Crash Course: Jaime Andrews Fitness is a boutique studio that offers personal training, workshops, wellness coaching, corporate wellness initiatives, and a signature boot camp class. Boot camp is offered at various times on Monday, Wednesday, Friday (earliest is 5:45 a.m.) and on Saturday mornings. Class sizes are small, are held inside or outside depending on the weather, and the price is extremely competitive. Click here for the full schedule.
where: 1440 N Street NW, Logan Circle
bring: water bottle, towel
perks: small class size, outdoor option
sweat score: 8 out of 10
wear: gym clothes
cost: drop in rate is $10
I love working out outside. I love trying vicious new exercise combos. And I love a good value. So it’s no surprise that I loved the Saturday morning Jaime Andrews Fitness boot camp I crashed last weekend. I met up with the group at Jaime’s studio in Logan Circle – remember this adorable space where I took a yoga class with Vigor Fit and Well? Same space. It’s located in an apartment building on N street NW. Remember it’s a one way street, and look for the blue awning if you have trouble finding it.
Because the weather was a balmy 55 degrees, we opted to take the class outside. No complaints here! There were six of us total and all of us decided it would be more fun to workout al fresco in January while we can. We walked from the studio to the National City Christian Church on Thomas Circle. Jaime wasted no time, and because the temperature was wavering between almost cold and kind of cold, we were thankful to get right into the warm up. Think burpees, stairs, sit ups, and lunges…and keep that rotation going until we all had warmed up our muscles and worked up a sweat. At this point, most of us were thinking, “what cold?”
After a short run around the block, we completed a partner exercise circuit involving squats and a push up pyramid. One partner did air squats while the other did pushups, and so on. The pyramid started with two pushups and went all the way to ten and back down again. And don’t let those air squats fool you. By the time my partner and I were coming back down the pyramid, my arms were shaking and my legs were saying “mercy!” Thanks to Jaime for snapping a shot of the group as we sweated it out. This was tough!
Next up: mountain climber sets followed by more stairs. We were all starting to get really tuckered out at this point, and my legs and glutes were seriously not happy with me. But that’s what I love about a boot camp class: you get to rediscover all of those little (or big) muscle groups you have been neglecting. To help us push through our fatigue, Jaime was a constant source of encouragement and positive energy. She remained upbeat throughout the entire class and was yelling out “great job!” to everyone in the class by name. That’s one of the positive aspects of being in such a small group, you really get personalized attention…whether you want it or not!
Just a short shout-out to Studio S in Cincinnati for giving me the free bike tee I had on. It’s a basic American Apparel shirt, size small, and is shrunken enough to be surprisingly comfortable during a workout. I don’t normally wear cotton tshirts, but this one is soft and really did the trick. Now, if only it could make my legs go faster while running down those stairs. Mush!
We ended boot camp with tabata rounds of twisting side planks. Tabata the name of a four minute circuit of 20 seconds at max effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest. The fun thing about it is that you can use almost any exercise you can think of, as long as you push to your maximum effort during those 20 seconds. Click here for more information and examples of how you can try it at home. The twisting side planks sounded like they’d be easy, but after the push-up pyramid, my arms were a wobbly mess trying to keep my body in the air.
I didn’t even bother to take photos at this point because my arms were too busy being schooled in the art of pain tolerance. Thanks again to Jaime for helping a blogger out and capturing this pensive moment of pain and intense focus (or, rather, an intense desire for those four minutes to be over).
I’d like to send a big “thank you” to Jaime and her boot camp crew for reintroducing me to all sorts of forgotten muscles and helping me find an entirely new level of soreness. I had a great time sweating it out with them and loved the supportive, encouraging, positive atmosphere. Considering the price, small and personalized environment, and tush-kicking workout…this class is definitely a hidden gem I look forward to crashing again soon.
What boot camp should I crash next?
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
cost: drop in rate is $15*
I admit it – when I heard that Jazzercise was still around, I was shocked. Wasn’t this the exercise phenomenon of the 80s, where ladies in unitards bopped and leg-lifted leg warmers to the tune of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”? At least in my mind, that was totally the case. So when an email from Jazzercise of Arlington landed in my inbox, I started to break a sweat just thinking of the time warp I would have to keep up with. It would be Richard Simmons. Jane Fonda. And me.
So imagine my surprise when I stepped onto my designated purple square on the studio floor, bracing for impact, and heard Ke$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.
