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The workout-tracking service Strava has created a heat map that shows where locals go. By Benjamin Freed
Surprise: The Mall is a popular choice for Washington-area runners. Screenshots via Strava.

Ever wondered where Washington’s serious runners and hardcore cyclists go to train? Strava, a website and mobile app that logs runs and rides, has published an interactive heat map of the most popular routes completed by its users.

Strava compiled more than 77 million bike rides and more than 19 million runs—constituting about 220 billion data points—to build the globe-spanning map. Zooming in on the Washington area shows where locals, or at least the ones who use Strava, like to train. (The company markets itself toward more competitive runners and cyclists.)

The least-traveled routes appear as light blue lines, moderately used routes are darker blue, and the most popular corridors are represented in thick magenta. On the running map, for instance, it is not surprising that the Mall is almost entirely painted over in magenta. McLean’s Great Falls Park is another popular running spot.

The bike map shows heavy use of the Capital Crescent Trail linking Silver Spring and Georgetown, the Washington and Old Dominion Trail through Northern Virginia, and the Metropolitan Branch Trail between Silver Spring and Union Station. Rock Creek Park and Beach Drive are popular destinations for both cyclists and runners.

This map shows the most popular bike routes.


Posted at 03:35 PM/ET, 04/29/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The results may surprise you. By Melissa Romero
It must be all that hiking: A recent poll found that Vermont had the highest percentage of residents who exercise regularly. Image via Shutterstock.

Washingtonians often like to pat themselves on the back for our top-notch exercising habits, but are we really the fittest area in the country?

Not quite, according to a recent Gallup poll that measured how much each state exercises. Vermont came out on top, with 65.3 percent of residents reporting that they exercise for at least 30 minutes three or more days per week.

Since Gallup began tracking Americans’ exercise habits, Vermont has taken the top spot three times, the last being in 2009. This year, Hawaii, Montana, Alaska, and Colorado rounded out the top five.

To be fair, only state residents were polled, so the District was not included in Gallup’s survey. Just half of Maryland’s residents reported exercising 30 minutes three days or more per week. Virginia fared a little better, with 52 percent of residents reporting regular exercise.

Overall, the survey found that fewer Americans exercised regularly in 2013 than in 2012. Gallup noted that colder temperatures in 2013 might have played a role in the national average dip.

And it looks like Vice President Joe Biden’s home state has some work to do in the fitness department. Delaware came out on the bottom of the list, with just 46.5 percent of residents exercising regularly. West Virginia, Alabama, New Jersey, and Rhode Island weren’t far above that.

Posted at 12:06 PM/ET, 03/12/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Yoga classes, gyms, and fitness studios where you can bide your time until spring finally arrives. By Melissa Romero
Work up a sweat at hot yoga or other heart-pumping workouts in Washington while you wait for warmer temps. Photograph via Shutterstock.

In case you haven’t already been counting down the days since January, the first official day of spring is March 20. But if recent weather is any indication, we’re not expecting springtime temps anytime soon. To keep you warm and toasty until then, we’ve got five workouts for you to try, from hot yoga sessions that feel like you’re in the tropics to a boxing class that lets you relieve your winter-related frustration.

If You Want to Sweat: Hot or Bikram Yoga

Here’s a no-brainer: Try a class designed specifically to make you sweat buckets. Bikram yoga is offered in five locations in Washington, with classes conducted in 105-degree rooms. Some hot yoga classes at CorePower Yoga and Spark Yoga add weights to the mix for even more burn.

If You’re Short on Time: High-Intensity Interval Training

With brief resting periods and quick bursts of intense exercise, HIIT training makes you work up a sweat in no time. Head to Orangetheory Fitness in Fairfax for an all-in-one treadmill/rowing/weights workout or one of the many CrossFit gyms in Washington to really give your muscles a lesson in athleticism.

If You’re Fed Up With Mother Nature: Boxing and/or Kickboxing

If this winter has left you feeling downright angry, head to the nearest punching bag to relieve some aggression. Off Road Cycling offers boxing classes, and you’ll find Washingtonian top personal trainer and kickboxing coach Nino Malong at City Fitness, CrossFit DC, and Balance Gym.

