Posts Tagged ‘spin’
I took a quick trip up to New York City last weekend and here is what I discovered: that city is a veritable cornucopia of fit crashing potential. Folks jaunt about in fashionable fitness clothes with yoga mats and green juices in tow, ducking in and out of bikram this and tone that. I honestly lost count of the number of times I said “oh hey, that looks like a great spot to crash!” And that was just on the first day. That city is packed to the brim with every kind of fitness staple, trend, fad, and everything in-between. I was overwhelmed. I was enamored. I was in desperate need of more than just a few days!
While I originally planned to visit more studios, the truth of the matter is I only visited two. Being in NYC was also a welcome opportunity to reconnect with friends, visit with family, explore the city, and just take a break from my normal routine in DC. That said, I want to share a few of the weekend’s fitness highlights:
1. Sweating with ClassPass
I had the fantastic opportunity to spend Friday with the team from ClassPass, who were kind enough to show me exactly what they do best: enabling fit crashing at the hottest studios all over town. Can you handle two crashes in one day, they asked? Bring it on, I said. Bring. It. On.
We started the afternoon at Uplift, a ladies-only boutique fitness loft in Chelsea offering strength training, cardio, and private events like their workout+wine series. You read that right. There’s no way that’s not amazing; unless, of course, the wine comes before the workout. But back to our fit crash. I joined Simona for the ”Uplifting – Strength” class, a full-body workout incorporating weighted interval training. She promised I’d love it. She was absolutely right.
The studio itself is lovely and perfectly New York. It is nestled into an airy, light-infused loft that has gorgeous crown moulding, gleaming hardwood floors, and towering bay windows. If you go, I recommend checking out Liz’s strength class. Crazy energy, creative moves, and you’ll leave with wobbly legs and an urgent need to foam roll.
After class, we popped over to the NYC Sweetgreen location to join the rest of the team for lunch. It’s enormous and bustling to the brim with salad-loving locals. Since Sweetgreen started in DC, it also felt like a little piece of home, so you can imagine my excitement as I whipped out my app and rattled off my usual order like no big deal.
We let our lunch settle over conversation about workouts, fitness apps, blog posts, what exactly makes the Sweetgreen bread so delicious, and other topics of the day. Before we knew it, it was time to hike over to Revolve NYC for an ultra-sweaty spin class with Jason Tran.
This class was bananas. I have never been to a NYC nightclub, but I swear the experience has to be the spitting image of Jason’s class. There as bumping music. Flashing lights. Sweaty bodies. Spontaneous dancing and gyrating. Sing-alongs. Beyonce. You name it. It happened. Ba-nananas. What a fun way to close out my time with the ClassPass team. They truly knew how to treat a fit crasher right, and I am so thankful to have had the chance to connect with them during my stay. ClassPass expanded to Boston last week, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed DC is next!
I adore DC’s bikeshare system. So when I laid eyes on the bright blue docks on street corners in NYC, I knew it was only a matter of time before I was whirling around town on two wheels. It’s such an easy way to see the sights, and so much more convenient than taking public transportation. It didn’t hurt that the weather was abnormally warm and sunny on Saturday, reaching into the mid 60s by the afternoon. Perfect biking weather if you ask me! I rolled along the West Side Highway, around the Meatpacking District, over to Chelsea Market, up to the High Line, and finally to a dappled roof-top bar for some much-needed hoppy refreshment. Cheers!
3. Running Along the Hudson
Before spending hours sitting on the train back to DC, I work up early on Sunday morning to log a few miles along the West Side Highway running path. Luckily it was easy to find and just a few blocks from my hotel. Sending a “thank you!” to fellow fitness blogger and NYC local Evann Clingan for the excellent suggestion. My Cherry Blossom 10 Miler training plan called for eight miles that morning, but tired legs and a tight timetable meant I only had thirty minutes to scoot around. That was perfectly fine by me! It was just long enough to get the blood flowing, work up a sweat, and take in the NYC skyline one more time.
