These days it seems you can’t pull on your $90 dry wick tee fast enough without hearing about a new workout trend. Gone is the time of simple gym memberships. It’s a new era of boutique studios with higher prices and ambiguous names, like Hard Core Power Training Fitness Sculpt.
To take advantage of these studios, you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic. Even clocking in two-three classes a week can be highly effective for both weight loss and health goals.
Here’s a roundup of some of the popular fitness class in the district and what you need to know before picking your poison. (Some, to be honest, you may actually prefer poison to.)
While this is one of the many barre companies in the District, each has their own unique approach to the dancer workout, which typically combines ballet, Pilates, yoga movements, and light conditioning. This class is broken into four sections: cardio and light weights, core, butt, and legs. For each section, you should expect wide range and small range motions, helping to tone the tiny muscles you didn’t know existed.
Who is this best for? Those who want to tone with low impact.
Time commitment? One hour.
One word to describe this exercise: Tightening.
Sweat level: Glistening. You can go back to work without showering.
Most sore the next morning: Your behind.
Say what? ‘Pulse’ means tiny bounces using your leg muscles, usually while balancing on your toes. These are harder than they sound.
Cost: $25/class, $225 monthly unlimited, and five-30 class packages.
New client special: Three classes for $45.
The nation’s capital is not short on cycling options these days. Zengo, Biker Barre and SoulCycle already have a cult following, but Flywheel is the newest addition to the spin class scene. Similar to SoulCycle, the riding is coordinated closely with music, with encouragement to ride with the beat. Flywheel has an extra special feature of displaying your bike resistance and power as your ride, a welcome addition for the more competitive crew.
Who is this best for? You love a good cardio workout but need to take it easy on the knees.
Time commitment? 45 minutes.
One word to describe this exercise: Energetic.
Sweat level: You will be dripping from some part of your body.
Most sore the next morning: Quads.
Say what? Torq = Resistance. The higher, the harder.
Cost: $28/ride, $250 monthly unlimited, and five – 20 ride packages.
New client special: First class is totally free. You have no excuse not to go.
A CrossFit couple generously answered some questions about their workouts and what you can expect:
“CrossFit is intended to be an all-body workout, all the time. The movements are functional; working the whole body as it translates back to everyday life. A typical workout may look like this: 10-15 minute warm-up, a 10-15 minutes of strength powerlifting, such as back squats, strict presses or skills work (think gymnastic or Olympic weight-lifting movements such as handstand pushups, handstand walks or holds, cleans, snatches).” – Husband
“Everyone who walks into the gym does the same workout all day. Times (or scores) are written next to each individual’s name, typically on a big whiteboard. It might sound intimidating, but it’s both a good motivator do your best and to see how you stack up with the rest of the gym.” – Wife
Anything described as ‘Olympic’ doesn’t personally translate as functional but you’ll have to find out for yourself.
Who is this best for?
“It really is for everyone, but is particularly useful for three types of people: (1) those who need to be held responsible by others in order to stick with a workout routine (2) those who are looking for a community of peers that value health and fitness as an integral part of their lifestyle; and (3) those with a competitive streak that want to be pushed to the next level in their fitness.” – Wife
“I have seen as young as five year-olds doing workouts in the gym, and some older than 75.” – Husband
Time commitment? Typically an hour, but can vary by gym since they are individually owned and operated.
One word to describe this exercise: Empowering.
Sweat level: On a scale of 1-5: five. On days when the exercise was mostly strength, you could end up a little less sweaty and little sorer.
Most sore the next morning: Everywhere.
Say what? WOD: workout of the day. If you don’t know what this means, you’ll be branded as new before you can say “what’s a sumo deadlift highpull?”
Cost: These can range from $150 -$250 per month for unlimited sessions. You’re paying more (than a typical gym membership) for the attention from certified trainers that make sure you’re working out properly.
New client special: Most locations offer your first session for free at a designated time. Contact the gym directly for details.
This high intensity DJ powered dance class is more about moving and having fun than nailing the footwork. But you’ll probably find yourself desperately trying to master the steps in order to look less awkward. After 30 straight minutes of dancing, there’s a five minute sprint of high knees, side shuffles and the like; which will remind you how much you hated doing suicide exercises in high school when your basketball team lost the championship.
Who is this best for? Let’s just say it was recently featured as one of NYC’s best bachelorette party workouts
Time commitment? One hour.
One word to describe this exercise: Intimidating.
Sweat level: Did you know your shins can sweat?
Most sore the next morning: Your back and maybe areas of your feet; wear tight sneaks!
Say what? ‘Beyonce’ = Give it attitude
Cost: $24/Class, $99 monthly unlimited, five and ten class packages.
New client special: Three classes for $29.
Elevate Interval Fitness
Elevate’s method is based off of HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training, which is alternating periods of intense exercise with brief recovery periods. There’s a featured workout like rowing, mixed with two other types of exercise: floor work with kettle bells, planks, and burpees; and treadmill exercises like running with incline and sprinting.
Who is this best for? Those who like endurance and strength in one fast-paced class.
Time commitment? One hour.
One word to describe this exercise: Intense.
Sweat level: The instructions suggest an extra change of dry clothes for post workout, and they aren’t lying.
Most sore the next morning: Arms.
Say what? Tabata: a style of exercise where you do 20 seconds intense movement with 10 seconds rest continuously for four minutes.
Cost: $28/class, $174 monthly unlimited, eight and 15 class packages.
New client special: One free intro session.
While not quite as outrageous options as NYC, which has an underwater cycling class and yoga with cats, DC is holding its own with these workout options. You can use services like ClassPass that make it easier and cheaper to add some variety to your workout, or can join a club you love. This guide is a good starting point, but new studios are popping up like restaurants on 14th street so get moving.
*This post was originally written for industree DC