Posts Tagged ‘barre’
There’s a lot of working out that goes on behind the scenes here at DC Fit Crasher. My week typically includes one day of fit crashing at a new studio and six other days of sweating all over the place. Literally. So I thought it’d be fun to share some of the workouts I do outside of my official studio reviewing duties. Here are eight from the past two weeks. I’d love to hear what you got into too, so be sure to leave me a comment and share your crashes!
WEDNESDAY: SolidCore megaformer
pain cave studio opened a new location last weekend in Shaw, right next to the metro stop. After wobbling and sweating and wincing through their popular classes in Adams Morgan, I knew I had to christen the new space with a proper fit crash. I took Ashley’s evening class and, as usual, left with wiped-out muscles and a sweaty smile. That megaformer elicits such a love-hate-love-reallyhate relationship, but I keep coming back because the no-impact workout is so good for my runner’s knees. The new studio is bigger than the original, with lofty industrial ceilings and extremely flattering lighting (wink). If you’re going to get housed by the megaformer, you may as well look good doing it. Am I right?
THURSDAY: The last few weeks have been nuts. Way too much going on in way too short a period of time. You know what that’s like, I think we’ve all been there. There came a point when I honestly just needed help to reset, refocus, and get my head in order. While I can typically do that on a run, I craved something gentler. So I signed up for a sunrise class at Yoga District’s studio in Glover Park. It was my first visit to the studio, but it won’t be my last. The space is sparse, clean, and no frills, but the class was exactly what I needed. Warm, welcoming, calm, no expectations or stress to be a super yogi, and it sent me out the door with a clear head and ready to get back to business.
CUCB Training Run
SATURDAY: I’m training for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler road race here in DC on April 6, so I’ve been incorporating more running into my weekly workout schedule. This includes longish runs on the weekend to help get my legs ready for those double digit miles in April. The weather was freakishly nice last weekend for my seven mile loop; shorts, t-shirt, and sunglasses nice. It definitely made those miles fly by and I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a run that much in quite some time. Hear that spring? You’re good for my training, so arriving any time now would be great!
SATURDAY: I had the fun opportunity to demo a new fitness invention last weekend. The company is called True Form and they created a wearable resistance band training unit. You wear special shoes and a velcro belt and then hook resistance bands to the front and the back. The system doesn’t get tangled (I did burpees, jumps, grapevines, and bicycle crunches) and adds just enough resistance to your normal routine to really kick your training up a notch. I demoed it for just a few minutes and was really tuckered out when I left. I don’t know that I’m ready to wear this to all of my fit crashes, but it definitely was neat to try!
SUNDAY: After a not-so-hot first encounter with Barre3 in Georgetown, instructor Alicia Sokol invited me back to crash one of her classes. “Let me make this one up to you, girl,” she wrote, “I will have you quaking and shaking.” Game on! Within ten minutes, I was sweating and struggling through series of push up variations and lunges. You win, Alicia! Your class was challenging, fun, and I left feeling like I had gotten the workout I came for. I also learned (lightbulb moment) that Barre3 isn’t purely a traditional barre studio – the class is a combination of yoga, pilates, AND barre. So if you go and wonder why you aren’t tucking and barre-ing the entire time, that’s why. Consider me schooled!
THURSDAY: CenterPointe functional training studio in Adams Morgan was my official “fit crash” for this week, so all you’ll get is this teaser photo. Check back later this week for the full write up!
FRIDAY: 6:30 p.m. Most of DC is either still at work or celebrating the start of the weekend at various happy hours across the city. Me? This is my happy hour. A $7 workout in a small boutique pilates studio, classic rock blaring, just a handful of other students, and my muscles having a blast networking with each other. Fuse Pilates in Dupont Circle offers this apprentice (teacher-in-training) class every Friday, so if this sounds like your cup of tea, mosey on by and check it out sometime.
SATURDAY: My teal bike has not seen the pavement in years. I bought it in college as I was first getting into triathlons, but it quickly got pushed aside by a sassy yellow racing bike I have since sold. Thanks to some new-found motivation to get back on the bike, I dusted her off, brought her to The Bike Rack for a tune up, and now she’s ready for miles of adventure. I’ve been having a lot of fun re-learning the delicate ins and outs of cycling, like how to properly snot rocket in motion and how horribly uncomfortable bike seats are despite the horribly-unflattering padded shorts. You know, the important stuff! I’m looking forward to warmer weather soon so I can take my old teal friend out for some longer rides. Allez!
