Jaime Andrews Fitness Women & Weights Class

jaime andrews fitness women and weights


Crash Course: Jaime Andrews is most well known for her popular bootcamp classes, but her business also offers a full roster of workout opportunities including personal training, yoga, and fitness getaways. Her latest class is called “Women & Weights”, a 45 minute total body workout using dumbbells, kettlebells, bands, medicine balls, and other tools of the trade to focus on strength and muscular endurance. It’s designed for women of all ages and fitness levels. This class is scheduled for Thursday mornings at 6 a.m. and Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. Visit the Jaime Andrews Fitness website for more information. 



where: 1440 N Street NW // Logan Circle

bring: yourself, water bottle

perks: small class, towels, all ladies

sweat score: 7 out of 10

wear: anything you like

instructor: Jaime Andrews

cost: $35 drop-in

 

jaime andrews fitness women and weights

I had so much fun crashing Jaime’s outdoor bootcamp class last year and had been looking for an opportunity to come back. Logan Circle isn’t the most convenient neighborhood for me to get to, so unfortunately I put it off time and again. When she reached out to me about the newest addition to her class roster, I eagerly signed up for another chance to be part of her small, upbeat, no-fuss workout crew. If I’m willing to get out of bed at 5 a.m. for it, you know it has to be good!

jaime andrews fitness women and weights

I was up before the sunrise and slowly made my way through the city on a bikeshare bike, enjoying the quiet darkness and taking the downhill ride as a much-needed opportunity to wake up my sleepy body. I arrived to a bright and chipper studio occupied by five other ladies and Jaime.

We circled up, went through a few introductions, and started a dynamic warmup full of squats, swings, and stretches. Jaime then went over the breakdown of the mornings workout, demonstrating each move and explaining the mechanical breakdown of proper technique.

jaime andrews fitness women and weights

We did an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) circuit of three exercises at three stations with tabata intervals between each. Each station included a good mix of weights and cardio, ensuring we worked up a good sweat as we moved around the room. My partner and I started at a station that included 8 push ups, 8 dips, and 8 goblet squats.

jaime andrews fitness women and weights

The second station included 8 shoulder presses, 8 deadlifts, and holding a plank while pushing a dumbbell back and forth between your hands 8 times to throw off your balance. That move was so much tougher than it looked! By this point in the workout I was sweaty and starting to feel the fact that I hadn’t lifted weights in a few weeks. Clearly, this workout was just what I needed!

jaime andrews fitness women and weights

Our second tabata sequence involved weighted split squats. I wish I could tell you what the first tabata was, but it was obviously too early for my brain to remember. I remember it being challenging. I remember wondering how many gosh darn rounds of the 4 minute sequence we had left. But I can’t for the life of me tell you what the movement was. Oh well. Some things are best left to imagination.

jaime andrews fitness women and weights

The final station included 8 TRX rows, 8 kettlebell swings, and 8 resistance band arm curls. I was struggling at this point, but not in a “I’m going to collapse and pass out” kind of way. In the muscle-burn, this is going to feel good tomorrow kind of way. And let me tell you, I definitely felt it the next day. I obviously need to get back to some form of weight training, because my body let me know that it didn’t appreciate the sneak attack.

jaime andrews fitness women and weights

The class environment was casual, friendly, and very supportive. Jaime played good music and we talked throughout the entire thing, covering a wide list of topics ranging from marathon training to kids to the weather. It felt like a personal training session with Jaime and five friends. The time flew by and 6:45 came in the blink of an eye. We didn’t stretch as a group at the end of class, but I bet if you wanted to stick around for few minutes to cool down it wouldn’t be a problem. Most of the ladies had to leave right away to start their mornings and get ready for work.

All in all, I loved the experience and really recommend it to anyone looking to incorporate a little more weight training into their workout schedule. There were no “big lifts” involved, but that didn’t make it any less effective. I really enjoyed it. Jaime, can you open a studio closer to Cleveland Park please?

Bonus: read my review of Jaime’s outdoor bootcamp class here.


How do you incorporate weight training into your workout schedule?


 

 

Note: While Jaime invited me to try a free class, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience. Thanks for reading!

