Jun 30 2014

VIDA Instructor Profile- Erik Strouse.

Erik StrouseErik Strouse has been a VIDA trainer for the past three years bringing his talents to the personal training department as well as to the group exercise classrooms of VIDA U Street and now City Vista. He’s been training for a total of eight years, which began with his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Rowan University and then George Washington for his Masters. After his Thursday 12:30 p.m. VIDA Xtreme class at City Vista we got the background story on what Erik loves about fitness along with some insider tips.

What is your favorite thing about teaching VIDA Xtreme and teaching group exercise classes in general?

Teaching VIDA Xtreme is great because I can show people that effective, hard workouts don’t need to be acrobatics. VIDA Xtreme isn’t a “trendy” workout; it’s a workout that helps build strength and is cardio effective all by using functional movements.

Group fitness in general is fun to teach because of the energy. One-on-one training is a lot about fine tuning and breaking down movements. Group fitness is much more of an endorphin rush and it’s easy to thrive off of the energy of the group.

What got you into the fitness world?

It sounds like a cliché story, but I was heavy as a kid, and once I hit high school I was motivated to do the work and lose the weight. When it came time to go to college, I wasn’t really interested in attending, but once I took a few classes related to fitness in the physical, mental and spiritual sense it all came together and that’s how my path to training started.

What is a client or student success story that has stuck with you?

More specifically, I had one client, a 65-year-old, who lost five inches in six weeks. It just goes to show that the motivation shouldn’t just lie in looking a certain way. Make the effort to be mobile and active and the rest will follow.

What is an exercise mantra you go by?

Do what feels good.

Whether it’s physically or mentally, if you don’t like it, don’t do it. And take time to rest.

When it comes to nutrition, what’s your mantra on that aspect of health?

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Begin building healthy habits over time to sustain those behaviors; they’ll soon become second nature. Also, go for foods that have had as little manufacturing as possible. Food has powerful abilities, and the whole food source in it’s most natural state is going to be the best for you.

Jun 27 2014

Top 5 Reasons You Should Take Up Yoga

VIDA Models 1 0720

1) To be more in tune with your body – Sometimes we take our body’s abilities

and functions for granted, but the pace of yoga allows us to slow down and

find intention in each movement and posture. This intention can really open

your eyes to where your body is strongest, and what areas of your overall

health you would like to improve.

2) To relieve stress –While running or lifting weights may also be a stress relief

for you, the breathing methods and tuning out of the outside world in yoga

can do wonders during times of tension and stress. The meditative nature of

yoga is something you might find yourself craving after you’ve discovered

true relaxation during exercise.

3) Pain relief – The practice of yoga is used to supplement treatment for a

variety of medical conditions such as hypertension and arthritis. Even back

and neck pain caused from sitting all day or not having a chance to sit all day

(sometimes it feels like we can’t win) will be greatly improved with yoga.

4) Increased Flexibility – Your excuse for not doing yoga because you’re not

flexible is no longer valid. Yoga is the form of exercise that will transform you

from not being able to touch your toes to touching your nose to your knees

with a little bit of time and patience.

5) Better sleep – At the most basic level yoga assists in being able to become

mentally “quiet” along with increased blood circulation helping your muscles

relax, both of which aid in sleep. Doing Cat and Child poses before bed is also

great way to ease in to a good night’s sleep.

For more information about VIDA YOGA Classes please visit our website.

Jun 25 2014

VIDA Member Profile – Darin Volwiler

Easily the most high-energy and enthusiastic member of the class besides the instructor, we had to track down VIDA member, Darin, after VIDA Xtreme and find out where he gets all that excitement for fitness from. Darin has been a member for three years, but his love for fitness has been lifelong. Darin Volwiler

Why is fitness a main motivator for you?

It’s really a lifestyle. It’s not a task I just check off my to-do list and it’s done. I’m a yoga instructor, so being active is just a part of my everyday life, not an afterthought. I was also always active growing up doing things like volleyball, softball, dodgeball, you name it.

How often do you take VIDA Xtreme?

This was actually my first VIDA Xtreme class! I mainly take spin classes at VIDA, but I train with Erik and follow him to whatever location he travels to. I love Erik’s style of training, it’s always high intensity, which is what I need to balance out yoga and spin.

What was your favorite part of the VIDA Xtreme class?

The end.. just kidding! I loved the mix of cardio and strength and that the movements apply to real life. You’re doing exercises that are functional and going to benefit your body in both the short and long term.

What are some of your current fitness goals?

I really don’t have any specific goals at the moment, currently I’m just focusing on maintenance and staying in good health. I like to eat less-than-healthy things, like fries, whenever I want and to do that I have to keep it up with the intense workouts. I’ve also been in the best shape of my life since I started training with Erik (he was my personal trainer match for my initial vidafit session when I first became a VIDA member) and I want to keep that going.

This is a random question just for fun, but what’s your favorite workout song right now?

The song “Wooly” by Breathe Carolina is just the perfect poppy-rock song right now that can push me through the toughest part of a workout. Like when I’m at mile 2.7 of a 4 mile run, that’s the song I want blasting through my earbuds.

Jun 24 2014

VIDA Fitness Class Profile: VIDA Xtreme

Our advice for this class: come prepared to work non-stop for 45 minutes, bring a water bottle filled with ice cold water and give yourself a pep talk.

While VIDA Xtreme isn’t for the faint of heart, it is for everyone regardless of if you’re just starting out on your journey to a healthy and fit lifestyle, or you’ve been a gym rat for years.

