Happy Friday! Sharing a few fitness-related tidbits I’ve collected in my inbox this week. Hope you all have a wonderfully sweaty weekend and be sure to stay in touch!
- Cupid’s Undie Run: A thousand scantily-clad runners raised $235,000 for the Children’s Tumor Foundation at this year’s Cupid’s Undie Run in DC on February 9. It was a frigid day, so extra kudos to all the racers out there in their briefs. Check out the Undie Run Flikr page for photos from the race and get inspired to join in the fun next year! Did you run? Leave a comment and tell us about it!
- Charity Miles App: The United Nations Foundation contacted me about their partnership with Charity Miles, a free iPhone/Android app that enables people to earn money for charity when they walk, run, or bike. Bikers earn 10 cents a mile and walkers and runners earn 25 cents a mile. How cool is that? Talk about a reason to get up and lace those running shoes in the morning. This month, three UN Foundation charities will be featured in the app: Girl Up, Shot@ Life, and Nothing But Nets. Download, choose a charity, and do some good next time you sweat.
- $5 off Sweetgreen Salad: If you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you already know about my Sweetgreen addiction, so this announcement is dangerous for me on many fronts. The folks over at Sweetgreen are offering readers a $5 coupon to spend at any Sweetgreen location – an awesome incentive to choose something healthy for lunch next week. How do you get in on the deal? Click here to claim this offer via Facebook or your email address and then download the free Sweetgreen rewards app. Pay with your phone at checkout and the $5 will be automatically applied. Bon appetite!
- Bright Beginnings 5k: Bright Beginnings, Inc. is organizing a USATF certified 5K at Hains Point on March 2 to raise awareness and funds to support local homeless children and families. All of the proceeds from the race will go to the nonprofit, which provides education, therapeutic, and family-stabilizing services that give homeless infants, toddlers and preschoolers, and their families the best chance of success in school and in life. Registration is still open, so you are interested in racing for a good cause, be sure to check it out! And if you are feeling extra altruistic, type NBEAR in the promo section to help a friend with stats. Thanks!
Crash Course: Revolve is a spin studio located just a few blocks from the Clarendon metro stop. Their “real ride” class is a traditional 45-minute spin workout, complete with loud music, mirrored walls, and lots (and lots) of sweat. There weren’t any upper body shenanigans, and the ride focused mainly on quick intervals and climbs. Bike shoes are required and can be rented at the studio. Classes typically fill up fast, so be sure to sign up early on the Revolve website to secure your spot.
where: 1025 North Fillmore Street, Arlington VA
bring: water bottle, bike shoes (SPD and Look cleats)
perks: limited free parking, combination lockers, filtered water, bike shoe rental
sweat score: 9 out of 10
wear: recommend spandex bottoms, bike shoes required
instructor: Grant Hill
cost: drop in rate is $18
Revolve opened in Arlington in late 2011, making it one of the first boutique spin studios in the area to help DC kick off its love affair with indoor cycling. If it’s any indication of how popular this workout is, six other studios have opened in the greater DC area since. Washingtonians must have a penchant for punishment, because being packed shoulder to shoulder in dark, steamy rooms with low lighting and dance-club level music while whirling your legs wildly to the commands of a microphone-clad teacher is not everyone’s idea of a good time. That said…it just happens to be a pretty darn good time.
The Revolve DC studio offers three different classes to choose from: real ride, barre ride (a two-for-one special combining spin and ballet barre), and body ride (spin class using upper body weights). The space is bright, sleek, and clean, with iPads greeting you when you walk in the front door for easy sign-in and sign-ups. Tip: many of the instructors have a cult-following and classes fill up fast. Be sure to sign up early to get into the class you want. Also, you will be asked to sign up for a specific bike. I made the rookie mistake of picking one in the front of the room (thinking it was the back), so double check the numbers. Lower numbers in the front, higher numbers in the back.
The studio lobby area has a small retail section selling Revolve merchandise and a few spin-centric items like socks, water bottles, and headbands. After passing the front desk, store your gear in the row of white lockers to your left. They have built-in combination locks (love these!) for extra security. It can get really crowded in here with lots of students buzzing about, so if you’re running late and a bit frazzled, just be prepared to find some zen before walking in the door.
There is only one changing room and it is all the way in the back of the studio to your right. It’s nice and big, so you have plenty of room to transition from work/street clothes into your spandex-clad spin-superhero gear (at least that’s what I told myself it was). To save time, I recommend changing before arriving if you can. Bathrooms are located outside of the studio – go out the back door and make a left down the hallway. They are bright, clean, single units.
