Review: Nike Georgetown’s Seriously Tough Boot Camp Class

The classes are free, but that doesn’t mean the trainers go easy on you.

Various fitness studios and stores offer late-night classes, perfect for the midnight owls. Nike Georgetown hosts 8 PM bootcamps every Monday. Photograph by Mary Yarrison.

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.