Archive of ‘pilates’ category

Crashing Boston’s Btone Fitness

Boston Common in the rain
For those of you who follow me on social media (hello!) this might be old news, but I wanted to share my review of a fun studio I fit crashed while in Boston last week.
I was in town for an overnight business trip and knew I wanted to sneak in a workout early in the morning before my meetings. I crashed Barry’s Bootcamp last time I visited and wanted to try something just as unique. Finding fun workouts while traveling is always a challenge – in fact, one of the sparks behind this blog was my deep frustration over not being able to find honest  fitness class reviews while visiting Chicago a few years ago.

Whenever I visit a new city, I try to do my homework and find someplace new to crash. Let me tell you, it’s not easy, but I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade. And there’s something truly energizing and fun about experiencing the city through fitness - I think it’s safe to say it’s one of my favorite forms of tourism. So, to come full circle, I may have been in Boston for less than 24 hours but made an extra effort to squeeze in a sweat.

Btone Fitness on Newbury Street in Boston
To give you the full flavor of what my experience was like, let me set the scene for you.

It’s 5:45 a.m. when my alarm goes off. How rude. It’s mocking me by marking the time when I should have awoken refreshed, renewed, and ready to flit out of dreamland and down to Newbury Street for my workout.

Instead, I’ve been up since a 2:30 a.m. siren sent me blearily bolting out of bed and into my sneakers. Wrapped in half-sleep and a crumpled robe, I methodically followed the tide of hotel guests down the stairs. A few of us locked eyes and exchanged silent complaints about the annoyingly crass alarm that set us on this troubled course to begin with. But on the course we went, such as fire alarms go. And after a few moments outside in the cold and rain, we were assured by hotel management that it was a false alarm, all was well, and we should get some sleep. Sleep? Ha. I instead laid achingly awake in a dark hotel room for two hours until my alarm suggested that yes, indeed, it was now time to start the day. Good morning sunshine! Harumph.

So I dug my spandex out of my suitcase, tied on my sneakers once again, and slowly traipsed through the still-falling rain to my workout class at Btone Fitness. Honestly, if I didn’t have a previously-scheduled class to attend, I would have rolled over and tried to snag a cat nap. But I was truly excited to crash this trendy little boutique megaformer studio that I just had to power through and make the most of it.

Btone Fitness on Newbury Street in Boston
Btone sits above fashionable Newbury Street in a wood-floored, cozy space that’s bookended by windows and flooded with natural light.
 It has a stylish and fully-stocked locker room with showers, a couch to hang out on, and storage for your belongings. Btone offers a few different boutique-style classes, including spin on Real Ryder bikes, barre blast, and the signature tone class on the megaformer. They offer a $5 drop-in deal for first-timers, so if you’re visiting or new to Boston, how can you say no?

Our instructor Lisa introduced herself as I got set up on my megaformer, asked if I had any questions, and talked through the upcoming class. I love the personal touch of making newcomers feel welcome. She mentioned another visitor from DC had stopped by earlier in the week – if you’re reading this, leave a comment below, I want to compare notes! Despite my severe lack of sleep, I was looking forward to finding how Btone might differ from classes at other megaformer studios I’ve crashed like Solidcore in DC, Sculpt in Bethesda, and Firebrand in Portland. While the machine is always the same, I’ve come to find that different studios approach teaching the megaformer in subtly unique ways, making it a fun adventure at every new location.

Btone Fitness on Newbury Street in Boston

The class itself wasn’t particularly memorable. Perhaps it was because my head was in a bit of a fog. Perhaps it was because everyone was feeling the early-morning start time. But the class seemed to lag and lacked a certain zesty energy that I’m used to. I didn’t break a sweat, which was really surprising. I wasn’t sore the next day, which was even more surprising. Transitions were slow and the music was just loud enough to be heard but not really felt. I left feeling accomplished but not especially tuckered out.

