Posts Tagged ‘capitol hill’

Free VIDA Fitness Bootcamp at Yards Park


Crash Course: VIDA Fitness and the Capitol Riverfront BID are partnering to offer free “Get Fit For Summer” workouts Monday through Saturday till the end of August. The schedule will change from month to month, so if you are interested I suggest keeping tabs on the VIDA Facebook page for updates. The bootcamp class is currently offered Monday and Wednesday from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. and features a rotating cast of VIDA trainers to make you sprint, squat, and scissor kick your way into shape all summer long. Each class is open to all fitness levels and will be scaled to meet the experience and needs of every participant. 

where: 355 Water Street SE // Navy Yard

bring: water, towel, mat

perks: outdoor workout, free

sweat score: 8 out of 10

wear: whatever you like

instructor: Kelly

cost: FREE



Yards Park by the Navy Yard has quickly become one of the hottest spots in the city. Brand spanking new condos with riverfront views are flanked by even snazzier new bars and restaurants. Stroll along the water and you’re treated to views of crew teams, quaint touring boats, naval destroyers, and National’s stadium. And, to seal-the-deal that this is truly an up-and-coming area: high-end VIDA Fitness is building its newest location smack dab in the middle of it all. To celebrate, VIDA is working with the local BID to host workout classes all summer long. Anyone and everyone is invited. Oh, and did I mention that they’re free? 


On Wednesday, dazed by a hellish commute in rush hour + stadium traffic over to SE DC, I strolled up to the closest group of people in Yards Park milling about in athletic gear. Which seemed like the right direction to go toward until I realized that those folks were hanging out with dogs in a small enclosed dog park. Not the bootcamp. This is awkward.

Thank goodness a guy who had been to the bootcamp last week noticed that I was obviously lost, and pointed me in the right direction. The workout classes meet down by the water on the boardwalk. After signing a waiver and placing my backpack on a patch of grass off to the side, we circled around Kelly the VIDA trainer for our orders.


Kelly told us that every exercise we did that evening would be scaled to three different fitness levels. The first being for those who are new to fitness and just trying things out. The second for people who work out a few times a week and are comfortable with bootcamp style workouts. And the third for those who could easily run three miles, consider themselves athletes, and want something more advanced.

We began with a circuit involving a quarter mile sprint followed by 25 air squats, four times through. Even though the wind was blowing and there was zero humidity, I was sweating buckets by the second round. The combination of quick running and dynamic full-body squats was really killer. We were off to a strong start!


The rest of the workout was broken up into additional segments of activity. We did a “seven minutes in heaven” circuit that included seven different exercises, each done for a full minute. Think burpees, static split squats, bicycles, and that sort of thing. We also did some stair running, a few dozen push ups, a crazy hard set of bunny hops, and finished things off with final exercises that isolated the abs. All in all, it was a full body workout that got everyone sweating and moving. And let’s be honest, the price and the scenery just couldn’t be beat. 


The atmosphere was fun and casual, but not so casual that people were off in groups talking amongst themselves or not paying attention to the trainer. Kelly did a great job commanding a diverse audience, leading us seamlessly through each segment of the hour-long workout, and making sure everyone was challenged regardless of their ability level.

The mix of people at the bootcamp ranged from true beginners (the guy next to me told me that he hadn’t worked out in a long time and his goal was “not to die”) to true athletes, with all different ages, shapes, and sizes in between. It was a blast and I would love to go back again soon! Maybe for outdoor yoga next time.

Here is the schedule of free VIDA classes in May:

 V-Boot Camp: Mondays and Wednesdays 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Boot Camp: Tuesdays 7:00 am and Saturdays 10:00 am
Sunrise Yoga: Thursdays 6:30 – 7:30 a.m.
Sunset Yoga: Tuesdays 5:45 – 6:45 p.m.
Vinyasa: Fridays12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Sunrise Yoga: Thursdays 6:30 – 7:30 a.m.
Zumba: Thursdays 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Side note: If you are thirsty after bootcamp and looking for a libation, I can personally attest to the tastiness of the lavender and basil wheat beer brewed next door at Bluejacket. A little pro tip from me to you – cheers!

