Posts Tagged ‘dc’
This weekend was quite the fit crashing fiesta. I’m still buzzing from the endorphin high coaxed from a perfect combination of sunshine, sweat, and spandex. Between Cherry Blossom yoga on the National Mall, the DC Fit expo, the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, and commuting by bike share all over town, I’m not sure I could love the past two days any more. So in the interest of helping me wean myself off of all the awesomeness and ease into Monday, let’s recap everything for the folks at home.
Cherry Blossom Yoga
Lululemon hosted this year’s Cherry Blossom yoga event, which brought 3,000 yogis together to stretch and flow under the watchful gaze of the Washington Monument. Local yogic rock star Mimi Rieger led the hour-long class and assistants from across the DC yoga community waded through the crowd to help with adjustments.
The day was brilliant and breezy. Just the kind of early spring weather to coax people outside to begin the season of outdoor activities and playing around in the grass. I set up my mat in the back of the pack and next to my friend Jenny, who has been my workout buddy since college. We were both running the 10 miler on Sunday and thought a good old-fashioned stretch would be just the thing to get us race-day ready. And it was!
Despite a few technical glitches – including the audio dropping out a number of times during key points of the class (last audible instruction was plank pose…do I have to hold this till they fix the mic?) – the class was extremely well done and accessible for any and all levels. It was so darn cool to look around and see a sea of humanity breathing, yoga-ing, and coming together to enjoy a little quality time in the sunshine. There were crazy advanced yogis, beginner yogis, and everything in between. I even saw a few tourists stop, watch, and then decide to join in. How cool is that?
After laying on my mat for a few minutes of sunny savasana, traditional Japanese drummers took the stage for a surprise performance. What at first seemed ridiculously out of place soon turned into an intoxicating, energizing performance that perfectly capped off the class. People clapped, cheered, danced, played with yoga poses, and just generally enjoyed themselves. It was a sight to see!
I rolled up my yoga mat and made my way over to the event tent, where I ran into my friend V from Goûter and Krista the crazy-taleneted yoga teacher I obsessively stalk on Instagram for bendy inspiration. Seriously, folks, if you’re looking for an out-of-this world yoga account, Krista’s got it. V generously shared two of her latest tonics – a green detox blend and a root veggie and goji berry concoction – and I had to hold back from drinking both then and there. Yum!
Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Expo
I popped the tonics into my backpack, said goodbye to V, Krista, and Jenny, and set out on foot with yoga mat in tow to the National Building Museum to for Cherry Blossom 10 miler packet pick up. The entire process was so quick and easy – I was in and out of that place in under 15 minutes. Hats off to the event team for a top notch operation!
In The Capital’s “DC Fit” Expo
After a quick whirl on bike share up 9th Street, I dropped in on the DC Fit expo hosted by In The Capital. It was a day-long event filled with free fitness class demonstrations, expert panel discussions, delicious food, and vendors. I’m sorry I had to miss out on most of the activities, but I came in time to catch the Dance Trance demo, a panel on half-marathon training, and to say hello to friends from Sweetgreen, Drop In, Nike, Reebok Fit Hub, Disrupt Fitness, and Pole Pressure.
Great event, In The Capital, thanks for bringing together such an awesome group of folks for a day of fitness fun!
Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
The main event this weekend was Sunday’s Cherry Blossom 10 miler. I had been kinda-sorta training for three months for this race, my first in just over a year. I felt capable, but not entirely ready. The honest truth is that I hadn’t put much thought into the race at all. The first time I looked at the race map or start time was Saturday night. I picked out my clothes the morning of. I showed up to the start line 10 minutes before the horn. And you know what? I think the casual approach worked, because I had an amazing time on the course and finished way stronger than I could have ever anticipated.
I had fun. And I didn’t worry about training or splits or gel packets or the dead zone at Hains Point or anything else. I just ran the race for me. And it was freaking fantastic. So new race policy: get your head out of the game, fit crash like crazy, get in a few long runs, and let your body do the rest. It seemed to work!
What was your favorite fit crash from this weekend?