Your turn: where was your favorite fit crash last week?
Happy Friday fit crashers!
TGIF, right? I don’t know about you, but my past few weeks have been absolutely packed. 2014 flew in with a zing and is still going strong. Despite my best attempts to capture everything in real-time on social media, I thought it’d be good to put pen to paper and document a few of the most awesome moments for blog posterity. So here we go!
1. Escaping Winter at the Lavender Retreat
I was given the most wonderfully generous opportunity to visit the newly-opened Lavender Retreat Wellness Club in Capitol Hill last weekend. With all of my crazy fit crashing adventures racking up major sore muscles, they offered to treat me to an hour-long massage to help work out the kinks. I was elated – what a treat!
The outside of the Lavender Retreat looks like any other traditional row house. But walk in the front doors, and my oh my, you are transported into a colorful, clean, calm oasis. Smack dab in the middle of the DC! Every room is beautifully appointed with bright, gleaming windows and custom decor. No two are the same. I did a whirl through the hallways just to check out all of the nooks and crannies. There are dedicated rooms for massage, skin care, acupuncture, reflexology, and relaxation. It’s an enormous two-level house…you don’t think they’d mind if I move in, do you?
My hour-long session with Bonnie was a dream. I haven’t had a massage in years, so I’m certainly not an expert, but never have I felt so well cared for or pampered. Highlights included: hot towels on my back to help relieve a few stubborn knots, a to-die-for foot massage followed by moisturizer + steaming hot towels to lock everything in, and extra care placing pillows below various joints so I was constantly comfortable.
I was handed a bottle of water after my session and spent the next few minutes chatting with Bonnie and other staff about the studio, life in DC, and anything else that came to mind. There was such positivity, joy, and pride as they described the Lavender Retreat, and I was really impressed by everyone’s professionalism. They really put every effort into making the experience memorable. I can’t way to go back again and try one of their signature skin care treatments. Oh la la!
2. The Joy of an Unexpected Crash
If you follow along with me on Instagram, you may have seen that I was out in Nevada for a friend’s wedding two weeks ago. It was an absolutely beautiful getaway, but any weekend involving cross country flights, jet lag, snow storms, no workouts, and an unplanned overnight layover (sans luggage) would naturally cause a little stress. So when I returned to the office on Tuesday, I was in desperate need of a workout. Not just any workout.
Say it with me folks…yoooo-gaaaaaaaahhh. Doesn’t that sound relaxing? After the hustle and bustle of a weekend away, it was the only thing on my mind. I did a little googling at work to see if there were any studios in the area I could pop into at the last minute. And wouldn’t you know, I came across a cute website for The Source Yoga in McLean, VA. Not only that, one of my favorite teachers from my early days at Down Dog Yoga was leading the class. Win! Where do I sign?
I was surprised – no, scratch that, elated – to have the class almost entirely to myself. The second student was one of the owners, so in reality, it was very much a private session with me, my mat, and I. And with the blustery weather outside, I tucked my bright green mat right next to the space heater and blissed out for the next hour and a half.
Sometimes it pays to go out on a limb and try something new and unscheduled. What a welcome, unexpected gift.
3. Pure Barre Giveaway Winner
And finally – the Pure Barre giveaway!
After crashing Pure Barre in Dupont Circle last week, I can say (for now!) that I’ve visited every barre studio in DC. Hooray! To celebrate my crash, the lovely ladies at Pure Barre were kind enough to offer one of my readers two free weeks of unlimited classes. Thank you to everyone who participated – we had over 200 entries! Woot! And now for the fun part: the winner is…
* drumroll please*
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congrats Cait! I’ve sent you an email with the details. Enjoy fit crashing at Pure Barre and thanks for reading!
