Good morning everyone! Happy Wednesday : ) Fit Crasher here with a few fun updates to share. Truth is, I didn’t quite make it to my scheduled fit crash this week thanks to the joys of DC traffic congestion, so instead I’ve decided to take the editorial liberty of making this week’s post a little different. Here’s what I’ve been up to…
First things first: just because I didn’t get to crash a new spot this week doesn’t mean I haven’t been sweating up a storm all over DC. The holiday season has really done a number on my regularly scheduled classes, but I’ve been getting my endorphin fix on the trails and at the gym instead. Early mornings and late nights, my friends, but it’s better than nothing!
This week’s favorites include a sunrise run along the Potomac with a new running buddy, solo bootcamp at the Georgetown waterfront park (a beautiful spot to workout), and a self-induced interval workout that looked something like this:
200 meter row
20 kettle bell swings
20 box jump burpees
20 man makers
10 assisted pull ups
I really liked this one – filing it away for later. If you’re looking for a quick and effective tush kicking, try it and let me know what you think. Phew!
Last week I won a juice sampler pack from DC’s newest juicery JRINK, a company that delivers fresh cold-pressed juices right to your door each week. How cool is that? I had been hearing lots of good buzz about their product and was excited to try them out. On the menu: (1) Pineapple, Apple, & Mint (2) Orange, Carrot, Grapefruit, & Ginger (3) Pear, Kale, Cucumber, Romaine & Lemon.
They were all super tasty, but if I had my pick out of the three I’d choose the green juice. Why? Because it has the best veggie to fruit ratio. Don’t get me wrong, the others were delish, but I don’t regularly drink fruit juice so I just don’t see myself ordering them again. JRINK has other flavor options online, including a beet/carrot concoction and an upcoming almond milk/cinnamon/vanilla combo, so I see some more taste testing in my future!
When I started the blog last year, I hit the ground running (literally) and posted every day. The breakneck pace just wasn’t sustainable for me. So I took a little blog haitus, a deep breath, and reemerged a few months ago posting once a week.
I’d like to take a stab at expanding the content on the blog again…so soon you’ll notice additional posts each week. (Cue the confetti and balloons!)
I’ll be featuring more of my workouts, my attempts at eating healthy meals, and reader questions – many of which I’ve answered personally via email but want to share with the rest of you. If you have other ideas of what you’d like to see, send me a note!
Have a great week and keep on fit crashin’!
Crash Course: Atlas Fitness offers a bootcamp class that is unlike any other I’ve been to before. First, the equipment and facility are enough to make any hardcore fitness junkie drool. Monster tires. Atlas stones. Bike trainers. Weighted sleds. Heavy ropes. Sandbags. Kettlebells. Boxing bags. TRX. All immaculately curated and displayed in this Capitol Hill shrine to sweat. Considering how much I love creating my own workouts with any equipment I can get my hands on, I felt as though I had died and gone to fit crasher heaven. The second reason why this bootcamp stands out is the workout itself. It’s creative (read: more than the usual burpees)–which makes it more fun, in my book–and challenging for any fitness ability. Check out the schedule for bootcamp and other classes at Atlas Fitness here.
where: 920 11th Street SE/Capitol Hill
perks: fitness toy heaven, small group training
sweat score: 9 out of 10
wear: whatever you like
cost: $20 drop in rate
I feel like Capitol Hill is having a bit of a fitness moment. Or maybe it’s always been a workout hot spot, but word is just now reaching me on the other side of town. Either way, more often than not, I’m finding myself traveling to the Hill for a crash. Last weekend boxing training at DCBFit. A few months ago at Capitol Hill Fitness. This spring on the Anacostia River at Capitol Rowing Club. And just last year I was crashing the newly-opened Biker Barre. So many great options!
Now, I’m adding Atlas Fitness to the list. Hidden just behind Barracks Row, this workout gem is a full service sweat factory for anyone who appreciates no-fuss fitness. Options include metabolic conditioning class, power flow yoga, strength training for endurance athletes, boxing, and boot camp.
Atlas is the brainchild of trainer Tim Bruffy, who wanted to make sure,
anyone can get the same innovative techniques and tools used to train the world’s top athletes. The program I’ve created addresses all five components of fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular strength, flexibility and body composition.
In an interview with The Hill is Home, Tim explained his vision of exercise as preventative medicine “prescribed by trainers/coaches that really understand it.” Expert trainers helping you get (and stay) healthy? Music to my ears.