If You Want to Forget About the World: Indoor Cycling

With their dimmed lighting and heart-pumping music, indoor cycling studios offer an easy way to zone out from the everyday for a while. Check out the newest studios in the District, including ZenGo Cycle studio in Logan Circle for a free first class, or Let’s Ride on 14th Street, which shows you how hard you’re really working with its live-tracking system.

Because You Deserve a Reward for Surviving This Winter: A Shake Shack Run

Yes, this involves running outside, but there’s a tasty reward at the finish line: burgers, milkshakes, and fries. The Shack Track and Field club meets the second Tuesday of the month for a three- to five-mile run that ends at the Dupont Circle Shake Shack. No guilt here—you deserve it.

Posted at 11:29 AM/ET, 03/05/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The gigantic gym spans two stories and has partnered with local gyms for free classes for residents. By Melissa Romero
The two-story gym at CityCenterDC includes a yoga and exercise room where local gyms will host free classes for residents. Photographs courtesy of Hines.

Our friends over at Open House have already shared the jaw-dropping details about the massive CityCenterDC complex in downtown Washington, from the sky-high monthly rent to the much-anticipated rooftop dog park. But here at Well+Being, we want to know: What’s the gym situation?

Don’t expect the cramped, dungeonlike conditions so often expected of apartment gyms. The fitness center, called CenterClub, is two stories and a whopping 3,200 square feet—that’s bigger than most boutique fitness studios.

CityCenter’s fitness center features cardio equipment on the lower level.

The now-open fitness center includes a yoga and exercise studio, where personal trainers and instructors from partner gyms Vida Fitness and Project Fitness host free classes twice a month. Residents can purchase private workout sessions with the gyms, too.

The upper level is reserved for strength-training and stretching, complete with assisted weight machines, free weights, exercise mats, and exercise balls.

In the main workout area downstairs, residents have access to the typical cardio machines, including ellipticals, treadmills, stationary bikes, and a rowing machine. Upstairs folks can strength-train with assisted weight machines and free weights.

So what’s a fitness buff have to do to gain access to the facility? Move in. Studio apartments start at $2,130, while rent for a three-bedroom begins at $7,590. Now that’s an expensive gym membership.

Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 02/24/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Need a little help reaching your weight or nutrition goals? These personal trainers and dietitians come highly recommended. By Melissa Romero
Photograph of Ingrid Nelson by Rob Strong.

Personal Trainers to Keep You Fit

When you need an extra push to tone up or to drop those last few pounds, these personal trainers can help. Many work with TV personalities, politicians, and other well-known faces and are recommended by both fitness professionals and clients.

Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar

The former NFL running back brings his athletic knowledge and experience to clients as head of personal training at Sports Club/LA. 240-277-3929;

Photograph of Errick McAdams courtesy of McAdams.

Elizabeth Brooks

In her private fitness studio on DC’s H Street, Northeast, Brooks specializes in helping seniors and people with injuries. 202-399-3160;

Tom Brose

The founder of the first CrossFit affiliate in DC coaches a wide range of clients, from former Division I athletes to top executives. 202-450-6432;

Margo Carper

A personal trainer to some of Washington’s elite, including Madeleine Albright and Ben Bradlee, Carper offers sessions at Definitions Gym and the Four Seasons Hotel, both in Georgetown. 202-329-5569;

Grant Hill

The personal trainer is also a golf-conditioning specialist and a certified indoor cycling, TRX, and CrossFit instructor. He leads high-intensity boot camps throughout DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Rockville, and Bethesda. 866-639-0566;

Michael Lin

The co-owner of Verve Health & Fitness and CrossFit Rosslyn is known for using sport-specific, high-intensity training tactics with athletes, politicians, and business executives. He’s also one of the personal trainers for the Four Seasons Health Club in Georgetown. 703-465-8100;;

Nino Malong

Clients of all ages turn to Malong for his expertise on martial arts, kickboxing, and self-defense. He offers training at City Fitness in Cleveland Park, CrossFit DC on 14th Street, and Balance Gym in Thomas Circle and Foggy Bottom. 202-758-4085;

Errick McAdams

After his 40-pound weight loss, McAdams became a personal trainer and Lululemon “ambassador.” He offers private sessions in an Adams Morgan studio as well as at clients’ homes and apartment gyms throughout DC. 347-731-2740;

Photograph of Danielle Omar courtesy of Omar.

