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Cool down with this refreshingly light dish. By Tanya Pai
Photograph by Mariana Diaz.

The calendar may say it’s September, but the weather hasn’t quite gotten the memo. As the sticky heat hangs around, certified health coach Mariana Diaz turns to this layered salad of fruits and vegetables to cool off. “I really love this salad because it has only three ingredients and involves no cooking,” she says. “I find it perfect for these warm days, since it’s really refreshing.”

Pineapple is packed with vitamins A and C, phosphorus, and potassium, and is a good source of fiber. Cucumber and jicama—which is crunchy and lightly sweet—are low in calories and high in water, making them extra-hydrating. 

Serve this on its own as a pretty side dish, or with cottage cheese for a snack or light lunch. 

1 medium jicama
3 cucumbers
½ pineapple

1) Shred the jicama, cucumber, and pineapple—use a knife to slice them into very small, thin pieces, or grate them. 
2) Layer all of the ingredients in a ring-shaped bowl: Place the pineapple into the bottom of the bowl, then add a layer of cucumber, and finish with the jicama (this order will allow for a strong base).  Press each layer down firmly as you go, to ensure they take the shape of the bowl.
3) Flip the bowl onto a plate, and serve. You can substitute the pineapple for mango or any other fruit you might prefer. 

Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.

Posted at 03:45 PM/ET, 09/05/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Preserve a taste of summer with these easy-to-make crunchy snacks. By Tanya Pai
Classic dill pickles are easy to make in the refrigerator. Photographs by Amy Rizzotto.

Back in June, MOARfit owner and blogger Amy Rizzotto shared a peek at her daily diet with her one-day food diary. Her meals—many of them from original recipes—looked so delicious that we asked her to share yet another healthy recipe with Well+Being. She obliged with these dill pickles that are simple to make and taste great on top of a burger or on their own as a snack. 

“Pickles are especially wonderful in summer, when it’s easy to get fresh, locally grown baby cucumbers,” Amy says. “They are mostly water, so they’re not only refreshing and hydrating on hot summer days, but they’re also low in calories and loaded with vitamins C and A, as well as potassium.” She recommends buying organic cucumbers, as the vegetable is high on the Environmental Working Group’s 2014 Dirty Dozen list, which ranks produce most contaminated with pesticides.

There are myriad flavor and spice combinations for pickles available, but “there’s nothing more classic than a crisp and sour dill pickle,” says Amy. 

Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Makes 2 pint jars
Nutrition per serving: 15 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams fiber, 3 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram sugar, 440 milligrams sodium. 

1½ pounds baby cucumbers (about 8 to 10 small cukes)
1 cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon kosher or pickling salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 fresh sprig of dill for each jar
1 tablespoon mustard seed, whole
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, smashed

1) Wash and dry the cucumbers. Trim away the blossom end of the cucumber, which contains enzymes that can lead to limp pickles. Leave the pickles whole, cut them into spears, or slice them into coins, according to preference.
2) Divide spices and herbs (dill, mustard seed, garlic, turmeric, and red pepper flakes) evenly between two pint jars.
3) Pack the pickles into the jars. Trim the ends if they stand more than half an inch below the top of the jar. Pack them in as tightly as you can without smashing the cucumbers.
4) Combine the vinegar, water, lemon juice, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil. Pour the brine over the pickles, filling each jar to half an inch from the top.
5) Gently tap the jars against the counter to settle their contents and remove all air bubbles. Top off with more pickling brine if need be, then tightly close jars with lids.
6) Wait at least 1, but ideally 3 days before eating. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
7) Serve alongside your favorite veggie burger or with a plate full of light summer barbecue fair. Or, if you’re like me, munch on them for a healthy snack any time of day!

Find more of Amy’s healthy recipes on her website. Have a recipe of your own to share? E-mail for a chance to be featured.

Posted at 03:45 PM/ET, 08/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This passionate runner and mom of two relies on a high-protein vegetarian diet to keep up with her busy schedule. By Francesca Saunders

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

Deborah Brooks is the author of the healthy living blog Confessions of a Mother Runner and the mother of two teenagers. She also “runs” the McLean chapter of the nationwide running club Moms Run This Town; coaches Girls on the Run, a program to get young girls active; and serves as a Rock ’n’ Roll Race Ambassador for the DC series. 