I had the most fantastic time on my little weekend getaway to the Big Apple. There are so many more studios and classes I’m itching to try, so I’ll have to make a return trip soon!
Do share! What are your favorite NYC fitness spots?
Crash Course: Zengo is a spin studio with a work-hard play-hard hardcore attitude. I have never been to Soul Cycle – the cycling studio in NYC with an enormous, cult-like following of sweaty spin devotees willing to shell out $35 per class – but from what I have heard of its intensely energetic, full sensory experience, Zengo seems like it’s on the same wavelength: loud music, use of upper body weights, lots of movement on the bike. Not to mention the mirrored, steamy, candle-lit studio where instructors mummer motivational musings into a sweaty mic as you “feel the energy” in the room and “find the positivity to push through.” If ever you need affirmations with a side of sweat, this is the place to look. Classes sell out in less time than it takes to brew your morning cup of coffee, so be sure to plan this visit at least a week in advance. Click here to see the full schedule at Logan Circle.
where: 1508 14th Street/Logan Circle
bring: water, bike shoes
perks: showers, rental bike shoes
sweat score: 8 out of 10
wear: bike shorts/shoes
instructor: Gregg Pitts
cost: $22 drop in
Lululemon Logan Circle contacted me a few weeks ago about setting up a crash with some of their employees. As big fans of the “sweat once a day” concept, they wanted in on the fit crashing action and I was more than happy to oblige. The more the merrier, I always say! I sent over a long list of studios options, and they decided on the newly-opened Zengo spin studio just down the street. Which was perfect, because I have been dying to see what all the buzz is about. Let’s do it!
As part of the fun, the team generously offered to set me up with some fresh new spinning duds to wear to class. When I stopped by to try on a few options, I was super candid with them about my anxiety over the barely-there rear coverage in some of their pants. I also made it known that my thighs indeed do touch, thank you much, and I’ll need a pair of bottoms that can handle the friction.
They brought out a few pairs of their newest pants specially designed to address those concerns, at which point I commenced a number of unscientific tests in the dressing room to make sure everything was in check. Down dogs, awkward hamstring stretching, lunges, squats…I put them to the test in front of the mirror, waiting for a hint of sheer. Thank goodness there were no hidden cameras, because I’m pretty sure I looked ridiculous.
That said, I was adamant about having pants that held up to the standards I’d expect from a major athletic retailer, and I was happily surprised that the newly engineered pants did just that. To my relief, there wasn’t a move I could do that made the fabric see-through. If I’m bending over a spin bike with rows of folks behind me, this is key. Well played, Lululemon. Finally a pant I can squat in with confidence.
I also went home with the new core kicker tank because I thought the wide open back would make for excellent ventilation during a hot and steamy spin class. So now that I had non-see-through pants and a sassy new top, it was time to get them sweaty at Zengo!
The Zengo Logan Circle studio has a very different vibe than the one in Bethesda. It has a funky, urban feel to it that really fits well with the neighborhood. The space is actually in the basement of the building, so when you enter the front door go down the stairs to sign in at the front desk. You can also rent bike shoes if you didn’t bring your own pair, and make sure to grab and extra towel. Trust me, you’ll need it.
The locker area has floor cubbies for street shoes and lockable storage areas for your personal belongings. No need to bring your own lock, these puppies have a built-in security system. This area gets really cramped before and after class, so be prepared to channel some zen as you get bumped into while bending over to crank into your bike shoes.
The Logan Circle location also has two bright, clean shower rooms to use after class if you’re headed off to work or a night on the town. Wherever you go, you’ll be squeaky clean. They’re fully socked with products, towels, and a hair dryer.
After exploring the rest of the studio, it was time to get down to business in the spin room. What’s it like in there? Dark. Mirrors. Blue lights. Surround sound. Sweaty bodies bumping to the beat. Basically like walking into nightclub with bikes on the dance floor.