You cannot wear gym shoes on the bikes at Revolve – bike shoes with Look or SPD clips are required. If you don’t own any, don’t worry, they rent them in the studio for $2. Before heading into class, fill your water bottle at the filtered water spout located just to the right of the spin studio door and grab an extra towel or two – you’ll need them once class starts.
Like many other spin studios in the area, the bikes are packed tightly into a small, mirrored room. Find your bike number and get settled in. The lights turn down once class starts, so try to make any adjustments before the door closes.
Grant Hill led the Real Ride class I crashed. I have been following Grant on Twitter for quite awhile now, and was very familiar with his motivational attitude and favorite phrase, “don’t stop, don’t quit.” Because the class was just under an hour, we wasted no time getting knee-deep into climbs, intervals, sprints, and (everyone’s favorite) tabatas. Let’s just say you won’t have any problem getting warmed up during the first song. Speaking of songs, I hate to admit that I didn’t recognize one single song Grant played. This was actually kind of refreshing, since the soundtrack at every other studio I’ve visited has been a mix of current and past pop hits. While I did miss singing along to familiar favorites, the lack of any recognizable tunes returned my distraction-seeking mind to the task at hand: working hard and spinning like crazy.
Things that didn’t make my wheels turn:
- I had a really hard time hearing Grant, which made following along to his prompts especially difficult. This seemed to be a combination of microphone fuzziness and loud music. It helped that I was in the front row so I could follow his lead, but for riders in the back, I bet it was difficult to figure things out sometime. If you are new, I’d recommend trying to be up front.
Things that spun my fancy:
- Free parking. For someone who commutes by car, this is a huge incentive to stop by Revolve on the way home from work.
- Everyone – riders and Revolve employees- was incredibly friendly from start to finish. They helped me set up my bike, figure out where to dump my used bike shoes after class, and helped me laugh off my jitters when I discovered I had reserved a bike smack dab in the front row. The
- The class was a solid spin workout with no funny push-up business (if you read my ZenGo review, you know what I mean). I never once looked at the clock, and when Grant called out “last song,” I was in shock. It flew by and packed a calorie-burning wallop.
On the hunt for the perfect spin studio for you? Be sure to check out my other spin studio reviews:
Off Road DC
On my last full day of vacation, there were three things I wanted to do: soak up the sun, eat the rest of the delicious farmers market splurges sitting in the fridge, and crash a class at the local gym. As you can see from exhibit A above, I started the day by crossing one of those items off of the list. Breakfast was a delicious combination of Ezekial bread, schmeared avocado, fried egg, and red bell pepper topped with a splash of olive oil. Simple, easy, quick, and packed with nutrition.
As I mentioned earlier, the Original Crasher received a Fitbit for Christmas and is absolutely loving it. She has been racking up some crazy mileage (there was one day with 11 miles before noon…the woman is a machine) and I was happy to help join in the effort while we were together in Florida. In fact, I can honestly say one of the best parts of the trip were our daily long walks along the beach. On Monday, we totaled close to five miles. Here’s a view of the Fitbit at one of our pit stops in the shade.
It was hard to believe that just a few days earlier, I struggled to mange six miles running on pavement. Funny how the body changes from day to day. At any rate, we worked up quite an appetite with all of that walking and promptly dug into home-made lunches upon our return to our beach chairs. Phew!
I went with the tried-and-true crunchy PB with sliced bananas and added some of the raw honey we purchased at the market. It was the perfect post-workout beach treat, especially when paired with a “few” Cape Cod potato chips. Something about that combination always screams beach to me. Maybe I should pack it more often when I return to the office to remind me of sunshine and blue skies.
That evening, the Original Crasher and I went to a local wellness center to crash their “Cross Training at Kinesis” class. The real name should have been “36-minutes of Killer Circuit Training and Some Sweet Moves on the Kinesis Machine.” I guess that would be too long to put on a schedule…but it about sums it up.
I had never heard of Kinesis equipment before walking into the room (have you?). After doing a bit of research, I discovered that these machines use a system of closed-loop weighted cables to allow for 3D movement and an incredible number of routine variations. This video from Technogym gives a better idea of just how versatile the machine can be. I was really impressed with how functional – and fun – the different stations were. Wish I knew of a place in DC that carried them because I have to admit, I’m salivating to use them again ASAP!
