balls, and bands were already set up and ready to go.

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

All of the spots in the back were already taken, so I tiptoed my way to the front left corner to set up shop. I sat down on my mat, rearranged the equipment a few times, and looked around at the other students. All women under the age of 35, some possibly Georgetown students, others definitely coming to class straight from the office like me. I noticed I was the only one not wearing sticky socks. I don’t remember seeing socks suggested anywhere on the Fuel website, and while I was told they aren’t essential or mandatory, I highly suggest bringing a pair. It’s always good to have options.

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

Class began with a light warm up of cat + cow stretches, gentle full body movements, and a pilates hundred. Then Robin demonstrated each of the exercises we would do during the tabata sets. I wish I had written each of the sets down, but I remember we did the following: burpees, lunges, jumping jacks, v-ups, planks/side planks, resistance band arm lifts/curls, and abs. There may be a few I missed, but you get the picture. It was a good mix of cardio and classic pilates.

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

We started with a burpee tabata, which I think threw everyone off a bit. Wait, wasn’t this pilates class? I didn’t sign up for boot camp! To be honest, while unexpected, the spurts of cardio intermixed with the less intense moves were the key to a well rounded, quick, sweaty workout. Once I figured out the method behind the madness, I was on board.

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

One thing that really perplexed me, however, was the music choice. This was supposed to be a 45-minute sweat fest full of strengthening, toning, full-body tabatas. We were doing jumping jacks and burpees, for goodness sakes! So why, then, was Norah Jones crooning calmly in the background? It set a strange mood and made me feel like I should be doing yoga instead of pulsing in a lunge. I now have a renewed appreciation for the power of a well thought-out playlist, because poor Norah made me want to curl up on my mat and take a nap.

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

Aside from the music issue (which was fixed during the last part of class, thankfully) Robin was a really wonderful instructor. She took the time to demonstrate each of the exercises and provided lots of variations for folks who wanted an extra challenge or a modification. She paced around the room with a tabata smartphone app and helped us keep time. I think there could have been slightly stronger cues for the tabata (there were a few instances where we were still burpee-ing after the round had ended), but understand that it’s a new class and instructors are still breaking it in.

Things I loved:

  • Quick + effective
  • Fun new concept I haven’t seen anywhere else
  • I was sore the next day in all the right places
  • Cute boutique studio around great shopping and restaurants

Things I would change:

  • The music makes all the difference – pump up the jams!
  • Opening a door or window downstairs would make a huge difference when things get sweaty

Thank you to Fuel for inviting me to come crash their new class. If you’ve crashed tabata pilates or any other Fuel class, leave a comment and let me know what you thought!


Note: While Fuel Pilates invited me to try a free class, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience. Thanks for reading!






TRX + Kettlebell Class at Reformation Fitness

Reformation Fitness Washington DC

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

bring: yourself

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


Reformation Fitness Washington DC

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.

Reformation Fitness Washington DC

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.

Reformation Fitness Washington DC

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.

Reformation Fitness Washington DC

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.

Reformation Fitness Washington DC

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.

Reformation Fitness Washington DC

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.

Reformation Fitness Washington DC

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.

Reformation Fitness Washington DC

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!

Yoga…Is That You? Crashing Sculpt at CorePower Yoga

CorePower Yoga

Crash Course: This, my friends, is a full-body cardio and weights class masquerading around in sassy yoga pants. It smiles and whispers “namaste” while challenging you to a full throttle push up contest. And let me tell you…it is awesome. There’s loud music. Yelling. Jumping up and down. Burpees. Bicep curls. Puddles of sweat. And a little bit of vinyasa flow thrown in for good measure. Visit the CorePower Yoga website for a full schedule of their yoga classes at locations in DC and across the country. 

wear: less is more, it’s hot!

instructor: Nanci 

cost: $20 drop-in, membership available


CorePower Yoga

Full disclosure: I’m a hot-yoga-induced-adrennaline-rush junkie. If you know me well, it’s not entirely surprising that I absolutely loved the Sculpt class at CorePower Yoga. It’s a fast and furious combination of many of my favorite things: hot yoga, mid-workout dance parties (more on that later), random bursts of burpees, energetic instructors, and free weight reps that make my arms want to fall off. So when Nanci at the Bethesda location reached out about crashing a class at her studio, I found my SmarTrip card and across the DC line I went.

CorePower Yoga Bethesda door

This particular studio is literally a stone’s throw from the District border and is 100% metro accessible. But if you want to keep things closer to home, CorePower Yoga also has locations in Georgetown and a new one opening in Glover Park next month. The Bethesda location is in a strange strip mall complex, nestled in with a CVS, PetCo, and Mattress Discounters <insert joke about strange bedfellows here>.