Gregg leads a high-energy, high-sweat class full of handlebar pushup combos, climbs, and the occasional sing along. It’s a total blast. I especially appreciated his upbeat attitude and positive encouragement throughout the class, without being overly preachy or sounding like a self-help book on tape. The music selection was top notch (um…acoustic One Direction, anyone?), the cues were spot on, and there wasn’t a single moment when I wanted to be somewhere else.
You know those classes, the ones where you’d love to just hop off the bike and walk away out of boredom or general blah-ness. Yeah, this isn’t one of those.
I circled the wagons with my fellow Lululemon crashers after class and the one word they used over and over again was “fun.” I think that about sums up the Zengo experience. Sure it’s a calorie scorching workout that’ll make you a sweaty hot mess. Sure it’ll give you sculpted legs, a tight bum and core, and some rocking arms. But on top of all of that, it’s just plain fun. And with so much of the typical 9-5 day being not so much fun, it is alway a breath of fresh air to step into a studio and just lose yourself to the beat for an hour.
Thank you to the team at Lululemon Logan Circle for setting up this crash and outfitting me with some seriously cool new spin clothes. The pants held up great, dried quickly (which is clutch), and the shirt was exactly the mix of supportive and ventilated I needed to get through Gregg’s class. Also, a huge shout out to the folks at Zengo for hosting our crash party and to Gregg for an awesomely fun time spinning, pumping weights, and singing along in class.
Logan Circle nowhere near your neck of the woods? Be sure to check out my crash review from Zengo’s Bethesda studio as well.
Have you found any favorite new spin clothes? Do share!
Note: While Lululemon invited me to try a free class at Zengo, my review is based entirely on my honest-to-goodness personal experience. Thanks for reading!
Crash Course: Ride DC is one of the newer spin studio additions to the U Street corridor, and the first in DC to offer live performance tracking technology – a feature that lets students monitor their progress throughout the class. Each bike is hooked up to a system that projects speed, power, and other handy stats onto a screen at the front of the room. Throughout the class, students are racked and stacked according to their output and overall performance. In other words, if you are a competitive person, this class will either fulfill your every raging desire or drive you raging mad as you watch yourself rise and fall within the pack. Accumulated performance stats are kept on the Ride DC website, so students can monitor their personal progress and overall standing in the pool of other studio spinsters. This technology is, of course, optional – but why not take your spin session to the next level and give it a whirl? A full list of class times can be found on the Ride DC website.
where: 2217 14th Street/U Street Metro
bring: yourself, SPD clip bike shoes optional
perks: boutique feel, ride tracking technology
sweat score: 8 out of 10
wear: recommend spandex bottoms
cost: $22 drop in rate
Ride DC is located on the busy fitness intersection of 14th Street and Florida, smack dab in the middle of Praxis Crossfit and the new Anthony Bowen YMCA on W Street. The space was formerly occupied by Peloton Cycling, and many of the same decorations (like the fantastic old-school cycling photo covering the front wall) are still being used in the new studio. It’s a very tiny nook without much fanfare, and would have a spartan feel if not for the beautifully-appointed lobby. Think rich mahogany and leather furniture, vintage lightbulbs, and a plush sitting area.
Even the tiny bathroom – which doubles as a changing room – has a Restoration Hardware feel. While the boutique attention to detail is lovely, having to use the bathroom to change while others are anxiously waiting to use it is a bit of a stresser. I came directly from work and had to bite the bullet, but if you can manage, I recommend coming ready to ride and save yourself the trouble.
The studio is dimly lit and tall candles illuminate the base of each bike. I’ve seen these battery-powered votives at other spin studios around town and even out in Portland, so I’m guessing this little detail is en vogue. The instructor sits on a raised platform with the interactive scoreboard behind them, and each bike has a fresh towel curled up in the handle bar.
