I bear crawled across the floor, the black turf grass digging into my palms, my arms protesting as I reached back to drag the sand bag along the floor beneath me. In the next minute, I switched to a new exercise: flat on my belly, raising my arms and legs in the air like Superman before jumping to my feet, hopping sideways over a bench, then back onto my belly for another Superman lift.
It was exhausting. It was also just one of the many three-minute circuits of exercises that I performed during Cut Seven’s 6 AM “Back/Heart” class. The morning started with sprinted laps around the room before moving into the circuit training. Burpees, plank rows, bear crawls, and jumps were just a few of the exercises that appeared at the different “stations” around the room, where each partner set would work for three minutes before we all transitioned to a new station. I was in a group of three, and we exchanged high fives in between sets as we made our slow, sweaty way through an hour’s worth of the intense intervals.
New on the boutique fitness scene in DC, Cut Seven’s particular brand of torture is the brain child of husband and wife trainers Alex and Chris Perrin. The workout is designed to mimic the way sports teams train together, and it focuses on different muscle groups each day of the week, so no two workouts are alike. There’s no bulky equipment in the space—no treadmills, rowing machines, or stationary bikes. There are hand weights, sandbags, resistance bands, benches, and TRX straps hanging from the ceiling, but that’s about it as far as equipment goes. Instead, the workout relies on your own body weight to provide resistance and the length of the open room to provide space to run for cardio.
Though the sets of exercises are challenging in and of themselves, it takes self-motivation to push through them at a fast pace to really reap the benefits of high intensity interval training. But this is where the team aspect plays in brilliantly: one partner needs to complete his or her exercises in order to relieve the other from their task. This creates a sense of urgency in every set, as you know in the back of your mind if you slow down, you’re leaving your partner hanging. The good news is, you’re so focused on moving from one exercise to the next that the hour-long class passes quite quickly—even if the exercises get harder and harder to complete by the end.
After a pop-up on 14th Street this fall, the gym’s permanent home was finally ready to host classes on January 16. Following the current trend of boutique gyms, Cut Seven’s interior feels more club than studio with its dim lighting, black turf floors and black walls, and high-energy pop and hip hop music. For those that are attracted to the gritty side of boxing and Crossfit clubs but still want the luxury boutique experience, Cut Seven makes for a fine compromise. At the very least, it’s worth swinging by the gym to say hello to Alex and Chris Perrin’s rescue dog, who hangs around the studio and is very fittingly named “Burpee.”
Cut Seven is now open at 1101 Rhode Island Ave., NW. Individual classes are $29, and community classes are free.