If you drive, parking is free. Just remember to have your ticket stamped at the front desk. Make your way to the third floor and follow the stream of yoga-mat-toting folks down a long hallway leading to the front door. And enter the calming, spa-like oasis that is CorePower Yoga.

CorePower Yoga Bethesda front desk

I have never in my life been to such a beautiful yoga studio. There’s no musty yoga smell. Plenty of space to move around in. The lighting is bright and upbeat. Things appear to be impeccably clean. Everything has its aesthetically-pleasing place. Be still my heart.

CorePower Yoga Bethesda reception area

Yes, I think that’s a fireplace. See what I mean? Who wouldn’t want to cozy up to some crackling embers while browsing through adorable yoga merchandise and sipping eco-friendly filtered water? 

CorePower Yoga Bethesda water

I’m not going to lie. I was blown away by my first impression. It’s just lovely. And if your heart can’t be won with filtered water and racks of fresh Luon, just wait till you see the locker rooms.

CorePower Yoga Bethesda Locker Room

Bright. Clean. Roomy. Lots of little amenities in case you forgot a hair-tie or need some mouthwash. Can I move in?

CorePower Yoga Bethesda showers

And five showers. Five. I didn’t use one but walked in fully-clothed to have a look-see. Sparkling clean with shampoo, conditioner, and body wash built in. What a lovely way to rinse off after sweating your brains out in class.

CorePower Yoga Bethesda flower

I had to literally tear myself away from the locker room and all of it’s splendor. I’ve been to many a gym in this city, and I can count on one hand the spots where the digs were this nice. Well played, CorePower.

Now…on to class.

CorePower Yoga Bethesda studio

There are two yoga studios at this location. Both look very similar, so what you see above is what to expect. Gleaming clean floors, fun lights, and lots of windows. I’m a big fan of the natural light. And of the fact that I wasn’t walking through sweat puddles or musty air to get to my mat.

I grabbed two sets of free weights, a block, and settled in to enjoy the proverbial calm before the storm.

CorePower Yoga Bethesda

Nanci led us through a few warm up yoga poses to kick things off. The music was thumping. Her upbeat voice carried well. And you could tell we were in for a wild ride.

From what I could tell, the class follows a very specific sequence of moves. There’s a leg, arm, and glute series. Each involves a few yoga-inspired moves like chair pose or warrior two, but made enormously more challenging thanks to weighted reps. For example, imagine sitting low in chair pose. Now imagine pulsing in chair pose. Now imagine pulsing in chair pose while doing overhead tricep curls while Miley Cyrus is blaring and sweat is pouring into your eyes. Now you get the picture.

CorePower Yoga Bethesda class

I’ll be honest, this class is really tough. I had to take a few breaks. My arms and legs were shaking. Some positions needed modification just so I could get through them. But everyone in the room was in the same boat – so hear me out: do not feel any pressure to keep up. Be smart about the workout. It’s hot in there people.

The most interesting thing about the Sculpt class, in my opinion, is the mid-workout cardio segment. I’m not entirely sure how long it lasts (about the length of one song), but it involves any assortment of high knees, squat jumps, mountain climbers, and running in place. In other words, it’s a spastic dance party on your yoga mat. While easily the heart-pumpingest portion of the workout, it was also the most fun. I couldn’t believe the energy Nanci had – she was bouncing all around the room, shouting out commands and dancing to the music.

You know who else was laughing?

CorePower Yoga Bethesda buddha

That guy. I swear the Buddha statue in the corner of the room was silently cracking up as all of us lept, repped, and sweat all over the place. Yoga? I’m not so sure I buy it. This class was a lot more “ommmmm(g)” than “ommmm.” But it’s a crazy challenging and fun workout that no doubt will whip you into great shape, no matter your fitness or yoga goals.

Would you call this class “yoga”?