One thing I really liked about Ride DC is that you can pick which bike you want to use when you go online to sign up for class. I tend to enjoy being toward the back, so I picked a spot in the third row. Truth is, I kind of like to pretend I’m chasing down everyone in front of me, so being in the back is a little trick to help motivate me through class.
Our instructor Rachel introduced herself and went from bike to bike making sure we were all adjusted and comfortable on the stationary Schwinn. She demonstrated how to activate the monitor on our own bikes, which in turn activated the sensor to animate the live stats on the screen. The music started pumping, the screen flickered on, and next thing I knew we were off and running.
The class was a 45 minute blast of sprints and hills, sprinkled with dumbbell arm exercises and pushups on the bike. I am personally not a fan of the bike push ups – mostly because I think they mess with my form, distract me from what’s going on with my legs, and really don’t ever leave me with a good upper body workout. I think they’re more of a dance than anything else and I feel awkward and clumsy doing them. But a lot of studios incorporate the bike pushups as part of their “full body” spin workout, so if nothing else, it’s a popular trend. Just know before you go and be prepared for some arm dancing.
As someone who tends to be
a bit chronically competitive, having a screen in front of me with live feedback regarding my rank in the class was absolutely addictive. It was motivating, maddening, and pushed me to pedal my hardest throughout every song.
I felt my eyes darting about the room, searching for the bikes who were ranked ahead of me, wondering what I could do to eek past them on the board. More resistance? More speed? More enthusiasm? I see you over there on bike four…I will catch you! Oh wait, we’re on stationary bikes. This is a farce. But holy cow, is it making me hustle.
While other spin classes sometimes allow for a huge range of effort (turn that spin dial how many turns to the right? riiiiiight), the real-time feedback regarding my power output and speed allowed me to keep my effort in check throughout the entire workout.
That said, the class is paced in a way that allows for all speeds and ability levels, so don’t feel like this class is for Tour de France hopefuls only. I decided to hammer through the whole thing because I have a tendency (ahem) to be a tad competitive and raced bikes in a past life. Others may have a totally different outlook. If you’re a beginner, or just don’t want the pressure of having your stats broadcast for the entire class to see, you can opt out of being on the board. No questions asked.
I want to give a shout out to our instructor Rachel, who bopped around the room from time to time during the class to give individual motivational pick-me-ups, cheer us on during sprints, or just check in. It was a nice surprise to have her come off of the instructor platform and give us encouragement in person. There’s something about having the instructor in your face that really lights a spark to get moving. I’m not sure if every instructor does this, but it’s fun to see someone try something a little unorthodox in an effort to add a bit of spunk to the class.
All in all, I enjoyed my class and testing out the interactive tracking system. It sets Ride DC apart from the other spins studios in the city and really brings something neat to the experience. I left a sweaty mess and chomping at the bit for another chance to race, er, workout with another class full of cyclists soon.
[what I liked]
- live feed stats during class
- online leaderboard to see accumulative standings and progress
- great music (they even played “Africa,” my favorite song in the universe)
[what I didn't like]
- no shower
- one bathroom/changing room
- you can sometimes hear the rumble of barbells falling from Crossfit Praxis next door
What do you think of the live tracking bike system: distracting or motivating?
Hello from the Pacific Northwest! As I mentioned last week, I’m taking some time away from DC to visit family and friends on the west coast. It has been a wonderful change of pace and I’ve loved the opportunity to explore new cities. The food, the sights, and yes, the fit crashes! Since this blog is dedicated to my sweaty adventures, I would love to share some of the fun studios I’ve found along the way.
:: day 1 ::
My first stop was Portland, Oregon. Home of Voodoo Donut, pinot noir, and a ton of awesome fitness studios. My flight arrived late in the evening, and after spending so many hours cramped in a tiny airplane seat, I was dying to get moving. Unfortunately, there weren’t any late-night classes to crash near my hotel, so I had to get creative. DC-based trainer Deanna Jefferson sent me a link to try out her new high intensity interval workout video last week, so I set up my laptop in the hotel gym and got down to business.
