Posts Tagged ‘pilates’

Crashing Boston’s Btone Fitness

Boston Common in the rain
For those of you who follow me on social media (hello!) this might be old news, but I wanted to share my review of a fun studio I fit crashed while in Boston last week.
I was in town for an overnight business trip and knew I wanted to sneak in a workout early in the morning before my meetings. I crashed Barry’s Bootcamp last time I visited and wanted to try something just as unique. Finding fun workouts while traveling is always a challenge – in fact, one of the sparks behind this blog was my deep frustration over not being able to find honest  fitness class reviews while visiting Chicago a few years ago.

Whenever I visit a new city, I try to do my homework and find someplace new to crash. Let me tell you, it’s not easy, but I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade. And there’s something truly energizing and fun about experiencing the city through fitness - I think it’s safe to say it’s one of my favorite forms of tourism. So, to come full circle, I may have been in Boston for less than 24 hours but made an extra effort to squeeze in a sweat.

Btone Fitness on Newbury Street in Boston
To give you the full flavor of what my experience was like, let me set the scene for you.

It’s 5:45 a.m. when my alarm goes off. How rude. It’s mocking me by marking the time when I should have awoken refreshed, renewed, and ready to flit out of dreamland and down to Newbury Street for my workout.

Instead, I’ve been up since a 2:30 a.m. siren sent me blearily bolting out of bed and into my sneakers. Wrapped in half-sleep and a crumpled robe, I methodically followed the tide of hotel guests down the stairs. A few of us locked eyes and exchanged silent complaints about the annoyingly crass alarm that set us on this troubled course to begin with. But on the course we went, such as fire alarms go. And after a few moments outside in the cold and rain, we were assured by hotel management that it was a false alarm, all was well, and we should get some sleep. Sleep? Ha. I instead laid achingly awake in a dark hotel room for two hours until my alarm suggested that yes, indeed, it was now time to start the day. Good morning sunshine! Harumph.

So I dug my spandex out of my suitcase, tied on my sneakers once again, and slowly traipsed through the still-falling rain to my workout class at Btone Fitness. Honestly, if I didn’t have a previously-scheduled class to attend, I would have rolled over and tried to snag a cat nap. But I was truly excited to crash this trendy little boutique megaformer studio that I just had to power through and make the most of it.

Btone Fitness on Newbury Street in Boston
Btone sits above fashionable Newbury Street in a wood-floored, cozy space that’s bookended by windows and flooded with natural light.
 It has a stylish and fully-stocked locker room with showers, a couch to hang out on, and storage for your belongings. Btone offers a few different boutique-style classes, including spin on Real Ryder bikes, barre blast, and the signature tone class on the megaformer. They offer a $5 drop-in deal for first-timers, so if you’re visiting or new to Boston, how can you say no?

Our instructor Lisa introduced herself as I got set up on my megaformer, asked if I had any questions, and talked through the upcoming class. I love the personal touch of making newcomers feel welcome. She mentioned another visitor from DC had stopped by earlier in the week – if you’re reading this, leave a comment below, I want to compare notes! Despite my severe lack of sleep, I was looking forward to finding how Btone might differ from classes at other megaformer studios I’ve crashed like Solidcore in DC, Sculpt in Bethesda, and Firebrand in Portland. While the machine is always the same, I’ve come to find that different studios approach teaching the megaformer in subtly unique ways, making it a fun adventure at every new location.

Btone Fitness on Newbury Street in Boston

The class itself wasn’t particularly memorable. Perhaps it was because my head was in a bit of a fog. Perhaps it was because everyone was feeling the early-morning start time. But the class seemed to lag and lacked a certain zesty energy that I’m used to. I didn’t break a sweat, which was really surprising. I wasn’t sore the next day, which was even more surprising. Transitions were slow and the music was just loud enough to be heard but not really felt. I left feeling accomplished but not especially tuckered out.