Ingrid Nelson

Besides private training, Nelson runs popular boot camps at Nike’s Georgetown store. She’s also a certified indoor-cycling instructor. 612-618-7732;

Jonathan Ross

Deemed personal trainer of the year by both the health-and-fitness association IDEA and the American Council on Exercise, Ross offers training at Sport Fit Total Fitness in Bowie as well as in-home sessions. 301-367-6843;

Aaron Sterling

Big-name clients such as New York Times columnists Maureen Dowd and Frank Bruni have worked with Sterling, who trains clients at his three-floor gym in Adams Morgan. 202-380-6987.

Thomas Tomlo Jr.

Clients of the former US Marine have included Condoleezza Rice, Jenna and Barbara Bush, and a long list of collegiate and professional athletes. He is fitness director of the Energy Club in Shirlington.

Jason Yoo

A two-time US national featherweight champion in tae kwon do, Yoo specializes in sport-specific performance training in his Alexandria studio. He also has been assistant coach for the under-17 US national tae kwon do team. 703-200-5939;

Good Nutritionists and Dietitians

When it comes to losing weight, exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. These peer-recommended nutritionists and registered dietitians offer consultations in a variety of specialties, including weight loss, weight management, and sports nutrition.

Ann Gerber

The registered dietitian offers consultations in her Bethesda office, specializing in childhood, adolescent, and adult weight management. 301-656-5424;

Lise Gloede

Named Distinguished Dietitian of the Year by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Gloede is a certified diabetes educator and an expert on vegetarian and vegan diets. 703-516-4973;

Photograph of Rebecca Scritchfield by Geri Gooddale.

Cheryl Harris

Nutrition adviser for the DC Metro Celiac Organization, Harris is an expert on gluten-free diets and h as consulted with Children’s National Health System on childhood obesity. 571-271-8742;

Anu Kaur

Named the emerging dietetic leader for Virginia by the American Dietetic Association, Kaur specializes in weight management related to heart disease and diabetes. 703-880-5469;

Faye Berger Mitchell

A nutritionist in Washington for 26 years, Mitchell has been a consultant and spokesperson for a variety of organizations including the YMCA, Kraft, and Dannon. She specializes in overcoming eating disorders and in family nutrition. 301-309-9395;

Danielle Omar

Omar offers nutrition counseling in Fairfax as well as monthly healthy-cooking classes in Chantilly. She has consulted for a variety of organizations including Fairfax County Public Schools and the American Legacy Foundation.

Rebecca Scritchfield

The registered dietitian doubles as a certified health-and-fitness specialist and provides sports-nutrition counseling to runners and triathletes. 202-375-8942;

Katherine Tallmadge

The author of Diet Simple and former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Tallmadge has designed weight-loss and nutrition programs for clients in Washington for more than 25 years. 202-833-0353;

Robyn Webb

The nutritionist is author of several books, including The Smart Shopper Diabetes Cookbook, published with the American Diabetes Association. Webb offers nutrition counseling in weight loss and gain, type 2 diabetes, and cholesterol management. 703-683-5034;

This article appears in the February 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 09:20 AM/ET, 02/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The annual event raised more than $2.6 million for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. By Tanya Pai
Runners stop for a photo op in front of the Capitol Building. Photographs by Tanya Pai.

Despite some light snow on Saturday morning, the annual Cupid’s Undie Run went off without a hitch. Runners in various costumes and stages of undress gathered on Capitol Hill for the 1.1-mile dash through the streets to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. This year’s sold-out event was helped along by pre-registration in the preceding week, ensuring shorter lines of scantily clad participants waiting in the cold the day of. Nationals mascot Screech showed up, in sparkly red underwear, to take photos with fans; we also witnessed one boxer-clad runner, perhaps swept up in the spirit of Cupid, get down on one knee and propose to his girlfriend at the finish line.

