This Valentine’s Day, get your heart racing by going on a exercise date with your guy or gal. The following gyms and studios are offering fun workouts for couples, from free cycling classes to partner yoga workshops. Unattached? No problem—there are plenty of singles-only classes, too.
Lululemon and Lava Barre Workout
February 14 from 6 to 7:30 PM
Head to Lululemon Georgetown on Valentine's Day for a free community class with Arlington studio Lava Barre. The 60-minute workout will combine barre exercises and Vinyasa yoga. Expect refreshments and goodies post-class.
Two Single & Fabulous Workouts at Vida Fitness
February 14, 6 PM
Sorry, no couples allowed at Vida Fitness City Vista’s hourlong cycling or body-sculpting class. Celebrate Anna Shaw Howard Day while spinning your wheels or lifting weights to anthems like “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé. After class, the gym screens Kill Bill Volume 1, complete with popcorn and Champagne. Members (free) and nonmembers ($25) must sign up one hour before the class by calling 202-289-8432.
Partner Yoga Workshop at Spark Yoga
February 15, 1:30 to 3 PM
Bring your significant other to the Arlington studio and work on your flexibility together at the partner yoga workshop. Beginners are welcome, as are single folks. Reservations ($35 per person or $60 per couple) are available online only.
Partner Yoga Workshop at Sculpt DC
February 16, 2 to 4 PM
DC folks can head to Sculpt DC in Gallery Place/Chinatown for another partner yoga workshop on Sunday, February 16. Learn partner balancing poses as well as massage techniques. Couples ($55) and singles ($30) are welcome.
Bring a Friend for Free to Revolve
Who said Valentine’s Day was all about couples? From February 10 through 14, bring a friend for free to any of the following Revolve DC classes: Monday at 10 AM; Tuesday at 7:45 PM; Wednesday at 7, 10, 5:30, or 7:30; Thursday at 10 or 5:30; and Friday at 7 or 10. Walk-ins only.
$14 Morning Rides at Ride DC
Challenge your SO to a little friendly competition at Ride DC, where you can track your stats in real time. From now until February 14, you can purchase morning rides for $14 (normal price $22).
Free Classes at Biker Barre
For the entire month of February, Biker Barre will reward both you and your beau with a free class. Here’s the deal: Head to Biker Barre together, then share a photo of yourselves on Instagram. Be sure to mention @bikerbarre and use the hashtag #BeausatBikerBarre. This goes for both barre and cycling classes.
Date Night at Bar Method Bethesda
February 28, 7 PM
Okay, so maybe you completely forgot about Valentine’s Day. You can still schedule a couples’ workout at Bar Method Bethesda’s first-ever Date Night. Registration opens February 14. $24 per person; free for members.
*Editor's note: This post has been updated from a previous version.
After ten months and five days (not that we’re counting), we finally know when SoulCycle will open its doors in DC.
The indoor-cycling studio will open at the end of June or beginning of July, SoulCycle told Well+Being. It first announced plans to open a DC location in April 2013.
In October, SoulCycle signed a lease for a location at 23rd and M streets, Northwest. It will neighbor health-conscious establishments such as Sports Club/LA and Sweetgreen, and will be the first indoor-cycling studio for West End.
The relationship between runners and hills is a fickle one—we hate them mid-workout, but man, do we love what they do for our end game. To boost that incline-stepping spirit, we asked four local running experts for their go-to hill routes around Washington. Check out their recommendations below, which range from short, steep slopes to long and rolling jogs.
SHORT AND STEEP
Enjoy a sweeping skyline view at the top of this hill in Columbia Heights—the steepest of the bunch with a staggering 11.4-percent average grade.
Doug Hay, an avid trail runner and the creator of the Rock Creek Runner blog, suggests this section of trail for a beastly yet fun workout.
Running coach Mike Hamberger runs his clients up hills all around the District, including this one on the Georgetown waterfront.
Multiple DC running gurus suggested both sides of the original Hill for a good workout. Though similar, the Independence Avenue side trumps Constitution Avenue in terms of grade and elevation gained.
LONG AND GRADUAL
Beech Drive Trail in Rock Creek Park
Another favorite of Hay, this section of trail ends at the Rock Creek Park horse center.
Stoneybrook Drive in Chevy Chase
Certified running coaches Julie Sapper and Lisa Reichmann of Run Farther & Faster recommend the Mormon Temple hill for a “steep and brutal” climb.
