Crash Course: The Body You Want is a split level gym tucked away on one of the southern side streets of Georgetown. They don’t offer drop in classes, but did invite me to crash one of their signature metabolic conditioning classes, which are part of any gym membership package. The class was an extremely well put-together high intensity interval training session with eagle-eye instruction and gobs of fun equipment. I was impressed with their quality, enthusiastic about their technique, and am scheming about how I can come back for more.[line] [left]where: 1070 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW
perks: results-driven fitness, great equipment
sweat score: 8 out of 10 [/left][right]wear: comfortable gym clothes
instructor: Michelle Gorman
cost: membership plans vary[/right] [line]
I would have never found The Body You Want if Josef, its owner, hadn’t reached out to me. I have never seen it advertised, don’t recall ever passing by its storefront, and nobody I know has ever been there. After visiting for one of their groups fitness classes, I think it’s safe to say that this spot may just be one of DC’s best kept secrets. While I am dying to tell you about the class itself, let’s cover the basic tour first. The first floor is home to the front desk and a training area with various light equipment, mirrors, and mats. The group class is held downstairs on the lower level.
The men’s and women’s locker rooms are located on the lower level. The women’s area was bright, clean, with plenty of room to move around and get changed. I loved the wallpaper and the scented oil sticks hanging out on the vanity. There were also two hair dryers – big plus! I hate lugging those things around with me.
The locker room also had three or four showers, plenty of fresh clean towels, small lockers, and two sinks. Because the gym is relatively modest in size, I can’t imagine it gets too crowded.
Now on to the best part: the workout! Everyone gathered on the astroturf to foam roll for a solid ten minutes before class. The gym had many different sizes and shapes of these torture tubes, and even had a bucket of lacrosse balls for those knots you just can’t quite shake. I love foam rolling and think it’s a critical part of taking care of your muscles, but it is also the ultimate definition of “hurts so good.”
At this point in the class, Josef and Michelle walked me through a series of diagnostic tests to make sure my body was ready for the workout. They noticed an interesting disconnect between my core muscles and my hamstrings, and after a few specific exercises to fix the issue, had everything working in harmony. I was so impressed with the level of detail, knowledge, and care with which they approached my individual workout experience. Definitely made me feel like I was in great hands.
After the foam rolling, we moved into a series of moves called the “ramp up.” These were basically exercises and stretches to get the body warmed up and ready to take on the challenging circuit workout ahead. Josef noted that this is an integral part of the workout, particularly for those of us who have been sitting at a computer all day (guilty). I definitely felt better performing explosive movements knowing that my body was ready for them. It’s never fun to swing kettle bells or slam medicine balls cold turkey.
Michelle is one of the trainers at The Body You Want and led tonight’s workout. It consisted of five stations: heavy ropes, switch lunges, weighted squats/kettlebells, medicine ball throws, and explosive side lunges. Each station required 20 seconds of effort, and we had 30 seconds of rest in between. I believe there were a total of 14 rounds, but to be honest, I was so into the workout I lost count.
The group was a really fun and supportive. Joking and laughing were normal, which is so much more inviting than going to a gym where everyone is super focused and serious. Michelle played great music, there was a constant blast of motivational yelling from her and Josef, and everyone was extremely friendly. Well, when they weren’t slamming medicine balls into the ground or strangling the heavy ropes to death. Speaking of those ropes: this was my first time giving them a try and man oh man, were they challenging. Just a few seconds with those things and my heart rate was through the roof! Not to mention my arms felt like jello. Phew!
The three rules of the workout were (1) no puking (2) no passing out and (3) no pain. Sounds like a winning combination to me. While the workout was really tough, if at any time anyone felt like they needed a break, they took it. The atmosphere was extremely supportive and not at all judgmental. At least that’s the impression I got as a newcomer who had no idea what I was getting into.
The gym space itself is very unique in that it doesn’t look like any other gym I have ever been to. There are only a few essential weight machines, one stationary bike, a treadmill, and lots (and lots!) of fun “extras.” In my mind, the extras are the best part, but I’m a bit of a workout weirdo. They had multiple TRX hanging from the ceiling, a weighted sled, bungees galore, rope ladders, hurdles, and lots of medicine balls. I was like a kid in a candy store – it was all I could do not to want to play with everything all at once. If you are looking for a personalized attention in a gym without the “big box” feeling, I would definitely stop by to check them out. Also, their website looks a bit gimmicky – almost in a workout DVD series kind of way – but don’t let that deter you. I found them to be very professional and I never once felt pressured to join (like I have after visiting other, larger gyms).
Do you know of any other “best kept secret” gyms in DC?[line]