Crash Course: Pure Barre is a national franchise of studios dedicated to a full-body, no-impact, ballet-inspired workout. Each 55-minute class will target arms, abs, thighs, butt, and hips with moves that are sure to make you shake. Literally. Muscle fatigue to the point of shaking is all part of the magic, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t keep your legs from quaking in the first class. Expect fun music, upbeat instructors, and sore muscles the next day. This isn’t a cardio heavy class and you probably won’t sweat buckets – perfect for sneaking in a few plies during your lunch break. Visit the Pure Barre DC website for a full schedule of classes.
where: 2130 P Street NW/Dupont Circle
bring: grip socks, water bottle
perks: metro friendly
sweat score: 6 out of 10
wear: must wear barre socks
instructor: Annie Thompson
cost: $25 drop in
Pure Barre opened its doors in Dupont Circle last April, making it the seventh barre studio in DC. Their signature 55-minute class has been such a rocking success that another location is popping up on Barracks Row next month. After completing my “DC barre crawl” in December 2012, I knew it was only a matter of time before another barre brand came into my life. DC loves the ballet-inspired workout and current studios are packed solid. So when the ladies at Pure Barre reached out to me about coming to crash their studio, I dusted off my grippy socks (they’re required, you know!) and gracefully sashayed as fast as I could to their front door.
The strip of stores along P Street where Pure Barre is located is really nothing to write home about aesthetically. It’s gray, monotonous, and all of the stores sit hidden from view just below ground level. As soon as you walk in the door, however, everything changes. The reception area is bright and cheerful, with gleaming wood floors and bright red accents popping along steel-grey walls.
There are two changing rooms and a well-appointed bathroom just past the front reception area. The studio also has a boutique stocked to the brim with colorful Pure Barre apparel and other workout gear. The entire space is fun and cheery, which helps when you show up for a 6:15 a.m. class in the dead of winter.
As a new student, I was warmly welcomed and given an overview of the techniques used during class. This was especially helpful to do before things got started in the studio and I appreciated the opportunity to ask questions and dust-off my tucking skills. Before I knew it, the music started cranking and it was time to get moving. I took of my shoes, donned the required sticky-bottomed barre socks, and hopped into the plushly-carpeted studio.
Our instructor Annie was the perfect combination of upbeat and authoritative. She had very clear cues, worked the room like a pro to help with adjustments, and her playlist was pretty darn solid. I’m not typically a fan of Britney Spears before noon, but somehow, when your right quad is burning and you’ve got eight more reps, it works.
We moved seamlessly from the floor to the barre, working on all those tiny muscles that somehow get forgotten in other workouts. I was shaking within minutes. It started in my abs and then radiated out into my arms and legs as we transitioned through each segment. While I know this is all part of the plan, it still makes me laugh when I look in the mirror and see my entire body spastically quaking from a few tiny squats.
And then, there is the ball. It looks like a tiny little dodgeball from your childhood playground. And there were moments I wished I was being hit with them instead of squeezing them between my thighs, because let me tell you folks, the struggle is real. Something about having to constantly put pressure on the ball made my entire body work – as if the moves weren’t challenging enough on their own. I mean, I loved that it kicked things up a notch. But I was unprepared for how sore it would make me the next day.
Mercifully, we also had resistance bands to use for stretching after each segment. I think I let out an audible sigh of relief at one point. Annie turned down the music, lowered her voice, and we all took a minute to refocus and stretch out our screaming muscles.
The class ended with a series of ab exercises that included tiny little movements. No sweeping sit ups here. Like the rest of class, everything was extremely targeted for a surgical strike to those hard-to-reach areas. In my opinion, the hardest one involved pressing on the ball with one hand while doing micro oblique crunches. Yep, definitely going to feel that one in a few hours.
Then Annie turned the lights off and pumped up the music. Wait – what’s going on here? Just as I thought we were finished, things heated back up with a round of bridge pulses. Let’s just say, I was so very thankful the lights were off and we could all get to work without worrying about what we looked like. I’ve done this move in other studios and, while effective, it’s just not the most flattering. So thank you, Pure Barre, for letting us work it with the lights off.
After a final round of stretching, the lights came back on and the class was over. We cleaned and put away our equipment, and I was out the door by 7:20. While I wasn’t a sweaty mess like I am after most workouts, I knew my body had been through the wringer and would be sore in weird places the next day. As a runner, barre always targets those areas in my glutes and thighs that somehow get forgotten on the road. This is great for injury prevention and strengthening problem areas, but not the best news for my soreness level. Pass the foam roller, please! That said, I don’t always get that feeling after every barre class so I have to give points to Pure Barre for bringing the burn.