The National Arboretum provides a scenic background for this half-mile favorite of the EZ8 running program’s Kathleen Pugh.
Sapper and Reichmann take runners on this route of rolling hills in Bethesda to stimulate the Boston Marathon’s infamous Heartbreak Hill.
Two consecutive, nearly half-mile hills test the body and mind on this stretch of road in Arlington.
This never-ending cold has us seriously longing for summer. And now there’s one more reason to crave the warm-weather days: Vida Fitness’s penthouse pool and lounge will open in early July at the Yards.
It will be the first opening phase of many for the $6.5 million facility, slated for 1212 Fourth Street, Southeast. Bang Salon will follow in mid-July, the actual gym opens in August, and Aura Spa services will be available in October.
Vida Fitness at the Yards began construction on Saturday, February 1. Like its Verizon Center counterpart, this location will be massive—30,000 square feet with four floors dedicated to cardio, strength-training, and fitness classes—but developers say the decor will more closely resemble the U Street location.
The facility will also feature some noticeable upgrades, including what Vida Fitness has dubbed an “experiential cycling studio,” with 30 bikes stationed on three stadium-seating levels. There will also be a kids’ zone and day-care services so kids can play while their parents squeeze in a workout.
Vida Fitness at the Yards will be the sixth area location for the gym. Two more are in the works to open by 2017.
Vida Fitness at the Yards. 1212 Fourth St., SE. Gym memberships are currently available at a discounted rate through the website.
Washington is getting a slew of area Pure Barre studios with the recent opening of the company’s first-ever Bethesda location, followed by another in Alexandria next week.
Pure Barre opened in Bethesda on January 20 at 4930 Hampden Lane. Owners Katie Shearin and Marybeth Coleman will open a second location at 429 John Carlyle Street in Alexandria on February 3.
Pure Barre is a national franchise that first came to Washington in spring 2013 with locations in Fairfax and Dupont Circle. The 55-minute workouts involve isometric exercises performed at the barre—think pulsing squats—and on the mat that target the arms, core, and thighs.
The opening of the two studios will bring the number of Pure Barre studios in Washington to five (a Rockville location opened in early January). According to Pure Barre’s website, barre fiends can expect locations in Capitol Hill, McLean, and Reston in the near future.
Bethesda residents no longer have to schlep to DC for a Megaformer workout when Sculpt Studio opens there on Saturday.
When it opens just a half mile from the Bethesda Metro station, Sculpt will become the first fitness studio in Bethesda to offer the Lagree Fitness Method, a full-body workout performed on the Megaformer machine. The studio features ten Megaformers and a variety of 50-minute workouts.
The Lagree Fitness Method rose to popularity in Los Angeles in 2001 before spreading to New York. It’s been gaining popularity in Washington lately thanks to the opening of Solidcore in Adams Morgan last November.
Sculpt Studio will offer four types of Megaformer classes, including an all-levels Sculpt class, a 60-minute “mega-workout,” and Megaformer Pilates for new and expectant mothers.
First time on the Megaformer? There’s also a class for newbies and injured athletes called Gentle Sculpt. It’s probably a good idea to start with this intro class, as we can attest that the slow, calculated, full-body workout is likely to leave you sore for days.
“How do I get rid of cellulite?”
It’s a question dermatologists and plastic surgeons get asked a lot. Unfortunately, most admit there’s no simple answer.
“If there was some easy way to get rid of cellulite, we’d all be doing it by now,” says Maral Kibarian Skelsey, director of dermatologic surgery at Georgetown University Medical Center.
The silver lining is that you’re not alone in the fight against the lumps and bumps that can cover thighs, hips, even arms and the stomach. Some 90 percent of women have cellulite—most just don’t care to admit it.
What Is It?
“Cellulite is, unfortunately, very much of a female condition,” says Fairfax plastic surgeon George Bitar. The key to understanding why it discriminates against women lies deep beneath the skin.
Although cellulite appears on the surface, it’s found in the layer of fat below the epidermis and dermis. That’s where pockets of fat sit sandwiched between septae, fibrous bands that connect to the skin and penetrate down to the muscle.
In men, septae are crisscrossed and act like mesh, keeping the fat in place. In women, however, not only do the bands run vertically and less frequently, but they’re weaker.
“In women, the bands pull down in such a way that causes dimples on the surface of the skin,” says dermatologist Melda Isaac of MI-Skin Dermatology Center in DC. “In between the bands are fat cells that accumulate and get trapped, then push up into the skin and cause the bumpiness.”