If Bootcamp and Your Weekly Group Run Had a Lovechild: Out Run at Roam Fitness


Crash Course:  Roam Fitness is a boutique gym located in the Glover Park neighborhood that offers personal training, a carefully curated selection of functional training equipment, and a few non-traditional group fitness classes. One of them is a genius combination of outdoor bootcamp circuits and running, as if one weren’t hard enough without the other. This class would not be great for the first-time runner, but seems best fit for those who are comfortable running more than three miles on trail and pavement. If you’re tired of your normal running routine, this is a surefire way to shake things up. Click here for a schedule.

where: 2505 Wisconsin Ave., NW/basement of the Savoy Hotel

bring: yourself

perks: free parking, access to shower, small class, outside

sweat score: 8 out of 10 

wear: recommend trail shoes, clothes you don’t mind getting dirty

instructor: Chris Geier

cost: drop in rate is $25 or pay $22 for a month of unlimited Out Run classes



I walked into the small but well-appointed Roam Fitness at approximately 6:20 a.m. It was early enough that I wasn’t questioning why our instructor was stuffing his backpack full of bands, ropes, and other torture devices. I just yawned, submitted to my fate, and began a routine that looked like stretching, hoping to blend in and be left alone. Hey, it was early.

Looking around, I noticed that the gym itself is very…cozy. It wouldn’t hold a lot of people, but maybe that’s the idea.


As the clock rolled around to 6:30, it was time for us to get out of the door and on to our workout. We all had offices to be in by 9 and knew it was now or never to get in a morning sweat. Luckily, it was a rare DC morning with low(er) humidity and brilliant sunshine. There were only three of us in the class, all ladies and each of a different experience level.

We followed Chris, our instructor, as he bounded from the Savoy Hotel across Wisconsin Avenue and into the the heart of Glover Park. As the pace picked up, I suddenly found myself wide awake, looking around, and wondering…where exactly was this Out Run excursion taking us?


I have been a DC runner for nine years and pride myself on knowing some of the area’s most obscure and tucked-away running routes. It’s really more an outcome of marathon-training desperation than exploration. But this morning was exactly what I needed to remember why running in DC is so awesome: no matter how well you think you know your routes, there’s still more out there to discover.


For example, I had never…ever…run through the tidy row houses of Glover Park to join the Glover-Archibald trail at the edges of the neighborhood. The trail entrance is completely tucked away and easily missed, so I was surprised when our little gang of four suddenly veered off the pavement and into the nearest hedge. Before I knew it, we were under a canopy of huge green trees and treading on dirt.


Every half-mile or so, we stopped to do a different set of exercises. This is where the real fun begins. Who needs a tidy gym when you can do tricep dips on a log? Or planks in a dew-soaked field?


Cross-over mountain climbers in the dirt, anyone? If this was a video, you’d also hear the croak of frogs hanging out in the creek behind us. I mean, really, let’s break it down for a hot second. You could do your morning workout in a gym with towel service, air conditioning, rows of treadmills, florescent lighting, and muzak. Or you could get out into nature and play around like it’s recess…all before rush hour. At least in my book, the winning option is obvious.


We continued on for a total of about four miles. Up hills, down hills, and every few minutes stopping for another round of surprises. There were a few moments of morning clarity when I realized what was going on and thought…wow, this is so much better than when I run by myself before work.

The second half of the run is when we started incorporating some of the gear in Chris’ backpack. He would find an open space, signal for us to stop, zip open the pack, and before we could blink we were doing another set of this or that. These partner resistance bands were awesome. We did some standing twists and arm strengtheners.


Our final destination on this morning’s Out Run was Holy Rood Cemetery, which I have passed a zillion times but have never been in. It’s perched above Wisconsin Avenue and Chris was adamant about showing us the view from the top. After three sweaty miles, we were all tired, and I had my doubts the promised vistas would be worth the effort. We entered the property at the bottom of the hill and, true to form, Chris reached into his backpack to pull out a different set of resistance bands. But in that brief moment of transition, we all noticed a tiny baby deer sleeping soundly in front of us, nestled into the grass next to a tomb. So very awesome.

After taking a few moments to admire our very own little Bambi, we were off again, chugging up the Holy Rood hill with partner resistance bands. One runner would hold the band, while the other would take ten strides forward, ten shuffles to the side, ten backward, and ten to the other side. This was an awesome way to work in lateral movement, not to mention a killer interval workout.


We finally made it to the top to admire the promised-view. Chris was right, it definitely didn’t disappoint. As we huffed, puffed, and wiped the sweat out of our eyes, we took in the panorama of the Kennedy Center, the Washington Monument, and Georgetown. What a way to end the workout!

Bottom line: this is way more fun than waking up to slog through your normal morning loop solo. The instructor is energetic, the group is friendly and engaged, and the routes are entertaining. Yes the morning class is early, but it’s worth it. They also have an evening option for those who can’t make it at 6:30 a.m. Out Run is an awesome few miles coupled with important cross training exercises that will make you a better runner and a better athlete. I will definitely be back soon – thanks Roam Fitness!

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