Since starting in DC in 2010, the run has expanded to 27 cities in the US—including, for the first time, Baltimore—and three cities in Australia. In total, the events raised more than $2.6 million for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

See more photos from the run below.

Read More

Posted at 12:30 PM/ET, 02/18/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Their techniques varied from a change in diet to a three-month fitness challenge. By Melissa Romero

After photograph by Andrew Propp. Before photography courtesy of Artley.

Will Artley

Before: 330 pounds
After: 245 pounds
Height: Five-foot-ten

How he did it: In June, the executive chef at Falls Church’s Pizzeria Orso entered a three-month weight-loss challenge against other local chefs to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Although he was the heaviest competitor at the start, Artley, 36, lost the most weight thanks to 5 am workouts that involved either a six-mile run, a 30-mile bike ride, or a one-mile swim. He also ditched late-night drinking for more sleep. “People will constantly find excuses why they can’t work out,” says Artley, who plans to run the DC Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon in March. “It’s all about finding the willpower.”

After photograph by Andrew Propp. Before photography courtesy of Coaston.

Jane Coaston

Before: 265 pounds
After: 170 pounds
Height: Five-foot-eight

How she did it: In college, Coaston’s diet consisted of cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. “It really wasn’t healthful at all,” she says. Coaston later learned about the Paleo diet, which promotes meat, seafood, vegetables, and nuts while eliminating dairy, grains, beans, and processed foods. Cutting carbs and sugars from her meals helped her go from a size 10 to a 6 in the past year. “It’s taken a really long time,” says Coaston, now 26 and press secretary for an environmental organization. But the weight loss “has been the biggest success of my life.”

After photograph by Andrew Propp. Before photography courtesy of Fiore.

David Fiore

Before: 183 pounds
After: 163 pounds
Height: Five-foot-ten

How he did it: Fiore, 53, used to end his gym workouts without breaking a sweat. “Trainers would tell me, ‘You chat—a lot,’ ” Fiore says. Eventually, the federal employee realized that his lack of structure—plus his love of cheese and pasta—had caused his weight to spiral out of control. He signed up for personal-training sessions and group classes with two coworkers, limited his alcohol intake, and started a gluten-free and minimal-dairy diet. He lost one pound each week and now exercises Monday through Friday plus sometimes on the weekend. “The secret to success is making it a priority,” Fiore says. “I just feel good.”

This article appears in the February 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 02/18/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Yoga, barre, and cycling classes for couples and singles alike. By Melissa Romero
Soar to new heights this Valentine’s Day by trying a partner yoga workshop, barre class, or cycling session. Image via Shutterstock.

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.

Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 02/10/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The indoor-cycling studio finally has an opening date. By Melissa Romero
SoulCycle opens in DC this summer at 23rd and M streets, Northwest. Photograph by Melissa Romero.

After ten months and five days (not that we’re counting), we finally know when SoulCycle will open its doors in DC.

Sort of.

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.

Posted at 11:19 AM/ET, 02/06/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Local experts share their top picks for hill training in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. By Kelsey Lindsey
The hill on 13th Street, Northwest, provides a challenge as well as great views of downtown Washington. Photography by Flickr user Mr T in DC.

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.


13th Street, Northwest

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.

Valley Trail in Rock Creek Park

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.

Cecil Place, Northwest

Running coach Mike Hamberger runs his clients up hills all around the District, including this one on the Georgetown waterfront.

Capitol Hill

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.


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.

Azalea Road, Northeast

The National Arboretum provides a scenic background for this half-mile favorite of the EZ8 running program’s Kathleen Pugh.


Leland Street in Bethesda

Sapper and Reichmann take runners on this route of rolling hills in Bethesda to stimulate the Boston Marathon’s infamous Heartbreak Hill.

Military Road in Arlington

Two consecutive, nearly half-mile hills test the body and mind on this stretch of road in Arlington.

Posted at 12:40 PM/ET, 02/05/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()