A lifelong vegetarian, Deborah strives to eat healthy, well-balanced meals full of vegetables and protein. She tries for five small meals a day, typically cooking for her family and herself during the week and reserving meals out for the weekend. She also works out six times a week—including plenty of running, of course.

Thanks to her balanced meals and her activity level, Deborah says she doesn’t feel the need to count calories or weigh herself frequently. Keep reading for a look at her typical diet—and some of her go-to recipes. 

Breakfast: Omelet with two egg whites and one egg with tomatoes, black beans, half an avocado, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, and homemade salsa; one piece of Ezekiel sesame bread with Smart Balance spread; coffee; and sparkling water. “Today I’m doing an hour and a half of high-intensity kickboxing and strength-training, so a healthy breakfast is important.”

Pre-workout snack: Homemade chocolate protein muffins (see Deborah’s recipe), Chobani 100 yogurt, and water. “I drink mostly SmartWater and homemade sparkling water.”

Lunch: “I’m completely starving after my workout and need to replenish with carbs and protein. I am newly obsessed with tempeh for protein, so I created this tempeh, rice noodle, edamame salad [see Deborah’s recipe]. This was my biggest meal of the day and really filled me up post-workout.”

Afternoon snack: Low-salt almonds, a plate of cantaloupe, and sparkling water.

Dinner: Black bean, sweet potato, and veggie tacos on corn tortillas with half an avocado and salsa.

Dessert (not pictured): Four Hershey’s Kisses. “No one’s perfect! I need a little chocolate every day, and this does the trick for me.”

The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 08/12/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Swapping the usual mayo for hummus makes this creamy salad delicious and healthy. By Chris Campbell
Photograph courtesy of the Wild Pea.

Summer is usually high time for cold salads. Egg, tuna, and chicken salads are classics, whether as side dishes at a cookout or piled high on a sandwich.

Unfortunately, traditional versions of those salads involve copious amounts of mayonnaise—which means a lot of extra saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. Sure, there are a host of light and vegan mayonnaise options on the market, but ditching the mayo altogether can lead to some surprisingly satisfying results.

One easy substitution: hummus, a favorite option of chef Blake Wollman. As the owner of the Wild Pea, outside Baltimore, he’s been making hummus for more than a decade—his company produces more than 350 flavors of the chickpea spread, which is high in protein, iron, dietary fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Wollman’s go-to chicken salad recipe trims the extra fat from the mayonnaise, but doesn’t skimp on taste. “Chicken salad is such an easy and classic food,” he says. “Switching out the mayo for hummus makes it so much healthier, but it still has that creaminess, plus even more flavor thanks to the curry. You can put it on top of a green salad, have it as a sandwich, or just grab a fork and dig in.”

Curry Chicken Salad

Serves 6

Nutrition per serving: 242 calories, 24 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 2.8 grams sugar, 10.5 grams total fat, 2.7 grams saturated fat, 205 milligrams sodium. (Does not include optional ingredients.)


1.3 pounds chicken breast
8.5 ounces plain hummus
½ tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped mango or golden raisins, as desired (optional)


1) Prepare cooked chicken as you desire (diced, shredded, etc.).

2) In a bowl, mix the hummus, honey, and spices.

3) Add the chicken and mango or raisins (if using) to the hummus mixture and mix well to combine. Serve.

Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail us at

Find Chris Campbell on Twitter at @campbler.

Posted at 11:29 AM/ET, 08/08/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Straight talk on invisible, removable, and visible braces. By Maddy Berner

In Washington, image matters. So when Hill staffers, lawyers, and TV personalities want a straighter smile, they usually want to achieve it as discreetly and as quickly as possible. Luckily, adults in the market for dental braces will find more than just clunky metal.

We asked general dentists and orthodontists to tell us the pros, cons, and prices of the most popular options these days for straightening teeth. Note that every case is different and not everyone is a candidate for each method.