TGIF: Massage, Private Yoga, and a Pure Barre Winner

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

lavender retreat spa

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!

lavender retreat spa dc

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?

lavender retreat spa dc

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.

lavender retreat spa dc

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

pure barre dc

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!

A Capitol Hill Shrine to Sweat: Atlas Fitness Bootcamp

Atlas Fitness DC - Capitol Hill

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

bring: yourself

perks: fitness toy heaven, small group training

sweat score: 9 out of 10 

wear: whatever you like

instructor: Durrell

cost: $20 drop in rate


Atlas Fitness DC - Capitol Hill

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 Fitness DC - Capitol Hill

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?

Atlas Fitness DC - Capitol Hill

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.

Atlas Fitness DC - Capitol Hill

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?

Atlas Fitness DC - Capitol Hill

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.

Atlas Fitness DC - Capitol Hill

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.

Atlas Fitness DC - Capitol Hill

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.

Atlas Fitness DC - Capitol Hill

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.

Atlas Fitness DC - Capitol Hill

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.

Atlas Fitness DC - Capitol Hill

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. 

Atlas Fitness DC - Capitol Hill

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!

Low Impact, High Intensity Interval Training at Capitol Hill Fitness

Capitol Hill Fitness

Crash Course: Capitol Hill Fitness is a boutique circuit training studio smack-dab in the middle of Barracks Row on Capitol Hill. Just a short jaunt from the Eastern Market metro stop, the small space is packed with functional training equipment perfect for all sorts of sweaty endeavors. But don’t confuse this gym with just any old circuit circus. What sets Capitol Hill Fitness apart is its commitment to offering (a) low-impact HIIT training that goes easy on the knees, hips, and everything in-between (b) a drop-in-anytime policy and (c) competitive pricing. Check out more details on their Facebook page

where: 725 8th Street SE/Eastern Market Metro

bring: yourself

perks: no reservation/membership needed, joint-friendly, 30-minute workout

sweat score: 7 out of 10 

wear: anything that’s comfy

instructor: Breelaun Marchai

cost: $10 for 30 minute circuit



Enthusiasm. Encouragement. Ermagawd HIIT without hurting my knees. That’s what comes to mind when I think of my experience at Capitol Hill Fitness. In a fabulous twist of fate, Breelaun reached out to me about fit crashing his new studio just in the nick of time. I was getting back into the swing of things on ye olde blog and looking for something new and different to crash. His email taunted me with a few irresistible factoids: the oldest participant was 83, the youngest 10; the entire workout is low-impact and joint friendly; I’d experience a full-body butt kicking in just 30 minutes. Intrigued? Absolutely.

Capitol Hill Fitness studio

So on a brisk fall morning I hitched a ride to an uncharacteristically quiet Capitol Hill (ahem, furlough much?) to meet Breelaun and tackle his workout of the day. Walking into the studio, it quickly became apparent that the space is no bigger than a local Starbucks. Definitely puts the “boutique” in “boutique gym.” Every piece of equipment has its spot, and loose odds and ends like medicine balls, barbells, and yoga mats were meticulously tucked away. “You can do over 800 different exercises with the equipment here,” Breelaun enthusiastically explained. My eyes grazed the room, hungry to try each and every one, all the while imagining all the crazy ways one could burn calories with a Bosu Ball. Or a TRX. Could I do burpees on that rowing machine? 800 different exercises. Color me impressed.

Capitol Hill Fitness instructor Breelaun
Let’s take a moment to talk about Breelaun. A fitness class is nothing without a qualified, encouraging, helpful instructor. Or else, let’s face it, you may as well be doing max reps at your local Globo Gym. The minute I walked in the studio, Breelaun was a bopping bundle of energy. His excitement to get started was contagious.   I rested my coffee on the front desk, set down my backpack, and followed him around the room as he demonstrated the moves at each station. All with a smile. As if this was going to be party. Wait, I’m here for the as-advertised butt-kicking, right?