I got a few funny looks, especially from the Montana State men’s basketball team who came through the front door just as I was getting crazy with some star jumps. I’ll be honest, I only made it half-way through the video before deciding to do something else. Not because it wasn’t effective (I was huffing and puffing 10 minutes in) but because the majority of the moves were really high impact and my knee started to feel wonky. Probably thanks to all that airplane time. Like her Nike Training Club workouts, the video is really tough, so I’m hoping to use it again once my knee can handle all of the jumping.
:: day 2 ::
I started day two with a serious bang, singing up for back-to-back fit crashes at Firebrand Sports in Portland’s Pearl District. The studio was enormous and had a refurbished warehouse/industrial loft feel. High ceilings, lots of grey cement, skylights, black window panes. I loved it. Bonus points awarded for having fully-stocked individual shower rooms, clean bathrooms, a fresh juice bar, and plenty of hand towels. Basically, all signs point to lots of sweat going on in here.
Firebrand Sports offers two classes: Pyrolates on the megaformer machine and full tilt cycling on Real Ryder bikes. Talk about a killer combo. I decided to get the most challenging workout out of the way first, so my morning kicked-off with quaking legs and burning arms on the megaformer, a machine I’ve developed a serious love-hate relationship with thanks to crashes at DC’s SolidCore studio.
Unlike SolidCore, which is a smaller space with an intimate feel similar to a personal training session, there were about 20 machines in the Pyrolates room. Add in the high ceilings and expansive windows, I imagined I had plenty of space to hide from those extra lunges and personalized adjustments…or so I thought.
Our instructor Josh was an expert at working the room and making us work, all at the same time. Meaning: no hiding. In fact, he had an uncanny ability to creep up behind me whenever I decided to slack off. Busted! The music was pumping, we were lunging, the sweat was flowing. And boy oh boy, this class was putting me through my paces.
On my sweat scale, I’d put this class at a solid 7. Every little muscle I never knew I had screamed at me, my shirt was sweaty, and I had the sneaking suspicion that in just a few minutes a wave of crazy soreness would set in. But I left with a huge smile on my face, high-fiving Josh and elated about surviving another encounter with the megaformer.
Not five minutes later, I was on a Real Ryder bike in the back of Ellie’s spin class. The cycling studio is just down the hall at the back of the building, and really plays on the industrial loft feel with exposed ducts and gleaming skylights. The bikes are set up stadium-style, so everyone has a good view of the instructor and has plenty of space to move around. As far as spin rooms go, this is by far one of the coolest I’ve ever been in.
The Real Ryder bikes are a challenge on a normal day. They teeter back and forth, keeping your balance is a futile game of cat and mouse, and it takes every ounce of energy and concentration to keep up with them. Bottom line: not the best idea after a megaformer class. My legs were screaming at me, and rightly so. I had just put them through torture and decided to come back for more.
But honestly, I had a serious case of FOMO (as the kids say these days) and couldn’t say no to crashing two really awesome, unique, fun classes. So I turned the resistance knob down low, laughed at my own fit crashing insanity, and sang my heart out to every single song for 45 darn minutes. True story, ask the poor girl next to me. I belted out Wrecking Ball like I was on stage at the VMAs. You’re welcome.
After wobbling my way to the front desk in a sweat-induced fog after the morning’s marathon crash session, I somehow purchased a few too many fresh-pressed juices. Three, to be exact. But I can explain. They were all so delicious, the guy behind the counter was nice enough to let me sample every flavor, and after two hours of sweating I was thirsty and indecisive. So yes, I purchased three with the intention of finishing them all in the same day. I didn’t. But luckily my hotel room had a fridge and I was able to eventually finish off every last drop. My favorite flavor was a blend of carrot, apple, ginger, turmeric, and burdock.
