Archive of ‘yoga’ category
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!
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?
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
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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?
Happy Friday fit crashers!
TGIF, right? I don’t know about you, but my past few weeks have been absolutely packed. 2014 flew in with a zing and is still going strong. Despite my best attempts to capture everything in real-time on social media, I thought it’d be good to put pen to paper and document a few of the most awesome moments for blog posterity. So here we go!
1. Escaping Winter at the Lavender Retreat
I was given the most wonderfully generous opportunity to visit the newly-opened Lavender Retreat Wellness Club in Capitol Hill last weekend. With all of my crazy fit crashing adventures racking up major sore muscles, they offered to treat me to an hour-long massage to help work out the kinks. I was elated – what a treat!
The outside of the Lavender Retreat looks like any other traditional row house. But walk in the front doors, and my oh my, you are transported into a colorful, clean, calm oasis. Smack dab in the middle of the DC! Every room is beautifully appointed with bright, gleaming windows and custom decor. No two are the same. I did a whirl through the hallways just to check out all of the nooks and crannies. There are dedicated rooms for massage, skin care, acupuncture, reflexology, and relaxation. It’s an enormous two-level house…you don’t think they’d mind if I move in, do you?
My hour-long session with Bonnie was a dream. I haven’t had a massage in years, so I’m certainly not an expert, but never have I felt so well cared for or pampered. Highlights included: hot towels on my back to help relieve a few stubborn knots, a to-die-for foot massage followed by moisturizer + steaming hot towels to lock everything in, and extra care placing pillows below various joints so I was constantly comfortable.
I was handed a bottle of water after my session and spent the next few minutes chatting with Bonnie and other staff about the studio, life in DC, and anything else that came to mind. There was such positivity, joy, and pride as they described the Lavender Retreat, and I was really impressed by everyone’s professionalism. They really put every effort into making the experience memorable. I can’t way to go back again and try one of their signature skin care treatments. Oh la la!
2. The Joy of an Unexpected Crash
If you follow along with me on Instagram, you may have seen that I was out in Nevada for a friend’s wedding two weeks ago. It was an absolutely beautiful getaway, but any weekend involving cross country flights, jet lag, snow storms, no workouts, and an unplanned overnight layover (sans luggage) would naturally cause a little stress. So when I returned to the office on Tuesday, I was in desperate need of a workout. Not just any workout.
Say it with me folks…yoooo-gaaaaaaaahhh. Doesn’t that sound relaxing? After the hustle and bustle of a weekend away, it was the only thing on my mind. I did a little googling at work to see if there were any studios in the area I could pop into at the last minute. And wouldn’t you know, I came across a cute website for The Source Yoga in McLean, VA. Not only that, one of my favorite teachers from my early days at Down Dog Yoga was leading the class. Win! Where do I sign?
I was surprised – no, scratch that, elated – to have the class almost entirely to myself. The second student was one of the owners, so in reality, it was very much a private session with me, my mat, and I. And with the blustery weather outside, I tucked my bright green mat right next to the space heater and blissed out for the next hour and a half.
Sometimes it pays to go out on a limb and try something new and unscheduled. What a welcome, unexpected gift.
3. Pure Barre Giveaway Winner
And finally – the Pure Barre giveaway!
After crashing Pure Barre in Dupont Circle last week, I can say (for now!) that I’ve visited every barre studio in DC. Hooray! To celebrate my crash, the lovely ladies at Pure Barre were kind enough to offer one of my readers two free weeks of unlimited classes. Thank you to everyone who participated – we had over 200 entries! Woot! And now for the fun part: the winner is…
* drumroll please*
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congrats Cait! I’ve sent you an email with the details. Enjoy fit crashing at Pure Barre and thanks for reading!