This might have been a unique case, and as with any studio, overall class awesomeness depends on the particular time of day, the energy from the students, and the instructor. Maybe DC just has crazy-hard, wildly-energetic megaformer classes that have now ruined me from enjoying any others. Who knows!

At any rate, I said my thank yous and good byes and ducked back into the rain for a quick jaunt to the nearest coffee shop for an extra-grande cup of joe. Extra. Grande. After the night I had and an early morning fit crash, it was a grande kind of day.

Until next time, Boston! 

 

Top 10 Fit Crasher Highlights From Last Week

Hope you all had a glorious Memorial Day Weekend! This past week was packed with all sorts of random fit crasher goodness, so I thought I’d break it down for you with a top ten list. Are you ready?

TEN: Kate Bakes Bars

kate bakes bars


kate bakes bars

I had the opportunity to try my very first batch of Kate Bakes bars. What makes these so special, you ask? Well, a few things! They’re made right here in DC by a local lady entrepreneur who is committed to providing the city with healthy on-the-go eats. The ingredient list is small and full of items I recognize, and each bar is always gluten free and vegan for anyone who has dietary restrictions. Not to mention, they’re pretty darn scrumptious too. My favorite flavors were the banana cinnamon oatmeal and the chocolate coffee. Perfect for tossing in my gym bag as a before or after fit crash snack. These things were definitely a highlight of my week! Thanks for the samples, Kate!

NINE: New Oiselle Running Shorts

oiselle roga shorts

My stash of running shorts is in serious need of an update. I was thrilled to receive a pair of the Lululemon speed shorts for my birthday earlier this month, but after wearing them over and over again, I figured it was time to add another new pair to the rotation. I have been hearing awesome things about the Oiselle roga shorts, so last weekend I popped on over to City Sports to try on a pair. It was love at first lunge (yes, I did a few in the dressing room). In fact, I wore them out the door and straight to the trail. There’s a front pocket deep enough to fit my phone, and a back pocket that works great for keys and an ID. They have just the right amount of stretch and a comfortable wide waistband. I’m officially smitten.

EIGHT: Garden Greens

organic salad greens

A friend of mine has an organic garden plot and grows some of the most delicious-looking produce every year. He is experimenting with different kinds of greens this spring, and is having overwhelming success with just about everything he put into the ground. So much so, in fact, that he currently has more lettuce than he can possibly eat and was kind enough to give me a sampling of his bounty. I was over the moon excited to have a huge bag brimming with the most colorful, fresh looking leaves I’ve ever seen. Salad heaven!

SEVEN: Outdoor Workouts

playground workout

 

memorial day weekend workout

No gym? No problem! Fit crashing doesn’t have to happen at a studio, especially when the weather is as beautiful as it has been here in DC. I like using the 12 Minute Athlete and Sworkit circuit training apps for quick, no-nonsense sweatiness wherever I go. I definitely got a few strange looks from kids enjoying an evening playdate at the playground, but hopefully they’ll remember the crazy lady doing pull ups on the monkey bars when they get older : )

SIX: Berry Season!

berries and lemon

I think this pictures says it all, yes? Hello summer!

FIVE: Standup Paddleboarding

Key Bridge Boathouse DC
On Memorial Day a friend and I slathered on the sunscreen, strapped into lifejackets, and took to the high seas Potomac River for an afternoon of stand-up paddleboarding at the Key Bridge Boathouse
(formerly Jacks Boathouse, RIP). I almost forgot what a tough workout it can be going against the wind and the current. After an hour of adventuring we docked our vessels and went in search of some much-needed nourishment. Hey, all that paddling is hard work! Thankfully, Malmaison was a stone’s throw away and offered fresh-squeezed green juices. I got the Hulk flavor, a refreshing combo of pear, cucumber, and other delicious ingredients. Win!