Capitol Hill Fitness
Ah yes, right. And so we began. Today’s circuit consisted of 16 different stations. One thing I noticed: there was no warm up. Diving-in cold turkey isn’t for everyone, so if you need a little extra kick-start, I suggest taking a few minutes to do some dynamic stretching or perhaps run around the block before hand.

Capitol Hill Fitness

Once you get started, it’s all business for the next 30 minutes. Don’t expect a water break or time to check your Instagram feed. Each station worked a different set of muscles and techniques. Some focused exclusively on mobility and balance, some on cardio, and others on strength. Breelaun had an eagle-eye on the clock the entire time, coaching us through the moves and providing modifications or corrections if needed. Most of the time, I just needed to know that the clock wasn’t broken and, yes, I had 30 more seconds left with the medicine ball.

Capitol Hill Fitness

So what did I think of a low-impact HIIT workout sans burpees, box jumps, or high knees? It was a surprising mix of muscle-shaking exhaustion and enjoyment all wrapped into one fascinating bundle. Just because we weren’t thrashing about the room didn’t mean we weren’t working hard. Stationary side leg raises were killer. V-ups with a yoga block between my feet were brutal. And two stints on the rowing machine? Don’t even get me started. *wipes sweat*

Capitol Hill Fitness

If you’re used to workouts that incorporate high-impact moves, Capitol Hill Fitness will definitely challenge your idea of what makes an exercise difficult. I finished the circuit in 30 minutes, fully satisfied I had received a thoroughly effective workout, without feeling like I had abused my body. It’s hard to explain, but I left feeling as though I had done a HIIT workout underwater. All the benefits without a lot of the extra pain and strain.

This is a great spot to check out for anyone looking for a time-effective, quality workout. 30 minutes in-and-out, no reservations or class times to schedule. Just show up sometime between 6 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Capitol Hill Fitness’s approach to interval training is particularly awesome for folks with mobility issues, joint injuries, or general distaste for unnecessary jumping around. As a runner, I loved the idea of completing a full-body cross training session without added strain on my ankles, hips, and knees. Thanks for the crash, Breelaun, and I hope to be back again soon!


Taste Testing the New March Specials at Sweetgreen


On the beautiful, warm, spring tease that was Sunday, I joined the folks at Sweetgreen at a tasting event to debut their March salad and soup specials. This event was wonderful on many levels, and here is why.

Reason one:


Thick slices of chewy, crusty brown bread schmeared with ripe avocado and topped with chia seeds. Need I say more?

Reason two:


The mushroom-cumin puree soup special. While I’m not one for spice, this was surprisingly good. I’ve never in my life ordered soup at Sweetgreen, so this was a first…and I’m glad I got kicked out of my routine to try something new.

Reason three:


The March salad. Feast your eyes on mixed greens, sweet potatoes, blue cheese, caramelized onions, candied pecans, and bacon (which I may or may not have gently scraped to the side). While this wasn’t a salad that screamed “spring is in the air!” to me, it was delicious, so seasons be damned. But the real reason I was excited to try it? Because I always go into the store with the intention of ordering something new, only to choke when I reach the front of the line and end up asking for same thing over and over again (aka: I’d like a Santorini grain bowl please). The yummy March salad was just the jolt I needed to break the Santorini cycle.

Reason four:


I loved spending the evening sharing ideas, swapping stories, and sipping wine with lots of health and fitness related folks, including Anne, Heather, and Christy. I can’t believe we didn’t get a gratuitous group shot of the bloggers…but to be honest we were having too much fun stuffing our faces and catching up to strike a pose this time around. Lesson learned. But truly, a thanks goes out to Sweetgreen for hosting such a fun group of people! Made mixing and mingling easy for this introvert : )

And…drumroll please…reason five:


What, like you didn’t see this coming? The cup ‘o Sweetflow was the perfect ending to an awesome meal. I topped mine with almonds, stewed apples, strawberries, and chocolate chips. Needless to say, I went home and promptly retired into a food coma. Success!

Do you get stuck in a menu rut, too?

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