Crash Course: Zweet Sport is a cute little hot yoga studio and activewear boutique owned and operated by local female entrepreneurs in Old Town, Alexandria. On the sweaty side of things, the studio offers hot power flow yoga and an awesome yoga+weights mashup. For the fitness fashionistas, their in-store boutique carries an assortment of sporty duds designed by owners Kimberly and Marja. The array of brightly-colored sports bras, capris, short shorts, and tanks are designed, sourced, and manufactured in the US of A and guaranteed to look and feel awesome during your calorie-burning adventures. Click here for more information about Zweet Sport and to see a schedule of classes.
where: 400 North Henry Street, Alexandria, VA
bring: yoga mat, water, towel
perks: small class size, mat rental, in-studio boutique
sweat score: 8 out of 10
wear: less is more – it’s hot in there!
cost: $15 drop-in rate
I was so excited to extend my fit crashing adventures to Old Town and pop in on the ladies at Zweet Sport. A women-owned and operated company that makes fun workout gear AND offers sweaty yoga classes? It’s pretty much the holy grail of boutique fitness studio concepts, if you ask me. The only way this could get any more on-trend is if they had a juice bar in the closet.
The store and studio are tucked into an unassuming little building on the corner of North Henry and Princess Street. You’d miss it if you weren’t paying attention, so keep your eyes peeled next time you drive by. But step inside the front door, and that whole “unassuming” thing changes. A kaleidoscope of brightly-colored spandex pops off of brilliant pink walls and invites you to try everything on. Yes, even those snake-print capris and horizontal-striped short-shorts. You know you want to.
I had a few minutes before class to browse through the collection on the floor and try a few things on. Kimberly, one of Zweet Sport owners, was bubbling with energy about each and every piece as she walked me through the racks of candy-colored items. Her enthusiasm about the quality and uniqueness of the clothes was palpable, and rightly so. She plays a central role in designing the items to be perfect for hot yoga lovers. In her words, this means: no pinching in unflattering places, no see-through areas, and fabrics that can handle buckets of sweat.
Before I give you my personal impression of the items I tried on, it’s important to know this: I’m pretty conservative when it comes to workout gear. I prefer black bottoms, solid tops, and no frills. In many ways, this is the opposite of what was going on at Zweet Sport. Their signature items are loud, fun, colorful, and will get attention no matter where you go. I admit it, I’m a fitness fashion prude and typically my outfits are total snoozefests. So when my collection of items to try on included cheetah-print tights, nautical-print capris in cornflower blue and white, and a pair of tight red hot yoga booty shorts…you can just imagine the internal conflict going on in that dressing room.
While there are a few pairs of solid colored bottoms (including black!) hanging out on the racks, I didn’t try them on because, well, when in Rome, right? Might as well go way outside my comfort zone and try on a pair of animal patterned spandex. So I did.
Things I noticed: despite the thinness of the material (ideal for hot yoga), there was zero issue of see-through bottoms when bending over. I did my own scientific fitting room test and the results were impressive. Also, there was no awkward pinching in the midsection area where some other brands create an unfortunate muffin-top look. Amazing. And to know that the items were created by local lady entrepreneurs here in the USA? Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours.
To my surprise, I was generously gifted a pair of their best-selling hot yoga Jaco shorts in horizontal black and white stripes. Thanks ladies, what a treat! I can’t say I’ll be wearing them all around town (I mean, these things are teeny tiny!) but next time I’m crashing a bikram class, I’ll ditch my black bottoms to proudly rock those Zweet shorty shorts.
Bottom line: this boutique should be on your shopping list if you are someone who loves fun, unique fitness gear that you won’t see on every other girl in yoga class.
After some sartorial stretching, it was time to get down to business in the yoga studio for the Zweet Sport Chisel class. The 60-minute hot flow is set to upbeat music and incorporates free weights to kick things up a notch. There is even a cardio section in the middle involving burpees, jumping jacks, scissor kicks, and squats. Sound tough? Believe me, it is. I was sweating all over the place within the first five minutes.
The class concept is nearly identical to the Core Power Yoga sculpt class. Hot studio + weights + cardio = total sweat fest. In my opinion, the real difference is that the Zweet Sport studio is a much more low-key and intimate setting. There’s a lot of laughing and interaction among the small group of students. Perfect for beginning yogis or folks who don’t like the intimidation factor that sometimes comes with bigger studios.