Genetics also play a role. Our genes determine how much fat we have to begin with, Skelsey says, as well as the thickness of our skin. Thick skin masks the appearance of cellulite more than thin skin. “You can’t do much about that unless you change your parents,” she says.
While cellulite can develop at any age—even among teenagers—its appearance worsens as we grow older and lose skin elasticity and muscle tone. The skin weakens over the years, Isaac says, “so there’s no spring to it, and cellulite looks even more accentuated.”
Why is cellulite so hard to treat? Until now, efforts to banish the condition have been futile because the focus of treatment was misguided, Isaac suspects. “For a long time, I think we were addressing the wrong pathology,” she says. “We weren’t focusing on the architecture of cellulite.”
Skelsey agrees, pointing out that the first thing to come to terms with is that cellulite can’t be completely cured: “It’s not a disease,” she says. “It’s an anatomic variation.”
Be wary of creams and compression clothes that claim to get rid of cellulite. “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is,” Bitar warns.
One tried-and-true method of reducing the appearance of cellulite is strength training. While there’s no research on the role of exercise with cellulite, Isaac says to keep in mind that the septae connect to muscle under the fat layer. Therefore, resistance training will not only burn excess fat but also promote muscle definition and smoother skin. “You can improve the appearance by making muscles leaner and stronger,” she says.
The same goes for healthy eating. While nutrition alone won’t reduce cellulite, it’s a good idea to eat a balanced diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, and protein and to avoid crash diets, which aim for rapid weight loss over a short time. While a diet can reduce fat, “it doesn’t reduce dimpling,” writes Dr. Howard Murad in The Cellulite Solution. And extreme weight loss, Isaac adds, can make the appearance of cellulite worse.
“Diet and exercise are terrific for health and staying in good shape,” says Fairfax plastic surgeon Robert F. Centeno, “but there are millions of women who are in extremely good physical condition who still have cellulite. You can do everything right—have completely normal weight and a terrific diet—and still have cellulite because anatomical issues predispose you to it.”
One promising treatment is a form of laser therapy that addresses the inner workings of cellulite, says Skelsey, who is a consultant on the Food and Drug Administration’s general-and-plastic-surgery-devices panel. These devices, such as the recently FDA-approved Cellulaze, aim to get rid of cellulite by zapping the septae and melting the fat in one session. The goal is for the fibrous bands to reform in a different pattern that’s less cellulite-prone.
Even then, it’s likely that patients would need annual touchups. Still, laser therapy is “as close to a magic bullet as we have,” says Bitar, whose practice is one of 22 medical centers in the country that use CelluSmooth, a similar laser device.
Until that magic bullet appears, Skelsey says there’s one thing to keep in mind about cellulite: “It’s normal. But if it’s something that’s really bothersome to a person, there are a few things out there—a very few. The best thing you can do is do your research and have realistic expectations about what kind of results your investment is going to make.”
This article appears in the December 2013 issue of Washingtonian.
How it works: A plastic surgeon makes small incisions to the cellulite-laden area. A probe placed through the incisions and under the skin emits a laser, melting fat bulges and cutting through the fibrous bands that pull on and cause dimples in the skin. New lasers, such as FDA-approved Cellulaze and CelluSmooth, require one-time treatments.
Cost: $4,000 to $7,500, depending on the size of the treated area. (Rondi Kathleen Walker, a plastic surgeon on Washingtonian’s most recent Top Doctors list, offers Cellulaze, while George Bitar, another top plastic surgeon, offers CelluSmooth.)
The verdict: Experts say that the new minimally invasive lasers are revolutionary because they require only one session and show immediate results. However, the treatments do cause bruising and swelling and sometimes require patients to wear compression clothing during the recovery period, which can be up to two weeks. Patients may need touchups once a year. Maral Kibarian Skelsey, director of dermatologic surgery at Georgetown University Medical Center, says Cellulaze is the best thing on the market but cautions that because the laser treatments are relatively new, there’s no data on long-term effects.
How they work: Areas affected by cellulite aren’t only dimpled but also dehydrated, says Dr. Howard Murad, author of The Cellulite Solution. Applying creams or lotions that contain such active ingredients as retinol or caffeine increases blood flow to the area, temporarily reducing the appearance of cellulite.
Cost: $5 to $50 and up.
The verdict: “Don’t waste your money” on expensive lotions that advertise cellulite reduction, says Skelsey, who serves on the FDA’s general-and-plastic-surgery-devices panel. Using them is usually harmless, she adds, but “although there may be a short-term improvement [in appearance], it’s not scientifically possible that it will make an impact.”