Invisible Braces

The choices: Lingual braces are placed completely behind the teeth. Incognito is one brand, as is Harmony, which uses digital technology to create a customized bracket-and-wire system.

The pros: No one can see you’re wearing braces. Because the brackets and wires are custom-made for each tooth, treatment is faster—on average, six months to a year—and requires fewer appointments, says Dr. Shadi Saba of Saba Orthodontics in Sterling and downtown DC, whose office has expertise with Harmony braces. “It’s a great option for people in the public because they have a lot of concern about aesthetics,” she says, noting that Harmony braces can also correct faulty bites with the addition of bite blocks.

The cons: Adjusting to this system can be a struggle. Much as with traditional metal braces, a patient has to avoid eating crunchy foods like carrots. Lingual braces also can cause a patient to speak with a lisp, at least for the first few weeks. “What you don’t see you often hear,” says Dr. John Shefferman of Shefferman Orthodontics in DC. Constant contact between the brackets and the tongue can sometimes lead to irritation. Saba says that tongue irritation can be eased by coating the brackets in wax. Applying the braces is extremely technique-sensitive, so orthodontists have to be well trained.

The price: $6,000 to $13,000.

Nearly Invisible Braces

The choice: Invisalign, introduced in 1999, uses clear, removable plastic trays to straighten teeth. Every two weeks, the patient receives new trays that are closer to the teeth’s ideal position. Among the dentists interviewed, Invisalign is a clear favorite—Shefferman says 60 percent of his patients choose it. “Anything I can do with lingual braces I can do with Invisalign,” says Dr. Andrew Schwartz of Capitol Orthodontics in the District and Rockville.

The pros: Invisalign is nearly invisible to the naked eye, and trays can be removed for cleaning the teeth and for meals—eliminating worries about what you eat or about food stuck in the braces. Dental appointments are relatively short because the system is easy to apply and requires little maintenance. There’s also less discomfort compared with other options. “Clear braces are going to become the standard for adults,” says Dr. Danine Fresch Gray of Clarendon Dental Arts, adding that the ability to remove the trays occasionally is good for gum health.

The cons: The big one is compliance. Patients have to wear the aligners for up to 22 hours a day. Anything less will result in a longer treatment time—treatment averages one year—because the aligners aren’t applying constant pressure. Patients need tooth-colored attachments, or “bumps,” bonded to the front of selected teeth, to keep the trays from slipping off. If you have severe alignment problems—such as large gaps or twisted teeth—Invisalign won’t do the trick.

The price: $4,000 to $8,000, depending on length of treatment.

Visible Braces

The choices: Anything fixed on the front of the tooth. This could mean traditional metal wires with stainless-steel brackets, metal wires with clear plastic brackets, or metal wires with tooth-colored ceramic brackets. Damon is one brand of ceramic braces.

The pros: Traditional braces are often suggested to fix more severe alignment problems, such as a turned tooth, because they have a better grip on it. Schwartz, whose office uses Damon braces, among other options, says that the Damon system minimizes friction between the bracket and wire, allowing teeth to move more easily.

The cons: These braces are completely visible. The brackets can cause discomfort and irritate the inside of the mouth for the first week or so until a patient adjusts. There are also issues with eating certain foods and keeping the teeth and braces clean. Clear brackets can stain. Treatment time for metal braces is typically longer, an average of 20 months, because cases tend to be more severe.

The price: $4,000 to $7,000.

This article appears in the August 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 11:37 AM/ET, 08/06/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Neighborhood Farm Initiative director Kristin Brower teaches city dwellers how to grow their own food. Take a look at her daily diet. By Tanya Pai

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

Kristin Brower is the director of the Neighborhood Farm Initiative (NFI), a nonprofit that aims to educate Washingtonians about how food is produced and help them learn the skills to grow their own. NFI, founded in 2008, has a community garden in Fort Totten at which it hosts programs such as Grow, Harvest, Eat! and Adult Urban Garden Education; the organization also donates the produce grown in its garden to area food bands and kitchens. 