Another difference is that the studio at Zweet Sport is not as hot as the rooms at Core Power Yoga, where I’ve felt like passing out or throwing up in a sculpt class before. That sounds like a negative, but I secretly loved it. However, now that I’ve done a yoga+weights class in a heated studio environment that doesn’t feel like magma in my pores, I may be converted. The experience was actually…fun!
Suzanne truly set the stage for an upbeat and lovely class. She announced that impromptu dancing was encouraged and even admitted to personally hating ab work, even though she was the yoga teacher making us do it. Her candid, casual, “we’re all in this together” attitude was fantastic. I caught myself laughing and smiling at multiple points over the course of the hour-long class. Either at myself, her funny commentary, or another student shaking it to Kesha.
And when all the work was finished, Suzanne came by with the ultimate yoga-class nirvana: lavender-scented mist sprayed above your body during shavasana. It’s the little things, people. Secretly makes me want someone to follow me around with a lavender mister all day long, just in case things get stressful. Ahhhhh.
I wish I lived closer because I’d love to go back again soon! Zweet Sport is a hidden gem that I recommend checking out if you’re in that neck of the woods and looking for zippy workout clothes or a sweaty yoga class.
Note: While Zweet Sport invited me to try a free class, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience.
What’s your fitness fashion style: basics or loud and funky?
Hello and happy Tuesday! I’m currently on my way back to DC after 12 days on the road. What a trip! I think San Francisco earned the top spot on my list of favorite cities to visit (not only because they had a yoga room at the airport – but it helped!) and I can’t wait to share more about my time there.
But first, I wanted to round out my fit crashing adventure recap from Portland with details about Yoyoyogi yoga studio and the original Barre3 studio in Pearl District.
After the fit crash double header at Firebrand Sports, I was sore. Like, can’t properly walk or sit down sore. Really convenient when spending days exploring a new city and seeing friends and family I haven’t connected with in years. Walking tenderly and taking frequent breaks to stretch on random street benches, I must have been quite a sight. But I was riding on a strange endorphin high after trying two new classes in a new city and loving them both. Kind of like the feeling you get after completing a tough road race and then get to walk around wearing the medal the rest of the day. Oh this unusual swagger? The gentle way I lower myself down into my seat? No big deal, just leftover awesome from dominating the megaformer and real ryder yesterday.
That said, my next fit crash needed to be something a little more low key. Something that allowed me to stretch my sore muscles, simmer down, and take a moment to reflect and quiet my mind while dealing with the craziness of being on the road. Yoga sounded perfect.
But where? What studio? I went to my usual idea generators: GoRecess, SweatGuru, Classtivity, MindBody Connect app, and Google. Luckily, I also had a few suggestions from friends and fellow fitness fanatics, one of whom suggested I check out a cute little hot yoga haven a few blocks away from my hotel. I set out on foot through the cold rain and grey skies, excited to get my ohm on.
First things first: walking into Yoyoyogi is like walking into the home of a long lost friend. I was instantly welcomed, called “hun” and “love” and “dear,” and felt so comfortable that I wanted to kick off my shoes and move right in. What a delicious feeling when being so far from home. It didn’t hurt that there was an adorable puppy hanging out behind the front desk. Always a plus. So sad I didn’t get a pic, I’ll just have to go back for one next time!
Since I was traveling without my typical yoga gear, I needed to rent a mat and towel, bringing my total to $19. I was pleasantly surprised when the mat happened to be the exact Manduka mat I practice with at home and the “towel” was actually a grippy towel made for hot yoga. Perfect! Kudos to Yoyoyogi for having awesomely deluxe rental items. It allowed me to take my mind off of my gear and focus everything on my experience.
The studio is a lot bigger than I anticipated. The entire first floor is dedicated to retail, front desk space, a huge gathering room with dressing spaces and storage, showers, and bathrooms. The two practice rooms were actually up a monstrous flight of wood stairs on the second floor. The room my class was in had gleaming floors, gorgeous exposed brick, and a front center window to lose your gaze in. Really lovely.