I have a confession to make: there are things I miss about belonging to a big box gym. To be clear, there are many more things I do not miss, but this week I realized I was accumulating a tiny list in the back of my mind of things that would make my fitness life so much easier…and then realized that those things were all perks associated with having a gym membership. I stopped cold in my tracks. Could it be? Could I actually be pining after monthly membership fees, decks of TVs turned to channels I don’t want to watch, and that adductor machine everyone hates? Not exactly. But let me explain.
1. Workout On My Own Schedule
You know those weeks when your schedule hurls itself out the window and nothing you had planned works out? Yeah, this was one of those weeks. Which meant that every fit crash I had on my agenda had to be cancelled at the last minute. As in, sometimes calling from the car stuck in traffic last minute. Sorry barre method. Sorry boot camp. Sorry run with friend after work. It just didn’t happen. And half-way through the week, I thought, wouldn’t it be lovely to workout on MY schedule. Even if it’s erratic and temperamental right now. Even if that means I don’t get around to it till 9:25 p.m. The truth is that there are one too many factors that can derail plans to get to the studio in time for a class. Life happens. The metro is delayed (shocker). Traffic accidents. Last minute 5 p.m. meetings with the boss as you’re walking out the door. No parking after circling the block 10 times. Needing to do laundry and get groceries instead. Bottom line: working out on somebody else’s schedule isn’t always easy.
Thanks to Drop In, I had an opportunity to workout for free at BodySmith in Logan Circle a few weekends ago. It was the first time I had been at a “big box gym” in ages. Because of ice and snow, my plan was to do a long run on the treadmill, scoot around to check out the weight options, and then meet friends for dinner after. Which I could do without being a sweaty mess because BodySmith has showers. Ah-ha! What a convenience! I am so used to running out of studios in my workout duds, hair all sweaty, clothes icky and damp. Cleaning up after class with fresh towel service and a fully stocked shower felt down right luxurious. I could seamlessly go about my day without the time-suck of going home, showering, and then heading back out to wherever I was going. I know there are a few boutique studios in DC with showers, but the majority do not have them. I understand why: they take up space, require cleaning, and are an added expense. But showers are a little time-saving perk that I sometimes really miss.
DC’s boutique fitness scene is about as varied as they come. You want options? We’ve got options. But there are days when I just want to do my own thing and need the right equipment. Thirty minutes of running followed by weighted squats and pull ups. Or a HIIT workout with medicine balls and kettle bells. Or intervals on the stationary bike, treadmill, and rower with a few dumbbell reps thrown in for good measure. While I have a few pieces of key equipment in my apartment, it’s not a gym by any means. There’s also the issue of not being able to jump around without my downstairs neighbor wanting to kill me. So okay, I admit it, sometimes I do miss having access to a gym with all the fun toys.
I don’t have plans to join a gym any time soon. Nine times out of ten, I love bouncing around town to explore the smaller nooks and crannies of DC’s fitness scene. But there are those days – like this week – when boutique fitness just isn’t convenient. And as the blogger who has often put her hands up and backed away from the idea of big box fitness, I felt the need to come clean. So there you have it folks, the post I never thought I’d write.
Have a great weekend!
Which option do you think has the most perks: big gyms or boutique studios?
Crash Course: Studio CenterPointe delivers functional fitness training in a personalized, small group environment. The trainers specialize in crafting strength, mobility, agility, balance, power, and endurance. The Bring Your Own Body (BOYB) bootcamp class is designed to use students’ own bodyweight to build strength and balance. Expect a healthy dose of air squats, wall walks, burpees, and other favorites. This class is a great introduction to functional training and a fantastic training compliment for the more advanced athlete hoping to round out their routine. Every class is different and moves are scaled to your ability. Click here for a schedule of class times.
where: 1802 Adams Mill Road/Adams Morgan
bring: towel, water bottle
perks: personalized attention, small class size
sweat score: 6 out of 10
wear: whatever makes you happy
instructor: May Bend
cost: $20 drop in
Studio CenterPointe is located in the basement of 1802 Adams Mill Road, just under the Starbucks and a lunge away from Stroga. The space used to be a hemp shop, but now stocks barbells instead of bongs. Go figure. The sign doesn’t pop out at you when passing by on the street, so be sure to keep your eyes down, especially if they’re a little bleary before the 6 a.m. BOYB class.