Like what you’ve read and want to give Pure Barre a try? You’re in luck!
I’m partnering with Pure Barre to give away two weeks of unlimited tucking and pulsing to one lucky reader.
Classes can be used at either the Dupont Circle or Capitol Hill locations. Use the widget below to enter to win. Contest ends Friday at 12 a.m.
GOOD LUCK and see you at the barre!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Note: While Pure Barre invited me to try a free class, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience. Thanks for reading!
San Francisco. Where do I even begin. After spending a week bundled up in cold, rainy, grey Portland and Seattle, the blue skies and sunshine of California were just what the doctor ordered. The city was experiencing a freak heat-wave and temperatures climbed into the 70s every day, making it perfect weather for outside workouts and adventures. Oh January, I could get used to this.
I arrived on Wednesday evening, a full day and a half before meeting up with friends flying in from the east coast for a bachelorette “girls weekend.” The bride-to-be is a dear friend from college, former roommate, teammate, and marathon training buddy. Needless to say, I was over the moon to be there to help celebrate the occasion and send her down the aisle in style.
In my alone time before the gang arrived, I met up with the friendly team at Sweat Guru to chat boutique fitness, sweat, and not-to-miss crashes in San Francisco. So much fun! They shared an extensive list of classes and events to check out during my visit, and even set me up with a gratis crash at “the most unique workout in the city.” Most unique? Music to my ears. There’s nothing I love more than trying out a new class, especially when it’s a little to the right on the zany scale.
Honestly, nothing could have prepared me for what I encountered when I walked in the doors at Informed Body studio. I knew the device used during class was custom-built by the owner. I knew it involved resistance and suspension. And I knew it was one-of-a-kind. But I had no idea just how bizarre the thing would look to me that morning, pre-coffee, jet lagged, dangling in front of me like a taunt. “Go ahead, try me.” I was the fit crasher. On a mission to try everything and report my findings. But…look at that thing!
After introducing myself to the instructor and nervously laughing about my total lack of coordination, I strapped in and anxiously awaited my fate. The unit has space for about four students, and each of us worked two spring-straps around our thighs and two into our hands. It was awkward and unflattering. But I immediately felt a buoyancy similar to being underwater. Okay, I thought, this could be two things. Really fun. Or a total disaster.
The class was similar to a ballet or pilates class, but different for obvious reasons. I mean, you’re strapped into springs hanging from the ceiling, for goodness sake. But the moves mimic sequences done in both ballet and pilates, with a heavy emphasis on dance. Not barre method, but classical ballet. There were terms I hadn’t heard since I was leaping around in pink tights and a tutu. Tandu? Releve? What?
Luckily owner, creator, and dancer extraordinaire Jill Harris was leading the class and giving easy to follow cues. Follow, I said, not mimic. Because holy smokes could that lady bend and leap in ways I could only dream of. The grace! The form! I wish I had a video of my attempts, because it must have been laugh-track worthy. Choreography is not my bag. Choreography while suspended on resistance springs is, well, also not my bag. Those straps demand that you focus on balance, core strength, and stability at all times. Even when trying to lift your leg high in the air and then lower into a plié. I giggled out loud on multiple occasions as the springs snapped my body back to center after falling out of line. It was such a strange and funny sensation.
Bottom line: the workout was really fantastic and my body felt elongated and different when I finished. Similar to how I feel leaving a really intense pilates reformer or gyrotonic class. For those of you who know me, this is huge. I mean, I’m a smudge over five feet tall, so I’ll do just about anything to feel “elongated.” It’s a lie, I realize, just like it’s a lie when barre instructors tell me ten more leg raises will give me those lean, long legs I’ve always wanted. Nice try, sister. These strong yet sturdy legs aren’t going to look like Natalie Portman’s no matter how reps I do. It’s called reality. *sigh* Anyway.
If you’re in the area and looking for a fun, wacky, unique workout that takes your childhood ballet classes to the next level, I highly recommend visiting Informed Body studio. Jill is an absolute sweetheart and couldn’t be more welcoming. Her creative approach to intuitive movement is really worth checking out, especially because we don’t have anything like it here in DC. And don’t worry if you’re not a prima ballerina, even newbies like me were able to follow along just fine. The classes aren’t cheap — new students pay $75 for three sessions — so I am especially grateful to GoRecess for setting me up with this fun crash!
