At first glance, Physicality DC fitness studio may remind you of a gym for gymnasts. A thick blue mat serves as the studio floor, ladders or stall bars serve as wallpaper on one wall, ropes hang from the ceiling and rings hang from metal bars suspended from the ceiling near the back wall. That’s where the similarity to gymnastics classes ends.
“Our style of training incorporates bodyweight movements drawn from gymnastics, calisthenics and strength training,” said Chris Garay, owner of Physicality DC. “This training method is used in only a dozen or so gyms around the world.”
Classes and personal training sessions at Physicality DC adhere to strict progressions toward body weight strength and flexibility. “Our movements are unique,” said Chris. “In some classes and training we teach hand stands, planches (arm balance exercise similar to the yoga pose crow), single leg squats, rope climbs without legs and front and back lever exercises.” Front and back lever exercises are calisthenics moves – a static hold normally performed on the rings or pull-up bar.
Chris says the methods from which he and his staff have created the routines are drawn from gymnastics, weight lifting and martial arts. “We are a community of athletes and coaches who have a shared passion for bodyweight fitness, sustainable health and continuous self-improvement,” he said. “We want Physicality to provide world-class instruction and offer students meaningful life change.”
About the Owner and Head Coach
Chris Garay has an eclectic background. While he grew up playing sports, he shifted his focus to music in high school. His undergraduate degree is in philosophy and religious studies, and he did graduate work in psychology and well-being.
Chris has trained in a variety of endurance, strength, power and bodyweight sports. “I’m interested in helping change people’s lives for the better and I’m always striving to learn and improve.” He has a plethora of certifications in areas that range from CrossFit, strength, functional conditioning and flexibility.
Types of Classes
Classes at Physicality DC are not the typical boot camp, HIIT, yoga, or Pilates classes you can attend at other gyms. Every Physicality class has a flexibility component within it. “While we have music playing in the background, our movements and exercises are not the kind that could be timed to music.”
Foundations classes are a full body strength and flexibility workout based on movements commonly seen in gymnastics, calisthenics, strength training and other related disciplines.
Core & Flexibility classes are targeted to deficiencies that most adults have: lack of core strength and mobility. This class is beginner friendly, but it also is an effective active recovery workout for more experienced exercisers.
Prehab classes are beginner-friendly and designed for the health and longevity of your hips and shoulders. “We use bodyweight bands and weights to strengthen what is weak and stretch what is tight,” said Chris. “This class is a perfect mixture of strength and flexibility work to help correct the imbalances many people have from desk work, improper training and sedentary living.”
Rings, Handstand and Open Gym are specialty classes with prerequisites. To participate in Rings one must be able to complete a pull-up and a dip on the rings. To participate in Handstand one must be able to kick up into a handstand against the wall and to participate in Open Gym one must be enrolled in personal training or group classes.
Movement, another specialty class, is a blend of gymnastics, tumbling, circus acrobatics and contemporary dance. “It is a beginner-friendly class taught by one of our staff, Shawn Stone, who has nearly two decades of teaching experience.”
Chris emphasizes the non-intimidating and supportive atmosphere at Physicality DC. The studio is for adults only. He says most clients are between 25 and 45. Yet he has several clients who are Baby Boomers. Introductory classes are reasonably priced. If you don’t mind exercising with your shoes off (socks optional) try a class at PhysicalityDC.
To learn more about Physicality DC, 1371 H Street NE, check out the website: www.physicalitydc.com or call: 202-672-3132.
Pattie Cinelli is a health/fitness professional who offers information about subjects on the leading edge of health and fitness thought. She has been writing her column for more than 25 years and welcomes column suggestions and fitness questions. Pattie can provide lectures, private sessions and group classes in stretch, yoga, Pilates and her specialty: Balance and Mobility for your church, home or office. She is also producing a podcast about choices on how to stay well. You can contact Pattie at: firstname.lastname@example.org.