Animal Flow Is the Newest Workout to Hit DC Gyms

The Parkour-like workout is not your normal fitness class.

Mike Fitch says Animal Flow is bringing movement back into the world of fitness. Photographs by Melissa Romero.

Mike Fitch wants you to channel your inner beast.

That’s the idea behind Animal Flow X, the newest cardio fitness class to hit Washington.

Fitch, the creator of Animal Flow, made a stop at Equinox Bethesda this week to debut

the Parkour-like fitness movement that’s taking over gyms across the country.

“Animal Flow is a unique discipline that integrates the entire body, using every muscle,

your core, butt, abs, shoulders—I mean everything,” Fitch explained. “It involves

using animal components with free-movement components, allowing us to create this

endless flow of movement.”

Animal components? Like, swinging my arms around like a monkey?

Not in the slightest, I soon learned. As Fitch took us through the warmup—which felt

like a workout in and of itself and lasted 30 minutes—we performed slow, deep exercises

that engaged every muscle possible: We channeled baboons as we squatted on our heels;

we got into crab-walk position, slowly lifted our hips, and reached behind ourselves;

we jumped side to side while staying light on our feet, as a gorilla would while defending

his territory.

The actual workout then integrated the exercises into one. Although each move was

slow and calculated, by the time the last circuit ended, sweat already dripped from

our faces, arms shook, and the animalistic roars encouraged by Fitch turned into whimpers.

“The whole idea [of Animal Flow] is bringing movement back into fitness,” Fitch explained

after the class. “For so long we’ve been stuck in these fixed-axis machines.”

Fitch created the Animal Flow movement after years of only weightlifting. “I just

didn’t feel or move well,” he said. “So I stopped weight-lifting and turned to bodyweight

disciplines. I’ve never felt or looked better.”

Look better, indeed. Fitch’s physique is a testament itself to the Animal Flow workout.

He’s 50 pounds lighter and credits it all to Animal Flow and what he calls progressive

bodyweight training. (Think pushups, handstands, and planks on steroids.)

As we wiped away sweat and massaged our sore wrists (plenty of moves are performed

on your hands), Fitch demonstrated what moves to expect in an advanced class, contorting

his body into seemingly impossible positions in fluid movements. “Again, it’s something

that as we practice, we get better,” he said.

Animal Flow X is available at Equinox Bethesda and Tysons Corner. For more information,

visit Equinox’s website.

Watch a video of Fitch demonstrating Animal Flow.