Dear DC Fit Crasher,
I’m a runner who likes to spend my allotted workout budget on races and new shoes. But I know how important cross-training and strength work are. I enjoy mat pilates classes, but it’s really hard to stomach the hundreds of dollars it would cost to keep that practice up regularly at my local place. Do you have any tips on how to fit classes in on a budget or snag a great discount?
As a runner who has suffered through my fair share of injuries, I am totally with you on the importance of incorporating cross training into your mileage plan. I’ve heard from quite a few physical therapists that pilates, yoga, and barre are great for keeping those knees and hips in check during all that pavement pounding. But they’re not always great for those of us on a budget, especially in this city, where class prices can cost as much as a 10k entry.
I’ve searched high and low for affordable mat pilates options and hope this list helps you find what you’re looking for. Good luck with your training this year and see you out there on the road!
Yoga District $11 drop-in for yogalates class
Past Tense Studio $15 drop-in; $130 for 10 classes
Work It Studio $17 drop-in; $130 for 10 classes
STROGA $18 drop-in; $139 month unlimited; $150 for 10 classes
Fuse Pilates $19 drop-in; $175 month unlimited; $10 happy hour class each week
Toolbox $20 drop-in; $150 for 10
Fuel Pilates $22 drop in; $225 month unlimited
Excel Pilates $20 drop in; $180 for 10 classes
Capital Pilates $20 drop in; $180 for 10
Quantum Pilates $20 drop-in; $180 for 10 classes
Circle Yoga $21 drop-in
Reformation Fitness $22 drop-in; $180 for 10 classes
Other ideas: check pricing and schedules at your local YMCA or DC recreation facilities, many of which offer mat pilates classes.
Local Motion (Old Town) $18 drop-in; $150 for 10 classes
Mind Your Body Oasis (Crystal City) $20 drop-in; $150 for 10 classes
Mind the Mat (Clarendon) $20 drop-in; $160 for 10 classes
Simon Says (Bethesda) $18 drop-in; $150 for 10 classes
Pulse Fitness (Bethesda) $20 drop-in; $160 for 10 classes
FitnessWise (Bethesda) $80 for 4 week session, one class/week
Balance (Bethesda) $20 drop-in, $175 for 10 classes
I am excited, proud, thrilled, humbled, and just gosh darn happy to share that I was on the Today Show Saturday morning to talk about the growing popularity of boutique fitness!
While many of you following me on social media already know the news, I thought it would be fun to share some behind the scenes photos of the day and chat about what the experience was like. I mean, it’s not every day you get to do one of DC’s toughest workouts in front of a camera (yikes) and then invite a Today Show anchor into your tiny living room to film an interview (double yikes). Let’s just say it was a complete blur of emotions and adrenaline and documenting it here for you all will be a cathartic experience for my nerves. So here we go.
On December 4th, an email titled “TODAY Show – fitness segment” landed in my inbox:
I read it with bated breath. Literally. I finished the last sentence and realized I had been holding my breath the entire time out of shock. THE Today Show? Like, the one I had watched every morning before school as a kid? The one I could sing the jingle to and name all the anchors, past and present? SERIOUSLY?!
I stepped away from my computer. Heart racing. Freaking out. Trying to breathe deep and do a happy dance all at the same time. Composing in my head the most professional and appropriate way to scream at the top of my lungs via email “YES!”
And so the back and forth of scheduling dates, times and locations commenced. I presented a list of really unique local boutique studio options for them to choose from, staying away from barre, yoga, or spin as they had already filmed those segments in New York. They got back to me with the request to film at SolidCore, the new megaformer studio in Adams Morgan, on December 20th at 9 a.m. A huge “thank you” to Anne and her staff at SolidCore for accommodating the filming!
I stepped inside the studio and saw the tv camera, anchor Erica Hill, and the rows of mega formers. Yep, this was really happening. For whatever reason I was under the impression Erica would be sweating alongside me, therefore subjecting us both to the unusual torment of trying to look graceful and strong for the camera while attempting to complete the crazy difficult SolidCore class. But next thing I knew the class was starting, I was on a megaformer, and Erica was cheering from the sidelines in jeans. She must have seen the betrayal and fear in my eyes and gave me a friendly thumbs up instead.
“Okay,” I thought as I eased into the first lunge, “here we go!”
To be totally honest, working out in front of a camera is incredibly strange. I wasn’t sure if I should be smiling, laughing (as in: ha ha ha this workout is a breeze and I’m having such a jolly time!), grimacing, making funny faces, interacting with others in the class, or staring straight ahead in fiercely-dedicated concentration. You know, because I’m a blogger and I mean business.
I went for a mixture of the concentration and grimacing, heavy on the later. Not consciously, but that’s just the look I get when the burn in my shoulders is radiating down my back, my arms are shaking uncontrollably, and I’m only on the third rep. Oh yeah, zoom in on that failing muscle for the kids at home.
If I didn’t mention it before, this class is one of the most challenging I’ve ever taken. There’s no rest, it’s high-energy, and the moves target muscles that don’t like to work out. Muscles I honestly never knew I had. For example, the first time I crashed SolidCore I walked funny for three days straight. You get the idea.