 

Meet Bethesda’s Megaformer Hot Spot: Sculpt Studio

sculpt megaformer pilates bethesda


Crash Course: Sculpt Studio in Bethesda offers classes on the mega-popular megaformer machine, a souped-up pilates reformer on a serious power trip. This thing makes your entire body shake within minutes, and you’ll leave feeling toned, tired, a little buzzed, and fantastically sore. It’s a no-impact workout that caters to all fitness levels. But a note to even the fittest among us: check your ego at the door with this one, because you’re in for an incredibly challenging ride. Click here for a full schedule of classes at Sculpt Studio.   



wear: recommend spandex bottoms

instructor: Mary Farber

cost: $20 first class/$35 drop-in

 

sculpt megaformer studio bethesda

For all the times I said a $35-per-class fitness trend would never really catch on here in DC, let me be the first one to eat my words. With the rapid success and expansion of Solidcore and the popularity of Bethesda’s Sculpt Studio, I think it’s safe to say that the DMV is twitterpated with the ultra-lux megaformer workout.

sculpt megaformer studio bethesda

Sculpt Studio is located on the lower level of the building and encompasses the main workout floor, a bathroom, and an adjoining studio/merchandise space. Despite being occupied by so many hulking machines, the gleaming floors, bright overhead lights, and high white ceilings give the space a wide-open, almost sterile feeling. A wall of mirrors sits at the front of the room, and a row of cubbies and hangers offer storage space toward the back.

sculpt megaformer studio bethesda

The 10 a.m. Saturday morning class was nearly full, and everyone seemed fairly relaxed as they prepared for the workout. I, on the other hand, was a ball of nerves on my carriage, anxiously swishing through Twitter to distract myself from what was about to go down. The woman next to me introduced herself. I smiled back and asked if this was her first class. She said yes. I silently debated whether to warn her about the pain train that was about to happen in this bright, peppy room. Don’t be fooled by these sleek machines, I wanted to tell her, you’ll be sore for days. DAYS!

I opted instead for the interpretive: “Good luck!”

Before we got started, Mary went over the ins-and-outs of the megaformer machine. This is an introduction I honestly hadn’t received before, and I liked getting a little tour of all the different do-dads and options available. I also relished in this being the only part of class when I wasn’t shaking like a leaf and praying for the fitness police to come and save me from myself.

sculpt megaformer studio

Then Mary put her headset on, turned up the music, and started taking us through the first few moves. We began with a series of excruciatingly slow ab exercises and planks. She would count each rep to the beat, going down “one, two, three, four” and up “one, two, three four.” Five minutes in and my arms and abs were already praying for a break. Do you think she would be able to tell if I put one knee down in this plank? Is it really cheating if the rest of my body is still engaged? There’s a lot of negotiating with yourself that goes on during a megaformer class – come ready to stand your ground and fight fair. 

We then moved into a leg series using hand weights, which was a new combination I hadn’t tried before. For example, as we lunged we also worked our arms into an overhead press. I still don’t know if I loved this added extra because it served as a distraction from the burning in my legs, or hated it because it also caused a burning in my arms. Either way, it definitely upped the ante in the “full body workout” category and demanded serious concentration.

sculpt megaformer studio bethesda

Other funky moves I’ve never tried before included spider and donkey kicks, both of which included straddling the machine and using one leg to push the carriage away. Awkward? Absolutely. Effective? Yes, that too.

The overall tone of the class was not as intense or competitive as others I’ve been in. For example, between the bumping loud music and the constant stream of commentary from coaches at Solidcore, I am 110% engaged at all times. This also means I feel a great deal of pressure to perform and keep up with the pack (or suffer being called out) which isn’t always the best thing for my body depending on the day. At Sculpt, the atmosphere was much more relaxed and open. Sure there was necessary and appreciated encouragement, but I felt like I could disappear and do things at my own pace if I really wanted to. I felt no pressure to keep up or compete with my neighbor. If you prefer a less in-your-face style of coaching, this approach may be the best fit for you.

sculpt megaformer studio bethesda

Mary was enthusiastically demonstrative throughout class, which is especially helpful when doing strange new moves on strange new machines.  You can say “wheelbarrow” all you want, but I’m not entirely sure what that has to do with me being on this machine. One minute she was lunging on a megoformer next to you, the next she was on the floor behind you going over the most effective crunch angles. She also was noticeably vigilant, always ready to adjust or offer assistance to those who needed a little nudge in the right direction.

We ended class with a few deep stretches on the machine. This, my friends, was heaven. Not only did it signal a definite end to class, but it also gave us all a brief opportunity to attend to our tired bodies. I wasn’t a sweaty mess after this particular class, but I undoubtedly felt like I had just survived yet another encounter with the legendary megaformer. I grabbed a fresh clementine, my things, snapped a few photos, said my “thank yous” to Mary and her team and was on my way back into the city. Pass the foam roller please!