I’m testing out this new map widget to help give a better sense of where studios are located – what do you think?
Back to the crash. I showed up at 5:50 a.m., completely dazed and not quite sure what to expect. I’m familiar with the concept of functional training, it’s the stuff CrossFit fame is made of, but wasn’t sure how much function or how much movement we’d be asked to perform at this harrowing hour. I hadn’t had breakfast or coffee and was in desperate need of both.
But let the record stand that my laces were tied, I had a clean shirt on that wasn’t backwards or inside out, and by golly I was ready to rock.
It helped that blogger friends Mary and Allison were also part of the early morning pain train. It was fun to see friendly faces and have a few fellow bloggers to laugh with during those awkward moments when the spirit compels you to take that action-shot during a burpee or snap a selfie while stretching. Ahem. Guilty as charged. Moving on.
The studio itself is spartan. Except for the olympic rings dangling from the rafters, there are no large pieces of equipment cluttering the floor. The functional training toys at CenterPointe are stored in the back, leaving the entire floorspace open. I loved the feel of having all of that blank space. For some reason, it really got my imagination going about all the different types of workouts one could construct. Just add equipment, stir in a little sweat, maybe a dash of classic rock, and voila.
As the clock cranked to 6 a.m., we three bloggers circled up with the rest of class – six ladies in total – and after quick introductions we started the morning’s warm up. This involved many, many jumping jacks, a few long-hold planks, and some range of motion drills. I was definitely warmed up by the time we were through. It was time to move on the workout of the day, which looked something like this.
But before we got around to the actual workout, we spent a great deal of time going over each exercise in detail. May is an encyclopedia of functional fitness knowledge, and from my experience that morning, she definitely brings an enormous amount of smarts and passion to making sure each student learns in a safe, welcoming, and professional environment. She is adamant about proper form and took the time to walk us through the ins and outs of double-unders, air squats, and wall walks.
We started with a number of jump rope drills to get everyone comfortable with the proper technique. We then practiced trying to do advance from single jumps to doubleunders, which is a lot harder than it looks. I managed to complete one, and spent the rest of the time accidentally hitting myself with the rope during my fevered attempts to whirl it around twice.
Thwack. Ouch. Thwack. Dang it. Thwack. Ouch!
I was encouraged multiple times to “show that rope who’s boss,” and believe me I tried, but this is just one area I’ll have to mark as “needs improvement.”
We spent the next few minutes going through the technical details of air squatting and wall walks. Again, form is king here, so don’t expect to get away with breezing through the movement without focusing on the specifics. After May finished demonstrating both, we were asked to complete a round in front of the group. This definitely ups the intimidation factor for new students, but I appreciated the opportunity to get personalized feedback. Just know that you should be prepared to air squat on cue.
It seemed like we spent the majority of the class learning and practicing technique, with the actual workout serving as a homework assignment at the end. By the time we got around to the morning’s scheduled WOD, we had 15 minutes to complete the AMRAP of wall walks, doubleunders, and air squats. Don’t get me wrong, this was plenty hard, but I left feeling like the focus of the morning’s class was more on teaching and practicing the technique and less on the workout itself. Not necessarily a bad thing at all, but just not what I expected going in.
That said, if you are new to functional training, getting the movements right from the very beginning is absolutely essential to staying safe and getting the maximum benefit. So I think this class offers an important resource with those goals in mind. If you have a more athletic background with experience in this kind of training, I suggest reaching out to May for more information about some of her more advanced class offerings, like Raise the Bar.
Thank you to May and her athletes for hosting me, and thank you to Allison and Mary for completing the fit crashing blogger trifecta. Next time – coffee first!
What time do you workout in the morning? Is 6 a.m. really early for anyone else?
Note: While CenterPointe invited me to try a free class, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience. Thanks for reading!
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: 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!