If I learned anything from this year, it’s that Washington really stepped up its fitness game. Countless gyms and studios opened, offering a workout for every fitness type, and I did my very best to try them all. Not counting all of the awesome classes I took for fun, I ran, lifted, jumped, paddleboarded, and danced my way through 31 classes this year. Some stood out more than others, and here are my picks for top fitness classes of the year in Washington.
The Workout Worth the 6:30 AM Wakeup Call: The November Project DC
The November Project quietly made its way to DC from Boston this year, but the 60-plus people that crowd the Lincoln Memorial for stair runs, pushups, and burpees are anything but calm. And there’s something completely gratifying about screaming profanities with a bunch of new friends at 6:30 AM.
The Dance Class I Actually Enjoyed: Kangoo Jumps with Chakaboom Fitness
Those close to me know that while I like to bust a move now and then, dance fitness classes are not my forte. Enter Kangoo Jumps, where you don moonbounce-like boots and jump and dance your way into a serious sweat to great music. Here’s one class I didn’t mind looking the least bit ridiculous.
The Best Combo Class: SUP Fitness
Call me crazy, but I actually enjoyed attempting burpees on a standup paddleboard. I was hooked on the combination of standup paddleboarding, bootcamp, water, and summer sun.
The Class that Left Me the Most Sore: Solidcore
Talk about delayed onset muscle soreness! I woke up the day after this class feeling great, but by the second day I was walking around like a penguin. And you know a fitness class is legit when it sells out within the first two weeks of opening.
The Workout with the Best Reward: Shake Shack Track & Field Running Club
It wasn’t hard to convince my girlfriends to run three miles around DC for some Shake Shack afterward. Sure, I could have opted for the five-mile run, but everyone knows I was really there for the fries and burgers.
The Sweatiest Class: OutRun
I could not have chosen a more humid Washington day to go on an OutRun with Roam Fitness. After climbing over tree trunks and planking on the ground, I emerged from the trails of Glover Park covered head to toe in dirt and sweat—and feeling like a total badass.
The Best (and Free!) Bootcamp Class: Nike Bootcamp
Community editor Mary Yarrison checked out this free bootcamp class at Nike Georgetown before running the inaugural Nike Women’s Half Marathon. Even though it was free, she was definitely not gypped of a legitimate workout. Since January, the Monday night bootcamp has drawn hundreds of followers, so much so that you might find the crowd spilling out the door, with folks doing their pushups on the sidewalk.
Most Anticipated for 2014: Soul Cycle
Yes, we’ve got tons of cycling studios to choose from here in Washington, but there’s something special about Soul Cycle. The couple of times I’ve checked it out in New York has left me euphoric (and with a serious crush on their instructors). Get ready for the Soul Cycle craze of 2014, DC.