Walking into the gym, I immediately got the sense of being in a top-notch college weight room or professional sports training center. See what I mean?
The variety and quality of equipment alone is enough to make your head spin. Anything you wanted to use in your workout, they had. I felt like a kid in a candy store and had to restrain myself from asking if I could move in. Don’t mind me, I won’t take up too much space. I’ll just be over here by the atlas stones, taking a snooze in the monster truck tire until the next workout.
There are two floors full of equipment to play with. Upstairs is where the majority of the action takes place, and downstairs is set up with boxing equipment, a squat rack, a bike trainer, and a few other surprises. For example, Tim and his team customized one of the walls with rubber coating to be used specifically for medicine ball throws. Cool, right?
So now that you’ve taken the tour, let’s talk about the workout. Our instructor on Saturday morning was Durrell, who started us off with a dynamic warm-up full of hops, skips, hip openers, coordination drills, and runs around the block. It was really well done and a lot of care was put into making sure we got the entire body ready to take on the workout ahead of us.
Next, Durrell walked us through the different stations involved in that day’s session. There were five total, with two exercises at each. The entire workout revolves around timed intervals, so we would do one exercise for 45 seconds, take a 15 second rest, and then move right into the second exercise at that station, and back and forth.
For example, the workout looked something like this:
- Station one: rowing machine, sandbag snatches
- Station two: push/pull weighted sled, box jumps
- Station three: monster tire flip, try rows
- Station four: pull ups, TRX dynamic pushups
- Station five: heavy ropes on Bosu ball, weighted lunges
45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest for each exercise. A total of six minutes at each station. After those six minutes, we all hit the floor for 45 seconds of ab work. And then we’d move on to the next station.
I thought that I would get lost in trying to keep track of all the timing and numbers, but the gym has a built-in interval timing system that alerts you to rest and work periods. In case you need a visual, the clock is displayed on a big screen TV hanging on the front wall (see above). Durrell was also on top of everything, letting us know when to switch and helping us get a handle on each station as we transitioned from one to the next.
For all of the activity going on, the workout was extremely well orchestrated. But logistics aside, it was also a total tush kicking. I started at the station involving intervals on the rowing machine and doing sandbag snatches. Easy, I thought. A great place to warm up before some of the more challenging stations (I’m looking at you, monster tire). But rowing as hard as you can for 45 seconds is not (NOT!) easy. And follow that up immediately with 45 seconds of squating and hurling a heavy sand bag over your head…you get the idea.
I finished the workout at station four: heavy ropes while balancing on a Bosu, followed by weighted lunges. Guys…I was totally cooked at this point. Sweating everywhere. Audibly grunting. Watching the clock tick down. Trying my best to concentrate on one breath at a time. Totally amazed that we had only been there for one hour and had completed so many crazy, challenging things. As the beep went off to signal the end, I had to lay down on the floor in a pile of my own sweat, eyes closed, breathing out through my mouth just to collect myself. Nevermind that I had just met everyone there; l made myself at home on the floor and needed a moment to soak it all in.
My oh my, was that a workout.
After a few cool down stretches, I changed into dry clothes and spent some quality time with the pup pictured above. That’s Atlas, the gym mascot. He’s about 100 lbs of pure muscle and ridiculously friendly. There’s nothing like a little puppy love to help you bounce back after a tough workout. Right Atlas?
So, in closing, a huge thanks to the crew at Atlas Fitness for helping me (a) get my weekly dog fix and (b) introducing me to their awesome operation. Can’t wait to come back and crash again!
Crash Course: Roam Fitness is a boutique gym located in the Glover Park neighborhood that offers personal training, a carefully curated selection of functional training equipment, and a few non-traditional group fitness classes. One of them is a genius combination of outdoor bootcamp circuits and running, as if one weren’t hard enough without the other. This class would not be great for the first-time runner, but seems best fit for those who are comfortable running more than three miles on trail and pavement. If you’re tired of your normal running routine, this is a surefire way to shake things up. Click here for a schedule.
where: 2505 Wisconsin Ave., NW/basement of the Savoy Hotel
perks: free parking, access to shower, small class, outside
sweat score: 8 out of 10
wear: recommend trail shoes, clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
instructor: Chris Geier
cost: drop in rate is $25 or pay $22 for a month of unlimited Out Run classes
I walked into the small but well-appointed Roam Fitness at approximately 6:20 a.m. It was early enough that I wasn’t questioning why our instructor was stuffing his backpack full of bands, ropes, and other torture devices. I just yawned, submitted to my fate, and began a routine that looked like stretching, hoping to blend in and be left alone. Hey, it was early.
