Archive of ‘dance’ category

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!

 

 

Where I’m Crashing This Week + Instacart Review

This week is packed to the brim with fun workouts and I can’t wait to share all of them with you. Yes, it’s only Wednesday, but I just couldn’t wait to get started. So bear with me while I recap the few I’ve done already and preview the ones for the rest of the week. Plus, I wanted to tell you about my experience with a  new DC grocery delivery service (aka a busy fit crasher’s dream come true.) Okay, shall we get started?

Dance Trance Cinco de Mayo Party

dance trance DC

What better way to celebrate Monday (and Cinco de Mayo, at that) then with a little dance party, eh? Lauren from LaTooFit and I met up at Dance Trance DC for an hour of toe tapping, voguing, and choreographed sassiness. If you aren’t familiar with Dance Trance, the class puts you through song after song of pre-coreographed dance routines. New and don’t know the routine? That’s okay, me either. Just follow the instructors staged around the room and they’ll show you how it’s done. I’m not a talented dancer to begin with, and following choreography is really not my strong suit, but I consider this class a chance to get outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself. And hey, it’s a lot of fun too! Thanks for hosting us Dance Trance!

Sunrise Power Yoga at The Studio DC

the studio dc yoga in adams morgan

I recently re-discovered The Studio DC in Adams Morgan. I used to live right across the street a few years ago, but haven’t been back since. Well shame on me! This cozy and welcoming space has a great schedule, and I am officially a huge fan of their $10 hot power vinyasa classes. I went to one this morning with Lexie and it was such a fantastic way to start the morning. There were copious amounts of hands-on adjustments (I’m talking mini back massages and assisted stretching), a challenge but accessible sequence, and I left with sweat on my brow and a smile on my face. I can’t wait to go back again soon! If you live in Dupont, be sure to read about my fit crash at that location too.

Coming up…

Wednesday: 6:30 p.m. free bootcamp hosted by VIDA fitness at Yards Park

Thursday: 8 p.m. spin class at the new Pure Ryde in Bethesda with Ingrid

Friday: TBD (suggestions welcome!)

Saturday: checking out the new Pure Barre location on Captiol Hill

Sunday: 10:15 a.m. barre class at Barre Tech in Clarendon

Now on to the more delicious portion of this blog post!

My Experience with Instacart

instacart dc grocery delivery

Instacart is a service that delivers groceries straight to your door from stores including Yes! Organic Market, Safeway, Whole Foods, and Costco. When they launched in DC, Instacart asked if I would try out their service and share my honest review on the blog.

Now, I’m not a food blogger and I rarely do reviews outside of fitness classes, but as someone who works full time and fit crashes full time, I can appreciate the amazing convenience of not having to stop at the grocery store at 9 p.m. just to pick up a few things for dinner. And as fellow fit crashers in this crazy busy city of ours, I thought you might appreciate knowing about this cool new service too. So I agreed to give it a whirl and was given a $25 credit to use on my first order.

On Sunday evening I went to the website to pick out a few items I knew I’d need for the week. I scheduled a delivery time for Monday (in my case, 9 – 10 p.m.) and went about my merry way. As I was heading home from Dance Trance on Monday evening, I got a call at 8:45 p.m. from my Instacart shopper, who was at the store collecting my order. There were two items on my list that Yes! didn’t have in stock, and she was calling to ask if I wanted to replace those items with anything else in the store while she was there. How awesome! I then received a text message with an estimated delivery time, and by 9:10 my groceries were delivered (with a smile and in the pouring rain) to my front door.

instacart-dc-delivery-groceries
I was so thankful to have some basics to work with for the week, particularly when I knew it would be a crazier-than-usual few days with not a lot of personal down time to go shopping.
 The only negative thing I can say about my experience is that I confused a sweet potato with a sweet potato yam garnet, which is apparently a super-sized version of the original (see bottom left). It’s enormous. Nothing I can’t work with, but next time I’ll read the description more carefully and not go by the picture alone. My salad greens, on the other hand, were perfect.

instacart salad may 2014

I could definitely see myself using Instacart again, particularly if I needed some bulk items from Costco (hello chia seeds and frozen fruit binge!) or if I was out of town for the weekend and needed to restock my fridge. Or heck, let’s be honest, if I just don’t feel like going to the grocery and want food delivered to my door. Who doesn’t love convenience like that?