Juices in hand and on a high from such fit crashing fun, I made my way through the pouring rain to Isabel for brunch. If you are ever in Portland near the Pearl District and are looking for a great food spot, I can’t recommend this place enough. My meal was absolutely delicious and the restaurant gets all of the ingredients fresh from their own locally-sourced farm. I had the Omar, which was a heaping portion of egg whites, teriyaki chicken, sautéed veggies on top of brown rice. Add in a piping cup of hot coffee and I was a happy, tired, sweaty camper!
I will be posting updates about day three and four in Portland soon, including my crashes at Yoyoyogi and the original Barre3 studio. Stay tuned, and until then, don’t forget to follow along on social media for instant updates from the rest of my trip!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
What a fantastically crazy and wonderful year it’s been over here at DC Fit Crasher – thank you for making it happen! There’s been a whole lot of sweating going on and I can’t wait to see what incredible adventures the new year brings. I thought it’d be fun to look back over the past 365 days and recap what kinds of workouts I got myself into in 2013.
Some of the most memorable for me include international fit crashing in London, an inauguration dance party, boot camp for pooches, completing the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon, discovering the November Project in DC, and learning to row on the Potomac this past spring.
Take a look and let me know which crash was your favorite!
Kali Yoga Studio in Columbia Heights: Intermediate/Advanced Vinyasa
Yoga…Is That You? Crashing Sculpt at CorePower Yoga
What the Hatha Am I Doing Here? Crashing Georgetown Yoga
Hot Power Yoga at extendYoga
Jivamukti Yoga at Flow Yoga Center
Embrace with Faith Hunter Yoga: A bright, cozy yogi haven
A Capitol Hill Shrine to Sweat: Atlas Fitness Bootcamp
A Workout for You and Fido: Thank Dog Bootcamp
Tag, Crawling, and Sandbags at My Bootcamp with Grant Hill
DC Fit Crasher, Reporting for Duty: Joining the Troops at Soldierfit
Bootcamp at Jaime Andrews Fitness
Getting Ugly to Get Pretty: Training at DC Boxing & Fitness
Fit Crashing Freebie: Athleta Fit Club
SolidCore Studio Brings Lagree Fitness Method to DC
Getting the Fish and Chips Kicked Out of Me at Frame Queen’s Park in London
The Sculpt Lab: A Frankenstein Workout
Metabolic Acceleration Training at The Body You Want
Circuit Training with Kinesis in Naples
Nike Training Club: Free, Fun, Phenomenal Workout
Low Impact, High Intensity Interval Training at Capitol Hill Fitness
Riding the Reformer at Potomac Pilates
Georgetown Pilates: The Best High-End Sweat Yet
Reformation Fitness: Boutique Pilates Reformer Studio
The November Project DC
If Bootcamp and Your Weekly Group Run Had a Lovechild: Out Run at Roam Fitness
The Rock N Roll Half Marathon
City Sports Georgetown Sunday Run Group
Learning to Row with Capital Rowing Club
Beating the Pack at Peloton Cycling
Body Ride at Revolve: The Blogger Edition
Rocking the Real Ride at Revolve
Spinning at ZenGo and Refueling at Puree
Sufferfest at Off Road: At Least They’re Honest
Feeling the Burn at Lava Barre
Dancing My Bollywood Booty Off at Doonya
Dance Trance: Your Flash Mob Dreams Come True
“Living in America” Inauguration Dance Party
Jazzercise is All Grown Up
My Bollywood Dreams Come True: Masala Bhangra Dance Workout
Crossfit on the National Mall
Intro to Crossfit at Balance Gym
American Parkour Academy: Feeling Like A Video Game Hero
Gyro-what? My Experience Flexing and Flowing at Capital Gyrotonic
Swinging Kettlebells at Studio f3 in Dupont
What are you looking forward to crashing in 2014?