Do you think the megaformer workout is worth the sticker-shock price?


Note: While Sculpt Studio invited me to try a free class, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience. Thanks for reading!

Three Things I Miss About Big Box Gyms


big box gyms

I have a confession to make: there are things I miss about belonging to a big box gym. To be clear, there are many more things I do not miss, but this week I realized I was accumulating a tiny list in the back of my mind of things that would make my fitness life so much easier…and then realized that those things were all perks associated with having a gym membership. I stopped cold in my tracks. Could it be? Could I actually be pining after monthly membership fees, decks of TVs turned to channels I don’t want to watch, and that adductor machine everyone hates? Not exactly. But let me explain.

1. Workout On My Own Schedule

You know those weeks when your schedule hurls itself out the window and nothing you had planned works out? Yeah, this was one of those weeks. Which meant that every fit crash I had on my agenda had to be cancelled at the last minute. As in, sometimes calling from the car stuck in traffic last minute. Sorry barre method. Sorry boot camp. Sorry run with friend after work. It just didn’t happen. And half-way through the week, I thought, wouldn’t it be lovely to workout on MY schedule. Even if it’s erratic and temperamental right now. Even if that means I don’t get around to it till 9:25 p.m. The truth is that there are one too many factors that can derail plans to get to the studio in time for a class. Life happens. The metro is delayed (shocker). Traffic accidents. Last minute 5 p.m. meetings with the boss as you’re walking out the door. No parking after circling the block 10 times. Needing to do laundry and get groceries instead. Bottom line: working out on somebody else’s schedule isn’t always easy.

2. Showers

Thanks to Drop In, I had an opportunity to workout for free at BodySmith in Logan Circle a few weekends ago. It was the first time I had been at a “big box gym” in ages. Because of ice and snow, my plan was to do a long run on the treadmill, scoot around to check out the weight options, and then meet friends for dinner after. Which I could do without being a sweaty mess because BodySmith has showers. Ah-ha! What a convenience! I am so used to running out of studios in my workout duds, hair all sweaty, clothes icky and damp. Cleaning up after class with fresh towel service and a fully stocked shower felt down right luxurious. I could seamlessly go about my day without the time-suck of going home, showering, and then heading back out to wherever I was going. I know there are a few boutique studios in DC with showers, but the majority do not have them. I understand why: they take up space, require cleaning, and are an added expense. But showers are a little time-saving perk that I sometimes really miss.

3. Options

DC’s boutique fitness scene is about as varied as they come. You want options? We’ve got options. But there are days when I just want to do my own thing and need the right equipment. Thirty minutes of running followed by weighted squats and pull ups. Or a HIIT workout with medicine balls and kettle bells. Or intervals on the stationary bike, treadmill, and rower with a few dumbbell reps thrown in for good measure. While I have a few pieces of key equipment in my apartment, it’s not a gym by any means. There’s also the issue of not being able to jump around without my downstairs neighbor wanting to kill me. So okay, I admit it, sometimes I do miss having access to a gym with all the fun toys.

I don’t have plans to join a gym any time soon. Nine times out of ten, I love bouncing around town to explore the smaller nooks and crannies of DC’s fitness scene. But there are those days – like this week – when boutique fitness just isn’t convenient. And as the blogger who has often put her hands up and backed away from the idea of big box fitness, I felt the need to come clean. So there you have it folks, the post I never thought I’d write.

Have a great weekend!


Which option do you think has the most perks: big gyms or boutique studios?


Fit Crashing Highlights From My Trip to NYC

nyc empire state building

I took a quick trip up to New York City last weekend and here is what I discovered: that city is a veritable cornucopia of fit crashing potential. Folks jaunt about in fashionable fitness clothes with yoga mats and green juices in tow, ducking in and out of bikram this and tone that. I honestly lost count of the number of times I said “oh hey, that looks like a great spot to crash!” And that was just on the first day. That city is packed to the brim with every kind of fitness staple, trend, fad, and everything in-between. I was overwhelmed. I was enamored. I was in desperate need of more than just a few days!