Want to give it a whirl? Try it for yourself! Use code “DCFITCRASHER” for $10 off and free delivery on your first order. Leave a comment and let me know that you tried it out, and Instacart will also enter you to win three months of free delivery. Not a bad deal, my friends! Start making those grocery lists!

 Happy and healthy crashing!

Dancing My Bollywood Booty Off at Doonya

doonya-shirt


Crash Course: Doonya is the latest Bollywood-inspired dance workout to sweep the fitness world. It fuses hip-hop, Bhangra, and traditional Indian folk dance moves into a power-packed hour of sweaty fun. Doonya also includes routines using free weights, upping the ante on the other cardio-only dance workouts. Click here for the full schedule for the DC, Virginia, and Maryland area.


wear: anything that you can move freely in

instructor: Jeannie Baumann

cost: drop in rate is $20*

 

doonya-jordins

I crashed a Masala Bhangra fitness class a few months ago at Washington Sports Club and absolutely loved it. I walked away with some sassy new moves and a better appreciation for all of those Bollywood backup dancers. So when I was invited to crash a Doonya class at Jordin’s Paradise in Dupont Circle, I honestly thought I had the equation all figured out. Channel Frida Pinto a la Slum Dog Millionaire, follow along to a few songs, and burn a few hundred calories.

doonya-studio
Well, I was right on all three fronts, but was horribly wrong thinking Masala Bhangra and Doonya are one and the same. While both are inspired by the high-energy dance sequences found in Bollywood flicks, Doonya branches out from the Bhangra style and incorporates a challenging collection of moves from various other Indian traditions. Just as you think you are beginning to get one genre down, the song changes and you are all of a sudden moving in an entirely different way.

doonya-class-plie

For example, the traditional folk dance we did was similar to a barre workout, with lots of precision moves focused around deep plies and calf-burning heel raises. Shortly after, we were bounding across the dance floor doing high karate kicks and sweeping arm movements. And then we were running in place, swiveling hips from side to side, and lunging to the front, back, left, and right.

doonya-class-2

This workout, my friends, is really tough. There is no built-in rest, so listen to your body and take breaks at the back of the studio as needed. If you are feeling really ambitious, a Doonya class can be 60 minutes of non-stop, heart-pounding motion. The music is loud and the beat is contagious, so even if you wanted to sit one out, it’s hard to resist joining in for too long. I had many moments of leg-burning agony quickly followed by “oh that move looks like fun, I think I’ll try it” or “I love this song, I can’t possibly sit this one out.”  Check out this short video I posted on Vine for an insider look at what I’m talking about.

IMG_1975

The class starts with a warm up song containing all of the foundational moves you will encounter during class. Don’t worry, you won’t remember all of these when things get going, but follow along with the instructor and you’ll be fine. If you can’t seem to figure out the sequence, just keep moving (on many occasions, I choose to jump in place…seemed to do the trick.) The class has a total of 12 or so songs, some of which incorporate weights, and then the entire session ends with a final cool down. At this point, I was a sweaty, happy, Bollywood-dancing mess…and I loved it.

doonya-poster

Things I wasn’t crazy about:

  • As someone with no dance background or experience with Bollywood sequences, it was sometimes hard to learn moves on the fly. Not impossible, but be prepared to do a bit of interpretive dance if you lack solid coordination skills.
  • The use of weights was great, but I would love for them to be incorporated for more songs. Yes, I’m a sucker for punishment.
  • $20 seems a bit steep for a drop-in dance class. I’ve paid that much for a spin class at a boutique studio, but that also includes a post-class mimosa, refrigerated towels dipped in essential oil, and shower facilities.

Things I liked about Doonya:

  • It was a killer cardio workout masquerading as a Bollywood dance party. Be prepared to sweat, be challenged, and have a great time.
  • The class attracts men and women of all ages, sizes, ethnicities, and abilities.
  • I loved the incorporation of weights to help round out the full-body workout.
  • For those who hate the gym or need to spice up their workout routine, this is a feel-good fun way to work up a serious sweat.



Have you tried Doonya?