FOUR: Bowling at the White House

truman bowling alley white house

truman bowling alley white house

Talk about a fit crasher bucket list item! Can’t believe this actually happened. A friend invited a few of us to bowl at the White House Truman Bowling Alley last weekend. It’s a tiny two lane operation, complete with personalized bowling balls, a wall full of shoes, and even its own White House score cards. I loved looking over the pictures hanging along the walls of the various presidents and first ladies using it over the years – the history in that place! I’m absolutely terrible at bowling but had a blast. Now if only I can learn to keep it down the middle…

THREE: Crashing the Newest [solidcore] Studio

solidcore dc

On Sunday I took a bike share bike to Mt. Vernon Triangle to check out the newest solidcore studio. The location is a little bit hidden – look for it underneath the Le Pan Quotidien across the street from Sixth Engine bar. It has the same design as the other studios but in a more convenient place for folks living in that neck of the woods. A word of caution: this is still the toughest and most addictive workout I’ve done in DC. You’ve been warned.

TWO: Memorial Day 12 Miler

memorial day walk memorial day dc honor flight memorial day dc

The weather this past weekend was picture perfect. 70 – 80 degrees, no humidity, brilliant sunshine. I decided to make the best of it and adventure down to the monuments to see what kinds of things were going on for Memorial Day. I should have mapped it out before I left because it ended up being a whopping 12 miles! I ran part of the way but it was mostly a brisk walk. That said, I had to stop at one of the tourist-trap concession stands to buy a water and a bag of pretzels just to keep me going. Serves me right for not planing ahead!

As expected, the monuments were absolutely mobbed with folks in town to celebrate the holiday. I walked the length of the Lincoln to the WWII memorial just in time to witness a group of Honor Flight veterans being escorted in to see the monument for the first time. It was incredible to watch. Really brought home the “reason for the season” and I felt so lucky to have been there at the right time to see it. But next time, I’ll bring water and snacks for the journey!

ONE: Celebrating 80 Fit Crashes

dc fit crasher 80 fit crashes

The blog reached a whopping 80 fit crashes last week! Cue the confetti and party hats! Do you have a favorite? Leave a comment and let me know, I’d love to hear from you. Cheers to this milestone and at least 80 more sweaty adventures ahead :)

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Bethesda’s Megaformer Hot Spot: Sculpt Studio

sculpt megaformer pilates bethesda


Crash Course: Sculpt Studio in Bethesda offers classes on the mega-popular megaformer machine, a souped-up pilates reformer on a serious power trip. This thing makes your entire body shake within minutes, and you’ll leave feeling toned, tired, a little buzzed, and fantastically sore. It’s a no-impact workout that caters to all fitness levels. But a note to even the fittest among us: check your ego at the door with this one, because you’re in for an incredibly challenging ride. Click here for a full schedule of classes at Sculpt Studio.   



wear: recommend spandex bottoms

instructor: Mary Farber

cost: $20 first class/$35 drop-in

 

sculpt megaformer studio bethesda

For all the times I said a $35-per-class fitness trend would never really catch on here in DC, let me be the first one to eat my words. With the rapid success and expansion of Solidcore and the popularity of Bethesda’s Sculpt Studio, I think it’s safe to say that the DMV is twitterpated with the ultra-lux megaformer workout.

sculpt megaformer studio bethesda

Sculpt Studio is located on the lower level of the building and encompasses the main workout floor, a bathroom, and an adjoining studio/merchandise space. Despite being occupied by so many hulking machines, the gleaming floors, bright overhead lights, and high white ceilings give the space a wide-open, almost sterile feeling. A wall of mirrors sits at the front of the room, and a row of cubbies and hangers offer storage space toward the back.

sculpt megaformer studio bethesda

The 10 a.m. Saturday morning class was nearly full, and everyone seemed fairly relaxed as they prepared for the workout. I, on the other hand, was a ball of nerves on my carriage, anxiously swishing through Twitter to distract myself from what was about to go down. The woman next to me introduced herself. I smiled back and asked if this was her first class. She said yes. I silently debated whether to warn her about the pain train that was about to happen in this bright, peppy room. Don’t be fooled by these sleek machines, I wanted to tell her, you’ll be sore for days. DAYS!