While I originally planned to visit more studios, the truth of the matter is I only visited two. Being in NYC was also a welcome opportunity to reconnect with friends, visit with family, explore the city, and just take a break from my normal routine in DC. That said, I want to share a few of the weekend’s fitness highlights:

1. Sweating with ClassPass

new york city revolve spin class pass

I had the fantastic opportunity to spend Friday with the team from ClassPass, who were kind enough to show me exactly what they do best: enabling fit crashing at the hottest studios all over town. Can you handle two crashes in one day, they asked? Bring it on, I said. Bring. It. On.

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We started the afternoon at Uplift, a ladies-only boutique fitness loft in Chelsea offering strength training, cardio, and private events like their workout+wine series. You read that right. There’s no way that’s not amazing; unless, of course, the wine comes before the workout. But back to our fit crash. I joined Simona for the  “Uplifting – Strength” class, a full-body workout incorporating weighted interval training. She promised I’d love it. She was absolutely right.

nyc uplift studios nyc

The studio itself is lovely and perfectly New York. It is nestled into an airy, light-infused loft that has gorgeous crown moulding, gleaming hardwood floors, and towering bay windows. If you go, I recommend checking out Liz’s strength class. Crazy energy, creative moves, and you’ll leave with wobbly legs and an urgent need to foam roll.

After class, we popped over to the NYC Sweetgreen location to join the rest of the team for lunch. It’s enormous and bustling to the brim with salad-loving locals. Since Sweetgreen started in DC, it also felt like a little piece of home, so you can imagine my excitement as I whipped out my app and rattled off my usual order like no big deal.

Sweetgreen NYC

We let our lunch settle over conversation about workouts, fitness apps, blog posts, what exactly makes the Sweetgreen bread so delicious, and other topics of the day. Before we knew it, it was time to hike over to Revolve NYC for an ultra-sweaty spin class with Jason Tran. 

Revolve NYC Classpass

This class was bananas. I have never been to a NYC nightclub, but I swear the experience has to be the spitting image of Jason’s class. There as bumping music. Flashing lights. Sweaty bodies. Spontaneous dancing and gyrating. Sing-alongs. Beyonce. You name it. It happened. Ba-nananas. What a fun way to close out my time with the ClassPass team. They truly knew how to treat a fit crasher right, and I am so thankful to have had the chance to connect with them during my stay. ClassPass expanded to Boston last week, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed DC is next!

2. Citibikes

NYC Citibikes

nyc citibikes

I adore DC’s bikeshare system. So when I laid eyes on the bright blue docks on street corners in NYC, I knew it was only a matter of time before I was whirling around town on two wheels. It’s such an easy way to see the sights, and so much more convenient than taking public transportation. It didn’t hurt that the weather was abnormally warm and sunny on Saturday, reaching into the mid 60s by the afternoon. Perfect biking weather if you ask me! I rolled along the West Side Highway, around the Meatpacking District, over to Chelsea Market, up to the High Line, and finally to a dappled roof-top bar for some much-needed hoppy refreshment. Cheers!

3. Running Along the Hudson

nyc west side highway run

Before spending hours sitting on the train back to DC, I work up early on Sunday morning to log a few miles along the West Side Highway running path. Luckily it was easy to find and just a few blocks from my hotel. Sending a “thank you!” to fellow fitness blogger and NYC local Evann Clingan for the excellent suggestion. My Cherry Blossom 10 Miler training plan called for eight miles that morning, but tired legs and a tight timetable meant I only had thirty minutes to scoot around. That was perfectly fine by me! It was just long enough to get the blood flowing, work up a sweat, and take in the NYC skyline one more time.

I had the most fantastic time on my little weekend getaway to the Big Apple. There are so many more studios and classes I’m itching to try, so I’ll have to make a return trip soon!


Do share! What are your favorite NYC fitness spots?


BYOB Boot Camp at CenterPointe

centerpointe studio adams morgan


Crash Course: Studio CenterPointe delivers functional fitness training in a personalized, small group environment. The trainers specialize in crafting strength, mobility, agility, balance, power, and endurance. The Bring Your Own Body (BOYB) bootcamp class is designed to use students’ own bodyweight to build strength and balance. Expect a healthy dose of air squats, wall walks, burpees, and other favorites. This class is a great introduction to functional training and a fantastic training compliment for the more advanced athlete hoping to round out their routine. Every class is different and moves are scaled to your ability. Click here for a schedule of class times.  


where: 1802 Adams Mill Road/Adams Morgan

bring: towel, water bottle

perks: personalized attention, small class size

sweat score: 6 out of 10

wear: whatever makes you happy

instructor: May Bend

cost: $20 drop in 

 

Studio CenterPointe is located in the basement of 1802 Adams Mill Road, just under the Starbucks and a lunge away from Stroga. The space used to be a hemp shop, but now stocks barbells instead of bongs. Go figure. The sign doesn’t pop out at you when passing by on the street, so be sure to keep your eyes down, especially if they’re a little bleary before the 6 a.m. BOYB class.