The “DETOX – hot power flow” class was an hour-long sweat fest, similar to what you would find at Down Dog Yoga or Studio DC. Athletic, challenging, really great energy. Yoyoyogi plays music during their classes, which I’m not used to but actually really enjoyed. And our instructor Isabel was not very hands-on throughout the class, but had wonderful cues and wove a theme throughout the class about letting go as a way to grow. I left feeling inspired, happy, relaxed, and so very thankful to have found a home-away-from-home in this space.
I woke up before the sun the next morning for an appointment at the original Barre3 location in Portland’s Pearl District. Waking up before 6 a.m. isn’t my ideal vacation crash, but honestly, it was the only slot I could get into during my visit. This place fills quickly, so if you want to swing by when you’re in town, be sure to plan ahead and schedule a week or so out.
I have been to the Barre3 location before in Georgetown and it wasn’t my cup of tea. That said, I was told my experience was unusual due to having a new teacher who needed a little extra training, so I was willing to give the brand another try. Particularly at their flagship studio! The building had two barre studios, a large reception area, and a childcare pen with toys and activities. I was groggy and hadn’t had my coffee yet, but even through bleary eyes I could tell the space was beautiful. More beautiful than what we’ve got going on in Georgetown? I didn’t think so – I’ve honestly never been to a more gorgeous place than that little nook tucked down by the Potomac river. Sorry Portland, guess I’m a little biased!
The 6 a.m. class was packed to the brim, and every single spot was taken on the barre that covered three sides of the large rectangular room. We started with a dynamic warmup and moved right into the usual arm, leg, seat moves you’d anticipate at a barre class. The instructor was lovely and did a good job working the room, providing adjustments, and making sure everyone could see her demonstrations.
We did what felt like 10-15 minutes of ab work on the floor that just really wasn’t doing it for me, and at one point I caught myself glancing over at the clock to wonder how much longer we had in the class. Not ideal. Also, if you happen to love early mornings and join the 6 a.m. class during your visit, be prepared for a mass exodus about 10 minutes before the class is over. It really caught me off guard and I thought the constant picking up and leaving was really distracting. That said, I realize folks need to get to work on time. But….just something to know before you go!
Like other barre classes I’ve attended, I didn’t leave the class sweaty, but did feel that familiar muscle burn in my legs and arms from doing all those little, targeted motions. A drop-in class at Barre3 in Portland costs $20, but my class was paid for by a credit I received from GoRecess as a fun gift to help fund a crash during my travels. Thanks to them for making this crash possible!
I had to post this photo to document the absurd snack I had after my Barre3 class on my last day in Portland. Oh yes, you’re looking at two half-eaten but very delicious Voodoo Doughnuts and a leftover green juice from my purchase at Portland Juice Press. Ridiculous. But somehow, in my mind, it worked as a grand finale to my extended weekend in Oregon.
Up next: running and fit crashing in San Francisco. Until then, enjoy the snow day if you have one!
Crash Course: Kali Yoga Studio, the new incarnation of Quiet Mind Studio, is a light-infused second-story space just two blocks from the Columbia Heights metro station. It’s a great little hidden spot tucked north of the hustle and bustle of the DCUSA megaplex. The Saturday morning intermediate/advanced vinyasa class is exactly what the more experienced yogi needs to kick off their fun-filled weekend. Set to rocking beats of top 40 hits, it’s a high-energy practice full of challenging sequences, advanced poses, and a few sing-alongs, too. For more information about the class schedule at Kali, click here.
where: 3423 14th Street/Columbia Heights
perks: mat rental, towels, fun music, advanced class
sweat score: 8 out of 10
wear: plan to go upside-down
instructor: Jonathan Ewing
cost: $16 drop in rate
I climbed the narrow staircase up to Kali Yoga Studio with a distinct sense of dejavu – I had been here before, but when the space was called Quiet Mind Yoga. Not for a crash, but for a twilight restorative yoga class with a good friend. The moves were gentle, the teacher soft-spoken, and the room hummed with an “all is well with the world” kind of calm. It was the first time I had experienced that type of practice, and I left feeling like the clouds under my feet would deliver me right into bed for an epic snooze. Talk about relaxing.
