Posts Tagged ‘bike’
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?
Crash Course: Zengo is a spin studio with a work-hard play-hard hardcore attitude. I have never been to Soul Cycle – the cycling studio in NYC with an enormous, cult-like following of sweaty spin devotees willing to shell out $35 per class – but from what I have heard of its intensely energetic, full sensory experience, Zengo seems like it’s on the same wavelength: loud music, use of upper body weights, lots of movement on the bike. Not to mention the mirrored, steamy, candle-lit studio where instructors mummer motivational musings into a sweaty mic as you “feel the energy” in the room and “find the positivity to push through.” If ever you need affirmations with a side of sweat, this is the place to look. Classes sell out in less time than it takes to brew your morning cup of coffee, so be sure to plan this visit at least a week in advance. Click here to see the full schedule at Logan Circle.
where: 1508 14th Street/Logan Circle
bring: water, bike shoes
perks: showers, rental bike shoes
sweat score: 8 out of 10
wear: bike shorts/shoes
instructor: Gregg Pitts
cost: $22 drop in
Lululemon Logan Circle contacted me a few weeks ago about setting up a crash with some of their employees. As big fans of the “sweat once a day” concept, they wanted in on the fit crashing action and I was more than happy to oblige. The more the merrier, I always say! I sent over a long list of studios options, and they decided on the newly-opened Zengo spin studio just down the street. Which was perfect, because I have been dying to see what all the buzz is about. Let’s do it!
As part of the fun, the team generously offered to set me up with some fresh new spinning duds to wear to class. When I stopped by to try on a few options, I was super candid with them about my anxiety over the barely-there rear coverage in some of their pants. I also made it known that my thighs indeed do touch, thank you much, and I’ll need a pair of bottoms that can handle the friction.
They brought out a few pairs of their newest pants specially designed to address those concerns, at which point I commenced a number of unscientific tests in the dressing room to make sure everything was in check. Down dogs, awkward hamstring stretching, lunges, squats…I put them to the test in front of the mirror, waiting for a hint of sheer. Thank goodness there were no hidden cameras, because I’m pretty sure I looked ridiculous.
That said, I was adamant about having pants that held up to the standards I’d expect from a major athletic retailer, and I was happily surprised that the newly engineered pants did just that. To my relief, there wasn’t a move I could do that made the fabric see-through. If I’m bending over a spin bike with rows of folks behind me, this is key. Well played, Lululemon. Finally a pant I can squat in with confidence.
I also went home with the new core kicker tank because I thought the wide open back would make for excellent ventilation during a hot and steamy spin class. So now that I had non-see-through pants and a sassy new top, it was time to get them sweaty at Zengo!
The Zengo Logan Circle studio has a very different vibe than the one in Bethesda. It has a funky, urban feel to it that really fits well with the neighborhood. The space is actually in the basement of the building, so when you enter the front door go down the stairs to sign in at the front desk. You can also rent bike shoes if you didn’t bring your own pair, and make sure to grab and extra towel. Trust me, you’ll need it.
The locker area has floor cubbies for street shoes and lockable storage areas for your personal belongings. No need to bring your own lock, these puppies have a built-in security system. This area gets really cramped before and after class, so be prepared to channel some zen as you get bumped into while bending over to crank into your bike shoes.
The Logan Circle location also has two bright, clean shower rooms to use after class if you’re headed off to work or a night on the town. Wherever you go, you’ll be squeaky clean. They’re fully socked with products, towels, and a hair dryer.
After exploring the rest of the studio, it was time to get down to business in the spin room. What’s it like in there? Dark. Mirrors. Blue lights. Surround sound. Sweaty bodies bumping to the beat. Basically like walking into nightclub with bikes on the dance floor.
Gregg leads a high-energy, high-sweat class full of handlebar pushup combos, climbs, and the occasional sing along. It’s a total blast. I especially appreciated his upbeat attitude and positive encouragement throughout the class, without being overly preachy or sounding like a self-help book on tape. The music selection was top notch (um…acoustic One Direction, anyone?), the cues were spot on, and there wasn’t a single moment when I wanted to be somewhere else.
You know those classes, the ones where you’d love to just hop off the bike and walk away out of boredom or general blah-ness. Yeah, this isn’t one of those.
I circled the wagons with my fellow Lululemon crashers after class and the one word they used over and over again was “fun.” I think that about sums up the Zengo experience. Sure it’s a calorie scorching workout that’ll make you a sweaty hot mess. Sure it’ll give you sculpted legs, a tight bum and core, and some rocking arms. But on top of all of that, it’s just plain fun. And with so much of the typical 9-5 day being not so much fun, it is alway a breath of fresh air to step into a studio and just lose yourself to the beat for an hour.