After class, Erica, her producer Kristen, and I traveled to my apartment to complete the interview. I was still sweaty, shaky, and a little delirious from the workout. Thankfully, I had a few minutes alone in my apartment to quickly change clothes and clean up a bit. Not as much as I would have liked for being on national television, but next thing I knew they were knocking on my door and heck, sometimes you just have to roll with it.
We spent a few minutes trying to reconfigure the furniture in my little apartment to somehow accommodate an interview. It was a hilarious sight to see my living room transformed into a tv studio, complete with nationally recognized anchor on her blackberry. It was surreal. The Today Show is in my living room. Is this real life? Oh goodness, did I remember to swifter the bookshelf over there?
The next thing I remember is hooking on a microphone and sitting in front of those blinding lights, answering Erica’s questions about DC Fit Crasher and the boutique fitness scene in DC. At my dinner table. It went by in a flashing blur and I wish I could remember all of the questions she asked, but to be honest, I don’t. I was a ball of nerves and excitement and I think the combination of the two does something funky to your brain, making everything a little fuzzy when you try to look back on it.
Despite the awkwardness of all the filming, Erica and Kristen were incredibly down-to-earth, gracious, and fun to be around. The process reminded me more of making a project for journalism school and less of shooting footage for a national broadcast. They did a bang up job and I was so thrilled to have met them. Here we are after the interview and before they caught a plane back to NYC. All smiles. Thanks guys!
One thing I want to address – mostly for myself as I look back on this whole thing – is the fact that I was really, really nervous about the experience. It brought out all sorts of insecurities and vanities in me, ones I am not proud to admit but hey, we’re all human. I had so many questions and doubts before, during, and after: Would I be able to finish? What if I fail during a set? What if I am doing it wrong? What should I wear? Would I look bad on camera? Did I sound stupid? Did that particular pair of black workout tights make my legs look fat?
And you know what? The greatest lesson I learned all day was that the answer to all of those questions is simple: It doesn‘t matter. While not the easiest to remember in the moment, with bright lights in your face and an anchor calmly smiling at you as you’re wobbling in side plank, I knew the Today Show folks came to DC to make an interesting and engaging segment about fitness for their viewers. Something I was absolutely thrilled to be a part of. They weren’t trying to make anyone look bad. And they had asked that I be a part of that as myself – not a version of it – shaking arms, grimacing face, wrinkly shirt, dusty apartment and all. So while it was deliriously easy to fall into the vicious cycle of negative thoughts and self-doubt (and believe me, I did. I still judge my interview responses, my hair, and what I decided to wear), the really difficult but oh-so-important thing I took away from the day was to always remember to just be and accept yourself exactly as you are. That’s the best version of you, anyway, and the one people truly want to see.
That said, I was so honored to have had the opportunity to share my passion for fitness and healthy living on a platform like the Today Show. Honestly, it was a dream come true and I couldn’t have been more thrilled on Saturday morning when the piece aired. Click here to watch the full thing.
By far, the best part was hearing feedback from all of you and reading all of your supportive and beautifully encouraging comments. Thank you, thank you for being a part of DC Fit Crasher and joining me on my quest to share fun ways to break a sweat and get healthy. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’d like to start posting more often. My once-weekly crash reviews serve one purpose, but there’s a whole lot more fitness going on in my life than what I’m able to fit into those weekly posts. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook…you know what I mean. I’d like to experiment with increasing my posts so I can let you all in on the other sweaty things going on in my life. New gear. Workouts I do at home. Fun fitness technology and app reviews. Healthy food. The works.
Sound okay to you? Great! Let’s begin…
I’m introducing a new column this week: “Dear Fit Crasher.” I get quite a few emails from readers (hello!) asking specific questions about studios, where to find this or that kind of workout, or gear I’ve worn or used in posts. I love hearing from you all and really enjoy answering your questions. With that in mind, I thought it’d be fun to open up the forum and share them on the blog. Note: this column can’t continue without you, so if you have any questions, drop me a line or two!
Dear Fit Crasher,
I have been reading through your great blog and really enjoying your informative posts. As a newbie to DC (I have moved here from London), I am looking at my options for working out before committing to anything specific. It seems that the options in DC to try one-off classes and keep things interesting are much better than in London, so instead of going for a gym membership, I am just going to try different things first. Not to mention the crazy number of free workouts available!
One question I had for you is to see if you have a recommendation for a first-timer to yoga. I do a lot of exercise (mainly running, spinning, weights) but have never tried yoga or pilates, and to be honest, I am a little bit terrified of showing up and being terribly clueless! Any suggestions for where would be good to go to for my first class? I’m living in Georgetown, but happy to travel.
Thanks – and keep up the great writing! Simone
As far as recommendations for first-timer yoga…I’d definitely try something close to home and easy to get to (to cut down on the stress of trying out a new spot). Believe me, I know how it is to walk into a new fitness class wondering “How in the world did I end up here?!”
From my experience, I’d try signing up for a class at Georgetown Yoga, which should be right in your neighborhood. It just opened its new location on M street above Shophouse. It’s a beautiful, peaceful, small, non-heated studio with wonderful teachers. The classes are super non-competitive (yay!), it’s a very welcoming environment, and everything is low-key. If you’re in northern Georgetown, another good beginner-friendly option would be Yoga District in Glover Park. They offer lots of class options at a very affordable price. Perfect for dipping your toe into yoga for the first time. Let me know how you like it – and good luck!
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?