Feb 28 2014

Plyo push-ups

Plyo push-ups on the bosu ball. Works on upper trunk stabilization and proprioception. Also, strengthens chest and triceps for explosive power and eccentric deceleration.

Feb 27 2014

VIDA Fitness Member Highlight – Melva Jones

personal-trainerTell us a little more about yourself.

I am a local event planner who has been a member of VIDA for at least three years. I love it so much that I commute from Maryland almost every day to make it to the gym.

Why are you using a personal trainer?

I hired a personal trainer because I needed someone to hold me accountable and I was struggling to meet my weight and fitness goals. Also, it helped when my doctor pulled my BMI and flat out told me “you need to loose.” I wanted to be healthier and just didn’t know how.

What do you like most about your trainer?

I LOVE Craig Davenport. He is the best trainer ever. I like that our workouts are varied and include asking me about my diet. I like that he is knowledgeable but also Craig is very patient with me because sometimes the gym is intimidating when many people can do stuff physically that I could only dream of. Craig never compares, the time you have with him he is completely focused and most importantly I have lost weight, like a lot of weight where people are starting to notice :).

What is your main goal?

I don’t have just one main goal but rather three. 1. I would like to loose 25 more lbs (and I am on my way); 2. I would like to run a 1/2 marathon (already registered and training. The marathon is March 15 and I never ran a day in my life) and 3. I would like to increase my flexibility.

How has Craig helped you reach your goals?

Has Craig helped me? YES. I am fitting into clothes that were collecting dust in my closet. I actually prefer healthier options than fried food (but yes, I still have fried food on occasion) and I am doing things that physically I never thought I could do. I mean I was legitimately fat and now I am running a 1/2 marathon crazy or one time VIDA had this thing where you could do four classes in a row and I did it and didn’t die. Craig has helped me change my life and I will forever love him for that. Now training isn’t cheap but Craig makes it worth every single penny.

Feb 25 2014

The Truth About Flexibility And Why You Are Likely Wasting Your Efforts Part 2

By Erik Strouse, MS
VIDA Fitness Trainer

Welcome back VIDA readers! I hope my suspense from the last article on flexibility didn’t leave you on the edge of your seat for too long! Just as a quick recap, in the last article I discussed why just performing static stretching, which is the normal approach by many when it comes to flexibility training, is not adequate, and is actually working against yourself. Lack of flexibility stems from sedentary lifestyles causing muscles to shorten when seated for extended periods of time. Further, a lack of adequate movement throughout the day causes muscle strength around the joints to weaken, but because stability is still required, muscles will tighten up to provide it. Static stretching will temporarily lengthen a muscle, but because the above problems are not solved, the tightness will continue to foster itself.

chickenfascia Now lets get into some more science here, as again, it is important to understand this so that you can truly know how to improve flexibility. Each and every one of our muscles is encased in a connective tissue called fascia. Think of a chicken breast, and more specifically that white, thin film that covers the actual breast meat. In the image provided, the chicken breast on the left has the Fascia still on it, whereas the breast on the right has it removed. This connective tissue is VERY tough. Think about a time when you tried to pull it apart. It probably didn’t budge without a razor sharp knife. This is necessary because the Fascia gives the soft tissues of our body their necessary structure and rigidity to sustain upright posture. Because Fascia is so strong and tough, it takes constant stress to change its shape. When you sit down all day, you meet this constantly applied stress, and it adapts to that position. Think about that for a second. If it’s strong enough to hold us upright and has taken a lifetime to adapt to a seated posture, what will it take to get it to change? Static stretching for 30-60 seconds a day simply cannot compete with that lifetime. However, there are other methods of flexibility training that will make profound changes on the Fascia.
For starters, addressing the Fascia system directly is necessary, and should be your #1 step in improving flexibility. The awesome thing about the Fascia system is by having direct pressure applied to it, you can change it’s ability to mold. Further, direct pressure to the Fascia can instantly increase a muscles range of motion. Although this is temporary if other actions are not taken, it is a great way to jumpstart the process.