Given Kristin’s occupation, it’s no surprise she has a focus on healthy eating, with a diet that incorporates plenty of fruits and vegetables. Still, she admits it’s not always easy to stay active during the day. “Every time I tell someone I work at a nonprofit that does urban garden education, they think I must never sit at a desk, but unfortunately, my job is fairly computer-heavy,” she says. “I need the garden time to stay sane, so I usually go out two or three days a week to weed, harvest, or just help with our classes and volunteer days. My typical fitness routine usually depends on whether I’ve signed up for a race or triathlon. I’ve realized those help keep me really motivated. I’d say on average I run two or three times a week, bike almost daily for commuting and transporting veggies with my bike trailer, and take my dog for long walks.”

Read on for a look at Kristin’s daily diet. 

Breakfast: “I start out most of my weekday mornings having toast with peanut butter. I wanted to dedicate more time this year to breadmaking, so I pledged—via Facebook, so everyone would see—that I would make a new loaf of bread every month. This month it was a hearty, whole-wheat oatmeal loaf, which was delicious with the peanut butter. I also start every day with tea. A month ago it was coffee or black tea, but after an eight-year addiction, I decided to go cold-turkey with caffeine. Now my go-to is dandelion tea—it has the same bitter taste I love in the morning, but is great for your digestive system.”

Drink: “I used to be a big snacker at work, but after I switched from the 9-to-5 gig and was on my feet most of the day, either in the garden or running around, I noticed that I stopped snacking. Now I usually just enjoy tea or a hot beverage during some downtime. This morning, it was peppermint tea to help perk up my brain.”

Lunch: “It makes me sad when I see someone eating a granola bar or something else probably unsatisfying for lunch. To me, it’s a time in the day to take a step back and refocus, so a healthy lunch is my way to go. Today’s special was leftovers from dinner, something my husband and I nicknamed ‘Trasherole.’ Two summers ago, we noticed we had so many greens from our garden and CSA that we just didn’t know what to do with them all, so we came up with Trasherole. It’s basically eight cups of greens or veggies, four eggs, some cheese, and any kind of spices you want, baked for about 30 minutes with bread crumbs on top—and voilà, dinner! I also got used to having salad at almost every meal besides breakfast, because of the amount of fresh greens we’d have at one given time. I love it when half my plate is full of salad. The red sauce is hot sauce made by NFI’s garden manager last year with NFI-grown peppers. To end the meal, I brought in a beet brownie. I made these once when we had so many beets that I just couldn’t down another one, so I found a way to make a dessert out of them, and I’ve never baked another kind of brownie again.”

Dinner: “This is probably one of my favorite dinners: collard wraps! They are so easy and so delicious that I end up eating them a lot when collards are in season. The filling is a mix of ‘soysage,’ quinoa, onions, several spices, and kale. Of course, a salad is also part of the meal, topped with flaxseeds and carrots. Not pictured here (because I forgot) was a Heavy Seas IPA, also a great way to end the day.” 

The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet. Find Tanya Pai on Twitter at @tanyapai.

Posted at 12:18 PM/ET, 08/05/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A creative way to use up an abundance of summer squash. By Chris Campbell
Photograph by Danielle Omar.

Chances are high that when picking up your CSA or while shopping your local farmers market, you’ve noticed an abundance of zucchini. The delicious summer squash is at its peak—and luckily it can be prepared countless different ways to keep your taste buds excited.

One of registered dietitian Danielle Omar’s favorite preparations for zucchini is using it to create vegetable noodles. We tried this trick a few months ago, and the result here is just as flavorful. Subbing fresh veggies for prepackaged pasta makes for both a fun time in the kitchen and a healthier meal.

“This delicious, high-fiber dish makes use of all the gorgeous summer produce available now—fresh corn, zucchini, and tomatoes,” says Omar. “It also works well with any kind of corn you have on hand: roasted, grilled, steamed, frozen, or even canned. It’s a great side dish with grilled shrimp or salmon and can be prepared in less than 15 minutes.”