This might have been a unique case, and as with any studio, overall class awesomeness depends on the particular time of day, the energy from the students, and the instructor. Maybe DC just has crazy-hard, wildly-energetic megaformer classes that have now ruined me from enjoying any others. Who knows!

At any rate, I said my thank yous and good byes and ducked back into the rain for a quick jaunt to the nearest coffee shop for an extra-grande cup of joe. Extra. Grande. After the night I had and an early morning fit crash, it was a grande kind of day.

Until next time, Boston! 

 

Top 10 Fit Crasher Highlights From Last Week

Hope you all had a glorious Memorial Day Weekend! This past week was packed with all sorts of random fit crasher goodness, so I thought I’d break it down for you with a top ten list. Are you ready?

TEN: Kate Bakes Bars

kate bakes bars


kate bakes bars

I had the opportunity to try my very first batch of Kate Bakes bars. What makes these so special, you ask? Well, a few things! They’re made right here in DC by a local lady entrepreneur who is committed to providing the city with healthy on-the-go eats. The ingredient list is small and full of items I recognize, and each bar is always gluten free and vegan for anyone who has dietary restrictions. Not to mention, they’re pretty darn scrumptious too. My favorite flavors were the banana cinnamon oatmeal and the chocolate coffee. Perfect for tossing in my gym bag as a before or after fit crash snack. These things were definitely a highlight of my week! Thanks for the samples, Kate!

NINE: New Oiselle Running Shorts

oiselle roga shorts

My stash of running shorts is in serious need of an update. I was thrilled to receive a pair of the Lululemon speed shorts for my birthday earlier this month, but after wearing them over and over again, I figured it was time to add another new pair to the rotation. I have been hearing awesome things about the Oiselle roga shorts, so last weekend I popped on over to City Sports to try on a pair. It was love at first lunge (yes, I did a few in the dressing room). In fact, I wore them out the door and straight to the trail. There’s a front pocket deep enough to fit my phone, and a back pocket that works great for keys and an ID. They have just the right amount of stretch and a comfortable wide waistband. I’m officially smitten.

EIGHT: Garden Greens

organic salad greens

A friend of mine has an organic garden plot and grows some of the most delicious-looking produce every year. He is experimenting with different kinds of greens this spring, and is having overwhelming success with just about everything he put into the ground. So much so, in fact, that he currently has more lettuce than he can possibly eat and was kind enough to give me a sampling of his bounty. I was over the moon excited to have a huge bag brimming with the most colorful, fresh looking leaves I’ve ever seen. Salad heaven!

SEVEN: Outdoor Workouts

playground workout

 

memorial day weekend workout

No gym? No problem! Fit crashing doesn’t have to happen at a studio, especially when the weather is as beautiful as it has been here in DC. I like using the 12 Minute Athlete and Sworkit circuit training apps for quick, no-nonsense sweatiness wherever I go. I definitely got a few strange looks from kids enjoying an evening playdate at the playground, but hopefully they’ll remember the crazy lady doing pull ups on the monkey bars when they get older : )

SIX: Berry Season!

berries and lemon

I think this pictures says it all, yes? Hello summer!

FIVE: Standup Paddleboarding

Key Bridge Boathouse DC
On Memorial Day a friend and I slathered on the sunscreen, strapped into lifejackets, and took to the high seas Potomac River for an afternoon of stand-up paddleboarding at the Key Bridge Boathouse
(formerly Jacks Boathouse, RIP). I almost forgot what a tough workout it can be going against the wind and the current. After an hour of adventuring we docked our vessels and went in search of some much-needed nourishment. Hey, all that paddling is hard work! Thankfully, Malmaison was a stone’s throw away and offered fresh-squeezed green juices. I got the Hulk flavor, a refreshing combo of pear, cucumber, and other delicious ingredients. Win!