Thank you to the team at Lululemon Logan Circle for setting up this crash and outfitting me with some seriously cool new spin clothes. The pants held up great, dried quickly (which is clutch), and the shirt was exactly the mix of supportive and ventilated I needed to get through Gregg’s class. Also, a huge shout out to the folks at Zengo for hosting our crash party and to Gregg for an awesomely fun time spinning, pumping weights, and singing along in class.
Logan Circle nowhere near your neck of the woods? Be sure to check out my crash review from Zengo’s Bethesda studio as well.
Have you found any favorite new spin clothes? Do share!
Note: While Lululemon invited me to try a free class at Zengo, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience. Thanks for reading!
Crash Course: Ride DC is one of the newer spin studio additions to the U Street corridor, and the first in DC to offer live performance tracking technology – a feature that lets students monitor their progress throughout the class. Each bike is hooked up to a system that projects speed, power, and other handy stats onto a screen at the front of the room. Throughout the class, students are racked and stacked according to their output and overall performance. In other words, if you are a competitive person, this class will either fulfill your every raging desire or drive you raging mad as you watch yourself rise and fall within the pack. Accumulated performance stats are kept on the Ride DC website, so students can monitor their personal progress and overall standing in the pool of other studio spinsters. This technology is, of course, optional – but why not take your spin session to the next level and give it a whirl? A full list of class times can be found on the Ride DC website.
where: 2217 14th Street/U Street Metro
bring: yourself, SPD clip bike shoes optional
perks: boutique feel, ride tracking technology
sweat score: 8 out of 10
wear: recommend spandex bottoms
cost: $22 drop in rate
Ride DC is located on the busy fitness intersection of 14th Street and Florida, smack dab in the middle of Praxis Crossfit and the new Anthony Bowen YMCA on W Street. The space was formerly occupied by Peloton Cycling, and many of the same decorations (like the fantastic old-school cycling photo covering the front wall) are still being used in the new studio. It’s a very tiny nook without much fanfare, and would have a spartan feel if not for the beautifully-appointed lobby. Think rich mahogany and leather furniture, vintage lightbulbs, and a plush sitting area.
Even the tiny bathroom – which doubles as a changing room – has a Restoration Hardware feel. While the boutique attention to detail is lovely, having to use the bathroom to change while others are anxiously waiting to use it is a bit of a stresser. I came directly from work and had to bite the bullet, but if you can manage, I recommend coming ready to ride and save yourself the trouble.
The studio is dimly lit and tall candles illuminate the base of each bike. I’ve seen these battery-powered votives at other spin studios around town and even out in Portland, so I’m guessing this little detail is en vogue. The instructor sits on a raised platform with the interactive scoreboard behind them, and each bike has a fresh towel curled up in the handle bar.
One thing I really liked about Ride DC is that you can pick which bike you want to use when you go online to sign up for class. I tend to enjoy being toward the back, so I picked a spot in the third row. Truth is, I kind of like to pretend I’m chasing down everyone in front of me, so being in the back is a little trick to help motivate me through class.
Our instructor Rachel introduced herself and went from bike to bike making sure we were all adjusted and comfortable on the stationary Schwinn. She demonstrated how to activate the monitor on our own bikes, which in turn activated the sensor to animate the live stats on the screen. The music started pumping, the screen flickered on, and next thing I knew we were off and running.
The class was a 45 minute blast of sprints and hills, sprinkled with dumbbell arm exercises and pushups on the bike. I am personally not a fan of the bike push ups – mostly because I think they mess with my form, distract me from what’s going on with my legs, and really don’t ever leave me with a good upper body workout. I think they’re more of a dance than anything else and I feel awkward and clumsy doing them. But a lot of studios incorporate the bike pushups as part of their “full body” spin workout, so if nothing else, it’s a popular trend. Just know before you go and be prepared for some arm dancing.
As someone who tends to be
a bit chronically competitive, having a screen in front of me with live feedback regarding my rank in the class was absolutely addictive. It was motivating, maddening, and pushed me to pedal my hardest throughout every song.
I felt my eyes darting about the room, searching for the bikes who were ranked ahead of me, wondering what I could do to eek past them on the board. More resistance? More speed? More enthusiasm? I see you over there on bike four…I will catch you! Oh wait, we’re on stationary bikes. This is a farce. But holy cow, is it making me hustle.
While other spin classes sometimes allow for a huge range of effort (turn that spin dial how many turns to the right? riiiiiight), the real-time feedback regarding my power output and speed allowed me to keep my effort in check throughout the entire workout.
That said, the class is paced in a way that allows for all speeds and ability levels, so don’t feel like this class is for Tour de France hopefuls only. I decided to hammer through the whole thing because I have a tendency (ahem) to be a tad competitive and raced bikes in a past life. Others may have a totally different outlook. If you’re a beginner, or just don’t want the pressure of having your stats broadcast for the entire class to see, you can opt out of being on the board. No questions asked.