Lemony Zucchini Noodles With Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Corn

Serves 4

Nutrition per serving: 190 calories, 5 grams protein, 30 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams dietary fiber, 11 grams sugar, 8 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 165 milligrams sodium.

4 zucchini
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1½ cups corn, roasted, grilled or steamed
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Handful fresh basil, diced


1) Heat oil in large sauté pan and add tomatoes, salt, and lemon zest. Sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, or until tomatoes start to break apart.

2) Add corn and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more, then stir in lemon juice and basil.

3) While sauce is cooking, spiralize or julienne zucchini and place in a large mixing bowl.

4) Add tomato sauce to zucchini and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail us at

Find Chris Campbell on Twitter at @campbler.

Posted at 01:55 PM/ET, 08/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The two-time Ironman triathlete believes in a balance between eating well and eating what you want. By Francesca Saunders

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail for details.

If you ever find yourself lacking motivation to work out, Danny Metcalf has a solution. This recent Cornell University grad, swimmer, and two-time Ironman triathlete is one of the founders of the November Project DC, a grassroots fitness movement that aims to keep adults on their fitness track through a team-sports mindset. The local “tribe” started in 2013 with five people and has grown to attract some 350 participants to its early morning workouts. (For more information, read Well+Being’s review of the November Project.) And that’s not his only fitness endeavor—since moving to DC, Danny was selected for the Collegiate Recruitment Program of the USA Triathlon Team, an incubator for Olympic triathletes.

He is also the cofounder of a local nutrition bar startup called PravAha Vita (soon to be Mission Bar), based out of Union Kitchen. The concept is to provide athletes with natural alternatives to the highly processed, additive-laden foods athletes are sometimes forced to rely on—think bars made with ingredients such as quinoa, dehydrated coconut water, and chia seeds.

Danny believes nutrition, like fitness, should be for everyone: “I don’t make it out to be rocket science; I eat natural and listen to what my body tells me,” he says. Read on to see how that philosophy translates to his diet—even when he starts his day at 4:15 AM.

Pre-November Project snack: A banana and a cup of coffee before running to the Lincoln Memorial to lead a tough stair workout, to “start the engines and flush the oil.” 

Breakfast: Steel-cut oats, fresh fruit, and chia seeds with almond butter, and a grapefruit on the side. “I believe in consistency in my meals—I always know what I’m putting in and how my system will react. I have been eating the same breakfast for years. As for java, I’m a Portland native, so Stumptown is the way to do it. Since it’s summertime, blueberries and raspberries are going in with the banana.”

Pre-swim snack: “Before completing a 5K swim, I eat a Mission Bar. Made with quinoa, almond butter, and dehydrated coconut water, it contributes sodium, potassium, and the right amount of complex carbs and protein, and doesn’t ‘sit heavy’ the way other bars do.” 

Lunch: Summer salad. “Since my fridge was stocked with summer berries, I went with a summer salad, another college staple. I added beets to quinoa and let them cook together—it saves a pot, and you get red quinoa when you’re done! After refrigerating the cooked quinoa and beets, I added blueberries, apple, strawberries, kale, spinach, avocado, chia seeds, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. I ate it out of the pot, because plates are overrated.”

Midday snack: “Today I went with muesli, almond butter, and an apple—simple, filling, quick, sustaining. I gulped it down with a Trilogy Kombucha.” 

Dinner: Seared tuna and vegetables. “After a round of yoga, for dinner I like to eat more proteins and fats to give my body what it needs to recover overnight. Tonight was seared (more like raw) tuna in sesame oil, garlic, all the veggies in the house, wasabi, Sriracha, snap peas, edamame, avocado, and some almond slices. Carbs, fats, and proteins, balanced and easy. (I eat out of pots and bowls exclusively.)”

Dessert: Ice cream. “After a day of training and working, my girlfriend and I split a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.” 

Disclaimer: The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Posted at 12:22 PM/ET, 07/29/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Lemon, tomatoes, and mint give a fresh taste to this easy-to-make dish. By Chris Campbell
This chilled quinoa salad makes for a perfect light summer dinner. Photographs by Chris Campbell.