FOUR: Bowling at the White House

truman bowling alley white house

truman bowling alley white house

Talk about a fit crasher bucket list item! Can’t believe this actually happened. A friend invited a few of us to bowl at the White House Truman Bowling Alley last weekend. It’s a tiny two lane operation, complete with personalized bowling balls, a wall full of shoes, and even its own White House score cards. I loved looking over the pictures hanging along the walls of the various presidents and first ladies using it over the years – the history in that place! I’m absolutely terrible at bowling but had a blast. Now if only I can learn to keep it down the middle…

THREE: Crashing the Newest [solidcore] Studio

solidcore dc

On Sunday I took a bike share bike to Mt. Vernon Triangle to check out the newest solidcore studio. The location is a little bit hidden – look for it underneath the Le Pan Quotidien across the street from Sixth Engine bar. It has the same design as the other studios but in a more convenient place for folks living in that neck of the woods. A word of caution: this is still the toughest and most addictive workout I’ve done in DC. You’ve been warned.

TWO: Memorial Day 12 Miler

memorial day walk memorial day dc honor flight memorial day dc

The weather this past weekend was picture perfect. 70 – 80 degrees, no humidity, brilliant sunshine. I decided to make the best of it and adventure down to the monuments to see what kinds of things were going on for Memorial Day. I should have mapped it out before I left because it ended up being a whopping 12 miles! I ran part of the way but it was mostly a brisk walk. That said, I had to stop at one of the tourist-trap concession stands to buy a water and a bag of pretzels just to keep me going. Serves me right for not planing ahead!

As expected, the monuments were absolutely mobbed with folks in town to celebrate the holiday. I walked the length of the Lincoln to the WWII memorial just in time to witness a group of Honor Flight veterans being escorted in to see the monument for the first time. It was incredible to watch. Really brought home the “reason for the season” and I felt so lucky to have been there at the right time to see it. But next time, I’ll bring water and snacks for the journey!

ONE: Celebrating 80 Fit Crashes

dc fit crasher 80 fit crashes

The blog reached a whopping 80 fit crashes last week! Cue the confetti and party hats! Do you have a favorite? Leave a comment and let me know, I’d love to hear from you. Cheers to this milestone and at least 80 more sweaty adventures ahead :)

Cycling at PureRyde Bethesda

PureRyde Bethesda


Crash Course: PureRyde is a national franchise of boutique fitness studios that offer a unique blend of high-energy, calorie blasting pilates and spin workouts. Their signature PureRyde Cycling class puts students through 50-minutes of intervals, hills, twists, and turns on the Real Ryder bike, a state-of-the-art stationary two-wheeler that shifts laterally with the rider’s body movement. Lean right and the bike goes with you. Left and it does the same. The extra control needed to maneuver the Real Ryder bike helps create a more challenging spin experience, so get ready to kick your effort up a notch when you walk through the door. For a full schedule of classes at the new PureRyde location in Bethesda, click here.  


where: 6910 Arlington Rd. // Bethesda, MD

bring: water bottle

perks: bike shoes included, free parking

sweat score: 9 out of 10

wear: recommend spandex bottoms

instructor: Ingrid

cost: $22 drop-in rate

 

PureRyde Bethesda

I first encountered the topsy-turvy Real Ryder bikes in Ohio when I was home visiting my parents for Christmas last year. I ran into them again in Portland a few months ago, and was convinced this fad was either insane or genius. Stationary bikes that weren’t so stationary? Who would sign up for that? Well, it seems the fitness-loving folks of the DC area have spoken, and now we have our very own studio full of the craziest spin bikes you’ll ever sweat upon. Welcome to the neighborhood, PureRyde!


The Bethesda studio is located in a small shopping center about a half mile from the metro. I didn’t see any signage at first glance, so keep your eyes peeled for it in the middle of the strip. I was coming straight from work with my car, so luckily there was ample free parking right out front. For those of you who follow my frequent losing battles with DC traffic and parking on Twitter, you can imagine my relief.