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.
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.
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!
Would you try Jazzercise?
* Jazzercise kindly comped my walk in fee, but all opinions are my own.
Crash Course: Heard about the crossfit craze but have no idea what it’s all about? Have questions about form, function, and whether it’s the right workout for you? This is the place to start. CrossFit Dupont at Balance Gym in Glover Park offers a free “Intro to CrossFit” session every Saturday at noon, where trainers explain the basics of the CrossFit concept, take questions, and walk attendees through a sample WOD (workout of the day). You don’t have to be a member of Balance gym to attend. Get in touch with trainer Jeff Jenkins on the program’s website to sign up.
where: 2121 Wisconsin Ave. NW bring: water bottle, your questions perks: wallet friendly sweat score: 3 out of 10 wear: what you’d wear to the gym instructor: Jeff Jenkins cost: free!
where: 2121 Wisconsin Ave. NW
bring: water bottle, your questions
perks: wallet friendly
sweat score: 3 out of 10
wear: what you’d wear to the gym
instructor: Jeff Jenkins
Hang around the fitness world for two minutes and you’ll hear about CrossFit. I promise. It’s one of the hottest crazes in functional training and has become a buzzword at gyms around the country. Here in DC, CrossFit studios (or “boxes”) have been popping up all over the place. Yelp tells me there are eight open for business, and I’m willing to bet there are more in the works. Am I going to try them all? You bet. CrossFit Dupont at Balance Gym is the closest to my apartment, so I decided to stop in for their free intro class to see what all the buzz was about.
Because this program shares space with Balance Gym, it has to work within the confines of the established floor plan. So that means the CrossFit classes are not centralized in one room and have to spread out to a few different areas depending on the exercises and equipment used that day. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, but thought it was worth pointing out. From photos I’ve seen of other CrossFit gyms, the typical layout is to have one big, open area instead of subdivided rooms. We met in the main CrossFit room where all the weights, jumping boxes, foam rollers, and kettlebells are stored.
Jeff Jenkins is the main CrossFit instructor and kicked off the session by telling us a little bit about his style and how he runs the program. He is very focused on form and passionate about safe body movement. While I’m sure some in the room thought his detailed explanation of the physiology behind proper squat technique was snooze-worthy, I actually thought it was fascinating. More importantly, it made me feel better about undertaking a program as rigorous as CrossFit – where lifting heavy things is the name of the game – under the watchful eye of someone who is a stickler for form. Coming off multiple knee injuries, maybe that’s just my preference, but I’d rather do it right than tear/sprain/pull/aggravate something again.
After answering our questions, Jeff led us all through a sample Workout of the Day, or WOD. Because it was an intro class, we didn’t do any exercises that included lifting weights, but it was still a doozie combination of air squats, pushups, and sit ups. He walked us through each requirement, again emphasizing the nitty gritty details of proper form, and then let us loose to race against the clock.
Who shows up for an intro to CrossFit class, you might ask? There were six other individuals, all of whom had different fitness goals and levels of ability. It was really exciting to me to see such a range of ages, experiences, and body types sitting around a room and wanting the same thing: to get into shape and improve their health. One woman was old enough to be my mother and played occasional tennis, there was a couple who just had a baby and wanted to find a quick and effective workout program to get back in shape together, one man was there to lose weight, another was a distance runner and triathlete who wanted to improve his performance, and one woman was a former Division 1 field hockey player looking to try something new. Hats off to all of them for coming out and giving CrossFit a go!
Bottom line: this was a fun introduction to the fitness craze I’ve been hearing so much about. It was a welcoming environment and an awesome place to start my CrossFit crashes. That said, I am now ready to move past the intro classes and get down to the business of actually getting my keister kicked by a full WOD. So, where should I go next?
What’s your favorite CrossFit box in the DC area?
Hello fit crashers! Just a short update to share a few photos from my first Saturday Long Run (SLR) of half-marathon training. The plan I am using called for a six miler last weekend to kick things off. This is longer than I have run in quite some time, and despite the knot in my stomach about re-entering the love-hate obsession that is distance training, I was excited to rev up my legs and see how they’d do. They held up great during the 4 mile hill run and the 3 mile speed workout earlier in the week, so we were on a roll, these legs and I.