I opted instead for the interpretive: “Good luck!”

Before we got started, Mary went over the ins-and-outs of the megaformer machine. This is an introduction I honestly hadn’t received before, and I liked getting a little tour of all the different do-dads and options available. I also relished in this being the only part of class when I wasn’t shaking like a leaf and praying for the fitness police to come and save me from myself.

sculpt megaformer studio

Then Mary put her headset on, turned up the music, and started taking us through the first few moves. We began with a series of excruciatingly slow ab exercises and planks. She would count each rep to the beat, going down “one, two, three, four” and up “one, two, three four.” Five minutes in and my arms and abs were already praying for a break. Do you think she would be able to tell if I put one knee down in this plank? Is it really cheating if the rest of my body is still engaged? There’s a lot of negotiating with yourself that goes on during a megaformer class – come ready to stand your ground and fight fair. 

We then moved into a leg series using hand weights, which was a new combination I hadn’t tried before. For example, as we lunged we also worked our arms into an overhead press. I still don’t know if I loved this added extra because it served as a distraction from the burning in my legs, or hated it because it also caused a burning in my arms. Either way, it definitely upped the ante in the “full body workout” category and demanded serious concentration.

sculpt megaformer studio bethesda

Other funky moves I’ve never tried before included spider and donkey kicks, both of which included straddling the machine and using one leg to push the carriage away. Awkward? Absolutely. Effective? Yes, that too.

The overall tone of the class was not as intense or competitive as others I’ve been in. For example, between the bumping loud music and the constant stream of commentary from coaches at Solidcore, I am 110% engaged at all times. This also means I feel a great deal of pressure to perform and keep up with the pack (or suffer being called out) which isn’t always the best thing for my body depending on the day. At Sculpt, the atmosphere was much more relaxed and open. Sure there was necessary and appreciated encouragement, but I felt like I could disappear and do things at my own pace if I really wanted to. I felt no pressure to keep up or compete with my neighbor. If you prefer a less in-your-face style of coaching, this approach may be the best fit for you.

sculpt megaformer studio bethesda

Mary was enthusiastically demonstrative throughout class, which is especially helpful when doing strange new moves on strange new machines.  You can say “wheelbarrow” all you want, but I’m not entirely sure what that has to do with me being on this machine. One minute she was lunging on a megoformer next to you, the next she was on the floor behind you going over the most effective crunch angles. She also was noticeably vigilant, always ready to adjust or offer assistance to those who needed a little nudge in the right direction.

We ended class with a few deep stretches on the machine. This, my friends, was heaven. Not only did it signal a definite end to class, but it also gave us all a brief opportunity to attend to our tired bodies. I wasn’t a sweaty mess after this particular class, but I undoubtedly felt like I had just survived yet another encounter with the legendary megaformer. I grabbed a fresh clementine, my things, snapped a few photos, said my “thank yous” to Mary and her team and was on my way back into the city. Pass the foam roller please!


Do you think the megaformer workout is worth the sticker-shock price?


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

Sweating All Over DC in Eight Workouts

There’s a lot of working out that goes on behind the scenes here at DC Fit Crasher. My week typically includes one day of fit crashing at a new studio and six other days of sweating all over the place. Literally. So I thought it’d be fun to share some of the workouts I do outside of my official studio reviewing duties. Here are eight from the past two weeks. I’d love to hear what you got into too, so be sure to leave me a comment and share your crashes!

[SolidCore]

first visit to solidcore studio in shaw

solidcore megaformer workout shaw dc studio

WEDNESDAY: SolidCore megaformer pain cave studio opened a new location last weekend in Shaw, right next to the metro stop. After wobbling and sweating and wincing through their popular classes in Adams Morgan, I knew I had to christen the new space with a proper fit crash. I took Ashley’s evening class and, as usual, left with wiped-out muscles and a sweaty smile. That megaformer elicits such a love-hate-love-reallyhate relationship, but I keep coming back because the no-impact workout is so good for my runner’s knees. The new studio is bigger than the original, with lofty industrial ceilings and extremely flattering lighting (wink). If you’re going to get housed by the megaformer, you may as well look good doing it. Am I right?