All of the ladies involved in the weekend getaway are super active and athletic, so once everyone arrived, we made a special point to crash a studio together. One of our friends currently lives in San Francisco and recommend coming with her to her newest sweaty obsession, Burn, a studio that combines cardio, weights, and pilates springboard. As the website says:
Our unique Method draws upon the very best aspects of Pilates, Cardio and Strength Training to create a body sculpting, heart-pumping 55-minute workout.
It was everything I though it might be, and a little more. The cardio segments weren’t wimpy. Goodbye boring running in place. Hello burpees, jump lunges, vertical mountain climbers, and surfer jumps. For those who needed low impact options, the instructor made sure they were plentiful and given right along with the other cues. They weren’t treated as an “exception” or a “less-intense option,” just a different way to do the moves. As someone with a cranky left knee that sometimes needs no-impact movement, this was greatly appreciated. The cardio segments start and end the class, with a few sprinkled throughout to jack up your heart rate at different intervals. I was breathing heard from the get-go till the very end.
The hand weight exercises are similar to what you would do in a barre class, but kicked up a notch. I was sweating buckets by the time we moved to the spring board, where we did a series of arm and back exercises before moving to the floor to work on our legs. The burn. The deep, terrible, wonderful burn. Especially in my hamstrings and inner thighs. I knew within 5 minutes of the class I’d be sore in weird places the next day. It just felt like one of those workouts that targeted smaller muscles I have a tendency not to focus on as much. Which is exactly the kind of class I need to be doing.
In just under an hour, every part of my body felt like it was shaking (in a good way) and my lungs and heart felt like they were just put through a treadmill interval circuit. What a fun workout! I just wish they had a location on the east coast (ahem, in DC) so I can go back and try it again.
Other than those two fit crashes, we also snuck in a fair amount of outdoor activity over the weekend. I mean, how could we not when the weather was so perfect! We all went for a day hike at the Point Reyes National Seashore, which was by far the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen.
I completed two short (hilly) runs from our rental house to a small beach overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Nothing like this view to get you going in the morning!
On one of my runs, I also passed by an outdoor gym that looked like so much fun to use. Currently trying to figure out how we can get one of these in the DC area, I think it’d be a hit!
And finally, I ended both of my runs with a chicory iced coffee from the local brew shop and new-to-me Picky Bars. How am I just hearing about these things?! They’re fantastic and made of ingredients I can pronounce, recognize, and love. I may need to purchase a case because I’ve already made it through my little sample collection.
Okay, San Francisco, I’ve decided that we should be friends. I’d like to come back soon!
Hello and happy Tuesday! I’m currently on my way back to DC after 12 days on the road. What a trip! I think San Francisco earned the top spot on my list of favorite cities to visit (not only because they had a yoga room at the airport – but it helped!) and I can’t wait to share more about my time there.
But first, I wanted to round out my fit crashing adventure recap from Portland with details about Yoyoyogi yoga studio and the original Barre3 studio in Pearl District.
After the fit crash double header at Firebrand Sports, I was sore. Like, can’t properly walk or sit down sore. Really convenient when spending days exploring a new city and seeing friends and family I haven’t connected with in years. Walking tenderly and taking frequent breaks to stretch on random street benches, I must have been quite a sight. But I was riding on a strange endorphin high after trying two new classes in a new city and loving them both. Kind of like the feeling you get after completing a tough road race and then get to walk around wearing the medal the rest of the day. Oh this unusual swagger? The gentle way I lower myself down into my seat? No big deal, just leftover awesome from dominating the megaformer and real ryder yesterday.
That said, my next fit crash needed to be something a little more low key. Something that allowed me to stretch my sore muscles, simmer down, and take a moment to reflect and quiet my mind while dealing with the craziness of being on the road. Yoga sounded perfect.
But where? What studio? I went to my usual idea generators: GoRecess, SweatGuru, Classtivity, MindBody Connect app, and Google. Luckily, I also had a few suggestions from friends and fellow fitness fanatics, one of whom suggested I check out a cute little hot yoga haven a few blocks away from my hotel. I set out on foot through the cold rain and grey skies, excited to get my ohm on.