Looking around, I noticed that the gym itself is very…cozy. It wouldn’t hold a lot of people, but maybe that’s the idea.
As the clock rolled around to 6:30, it was time for us to get out of the door and on to our workout. We all had offices to be in by 9 and knew it was now or never to get in a morning sweat. Luckily, it was a rare DC morning with low(er) humidity and brilliant sunshine. There were only three of us in the class, all ladies and each of a different experience level.
We followed Chris, our instructor, as he bounded from the Savoy Hotel across Wisconsin Avenue and into the the heart of Glover Park. As the pace picked up, I suddenly found myself wide awake, looking around, and wondering…where exactly was this Out Run excursion taking us?
I have been a DC runner for nine years and pride myself on knowing some of the area’s most obscure and tucked-away running routes. It’s really more an outcome of marathon-training desperation than exploration. But this morning was exactly what I needed to remember why running in DC is so awesome: no matter how well you think you know your routes, there’s still more out there to discover.
For example, I had never…ever…run through the tidy row houses of Glover Park to join the Glover-Archibald trail at the edges of the neighborhood. The trail entrance is completely tucked away and easily missed, so I was surprised when our little gang of four suddenly veered off the pavement and into the nearest hedge. Before I knew it, we were under a canopy of huge green trees and treading on dirt.
Every half-mile or so, we stopped to do a different set of exercises. This is where the real fun begins. Who needs a tidy gym when you can do tricep dips on a log? Or planks in a dew-soaked field?
Cross-over mountain climbers in the dirt, anyone? If this was a video, you’d also hear the croak of frogs hanging out in the creek behind us. I mean, really, let’s break it down for a hot second. You could do your morning workout in a gym with towel service, air conditioning, rows of treadmills, florescent lighting, and muzak. Or you could get out into nature and play around like it’s recess…all before rush hour. At least in my book, the winning option is obvious.
We continued on for a total of about four miles. Up hills, down hills, and every few minutes stopping for another round of surprises. There were a few moments of morning clarity when I realized what was going on and thought…wow, this is so much better than when I run by myself before work.
The second half of the run is when we started incorporating some of the gear in Chris’ backpack. He would find an open space, signal for us to stop, zip open the pack, and before we could blink we were doing another set of this or that. These partner resistance bands were awesome. We did some standing twists and arm strengtheners.
Our final destination on this morning’s Out Run was Holy Rood Cemetery, which I have passed a zillion times but have never been in. It’s perched above Wisconsin Avenue and Chris was adamant about showing us the view from the top. After three sweaty miles, we were all tired, and I had my doubts the promised vistas would be worth the effort. We entered the property at the bottom of the hill and, true to form, Chris reached into his backpack to pull out a different set of resistance bands. But in that brief moment of transition, we all noticed a tiny baby deer sleeping soundly in front of us, nestled into the grass next to a tomb. So very awesome.
After taking a few moments to admire our very own little Bambi, we were off again, chugging up the Holy Rood hill with partner resistance bands. One runner would hold the band, while the other would take ten strides forward, ten shuffles to the side, ten backward, and ten to the other side. This was an awesome way to work in lateral movement, not to mention a killer interval workout.
We finally made it to the top to admire the promised-view. Chris was right, it definitely didn’t disappoint. As we huffed, puffed, and wiped the sweat out of our eyes, we took in the panorama of the Kennedy Center, the Washington Monument, and Georgetown. What a way to end the workout!
Bottom line: this is way more fun than waking up to slog through your normal morning loop solo. The instructor is energetic, the group is friendly and engaged, and the routes are entertaining. Yes the morning class is early, but it’s worth it. They also have an evening option for those who can’t make it at 6:30 a.m. Out Run is an awesome few miles coupled with important cross training exercises that will make you a better runner and a better athlete. I will definitely be back soon – thanks Roam Fitness!
DC Fit Crasher is only a few months old, but it’s been a busy year and I am so excited to bring you more crazy, zany, sweaty crashes in 2013. Before we ring in the new year, let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable fit crash moments of 2012, shall we?
Without further ado, in no particular order, I present to you five of the crashes my muscles (or pride) will never forget.
Waking Up at Zero Dark Thirty to Train Like a SEAL: SEAL Team PT
Silly Looks Be Damned, I Elliptical Where I Want: Testing the Elliptigo
What was your favorite crash of 2013? Let me hear it!