Yoga District

yoga district glover park

THURSDAY: The last few weeks have been nuts. Way too much going on in way too short a period of time. You know what that’s like, I think we’ve all been there. There came a point when I honestly just needed help to reset, refocus, and get my head in order. While I can typically do that on a run, I craved something gentler. So I signed up for a sunrise class at Yoga District’s studio in Glover Park. It was my first visit to the studio, but it won’t be my last. The space is sparse, clean, and no frills, but the class was exactly what I needed. Warm, welcoming, calm, no expectations or stress to be a super yogi, and it sent me out the door with a clear head and ready to get back to business.

CUCB Training Run

7 mile training run for the CUCB

rock creek park path

SATURDAY: I’m training for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler road race here in DC on April 6, so I’ve been incorporating more running into my weekly workout schedule. This includes longish runs on the weekend to help get my legs ready for those double digit miles in April. The weather was freakishly nice last weekend for my seven mile loop; shorts, t-shirt, and sunglasses nice. It definitely made those miles fly by and I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a run that much in quite some time. Hear that spring? You’re good for my training, so arriving any time now would be great!

 

True Form

true form resistance band training

true form resistance band training

SATURDAY: I had the fun opportunity to demo a new fitness invention last weekend. The company is called True Form and they created a wearable resistance band training unit. You wear special shoes and a velcro belt and then hook resistance bands to the front and the back. The system doesn’t get tangled (I did burpees, jumps, grapevines, and bicycle crunches) and adds just enough resistance to your normal routine to really kick your training up a notch. I demoed it for just a few minutes and was really tuckered out when I left. I don’t know that I’m ready to wear this to all of my fit crashes, but it definitely was neat to try!

Barre3

barre3 dc georgetown

SUNDAY: After a not-so-hot first encounter with Barre3 in Georgetown, instructor Alicia Sokol invited me back to crash one of her classes. “Let me make this one up to you, girl,” she wrote, “I will have you quaking and shaking.” Game on! Within ten minutes, I was sweating and struggling through series of push up variations and lunges. You win, Alicia! Your class was challenging, fun, and I left feeling like I had gotten the workout I came for. I also learned (lightbulb moment) that Barre3 isn’t purely a traditional barre studio – the class is a combination of yoga, pilates, AND barre. So if you go and wonder why you aren’t tucking and barre-ing the entire time, that’s why. Consider me schooled!

CenterPointe

centerpointe studio dc

THURSDAY: CenterPointe functional training studio in Adams Morgan was my official “fit crash” for this week, so all you’ll get is this teaser photo. Check back later this week for the full write up!

Fuse Pilates

fuse-pilates-studio

FRIDAY: 6:30 p.m. Most of DC is either still at work or celebrating the start of the weekend at various happy hours across the city. Me? This is my happy hour. A $7 workout in a small boutique pilates studio, classic rock blaring, just a handful of other students, and my muscles having a blast networking with each other. Fuse Pilates in Dupont Circle offers this apprentice (teacher-in-training) class every Friday, so if this sounds like your cup of tea, mosey on by and check it out sometime.

Bike Ride

blue road bike

SATURDAY: My teal bike has not seen the pavement in years. I bought it in college as I was first getting into triathlons, but it quickly got pushed aside by a sassy yellow racing bike I have since sold. Thanks to some new-found motivation to get back on the bike, I dusted her off, brought her to The Bike Rack for a tune up, and now she’s ready for miles of adventure. I’ve been having a lot of fun re-learning the delicate ins and outs of cycling, like how to properly snot rocket in motion and how horribly uncomfortable bike seats are despite the horribly-unflattering padded shorts. You know, the important stuff! I’m looking forward to warmer weather soon so I can take my old teal friend out for some longer rides. Allez!


Your turn: where was your favorite fit crash last week?


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