The time of fevered devotion to freshly minted fitness resolutions is upon us. This outpouring of enthusiasm has most likely lead to your regular gym being overrun by strangers who don’t know how to use any of the equipment and seem to communicate solely through grunts and flailing limbs.
As a result, you’re probably on the lookout for something new in the way of exercise. (At least until those fair-weather fanatics lose their resolve and relinquish your favorite elliptical machine.) Whether you’re hunting for a refuge from the hordes or a weird/cool/slightly indecent fitness experience to brag about over post-workout cocktails, our guide will provide you with some alternative ways to sweat off those lingering post-holiday pounds.
Have you always wanted to look like Natalie Portman in Black Swan but lacked the discipline, motivation, or crazy to fulfill your dream? Barre classes might be for you. Using modified ballet movements, Barre classes provide a challenging yet low impact workout. (And might get you that much closer to kissing Mila Kunis. Just saying.)
Good for: Overall toning; lower body strength; flexibility; balance; low impact
Chinatown: The Bar Method
Capitol Hill: Biker Barre
Mount Vernon Square: Xtend Barre
Logan Circle: b.fit Barre
P Street/SE/Alexandria: Pure Barre
Rosslyn: Lava Barre
What woman hasn’t seen a pole dancer perform and briefly wondered whether she would be able to get her own legs into that position? If you’ve seen the biceps, thighs, and abs on these women, then you know it takes more than a liberal sprinkling of glitter to be a pole dancing success. (Trying to haul your butt up to the ceiling using only your arms is more challenging than they make it look.) If you get skilled enough, there are international pole dancing competitions. Win America another gold medal, baby!
Good for: Upper body toning; upper body strength; core strength; flexibility; stamina; low impact
Chinatown/Capitol Hill: Pole Pressure
H Street: The P Spot
Dupont Circle: Jordin’s Paradise
Alexandria: Pretty Lady PoleFit
Falls Church: DivaFit
Do you want some adrenaline in your workout? Have you considered the merits of falling through the air while tangled in a drape? (Don’t be intimidated – we hear they have mats under newbies.) Aerial silks are a great way to get cut arms and abs, plus you’ll be able to tell people that you could totally join Cirque du Soleil. If you wanted to. Which you don’t right now. But you could.
Good for: Overall toning; overall strength; stamina; flexibility; low impact
Alexandria: Urban Evolution
If you like the idea of cultivating your Cirque-potential but think you’d fancy less fabric and more flying through the air with the greatest of ease, then trapeze might be more your style. This is a full body workout. You will be sore in places you didn’t even realize you could be sore. Adrenaline junkies, this is another one for you – the platform you jump from is 23 feet high. You can get your Ringling Brothers on at the Trapeze School New York location in the Navy Yard.
Good for: Overall toning; overall strength; flexibility; low impact; cardio. (You’re going to be panting, first from abject terror and then exhilaration.)
We know right now you’re probably imagining Michael Scott rolling over his couch yelling “Parkour parkour!”, but parkour is actually a challenging full body workout complete with cardio, conditioning, and strength training. Learning parkour could also be a great addition to your zombie apocalypse plan – how many zombies could follow you up a wall and over a roof gap?
Good for: Overall toning; cardio; overall strength training; stamina; balance
NoMa: American Parkour Academy
Alexandria: Urban Evolution
White Marsh (MD): Alternate Routes
Maybe you want less heart pumping adrenaline and more mental, team-oriented exercise in your life. Rowing is a great way to strengthen your upper body and core while getting a pre-summer base tan and feeling the spray of the Potomac on your face. (Just try to avoid getting it in your mouth.) It’s also a great way to learn to work with other people to do something productive and rewarding. Maybe you should invite your boss.
Good for: Upper body and core toning; upper body strength; cardio; stamina; low impact
Foggy Bottom: Thompson Boat Center
Bladensburg (MD): Washington Rowing School
If you have bad knees, are constantly reminiscing about your badass Big Wheel, and/or don’t have a car, biking might be the best option for you. It’s low impact on your joints, provides great cardio, and is practical for your wallet. (Paying for gas these days is no joke.) DC, Virginia, and Maryland combined have more trails than you can throw a Kryptonite U-lock at. (Washington & Old Dominion, C&O Canal, Capital Crescent, and Mt. Vernon are a few that run through DC proper.) If you don’t currently own a bike, Capital Bikeshare has stations throughout DC, southern MD, and NoVA.
Good for: Lower body toning; lower body strength; cardio; stamina; low impact
So many runs to choose from…
Good for: Lower body toning; lower body strength; cardio; stamina
If you’ve lived in the District for at least a year, you’ve probably seen bedraggled people covered in multicolored powder smearing themselves all over metro seats, your building’s elevator, and each other. Have you found yourself wanting to be one of those people? This year it could be your turn to mark the clothing of your fellow straphangers with the blurry, potentially permanent handprint of friendship. The Color Run is a 5K. People throw colors at you every kilometer and there’s a big ol’ color party at the end. There ain’t no party like a Color Run party, because a Color Run party is completely inexplicable.
We know what you’re thinking: “All of these activities require some kind of pants. I don’t even own a pair of pants. I have freed myself from the tyranny of pants.” Sunday’s (NSFW) No Pants Metro Ride probably saw your derriere bouncing freely through DC’s mass transport system. The Undie Run was created for people like you. Who doesn’t want to run around the city sans trousers to raise money for children? Just because you lack pants doesn’t mean you’re missing a good heart, you big softie. (Plus it’s on Valentine’s Day. You can tell all your friends that you took your pants off for a good cause instead of selfishly removing them purely for personal fulfillment. There’s a philanthropist in all of us.)
There are so many yoga studios in the District that we’re working on a guide for just for them. There’s bikram yoga, acro yoga, pilates-yoga fusion, power yoga, pre-natal yoga – you see why we felt the need to dedicate a separate post to it. Yoga is a fantastic workout for people who want to be flexible, fit, and trendy at the same time. (You were already wearing/enjoying other people wearing yoga pants as real pants anyway.) Until our guide goes up, here are a few studios around the city:
Good for: Overall toning; overall strength training; flexibility; stamina
Dupont/H St/U St/Bloomingdale/Foggy Bottom/Glover Park: Yoga District
Adams Morgan: The Studio DC
Georgetown: Yoga Del Sol
Mount Pleasant: Past Tense
If all of this sounds like too much nudity/too much coordination/too much work but you still want to feel like you deserve that Frappuccino mocha latte chocolate swirl sitting on your desk, then walk. Just walk. You do it from the metro station to the bar. You do it from the couch to the fridge. You do it on certain mornings when you may or may not still be wearing last night’s clothing. Just walk. You can thank us later.