PureRyde Bethesda

PureRyde Bethesda

The studio is beautiful, crisp, and very swanky inside. Think clean lines, lots of white cabinetry, and muted steel colors. There is a merchandise and reception area in the front where you can sign in, get spin shoes (they run small), and browse through PureRyde gear. Steve and V – the awesome duo behind Gouter tonics – had set up shop on this particular evening and were sampling some of their newest creations. I’m still a sucker for the original Stretch flavor (think sour patch kids meets turmeric), but always love sampling all of the crazy delicious new concepts that come out each season.

PureRyde Bethesda

PureRyde Bethesda

Down a long and narrow hallways, you’ll find a small cluster of lockers and two bathrooms. The studio does not have a shower or changing room, so plan accordingly. Luckily, the lockers are the fancy kind with built in locks that allow you to set your own combination. They’re not very spacious – I had to really pull out some Tetris skills to get my backpack and sneakers wedged in there – but they’ll do the trick in a pinch.

PureRyde Bethesda

The pilates studio sits at the very back of the building. It has the same swanky feel, with slate black walls, bright lights, and plenty of mirrors. I would love to come back and check out one of their signature classes. I’m always interested to see what personalized twists and modifications studios incorporate to make their own pilates brand.

PureRyde Bethesda

The first thing that struck me about the spin studio (other than the alluring smell of freshly-installed bikes) was how small it felt. Intimate would be a good way to describe it. While all spin studios have their bikes packed pretty close together, these bikes seemed especially cozy. And there weren’t many of them in the room, either. I’d say it held about 20 tops, with the instructor’s bike elevated on a dais in the middle of the studio.

PureRyde Bethesda

When you sign up for class, you’ll be asked to sign up for a specific bike, so make sure you know which one that is and find it when you enter the room. The numbers are on the base of the bike and the front desk keeps a master list in case you forget. As soon as I found mine, a member of the PureRyde team came by to help set up my handlebars and seat. They also delivered a set of free weights we would be using later in the class. What service!

PureRyde Bethesda

Ingrid wasted no time working our legs into a lather. I was huffing and puffing before the end of the first song, just as I began to remember how incredibly challenging these bikes are. If you don’t want to be swinging back and forth like a metronome all class long, you really have to focus on your core and controlling your legs. It’s tough. And if trying to stabilize the bike is tough, trying to synchronize your core, arms, back, and legs to keep the bike leaned to the left or right while “going around a turn” is even harder.

PureRyde Bethesda

The class will also include tap backs, jumps, varying arm positions, and a free-weight arm segment. There’s a lot of movement on the bike. Trying to tap your bum back to the seat while standing on a swinging pendulum might not be for everyone, but I thought it was a good mix of maddening and fun.

Toward the end, we were given an entire song to do our own thing before Ingrid jumped in to finish us off with one more crazy left-right-up-down circuit. By that last song, I was toast. I can’t validate claims that this class burns more calories than a traditional spin class, but I can tell you this class is a more challenging version of the original. My entire body was sore for two days.

PureRyde Bethesda

A huge thank you to Ingrid and the PureRyde team for giving me a sneak peek at DC’s newest spin sensation. Thank you also to Gouter for the post-workout refreshments. I was certainly in need of it after wobbling out of class.

If you’re looking for a new twist on your tried-and-true spin class, or if you’re interested in spicing up your workout routine with something new and different, give it a go! 

 

 

Note: While PureRyde invited me to try a free class, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience. Thanks for reading!

Tabata Pilates Class at Fuel Pilates in Georgetown

Fuel Pilates Georgetown


Crash Course: The pilates tabata class at Fuel in Georgetown is a 45 minute zinger full of unexpected surprises and moves that will make you quake and shake. The class begins with a pilates warm up, then moves on to a series of four minute tabata intervals alternating between cardio and pilates exercises. Everything from burpees to teasers are fair game, so be prepared for anything. Check out Fuel’s schedule for class times and dates.


where: 3214 O Street NW // Georgetown

bring: water, sticky socks

perks: small class size

sweat score: 7 out of 10

wear: whatever you like, recommend socks

instructor: Robin Zahrt

cost: $22 drop-in

 

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

Fuel Pilates is a beautiful boutique studio tucked away on the quiet cobblestones of O Street in the heart of Georgetown. Owner Kelly Griffith also runs the trendy Xtend Barre studio in Shaw that offers the sweatiest cardio barre class I’ve ever taken. With that in mind, I was excited to come by and try her newest class concept at the original Fuel location: Pilates Tabata.

