Race season is upon us, and to get local athletes ready for the first Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington next month, the company has started both a running club and a training club out of its Georgetown store. We stopped by the Nike Training Club—or NTC, to those in the know—on Monday night to give the workout a try. An hour later we were sweaty and thoroughly exhausted, as we’re told we were supposed to be. “When you leave, I want you to feel like you can’t do one more pushup or one more squat, like you can’t jump one more time,” the instructor told us afterward.
NTC has met Mondays at 8 PM since January, and each workout is run by a pair of local trainers. Throughout March, Deanna Jefferson and Chris Perrin administer the torture—they’ll be replaced come April but will be back later in the year, as each of Nike’s three pairs of trainers works for a month at a time. This means that the class varies week to week, but it’s always a mix of strength and cardio that works several muscle groups.
Leading Monday’s workout was Jefferson, who greeted the 50 participants with a wide smile and a glimpse of her enviable abs before she got down to business. And her enthusiasm and positivity carried us through an hourlong circuit. The music didn’t hurt, either—DJ Chris Styles played pop songs with heavy beats that prompted several exhausted proclamations of, “This is my song!” between burpees.
After a brief warmup of jumping jacks, running in place, and lunges, we began the circuit, which was made up of nine exercises broken into three sets. Each set targeted various areas of the body including the core, arms and legs, and, ultimately, whole-body exercises. We did burpees, tuck-ups, jumping lunges, and several Jefferson creations that changed up typical bodyweight exercises. There was the twist plank, the scorpion pushup, and so many more we lost track. The only requirement of the class was that we keep moving—no matter how little, no matter how tired we got.
Jefferson says she tries each workout beforehand to make sure it’s not too hard, but she always hopes to push participants to the brink of exhaustion. “I can tell the difference between, ‘I’m tired so I’m not trying very hard anymore’ and, ‘My body is physically shutting down,’” she told the group at the beginning of the workout. “If you’re not moving, it better be because you can’t.”
The fitness level of the group was, understandably, pretty high. This workout wouldn’t be suitable for a beginner, but potential visitors shouldn’t be afraid, either—continuing to move is really the only requirement, and the large group and positive atmosphere are encouraging. An added perk: Attendees are invited to try Nike products during the session, from Fuel bands to new shoes. Although the store is closed, one register remains open in case you like what you test out and want to take it home.
Nike Training Club meets Mondays at 8 PM at the Nike store in Georgetown (3040 M St., NW; 202-471-5870); we suggest arriving at least 15 minutes early to check a bag or pick up a product to try. All classes are free.