First things first: walking into Yoyoyogi is like walking into the home of a long lost friend. I was instantly welcomed, called “hun” and “love” and “dear,” and felt so comfortable that I wanted to kick off my shoes and move right in. What a delicious feeling when being so far from home. It didn’t hurt that there was an adorable puppy hanging out behind the front desk. Always a plus. So sad I didn’t get a pic, I’ll just have to go back for one next time!
Since I was traveling without my typical yoga gear, I needed to rent a mat and towel, bringing my total to $19. I was pleasantly surprised when the mat happened to be the exact Manduka mat I practice with at home and the “towel” was actually a grippy towel made for hot yoga. Perfect! Kudos to Yoyoyogi for having awesomely deluxe rental items. It allowed me to take my mind off of my gear and focus everything on my experience.
The studio is a lot bigger than I anticipated. The entire first floor is dedicated to retail, front desk space, a huge gathering room with dressing spaces and storage, showers, and bathrooms. The two practice rooms were actually up a monstrous flight of wood stairs on the second floor. The room my class was in had gleaming floors, gorgeous exposed brick, and a front center window to lose your gaze in. Really lovely.
The “DETOX – hot power flow” class was an hour-long sweat fest, similar to what you would find at Down Dog Yoga or Studio DC. Athletic, challenging, really great energy. Yoyoyogi plays music during their classes, which I’m not used to but actually really enjoyed. And our instructor Isabel was not very hands-on throughout the class, but had wonderful cues and wove a theme throughout the class about letting go as a way to grow. I left feeling inspired, happy, relaxed, and so very thankful to have found a home-away-from-home in this space.
I woke up before the sun the next morning for an appointment at the original Barre3 location in Portland’s Pearl District. Waking up before 6 a.m. isn’t my ideal vacation crash, but honestly, it was the only slot I could get into during my visit. This place fills quickly, so if you want to swing by when you’re in town, be sure to plan ahead and schedule a week or so out.
I have been to the Barre3 location before in Georgetown and it wasn’t my cup of tea. That said, I was told my experience was unusual due to having a new teacher who needed a little extra training, so I was willing to give the brand another try. Particularly at their flagship studio! The building had two barre studios, a large reception area, and a childcare pen with toys and activities. I was groggy and hadn’t had my coffee yet, but even through bleary eyes I could tell the space was beautiful. More beautiful than what we’ve got going on in Georgetown? I didn’t think so – I’ve honestly never been to a more gorgeous place than that little nook tucked down by the Potomac river. Sorry Portland, guess I’m a little biased!
The 6 a.m. class was packed to the brim, and every single spot was taken on the barre that covered three sides of the large rectangular room. We started with a dynamic warmup and moved right into the usual arm, leg, seat moves you’d anticipate at a barre class. The instructor was lovely and did a good job working the room, providing adjustments, and making sure everyone could see her demonstrations.
We did what felt like 10-15 minutes of ab work on the floor that just really wasn’t doing it for me, and at one point I caught myself glancing over at the clock to wonder how much longer we had in the class. Not ideal. Also, if you happen to love early mornings and join the 6 a.m. class during your visit, be prepared for a mass exodus about 10 minutes before the class is over. It really caught me off guard and I thought the constant picking up and leaving was really distracting. That said, I realize folks need to get to work on time. But….just something to know before you go!
Like other barre classes I’ve attended, I didn’t leave the class sweaty, but did feel that familiar muscle burn in my legs and arms from doing all those little, targeted motions. A drop-in class at Barre3 in Portland costs $20, but my class was paid for by a credit I received from GoRecess as a fun gift to help fund a crash during my travels. Thanks to them for making this crash possible!
I had to post this photo to document the absurd snack I had after my Barre3 class on my last day in Portland. Oh yes, you’re looking at two half-eaten but very delicious Voodoo Doughnuts and a leftover green juice from my purchase at Portland Juice Press. Ridiculous. But somehow, in my mind, it worked as a grand finale to my extended weekend in Oregon.
Up next: running and fit crashing in San Francisco. Until then, enjoy the snow day if you have one!