The class itself had 12 different stations and lasted exactly 36 minutes. Each station consisted of four rounds of 40 second intervals, after which we had 20 seconds of time to transition to the next station. Aside from the four Kinesis stations, we also worked with a spin bike, boxing heavy bag, rubber bands, medicine balls, kettle bells, barbells, jump ropes, and steps. I started at station one on the heavy bag, which included alternating 40 second intervals of punching and kicking. I then moved on to plyometric moves on the steps, transitioned to resistance-heavy hills and sprints on the stationary bike, and attempted my best combinations of pushes, pulls, lunges, and squats on the Kinesis machines.
I didn’t have enough time before class to watch demo videos of each move on the display concourse, so I was mostly relying on watching the guy in front of me. This wasn’t the best strategy, but it didn’t deter from getting a killer workout from the Kinesis stations. They were really my favorite part.
I’m not sure I could say the same for Mom, but she handled the entire class like a champ and was whipping through the stations with commendable skill. I don’t call her The Original Crasher for nothing, folks! By the end of the 36 minutes, we were both drenched in sweat and trying desperately to catch our breath. We turned to each other, smiled, and said, “Wow, let’s do that again!”
I wish I could find a class like this in DC. I love the circuit set up and the use of incredibly varied equipment to deliver a knock-your-socks-off full body workout. Not to mention it was extremely fast and extremely effective. The only similar thing I have crashed so far would be bootcamp at Jaime Andrews Fitness or Seal Team PT. Suggestions welcome!
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.
where: Jordin’s Paradise, 1215 Connecticut Ave. NW
perks: great new moves
sweat score: 6 out of 10
wear: anything that you can move freely in
instructor: Jeannie Baumann
cost: drop in rate is $20*
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Happy Monday crashers! I’m spending a long weekend in Naples, Florida and wanted to check in and share a few adventures from my trip. The crashing continues and I am counting my blessings to be sweating in the sun for a brief while. Just checked the weather in DC – looks like 41 and rainy – so I’m hoping these photos help bring you all some warmth and sunshine to your day.
I arrived on Friday afternoon and immediately got down to business. The eating business, that is. Baby spinach, blue cheese, pears, candied walnuts, mandarin oranges, and grilled prawns. Oh, my, goodness. Heaven on a plate!
On Saturday morning, I laced up my trusty Mizunos and stepped out for a training run. My legs felt like lead and thanks to an influx of Red Tide here in southern Florida, I was coughing and sniffling my way through six rough miles. Needless to say, it wasn’t my most confidence-boosting run. The best part? When it was over and I could take off my shoes, walk in the sand, and cool off my feet in the water. I posted a short video on Twitter via Vine about this – check it out!
The Original Fit Crasher and I walked down to the local farmers market to grab some breakfast and check out the scene. We passed by a group enjoying an outdoor yoga class – I had to restrain myself from running over and joining in. It looked like such a breezy, cool spot to bend and stretch.
I posted many more photos of all the farmers market goodies we tried on Twitter and Instagram, but this one takes the cake. It was a “pizza” topped with zucchini, parmesan cheese, sliced apples, olive oil, and herbs – delicious! The Original Fit Crasher and I gave this healthy snack two thumbs up. (Not shown…the enormous bag of kettle corn and pistachio macaroons we noshed on along the way. Also two thumbs way, way up.)
The next morning mom and I set out for a long walk along the beach. She received a FitBit as a holiday gift and it has been so much fun joining her in her daily steps. We managed close to five miles – and with views like these, I could have walked for five more.
We cooled off back at the house and enjoyed a small snack . I had a grapefruit drizzled with lychee-longan honey from the farmers market. It is a really deep, dark amber color and was bursting with flavor – the perfect sweet compliment to the sour fruit. I will definitely be eating more of this treat when I get back to DC.
The Original Fit Crasher and I decided the best way to cool off from our walk was with another crash, this time at the pool. We only had 30 minutes, but that was plenty of time to get my laps in.
I haven’t done a swim workout in about a year, and the reintroduction was a sorry state of affairs. I was huffing and puffing with tired arms and legs after just a few laps. I think I completed a mile in total…and that was just perfect for me.
All smiles at the end. Despite being a humbling experience, it was so much fun being back in the pool…literally, where all the fit crashing began many years ago. I think my project this summer will be to get to the pool with a bit more regularity so I can respectably finish a few miles in one stretch.
I’m trying out a circuit workout today at the local health center with a kinesis system. I really have no idea what that is, but I am excited to try it out and share all the crash details with you. Until then…leave a comment and let me know what crashes I’m missing out on in DC!