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

For better or worse, I know the streets and shops of Georgetown like the back of my hand. Great for giving directions to tourists, terrible for my wallet. But I had never noticed Fuel sitting quietly across from Wingos and next to late night favorites Kitchen No. 1 and Smith Point. Its lovely row house exterior blends into the neighborhood so well that it had escaped my detection for years – until now!

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

I arrived a few moments before class and checked in at the front desk, signing the appropriate waivers that promised I won’t die (or at least try my best not to) during class. I smooshed my backpack, shoes, purse, and coat into a cubby and proceeded through the sea of pilates equipment on the first floor to the staircase in the back of the studio.

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

The downstairs studio encompasses the entire lower level, with wall to wall mirrors and gleaming wood floors. There is a small bathroom in the corner in case you need it, and all of the equipment you’ll use in class is neatly displayed along the back wall. When I arrived, our mats, rubber balls, and bands were already set up and ready to go.

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

All of the spots in the back were already taken, so I tiptoed my way to the front left corner to set up shop. I sat down on my mat, rearranged the equipment a few times, and looked around at the other students. All women under the age of 35, some possibly Georgetown students, others definitely coming to class straight from the office like me. I noticed I was the only one not wearing sticky socks. I don’t remember seeing socks suggested anywhere on the Fuel website, and while I was told they aren’t essential or mandatory, I highly suggest bringing a pair. It’s always good to have options.

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

Class began with a light warm up of cat + cow stretches, gentle full body movements, and a pilates hundred. Then Robin demonstrated each of the exercises we would do during the tabata sets. I wish I had written each of the sets down, but I remember we did the following: burpees, lunges, jumping jacks, v-ups, planks/side planks, resistance band arm lifts/curls, and abs. There may be a few I missed, but you get the picture. It was a good mix of cardio and classic pilates.

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

We started with a burpee tabata, which I think threw everyone off a bit. Wait, wasn’t this pilates class? I didn’t sign up for boot camp! To be honest, while unexpected, the spurts of cardio intermixed with the less intense moves were the key to a well rounded, quick, sweaty workout. Once I figured out the method behind the madness, I was on board.

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

One thing that really perplexed me, however, was the music choice. This was supposed to be a 45-minute sweat fest full of strengthening, toning, full-body tabatas. We were doing jumping jacks and burpees, for goodness sakes! So why, then, was Norah Jones crooning calmly in the background? It set a strange mood and made me feel like I should be doing yoga instead of pulsing in a lunge. I now have a renewed appreciation for the power of a well thought-out playlist, because poor Norah made me want to curl up on my mat and take a nap.

Fuel Pilates Georgetown

Aside from the music issue (which was fixed during the last part of class, thankfully) Robin was a really wonderful instructor. She took the time to demonstrate each of the exercises and provided lots of variations for folks who wanted an extra challenge or a modification. She paced around the room with a tabata smartphone app and helped us keep time. I think there could have been slightly stronger cues for the tabata (there were a few instances where we were still burpee-ing after the round had ended), but understand that it’s a new class and instructors are still breaking it in.

Things I loved:

  • Quick + effective
  • Fun new concept I haven’t seen anywhere else
  • I was sore the next day in all the right places
  • Cute boutique studio around great shopping and restaurants

Things I would change:

  • The music makes all the difference – pump up the jams!
  • Opening a door or window downstairs would make a huge difference when things get sweaty

Thank you to Fuel for inviting me to come crash their new class. If you’ve crashed tabata pilates or any other Fuel class, leave a comment and let me know what you thought!

