There’s no lack of choice when it comes to exercising on the Hill. Big box gyms offer variety, but can be intimidating. Small boutique studios offer comfort and intimacy, but your exercise routine may be limited by the lack of class choices.
Two new fitness studios have created very different ways to work out, yet have designed programs similar in concept – work hard at your own unique pace, be safe and have fun. They focus on variety, intensity and individual coaching within a class.
Off Road and Orangetheory Fitness use the latest equipment and technology to create personalized workouts in a group setting. They’ve designed efficient, welcoming spaces for members and place a high value on building relationships in the community. Both are woman-owned.
If you’ve been on the Hill a while you may remember Remington’s, a unique night spot that closed several years ago. The location at 637 Pennsylvania Ave., SE has been transformed into a fresh, new fitness studio that specializes in challenging members of all fitness levels to gain strength, endurance and power using the latest state of the art equipment and technology.
Off Road offers classes in cycling, boxing and strength training– or as Off Road calls it, ‘bike, box and build– that, “are doable and attainable for everyone,” said co-owner Tammar Berger. “We design programs that are sustainable, effective and leave room to grow.”
The space is warm and welcoming. Tammar and co-owner Tali Wenger have kept the exposed brick walls. Weights, TRXs, boxing bags, risers and kettle bells outline the front room. But the real gem of the studio is in the back room, which is home to 30 bikes. The room is dimly lit, and when Tammar turned on the screens for me, huge, beautiful visual images were projected on each side of the room. Each student’s intensity numbers can be displayed on the screen as well. Instructors can use the video or not. They can create theme rides, video rides and change their music program through the computer next to their bike.
Off Road, which opened in January, also has a location on U Street, NW. Tammar and Tali’s business venture developed out of a desire they both had five years ago. “We were out to dinner. I was teaching spinning at the time and Tali loved indoor cycling. We were lamenting that there were no cycling studios in DC.” Off Road was born. “It’s been an interesting journey,” said Tammar. She gave up her position as a lawyer at the World Bank to run the business.
Off Road offers a great introductory deal. For $50 you can take as many classes as you want for a week. Classes are early weekday mornings and after work and on weekends. Last month Off Road offered a 10-hour marathon cycling class to benefit MS. They also have been collecting baby supplies to give to families housed at DC General Hospital.
Orangetheory just opened its doors in April. As a franchise, it has several locations in northern Virginia. When I walked into the doors at New Jersey and I Streets, SE, the room was so very orange. “The orange zone is our push pace,” said Jessie Thompson, studio manager. “We’ve designed a ‘perfect pyramid’ according to colors.” Members use a heart rate monitor and their progress for each class is projected on a screen in the front of the room. At the end of class they can see how they did. Orange is the ‘sweet place’ or push pace where students can get their metabolic kick. If you can maintain your heart rate in the zone for 12 to 20 minutes you can create the ‘afterburn’ or the place where you burn calories 24 to 72 hours after your workout.
While your class coach may be encouraging you to push harder, you have complete control over your workout on any given day. “Orangetheory is for every person,” said Elaina, a personal trainer for 10 years who became an Orangetheory coach. You can run, jog or walk on the treadmills. You can row as slow or fast as you want on the water rowers. The third part of the 60- minute workout consists of strength and/or core exercises. Last month Jessie brought her father to a work out. “It got kind of competitive,” she said.
While I was visiting the studio, Elizabeth Patell walked in. I usually run into her jogging with her husband, two boys and dog in Congressional Cemetery. “When I was in Indianapolis visiting my sister-in-law, we went to Orangetheory there. I really liked the workout and wanted to try it out here.” Elizabeth works nearby at the Navy Yard., and Orangetheory’s 3:30 classes are very convenient. She used to belong to a big box gym, but the class times and sizes didn’t work for her. “I also love getting an email at the end of class letting me know how I’m doing.” Now Elizabeth can compare notes on the day’s workout. All franchises present the same workout. Workouts change each day.
Orangetheory has earned the No. 1 spot in the annual ranking for the fastest growing woman-owned or led businesses as reported in Fortune Magazine last month. The franchise, which opened in 2014 in Florida with owner Ellen Latham’s personal savings, now has more than 600 locations internationally.
When it comes to exercise, the idea is to challenge your body. You may have made great strides at the beginning of an exercise program and then hit a point where progression slows or even stops. This is called “hitting a plateau.” By mixing up your workout, you can keep your body on its toes. Variation also can help you avoid injury. Doing the same thing the same way all the time can put a strain on your joints. With more than 600 muscles you need to keep challenging your body in new and different ways. At both Off Road and OrangeTheory Fitness you can find a niche to keep your body and mind fit and healthy.
To learn more about Off Road visit: www.offroaddc.com, or email: [email protected].
Pattie Cinelli is a holistic health and fitness consultant who has been writing her columns about the latest fitness trends for more than 25 years. Please email her with any comments or column ideas at: [email protected].