I want to give a shout out to our instructor Rachel, who bopped around the room from time to time during the class to give individual motivational pick-me-ups, cheer us on during sprints, or just check in. It was a nice surprise to have her come off of the instructor platform and give us encouragement in person. There’s something about having the instructor in your face that really lights a spark to get moving. I’m not sure if every instructor does this, but it’s fun to see someone try something a little unorthodox in an effort to add a bit of spunk to the class.
All in all, I enjoyed my class and testing out the interactive tracking system. It sets Ride DC apart from the other spins studios in the city and really brings something neat to the experience. I left a sweaty mess and chomping at the bit for another chance to race, er, workout with another class full of cyclists soon.
[what I liked]
- live feed stats during class
- online leaderboard to see accumulative standings and progress
- great music (they even played “Africa,” my favorite song in the universe)
[what I didn't like]
- no shower
- one bathroom/changing room
- you can sometimes hear the rumble of barbells falling from Crossfit Praxis next door
What do you think of the live tracking bike system: distracting or motivating?
You don’t need to take out a loan to get in shape in DC. Here are a few weekly options to check out that won’t cost you a penny. I will keep updating this list as new things pop up, and will share one-time events on my Facebook page. If you know of anything I have missed, leave it in the comments.
Now go get crashing!
I crashed a fusion spin and yoga class at Sculpt DC back in October. This was right after the studio had opened and things were still settling into place. Because there were a few elements about Sculpt that piqued my interest – including the sweat till you drop cycling workout – I was excited to go back and see how things were going. If you are interested in seeing more photos of their beautiful Chinatown/Metro Center space, check out my original post here.
For my second crash, Sculpt invited me to test out their first-ever double team spin class featuring their “dynamic duo” of instructors, Zac and Gregg. It was 75 minutes of spinning with intervals of weighted arm exercises mixed in. But more importantly, it was 75 minutes of spinning. To help prepare for the occasion, I decided to reach deep into the abyss of my spandex drawer to resurrect these beauties.
I haven’t worn padded bike shorts since my days on the Georgetown triathlon team. And let me tell you, that was ages ago. I’m astonished I held on to these shorts, but I guess somehow I knew I’d need to rely on them for the Gregg and Zach spin bonanza.
Zac led the first class I attended at Sculpt and I knew he was going to deliver a high-energy ride. I had also been hearing positive things about Gregg’s classes, so before I even stepped into the room my expectations were high for the next 75 minutes to be a challenge. Then again, with the crazy disco lights and trapped-in-a-soundsystem noise level, I was also expecting it to be a lot of fun.
Gregg and Zac alternated leading the group and switched off every song. They kept things interesting by incorporating on the bike pushups, freeweights, intervals, and standing climbs. We did something different every few minutes, which really kept me on my toes. If you’re looking for a challenge, this would be it.
As far as the music goes, I thought the playlist was really good, but I realize that’s entirely subjective. I must say, however, it’s hard to go wrong with One Direction remixes and throwbacks like No Scrubs. I was absolutely dripping in sweat, singing my heart out in the back row. Whatever your music taste, you won’t have a problem feeling motivated by the tempo. I was so entertained slash distracted, in fact, that I didn’t look at my watch until 60 minutes had passed.
While 75 minutes of sweaty spinning packed into a loud room with two instructors isn’t everyone’s ideal Friday night activity, I thought it was an awesomely good time. Thanks to Zac and Gregg for hosting the party. I suggest checking Sculpt’s schedule to see when the next double-trouble class will be and plan a girls or guys night out. There are so many bars and restaurants nearby, and they have two beautiful showers at the studio – so you don’t have any excuses for not making the most of it!
Being just a few blocks away, I walked over to 7th street to feast at the new health-food sensation, Protein Bar. Admittedly, I had already tried Protein Bar during a trip to Chicago over the summer, and was instantly smitten. When word started to spread that one would be opening in DC, I couldn’t wait to make my way over and welcome them to the neighborhood. Tonight seemed like the perfect opportunity – although my apologies to the Protein Bar staff for introducing myself in sweat-ridden spandex. Classy.
I was famished and ordered their greenberry juice, a pesto and spinach quinoa bowl, and grabbed some pumpkin walnut chocolate chip protein cookies to go. They were made with protein powder instead of flower – cool, right? They tasted a lot more like bread than cookies, but I’m not complaining. The entire meal was just what I needed to refuel after such a crazy workout. Needless to say, it also sent me straight into a food coma and I ended up “crashing” in bed by 10 p.m. The excitement never ends over at Fit Crasher HQ, my friends!
What would be your ideal Friday night workout?