 

*Doonya generously waived my drop-in fee for this class – all opinions are my own.

Dance Trance: Your Flash Mob Dreams Come True

dance-trance-arms-in-air


Crash Course: Dance Trance is the latest dance-based workout craze to land in the District. At its core, it’s a 60-minute aerobic dance workout set to top-40 hits. There are no verbal cues, and no yelling in structors. Instead, feel the beat and do your best to keep up as instructors lead the class through simple and effective dance sequences. Intimidated by choreography? Head to one of the “breakdown” classes for a step-by-step introduction to the latest routines. Bottom line: low lighting, loud music, and a class full of folks sweating to the same moves makes this workout feel exactly like being in a night-club flash mob of the coolest variety. Click here to check out the full schedule of classes. 


wear: gym clothes, dancing shoes

instructor: Sarah Spear Sands, Lauren McCaghren, Maria Jose Garcia

cost: drop in rate is $18*

 

dance-trance-squat

I know I already said Jazzercise class was similar to going out dancing with girlfriends. But that was before I tried Dance Trance. This, my friends, feels exactly like a night on the town with a bunch of ladies who just happen to be doing the same dance moves as you. It will make all of your flash-mob, Step Up, So You Think You Can Dance dreams come true. The environment is fun (you won’t find any screaming dance-marms here), supportive, and all about leaving behind the day’s frustrations in a pool of sweat on the dance floor.

dance-trance-balance-alley

Dance Trance is on my list of 13 crashes to complete in 2013, so you can imagine my excitement when I was invited to test out a class last week. The studio is part of the Balance Gym in Thomas Circle, which is actually split between two buildings. Dance Trance classes are held in the second building located behind the main entrance on 14th street (pictured above). Head down the well-lit alleyway to the left and you’ll run right into where you need to go. There’s a big sign and lots of bright lights – you can’t miss it.

dance-trance-building

Sign in at the front desk and use the narrow staircase on the left to get to the dance studio on the third floor.

dance-trance-where-to-go

dance-trance-stairs

From what I could tell, there wasn’t any defined storage area for personal belongings, so head in through the studio doors and set your stuff along one of the walls. It seemed like this was what everyone else did, and I was able to keep an eye on my things the entire time. There is also a small restroom on this floor, so if you need to change into clothes when you arrive, plan to channel your inner Clark Kent and use the bathroom stall for a costume change.

dance-trance-outside-studio

The dance studio has wall to wall mirrors, which is helpful for some and horrifying for others. I was perfectly okay with keeping my flailing arms and two left feet to myself, but for everyone who witnessed the entertainment of watching me try to break it down to Shakira, you’re welcome. Personal awkwardness aside, I can see how the mirrors are helpful in some instances, especially for the hour when the class dissects a few of the dance routines. When the High Cardio hour kicks into full gear, the lights turn off and the mirror is no longer such a big deal.

dance-trance-sway

Things to know about Dance Trance class:

  • If you’ve never been, I highly recommend attending the Breakdown hour to learn a few essential moves.
  • It gets really hot and humid in there, so be prepared to sweat.
  • The lights turn down low during class and there are a few colored, flashing lights to add to the night-club effect.
  • Similar to Jazzercise, all of the songs played have corresponding dance routines. The more often you attend, the more likely you’ll be able to pick up the entire sequence.
  • If you ever get lost in the choreography (like I did for every song)…just keep moving. I recommend the running man and the Carlton when in a pinch, but use your own discretion.
  • The class is led by three instructors strategically placed throughout the room. They use easy-to-follow hand cues to help convey what moves are coming next.
  • You will bump into someone. You may even fall down a few times. Laugh, smile, get up, shake it off, and try again. It’s all about having fun and getting in an awesome workout.

dance-trance-goofy-shot

Finally, a huge “thank you” to the Dance Trance team and Lacey from Lululemon for inviting me to join them for my first DT experience. I had a blast and am looking forward to coming back again soon. Until then, know that every time I hear Too Close by Alex Clare, I do a little Dance Trance two-step in your honor.


Dance Trance, Zumba, Masala Bhangra, Jazzercise…do you have a favorite?


 

 

* Dance Trance DC generously comped my fee for this class. This post is not an endorsement and all opinions are my own.