How it works: A dermatologist or plastic surgeon uses a hand-held machine that suctions and kneads the patient’s skin, increasing circulation and loosening connective tissue. The treatment lasts approximately 30 minutes. It’s recommended that a patient undergo multiple sessions.
Cost: $100 and up per session.
The verdict: This type of deep-tissue massage may improve lymphatic drainage (which rids the area of waste and excess fluids) and reduce the appearance of cellulite, but only for a short time, says Dr. Melda Isaac of MI-Skin Dermatology Center: “It’s basically equivalent to fluffing up a pillow. It’ll look good in the meantime but won’t have long-lasting results.”
How it works: Radiofrequency devices apply heat to the surface of the skin, causing temporary swelling and thickening of the area, thereby smoothing the skin and minimizing the appearance of cellulite. For best results, patients are encouraged to undergo one or two sessions a week for a month or longer.
Cost: About $400 a session.
The verdict: A 2012 study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology found that 89 percent of women who underwent radiofrequency therapy reduced their cellulite. Isaac, who offers radiofrequency in her office, says the treatment works well for mild cases. For severe cases, she says, “where you can see the shadows, peaks, and valleys,” radiofrequency alone won’t work.
How it works: A thin, hollow tube is inserted through small incisions and moved back and forth to loosen fat. The fat is then suctioned out using a vacuum or syringe.
Cost: An average of $2,852.
The verdict: Although patients used to think liposuction could get rid of cellulite, today the American Society of Plastic Surgeons says it’s not effective for that use. In some cases, liposuction can make the appearance of cellulite worse by creating more dimples in the skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
This article appears in the December 2013 issue of Washingtonian.
Here’s the good news about cellulite: With the right exercise regimen and a healthy diet, its unsightly appearance can be reduced. Even better: It doesn’t require hours at the gym performing lunges, says personal trainer Allyn Blind.
The key to reducing the appearance of cellulite? Short bursts—as little as five minutes—of high-intensity exercise, which research shows is as effective as continuous, moderate exercise and which helps the body burn more fat and calories after a workout.
“And don’t just include lower-body movements,” Blind says. “You want full-body movements that are quick and effective.”
Next time you’re at the gym, try Blind’s cellulite-reducing workout, which takes six minutes three times a week and needs little equipment.
Do these for 30 seconds each. Repeat the entire set twice. Once you feel comfortable with the workout, bump it up to three sets and do each exercise for 60 seconds.
For this exercise named after physical-education expert Royal H. Burpee, who developed it, squat and kick your legs back into a pushup position. Do a pushup, then jump up into a standing position. Repeat in one fluid motion.
Begin in a squat position and jump to standing, then in one fluid motion return to a squat and repeat.
Sprint on the treadmill for 60 seconds. If a treadmill isn’t available, jump-rope instead.
Squat to Press
While holding lightweight dumbbells at your sides, squat. As you return to a standing position, extend your arms, pressing the weights above your head.
Standing straight, lunge to your right, bending your right knee 90 degrees with your left leg straight. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side. For more challenge, hold free weights.
Illustrations by Pete Sucheski.
There are cycling and barre studios, yoga and TRX boutique gyms—and then there’s Dancing Mind studio.
Dancing Mind Yoga is reopening Friday, January 10, as Dancing Mind. The newly renovated 8,000-square-foot space offers not only just yoga, but also indoor cycling and CrossFit. The expansion makes it the first boutique fitness studio to offer all three workouts in the Washington metro region.
Although owner Paula Baake says yoga will continue to be Dancing Mind’s “bread and butter,” she added cycling and CrossFit to the mix to allow members to build up endurance and expand their athletic abilities, as well.
The seven-year-old studio now features three yoga studios, a cycling studio with 20 bikes that measure your heart rate, and a CrossFit Box that will fit 30 students. After studio-goers sweat it out during a CrossFit Workout of the Day or on the bike, they can shower up in the men’s and women’s locker rooms or relax by the fireplace.
Check out Dancing Mind at its grand reopening event on Saturday, January 11, from
8 to noon 9 AM to 2 PM. You’ll be able to take a tour of the studios or try free 15-minute classes with instructors.
Dancing Mind Studio. 929 W. Broad St., Falls Church; 703-237-9642. New members can purchase a membership for unlimited yoga, CrossFit, and cycling classes for $135.