Posts Tagged ‘HIIT’

What’s Up Wednesday

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’!

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!

Fit Crashing Freebie: Athleta Fit Club



Crash Course: DC is an amazing city full of amazing workouts; luckily, quite a few of them are free of charge. I joined the Georgetown Athleta Fit Club for their Tuesday night HIIT class with Amy Rizzotto. This 30-minute session is a fantastic and friendly way to work up a sweat.

wear: regular workout duds

instructor: Amy Rizzotto

cost: FREE 


Athleta Georgetown
It seems as though every athletic apparel store in DC now offers some sort of free fitness perk to the local community. I absolutely love this – and it makes total sense in a “if you build it, they will come” kind of way. Offer free workouts and get folks psyched about fitness in a store environment where they can buy whatever they need to continue sweating. Well played.

The Athleta store in Georgetown now has a “Fit Club” offering free workouts a few nights each week. At the moment, the offerings include HIIT on Tuesdays, yoga on Wednesdays, and a run club early on Sunday morning.

Athleta Fitclub Georgetown
Feeling the need to unleash some stress after a long day at work, I drove to Georgetown on Tuesday to check out the HIIT workout with Amy Rizzotto of MOAR fitness. I had been seeing Athleta advertise it on Twitter and put it on my “to crash” list, and last week the scheduling stars finally aligned. Having crashed the free Nike Training Club just down the street, I had visions of something very similar greeting me at the Athleta store. Pumping DJ. Large crowds. Low lights. Multiple instructors with headset microphones running around in sleek Nike gear. Trial swag. Snacks. All out fitness par-tay.

Imagine my surprise (and quiet delight) when I walked in to face a friendly crowd of two (plus Amy). We were joined by one more as the workout began, but our tiny band of four athletes working out to tunes cranking on an iPhone under the bright lights of the Athleta store created a very different atmosphere than the live-DJ-behemoth-spectacle of the Nike class. Don’t get me wrong, I loved both of these free classes. I loved them for different reasons. Just know before you go that they are very different scenarios.

Athleta Fitclub Georgetown
Since I came straight from work, I changed in the dressing rooms at the back of the store and then walked up front to join Amy and the other ladies. Her energy and warmth were incredibly welcoming. You could tell she was genuinely excited for each and every one of us to be there. Since it was such a small crowd, it really felt more like an intimate group of girlfriends getting together for a low-key workout than a corporate-sponsored “fit club.” Which I really appreciated. This is definitely a great place to come if you are looking for a casual, no pressure, friendly, no judgement sweat sesh.

Athleta Fitclub Georgetown
The workout itself put us through three 10 minute circuits, each of which included a combination of cardio, coordination/balance, and bodyweight exercises. Other than a yoga mat during planks, we didn’t use any additional equipment.

Amy’s class was challenging in many ways, and the intensity level was scalable to your personal need or preference. I personally felt this workout was great for those who want to explore HIIT without feeling like they are going to pass out. At the Nike class, I had moments of utter exhaustion and honestly felt at times as though I was going to lose my lunch. Some days, I need and crave that. Other days…not so much.

The circuits included things like boxing punches and kicks, a few lunges and squats, and a number of yoga-inspired moves. Many of the exercises Amy incorporated were not your typical hum-drum push ups and sit ups – in fact, almost all of them were down-right fun to play around with (handstands? three legged dog crunches? iron chair?). Thank you to Amy for showing me that HIIT can be fun, effective, and playful without raking my body over the coals. And thank you to my workout partners who laughed with me (not at me) when I almost side-kicked a mannequin in the front window during a set of cardio kicks. Oops.

Athleta Fitclub Georgetown
The one thing I wasn’t so keen on at the Fit Club: our sweaty endeavors were visibly on display front-and-center in the Athleta store’s main window. Great advertising for the Fit Club, kind of awkward for us. We got a good number of odd looks from Georgetown shoppers as they walked by (why are those girls jumping up and down in there?), and a a few looks of amusement from shoppers who walked into the store and right into our workout space. This could be an uncomfortable scenario for anyone who may feel a little self conscious about sweating all over the place for all of M Street to see. After 50-odd fit crashes, I’m immune to workout embarrassment at this point, but others may not feel the same way. While Amy kept us going at a great clip and really kept our attention to what was going on with the workout, if I could offer a bit of advice to the Athleta store, I’d recommend having the class in an area that’s not right in front of the window and the front door. Just a suggestion!

All in all, a great {free} workout to put on your list for anytime you need a quick HIIT of sweaty endorphins. 

Has anyone crashed any of the other Athleta Fit Club classes?




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!


training for life


After three cancelled flights out of Ohio, I decided to make the best of my gifted extra time and do what fit crashers do best: head to the gym. Nothing like a sweaty workout to release some of that pent up airport frustration, right?


I kicked things off with a warm up on one of my favorite pieces of equipment: the rowing machine. I was never a rower, and I don’t pretend to be one, but something about that machine always calls my name when I step into a gym. Maybe it’s the awesome full-body workout it delivers, or the fact that it’s a sure fire way to get my heart rate up in just a few minutes. But if there’s a rowing machine around, you can bet I’ll find my way to it. For my warm up today, I began with five minutes of steady state rowing followed by two rounds of tabata. Funny how just a few minutes of pushing and pulling can really take it out of you. Gasping for air, sweat pouring into my eyeballs, I was now ready for the main event.


I don’t go to the gym to make the rounds on the weight machines. To me, that’s about as boring as watching paint dry. So you’ll typically find me with a note card in hand, surrounded by a few equipment odds and ends, working my way through a HIIT series. There’s nothing better than fitting gut-busting cardio, weights, and a few coordination exercises into one 20 minute burst of activity. Today’s was inspired by something I saw on The Daily HIIT. Here’s the breakdown:

After each element, complete 100 rounds with a jump rope. 

  • 30 burpees with calf raises instead of jumps
  • 30 elevated push ups, alternating leg
  • 30 switch jump lunges
  • 30 V push ups
  • 30 squats with alternating single-leg front kick
  • 30 tricep dips
  • 30 side to side lunges
  • 30 V abs each side
  • 30 mountain climbers (one set = two steps)
  • 30 toe touches each side


This sequence killed me – after a few stretches I was absolutely ready to go home. The original workout called for 60 reps of each exercise, but that was taking way too long. So I estimated what one minute of effort would be and it came out to around 30 reps. Not a very scientific process, but hey, it worked for today.

My favorite part of this workout, though, was when someone at the gym stopped me half way through and asked me, “So, what are you training for?” Training for? I had to pause for a minute and think of any upcoming races or events that might suffice for an answer. While I have the March Rock ‘n Roll half marathon on my schedule, I haven’t technically started training for it yet. But I couldn’t answer with “nothing,” could I? Wouldn’t that make all of this huffing and puffing and sweating and groaning and gritting-of-teeth seem silly?

“I’m just training for…life,” I replied with an awkward smile and a shrug of my shoulders, standing in a pool of my own sweat. It sounded absolutely ludicrous, but it was absolutely true. Fitness for me isn’t always about an event, or a goal, or getting my body over a finish line. Sometimes, it’s just fun to push my limits and see what kinds of things I can do from day to day. The giddy astonishment of finishing 30 reps of elevated push ups, for example, was enough to make me feel like I had accomplished great things, even without a finisher’s medal to prove it. So, whether someone asks you that same question or not, remember to stand up for the simple joy of training for fun, of training for yourself, and of training for…life.

What are you training for?

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