I’m testing out this new map widget to help give a better sense of where studios are located – what do you think?


Back to the crash. I showed up at 5:50 a.m., completely dazed and not quite sure what to expect. I’m familiar with the concept of functional training, it’s the stuff CrossFit fame is made of, but wasn’t sure how much function or how much movement we’d be asked to perform at this harrowing hour. I hadn’t had breakfast or coffee and was in desperate need of both.

But let the record stand that my laces were tied, I had a clean shirt on that wasn’t backwards or inside out, and by golly I was ready to rock.

center-pointe-me

It helped that blogger friends Mary and Allison were also part of the early morning pain train. It was fun to see friendly faces and have a few fellow bloggers to laugh with during those awkward moments when the spirit compels you to take that action-shot during a burpee or snap a selfie while stretching. Ahem. Guilty as charged. Moving on.

centerpointe studio dc

centerpointe studio dc equipment

The studio itself is spartan. Except for the olympic rings dangling from the rafters, there are no large pieces of equipment cluttering the floor. The functional training toys at CenterPointe are stored in the back, leaving the entire floorspace open. I loved the feel of having all of that blank space. For some reason, it really got my imagination going about all the different types of workouts one could construct. Just add equipment, stir in a little sweat, maybe a dash of classic rock, and voila.

As the clock cranked to 6 a.m., we three bloggers circled up with the rest of class – six ladies in total – and after quick introductions we started the morning’s warm up.  This involved many, many jumping jacks, a few long-hold planks, and some range of motion drills. I was definitely warmed up by the time we were through. It was time to move on the workout of the day, which looked something like this.

workout at centerpointe studio

But before we got around to the actual workout, we spent a great deal of time going over each exercise in detail. May is an encyclopedia of functional fitness knowledge, and from my experience that morning, she definitely brings an enormous amount of smarts and passion to making sure each student learns in a safe, welcoming, and professional environment. She is adamant about proper form and took the time to walk us through the ins and outs of double-unders, air squats, and wall walks.

jumprope at centerpointe studio

We started with a number of jump rope drills to get everyone comfortable with the proper technique. We then practiced trying to do advance from single jumps to doubleunders, which is a lot harder than it looks. I managed to complete one, and spent the rest of the time accidentally hitting myself with the rope during my fevered attempts to whirl it around twice.

Thwack. Ouch. Thwack. Dang it. Thwack. Ouch!

I was encouraged multiple times to “show that rope who’s boss,” and believe me I tried, but this is just one area I’ll have to mark as “needs improvement.”

centerpointe studio dc

We spent the next few minutes going through the technical details of air squatting and wall walks. Again, form is king here, so don’t expect to get away with breezing through the movement without focusing on the specifics. After May finished demonstrating both, we were asked to complete a round in front of the group. This definitely ups the intimidation factor for new students, but I appreciated the opportunity to get personalized feedback. Just know that you should be prepared to air squat on cue.

centerpointe studio dc

It seemed like we spent the majority of the class learning and practicing technique, with the actual workout serving as a homework assignment at the end. By the time we got around to the morning’s scheduled WOD, we had 15 minutes to complete the AMRAP of wall walks, doubleunders, and air squats. Don’t get me wrong, this was plenty hard, but I left feeling like the focus of the morning’s class was more on teaching and practicing the technique and less on the workout itself. Not necessarily a bad thing at all, but just not what I expected going in.

centerpointe studio dc

That said, if you are new to functional training, getting the movements right from the very beginning is absolutely essential to staying safe and getting the maximum benefit. So I think this class offers an important resource with those goals in mind.  If you have a more athletic background with experience in this kind of training, I suggest reaching out to May for more information about some of her more advanced class offerings, like Raise the Bar.

Thank you to May and her athletes for hosting me, and thank you to Allison and Mary for completing the fit crashing blogger trifecta. Next time – coffee first!


What time do you workout in the morning? Is 6 a.m. really early for anyone else?


 

Note: While CenterPointe invited me to try a free class, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience. Thanks for reading!

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