I set an early alarm and ran over to the trails in Rock Creek Park. It was a frosty morning with blinding sunshine and intensely blue skies. My nose was running faster than I was, my toes were cold, and I had a sudden twinge of regret about not sleeping in a bit more. But there’s something about the solitude of the trail, the crinkling of the leaves, and the soft ground that always calms my nerves. It’s some of the best medicine there is. Before I knew it, all those mental fidgets quieted down, replaced by the methodical sound of my thumping feet with my breathing chiming in to sing back up.
I was exploring a few new twists and turns in the trail during this run, and mile three brought me to a completely new site: the remnants of Fort DeRussy. It was a Civil War fort constructed in 1861 and played a major role in the Battle of Fort Stevens to defend the nation’s capital. I had no idea this was here, did you? Always love a good history lesson during my runs. Thankfully, DC is full of them.
The trails started to get crowded as I headed back. No matter what time of year, and no matter what the weather, Saturdays and Sundays bring the runners out of the wood work here in DC. All sorts of runners. While not everyone smiles and waves back as they pass me by – yes, I’m the one waving at you and saying “good morning!” – I can’t help but get a surge of solidarity from seeing everyone out there getting their miles in. It’s inspiring to see and definitely gave me the juice I needed to round the bend and head home. Six miles wasn’t easy, and there were a few walk breaks. But this early morning run was just what I needed to feel confident about the next 10 weeks of training.
On the schedule for next weekend: seven miles. Let’s do this!
I have to ask: is the “runner’s hello” not cool around these parts?
One of my goals over the next ten weeks as I prepare for the Rock ‘N Roll half marathon is to be more deliberate when planning weekly meals. It’s easy for me to default to cafeteria options at work for breakfast (oatmeal) and lunch (boring salad), and living in DC means I have a veritable cornucopia of dinner take-out options at my fingertips. I mean, have you seen the Whole Foods hot bar? I could park myself in front of that thing every night and not complain. But part of my training plan includes an effort to eat clean, healthy, wholesome foods that I prepare at home. Why? Because in the end it saves time, money, and I can have a more control over giving my body the exact ingredients and power foods it needs (not wants).
This is my first full week back at work after the holidays and I knew the transition was going to be a doozie. So on Sunday evening I flipped through some recipes and – feeling uninspired – decided to “wing it” by creating my own: the roasted veggie and hummus burrito. It was surprisingly simple to make and turned out to be a delicious alternative to packing a sandwich for lunch. Put your own spin on it and let me know what you think!
Here’s what I used:
- assortment of veggies (red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, onion, kale, squash, mushrooms)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- hummus (any kind will do)
- black beans
- brown rice (save some time, get the microwave kind)
Step one: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
Step two: chop up all of the veggies and place them in a gallon size zip lock bag. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, and any other seasoning you think will taste good. Shake. Be sure that all the veggies are well coated.
Step three: Put all of the seasoned veggies in an oven safe pan and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes. I checked on them every 10 minutes or so and tossed gently so they would cook evenly.
Step four: After 30 minutes, let the veggies cool and then place in a tupperware and store in the fridge. The veggies you see here gave me enough for about four or five burritos – not bad!
Step five: Microwave the brown rice and add it to a separate tupperware. Rinse off the canned black beans and store those in the same container. You are now prepped to make quick and easy burritos in the morning!
To make the burrito, fist smear some hummus on a tortilla. I used Olive Tree traditional hummus and Food For Life brown rice tortillas from Yes! market. To be honest, the only reason I used these brands is because they were the only kinds Yes! carried and I didn’t feel like shopping around. If you have a gluten sensitivity, the brown rice tortillas are great. If not, I wouldn’t recommend them only because they tend to fall apart by the time you take the burrito out at lunchtime. #burritofail
Add the black beans and rice mixture and a few scoops of your roasted veggies.
I like to top mine with a few slices of avocado. It gave the burrito a really creamy texture and, let’s be honest, avocado makes everything taste better.
And there you have it! I have been enjoying these healthy burritos for three days now and they have been such a treat to unpack at lunch. Not to mention, they are packed with nutritious whole foods and have tons of flavor. Like I said before, this recipe is completely open to interpretation. Add some shredded cheese, a dollop of greek yogurt, some extra spices or taco seasoning, heat it up in the pan or on a grill. Make it into a quesadilla instead of a burrito. Add ground turkey or some slices of chicken. Go nuts. Most importantly, have fun and happy eating!