Jazzercise is All Grown Up

jazzercise-feature


Crash Course: Put away the leg warmers and the unitards, ladies, because this isn’t your mamma’s Jazzercise class. While the name may spark visions of big hair and shiny spandex, today’s Jazzercise is a lot like what you find at other dance-based classes gaining traction in gyms across the city (think Zumba, Masala Bhangra, etc.). The difference? Jazzercise is the original dance-party-turned-workout, and takes its role as leader of the pack seriously. The classes blend aerobics, yoga, Pilates, strength training, and kickboxing to the tunes of Top 40 hits. Think of it as going out dancing with your girlfriends…while burning up to 600 calories and without the creepy onlooker at the bar. Click here for a full schedule of class times.


where: 200 N Glebe Road, Lobby Level

bring: water bottle, non street shoes, towel

perks: free parking

sweat score: 5 out of 10 

wear: what you’d wear to the gym

instructor: Renee

cost: drop in rate is $15*

 

jazzercise-lunge

I admit it – when I heard that Jazzercise was still around, I was shocked. Wasn’t this the exercise phenomenon of the 80s, where ladies in unitards bopped and leg-lifted leg warmers to the tune of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”? At least in my mind, that was totally the case. So when an email from Jazzercise of Arlington landed in my inbox, I started to break a sweat just thinking of the time warp I would have to keep up with. It would be Richard Simmons. Jane Fonda. And me.

So imagine my surprise when I stepped onto my designated purple square on the studio floor, bracing for impact, and heard Ke$ha come over the sound system. That’s right, the “I brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack” 25-year-old pop star was helping us kick things off. Mind. Blown.

Jazzercise-stand

That’s when it hit me. Jazzercise is all grown up and making a headline-worthy comeback. The total lack of leg warmers or leotards when I walked in should have been a dead giveaway, but the remaining dread I had about participating in a “Sweating to the Oldies” style workout was dashed within the first few minutes. The entire class was set to current pop music, including hits from Ptbull, Pink, Rhianna, Taylor Swift, and the ever ubiquitous Gangnam Style. To be honest, the entire hour felt like a night out dancing with the girls. Singing along at the top of your lungs optional.

Jazzercise-punch

A few things to know about Jazzercise:

  • Jazzercise is the original dance aerobics class and got its start way before newcomers Zumba, Bhangra, and Dance Trance.
  • Unlike other dance classes, there are no mirrors in any of the Jazzercise studios. No mirrors means no self-judgement and no need for self consciousness. Go nuts. The instructor is trained to give easy-to-follow verbal cues, so follow along with her and you’ll be just fine. It’s like a live version of the Dance Dance Revolution video game.
  • According to the website, you can burn up to 600 calories in one class. I couldn’t tell you how many calories I burned, but if you want to reach that upper range, you’re going to need to come down with some serious dance fever. Go big or go home.
  • Classes involve warm up, cardio dance segment, aerobic cool down, toning with weights, and a final warm down. Each and every segment is adaptable for all ability levels.
  • New songs and routines are used every 10 weeks to keep things fresh. So, if you hate Ke$ha or Taylor Swift, stick it out for a few weeks and there’ll be a new crop of pop stars to dance with next time.

Jazzercise-instructors

The Jazzercise Arlington crowd was absolutely awesome. From the first moment I walked in the door, I was greeted by friendly faces who helped me store my belongings in the row of lockers and walked me to the restroom to change. There is no changing room at the studio, but a bathroom stall always does the trick in a pinch.

One thing that blew me away was the incredible range of ages and abilities in the room. There were women in their twenties all the way into their 70s, those who had dancers bodies and those who didn’t, and each one was able to follow along and do the routines. The other thing that blew me away? The positive, fun, supportive environment that exploded from the dance floor throughout the entire class. Women were singing along, laughing, interacting with the instructor, and slapping high-fives. Kind of like this:


Renee was leading the class tonight. I could not get over her energy and passion. She was on the ball for every song, gave excellent verbal cues, and I would highly recommend her class for anyone who wants to try Jazzercise for the first time. Thanks Renee!

jazzercise-renee


Would you try Jazzercise?


 

* Jazzercise kindly comped my walk in fee, but all opinions are my own.

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