So, how do you address the Fascia system directly? The answer is Self-Myofascial Release (SMFR), also known as “foam rolling”. SMFR is more or less a self-applied sports massage. Massages are very well known and documented to improve range of motion and flexibility. Just think of your first massage and how AWESOME you felt after. AURA Spa has a great selection of sport massages, but reality is, you need to have this done daily to get the necessary change in the Fascia system to permanently change your flexibility.
Applying SMFR is not a simple procedure, and precaution needs to be taken to not cause any inflammation or joint capsule damage. What’s more, SMFR is known to be rather “painful” when done. When a member experiences pain in the body of the muscle tissue, it means they SHOULD BE DOING IT. Pain will decrease, if not entirely go away, the more frequently you do it. When you get to this point, you are in an awesome position to improve your range of motion and flexibility.

A well-targeted SMFR program is not cookie cutter, as everyone has different muscular imbalances. You can certainly perform SMFR at our VIDA clubs, as each club has a plethora of rollers throughout the various floors and club sections. If you would like more detail on how to approach this topic, contact me directly. It is worth learning about in a more in-depth manner, and I can assure you, if done, you will not regret it. In fact, this is Step #1 for planning to age well. Your life will be exponentially better if you do this consistently going forward.
To not stray too far from the overall topic, SMFR is just Step #1 of a multiple step process to improve flexibility. I will have more posts on the remaining steps coming shortly. Stay tuned, or please send me an email at for more info. You will not regret learning the right way to do this.

Feb 24 2014

How to Get Your First Strict Pull-Up

By Colette Beyer, NASM Certified Personal Trainer

If the thought of hoisting your body up and over a bar brings back bad memories from gym class then this article is for you, regardless of your gender. There are many reasons why the pull-up is a difficult exercise but rather than focusing on the obstacle let’s look at the workaround.


To start, we’re talking about a pull-up here (overhand, palms facing away from your body) rather than a chin-up (underhand, palms facing toward your body). However, we will use chin-ups in our progressions below, they’re a great place to start!

Other Rules

– No kicking, flailing, or kipping to help you get over the bar

– Reach full extension = elbows completely extended after lowering yourself from the bar

– Pull until your chest reaches the bar

Tip: tuck your chin to your chest to protect your neck and resist tilting your head back

Starting from Scratch – Using Progressions to Work Up to a Strict Pull-Up

There are many great ways to prepare your body using progressions, and we’ve included a few below to get you started. Pick one of the following progressions and perform it three times per week (with at least one rest day in between) to begin building the muscles needed to perform your first strict pull-up.

Chin-Up Negatives

vida-1(10 reps x 3 sets – 1 minute rest between sets)

1. Stand on a plyometric box (see image below) under a pull-up bar. Pick a box tall enough so that you can easily get into a flexed arm hang position (see image to the right)

2. With hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, grab the bar with an underhand grip so your palms are facing your body (“chin-up grip”)

3. Slowly lower yourself down until your elbows are fully extended (in this progression and those to follow make sure that you keep tension in your muscles the entire time…do not drop quickly!)

Pull-Up Negatives (10 reps x 3 sets – 1 minute rest between sets)

vida-21. Stand on the same box you used to perform chin-up negatives and with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, grab the bar with an overhand grip so your palms are facing away from your body (“pull-up grip”)

2. Slowly lower yourself down until your elbows are fully extended and pull-up will help you build the muscular stability and endurance necessary to perform the eccentric (pulling) portion that give people, even ones that are fit, so much trouble.

We Want to See Your Progress!

Snap a picture of yourself performing these progressions and post it to Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags #pullupprogress and #vidafitnessdc Colette Beyer is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer at VIDA Fitness Metropole.

Have a question about this post? Email Colette or mention her on Twitter, @myechoboom.

Feb 23 2014

VIDA Fitness February Book Drive

Join Vida Fitness this February in supporting D.C. education non-profit Turning the Page by donating used books, CDs, and DVDs in designated collection bins set up at the following VIDA Fitness locations:

– Verizon Center (601 F St, NW)
– City Vista (445 K St, NW)
– Renaissance Hotel (999 9th St, NW)
– Metropole (1517 15th St, NW)
– U Street (1612 U St, NW)

Gently used books, CDs, and DVDs of all genres and for all ages are accepted. (No magazines, journals, or VHS tapes, please.)