In the dog days of summer, a heavy dinner is about as appealing as finding yourself in the hot car on Metro. For a light meal that’s still packed with flavor and nutrition, registered dietitian Cheryl Harris loves this chilled quinoa salad. It’s easy to whip together, offers plenty of fiber and protein, and relies on seasonal ingredients—tomatoes, lemon, and mint—for a bright taste. 

“It’s a perfect lunch pack-along, and since it’s gluten-free and vegan, it’s a great dish for sharing with friends at picnics or potlucks,” says Harris. 

Lemony Mint Quinoa

Serves 2

Nutritional information: 383 calories, 7 grams fat, 64 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fiber, 19 grams protein.

1 cup quinoa, toasted
2¼ cups vegetable broth
Juice of ½ lemon
15 mint leaves, coarsely torn
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste


1) Toast the quinoa in a large skillet over medium heat until it smells toasty and browns a bit, about 10 to 15 minutes. This can be done in advance or skipped altogether, but toasting gives the quinoa a deeper flavor. 

2) Add the broth to the skillet, bring to a boil, and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Stir halfway through and add half of the mint leaves. Add lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper to taste. 

3) Let cool completely. Add tomatoes and the rest of the mint, and serve.

Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail us at 

Find Chris Campbell on Twitter at @campbler

Posted at 10:40 AM/ET, 07/25/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Sterling studio turns off the lights and turns up the music. By Dora Grote
Image via the Ignight Fitness Facebook page.

Fluorescent lights beam through a dark room, full of dancers in neon attire that glows in the black light. Music pulsates as their hands flail in the air.

What sounds like a typical Saturday on U Street was instead the scene Monday night during black-light Zumba at Ignight Fitness in Sterling, Virginia. Zumba fitness isn’t new, but Ignight puts a spin on the 15-year-old sensation by offering its classes in a “clublike” atmosphere lit solely by black lights. 

I headed to the studio, located near Dulles Airport, for a 6:10 session, which was packed with more than 40 people. After welcoming everyone (especially newcomers to Zumba), instructor Mark Lewis yelled, “Are you ready to work?” as he cranked up the music. The mass of dancers—ranging from novices to experts—started jumping up and down as Latin beats filled the air.

If you’re uncoordinated or too shy to dance in front of others, this is the class for you. The use of black lights is key for the studio’s atmosphere, as it helps participants feel comfortable, says Alexa Tsui, who, along with Lewis, started Ignight almost two years ago. She and Lewis also decided against putting mirrors in the studios, “so people would pay more attention to how dancing makes them feel rather than how they look.”

Five minutes into the workout, my heart was pumping and my clothes were drenched in sweat. The interval-based class, broken up by songs and choreography, is nonstop, but participants could take breaks as often as they needed. Each hourlong sessions includes 16 choreographed routines set to songs such as “Love & Party” by Joey Montana and “El Teke Teke” by Crazy Design and Carlitos Wey. The first three songs compose the warmup, focused on large muscle groups, cardio, and smaller muscle groups. The next ten songs accompany routines ranging from very high intensity to low intensity and incorporate exercises focused on specific body parts. The 13th song is the “last-chance workout,” the hardest routine of the class. It’s followed by a breather song to lower heart rates, and then the lights pop back on for a post-workout stretch. Throughout each song, Lewis kept up the energy, encouraging everyone to keep moving and reminding us to breathe. 

Despite my previous dance training, the cha-chas, hip circles, and shimmies were still a little difficult to catch first time around. Novice dancers might need a few sessions to really get the moves down—but the lights being off means if you can’t get it, you can make it up! The instructors cue the choreography breakdown and encourage the dancers to get crazy—what happens in black-light Zumba stays in black-light Zumba.

And that’s the beauty of Ignight Fitness. I never once worried about what people thought of my moves, leaving me free to focus on having fun—and burning calories. 

Ignight Fitness. 1323 Shepard Dr., Suite C, Sterling; 703-473-7075. Prices range from $50 to $180 for passes and $5 for a drop-in. The first class is free. 

Posted at 11:40 AM/ET, 07/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()