 

Note: While Fuel Pilates invited me to try a free class, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

Barre Body at Studio Body Logic

IMG_9459


Crash Course: Studio Body Logic is located in Ballston and Alexandria and best known for teaching authentic pilates. Open since 1996, the studio offers five different levels of mat class and an impressive number of apparatus options. Lesser known are the studio’s other sweaty offerings, including evolved sculpt, yoga, ballet, and Barre Body – a 55-minute cardio workout with a foundation in classical ballet moves. Expect weights, balls, therabands, upbeat music, and a sore tush the next morning. Click here for a full schedule of classes at Studio Body Logic.


 

studio-body-logic-front-door

Studio Body Logic is a hidden gem in the heart of Ballston, tucked away on the first floor of an unassuming apartment building. I had a very hard time finding it in the building itself, so if you’re going for the first time, give yourself five extra minutes to make your way through the maze of doors in the sprawling complex. Or, better yet, learn from my mistake and ask the front desk attendant how to get there before wandering into the labyrinth alone.

studio-body-logic-reformers

The space is well-lit and cozy, with every square inch occupied by strange contraptions with names like the “electric chair” and the “Pedi-Pole.” Don’t let their sleek and minimalist look fool you, these devices will make you beg for mercy. I’m itching to come back and try a traditional pilates session here. Something tells me, by sheer deviceage alone, this studio can whip up some mean workouts.

studio-body-logic-spring

studio-body-logic-barrel

Thanks to a bad combination of DC traffic and the last coughs of winter weather, I was running late to class. I shimmied my way into the already-started Barre Body session of 12 ladies, hoping not to cause a fuss or disrupt anyone. Karmic irony would dictate that the only spot still available was right in front. Of course. Totally busted.

Luckily, the class was still warming up and doing a stationary leg march with an added arm lift, so I did my best to join in and follow along. I’m not the most coordinated, so it took me a few counts before I synched up with the rest of the class, but I eventually fell in line. Right arm lift, left leg lift. Right. Left. Okay, I think I got this. The warm up was definitely more aerobic than I was used to in other barre classes, which I liked because it got my heart rate up and made my forehead glisten. I like to work up a sweat when I work out, what can I say.

studio-body-logic-arm-weights

The exercises and motions in Barre Body were also different than I was used to. Not enormously so, but enough to make you feel like you’re trying something a little different than your traditional tuck and lift barre class. In fact, there was zero awkward tucking, which I give two big thumbs up to. However, we did an entire series of floor exercises that mirrored something out of a Jane Fonda workout video. At first I was skeptical. Laying on our side and doing leg lifts and sweeps? Pass the leg warmers please. But by the time rep 15 came around, the burn was real folks. And the reps kept coming. And I started to wonder what the heck I had gotten myself into.

We also did a series at the barre doing squats and plies with a ball between the legs for added resistance. I had one hand on the barre for balance and another around a two pound weight extended out to my side. Again, my inner skeptic scoffed at the two pound weight. What the heck is that going to do? And then we began to squat, plie, squat, plie, releve, plie, releve. Oh my word. It was much more challenging than I had anticipated. My inner barre critic was eating her words.

studio-body-logic-arms

Adrienne – who was an awesome instructor with serious command of the moves and a killer playlist, by the way – finished the class with a final cardio segment. I was officially tuckered out at this point. My legs were wobbly, my arms were burning, and the glisten on my forehead morphed into a full-on sweat stream. The closing stretch and cool down was magnificent, and my body was so very thankful for a chance to take a break and work out the kinks. Was I sore the next day? You betcha. Abs, legs, and arms were all thanking me for trying something new.

So how did Barre Body stack up? Here are my takeaways: 

  • More cardio-centric than your average barre class.
  • Lots of props, get ready for some creative burn.
  • Not as much focus on “tucking.” A plus for those of us who think it’s a painfully awkward movement to do in public.
  • The moves are more fluid with a heavy emphasis on their ballet and dance origins.
  • Tiny class size with a personal, causal atmosphere.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

 

Note: While Studio Body Logic invited me to try a free class, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience. Thanks for reading!

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