So imagine the jarring disconnect when I reached the landing, popped off my sneaks, and heard loud music and bubbling laughter. I listened closer. Was that Justin Bieber blaring over the loud speakers? Followed by, “Oooo, baby do you know what that’s worth? Oooo, heaven is a place on earth.” (Sing along, you know you want to)
Oh yes. This class was going to be very different.
After leaving your shoes in the hallway cubbies, the check-in desk is just to the left. I was greeted by smiling faces, a standard new-student form to fill out, and a really friendly crew of folks welcoming me to the studio. Not in the scary-cultish-too-nice-to-be-real kind of way. But genuinely friendly. I mean, even the computer is saying, “Namaste!”
If I had to describe the overall tenor of the studio in one word it would be that: genuine. From my experience the attitude at Kali very much centers around the idea of wear what you want, flow as you will, be as you are. As a new student, I didn’t feel any pressure to buy a big class package, or wear a certain type of clothing, or to “fit in”. Oddly refreshing.
I grabbed a cup of H2O and made my way over to the “sun studio”, which is located in the front of the building and gets the most light. It has beautiful gleaming hardwood floors, exposed brick, and splashes of natural light coming in from the series of windows at the front. I got a few props and placed my mat at the back of the room. Since this was my first “advanced” class, I really had no idea what to expect and wanted a good view of the rest of the students in case I needed a reference (or a rescue) mid-way through pretzling myself into some crazy knot.
We started class with a series of fast flowing sun salutations. No “ohms” – which I was okay with : ) The music stayed loud and the songs went from one top 40 hit to the next. I’d say it was distracting, but that sounds negative. It was distracting in a fun, shake the sleep off, let’s get to this and enjoy the day kind of way. I caught myself on more than one occasion bopping my head, popping my shoulders to the beat, or singing along to NSYNC. Totally immersed in my own little yoga world, rocking out on a Saturday morning. And why the hell not?
Sitting in the back, I have to say it was hard at times to catch the entirety of what Jonathan was saying, but not enough that it interrupted my practice. Like I said, being in the back has it’s advantages. If I didn’t catch a verbal cue, I just looked around and tried to follow.
“Try” being the operative word, because let me warn you, this is definitely an intermediate-advanced class. There were twists, binds, and balances that I never in my life had even attempted. There were also plenty of verbal cues to help walk you through them. But if you’re coming for the first time, prepare to push to your edge and test your limits. Oh yea, and sweat. There’ll be some of that too – it’s hard work!
Jonathan really pours his everything into the class, and it shows. The playlist, for one, is curated each week for maximum pop fantasticness. He’s hands-on, intentional, and the positive energy that he emits during class is down right contagious. I left wanting to bear hug everyone in the room, cartwheel down the street, and high-five the traffic cop handing out tickets. You get the idea. The class zings you with a carefree kind of fun that’s sometimes hard to find during the 9-5 of the week. Carefree while doing handstands and jumping into crow, mind you, but the essence is there.
Already on a high from surviving my first advanced yoga class without any major embarrassment or self-inflicted injury, you can imagine the frenzy of excitement when an announcement was made that Lululemon was gifting the entire class brand-spanking-new yoga mats. THE mat, to be exact: the one that’s extra cushiony and slide-resistant when you sweat on it. How cool is that? Thanks Lulu, what a fun surprise before Christmas!
After class, I grabbed my mat, my new mat, and my backpack for a trip to Sticky Fingers Bakery down the street. They have a fridge full of tonics from Gouter and I wanted to grab a few to get me through the last moments of holiday-rush before flying home to Ohio. Looking back, I totally rocked the “crazy yoga lady” look with a fleece around my waist, spandex from head to toe, juggling two mats, five tonics, and a debit card in-between my teeth. “I’ll take all of these, please, and no, I don’t need a bag I’ll just be green and carry them, k, thanks!” <— total nut
I’d say it was a fantastic fit crasher Saturday!
What is the most fun fitness class you’ve ever been to?