You’ll find the class description on the VIDA schedule to read, “A challenging total body workout combining various sport specific exercises to increase muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance. VIDA Xtreme progresses in difficulty with each class to push you to your limit and achieve your maximum potential.”

That’s VIDA Xtreme in a nutshell, but while you’re in the class you’ll get a feel for what any small group training class feels like, which is pounding out a killer workout with peers and getting individual feedback on form from the instructor.

During Erik Strouse’s Thursday 12:30 pm VIDA Xtreme class we were prepared to sweat as the heat of the day had already set in. Erik advised to drink ice cold water to keep the core temperature of our bodies down, but also be aware not to fill up too much since many movements in the class involved plyometrics.

We started out with a 5 to 10 minute warm up that got our bodies ready to move and our heart rates up. Throughout the rest of the class we did four rounds of two exercises completing as many reps as we could in 40 seconds. Erik also advised everyone to not push too hard at risk of getting injured or not completing the exercises in proper form (a lesson we could all use at times whether we’re in a class or working out on our own). So although the class is called VIDA Xtreme, be mindful to listen to your body. It’s okay to take resting breaks.

Some exercises involved working with a partner, while others utilized various pieces of equipment or just our own body weight. For anyone who finds themselves looking at the clock to see when class is over you won’t be experiencing that in VIDA Xtreme. Erik kept our attention from the get-go giving us tips on proper form (my push-up is now completely transformed) and circulating the room to provide guidance and motivation.

Before I knew it the 45 minutes flew by, and the end of the class left me at complete muscle failure. For someone who usually has a maxed out schedule, this workout is the best use of your time; you’re in, you’re out and you got a calorie-torching/muscle building workout in less than an hour.

To find out when the next VIDA Xtreme class is happening take a look at our class schedules!

Jun 22 2014

Basic Resistance Bands Biceps & Tricep Exercises

Grasp the two ends of a resistance band.
Place the center of the band under your feet as an anchor.
Let your arms hang by your hips. There should be a bit of slack in the band.
Keep your back straight.
Bending your elbows, slowly raise your hands to your shoulders, pulling the resistance band taut.
Slowly lower your arms.

Place one end of the band under your foot and hold the other end in your hand.
Bend your elbow so it is pointing to the ceiling and your hand is behind you.
Straighten your elbow and point your hand to the ceiling.
Slowly return to the starting position.

Jun 20 2014

Four Plugged-In Sources for Fitness Inspiration

Normally we wouldn’t tout technology as a great source for fitness, especially since the rise of the computer screen is what has led our society to predominantly sedentary lifestyles, but we think there’s a flip side to every argument.

We believe social media can actually be a bit of a guidebook, albeit a virtual one, for fitness inspiration and knowledge. With so many platforms and sources out there making workout ideas, tips and healthy pre- and post-workout recipes more accessible than ever, we think there are a few sites worth taking a closer look at.

Below are some of our favorite sources for all things health and fitness:

Apps – The Nike Training Club app is one of the most comprehensive ones out there. With workouts aimed for various results like getting lean, toned or strong, it’s a one-stop shop for getting a customized workout on the fly. If you feel like crunches, planks and Russian twists are getting old, the app Abs Workout (not the most creative moniker, but it gets the job done) is a great source for new ab exercises, which aids in muscle confusion for this trickier-to-tone area. Another favorite app is Charity Miles, which allows you to earn money for the charity of your choosing with every mile you walk, run or bike. Getting moving becomes more motivating when not only are you helping yourself, but others, too.

Instagram – Instagram has become the new home of the wanna-be fitness models, but we prefer to use it to follow inspiring accounts that provide real inspiration to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Cenna aka @censkiii is a little bit of a model, but favors the progress over perfection mindset and keeps it real on the fitness front. She’s a huge advocate for being balanced and busts common exercise and diet misconceptions in a way that makes you feel motivated to make healthier choices. Some of our other favorite accounts include @theproteinbar and @lululemon.

Blogs – Well it looks like you’ve already tapped in to this source or else you wouldn’t be reading this! One of our favorite ways to keep track of all of the blogs we follow is through a reader such as bloglovin’. This reader allows you to go to one place and read all of the latest news and easily sift through blog posts and virtually earmark what you like. Some of the blogs in our feed include Prescribe Nutrition, FitSugar and Pumps & Iron.

Pinterest – There’s a careful line we walk on this one, we keep time on Pinterest to a minimum since it’s easy to get sucked in with participating in more pinning than planking. Some of the most helpful pins we find come from Greatist, Tone It Up and Women’s Health Magazines. Following VIDA Fitness on Pinterest is also another good way to fill your feed with useful info!

Now just as a small disclaimer, technology is a beautiful thing, but it’s easy to get caught up and make plans and not execute. There’s a careful balance between recognizing unrealistic portrayals of wellness (i.e. fitness models) or collecting so much information that you don’t know where to start.

Here’s our advice: Use these tools to find recipes and grocery lists you can print out and tack on to your fridge, HIIT circuits that you can bookmark on your computer and do on your own at the gym, motivational quotes you can put as your desktop background, etc.

All in all, don’t become immersed. Use these things as what they are: tools to help you get where you want to be. Let them assist you, but keep in mind that you’re in control of how you use them and how you meet your fitness goals.

Jun 18 2014

Office Core Workout : Atomic Push-ups!

Dare to do this exercise at the office or at Home.

No TRX, No problem.

1. Put your feet on the chair and get into push-up position so that only your hands are touching the ground. More like an decline Push-ups.
2. Lower your chest to the ground and push yourself back up.
3. As soon as you push yourself back up. Bring your knees into your chest and then back out again.
4. This completes one repetition.

Jun 15 2014

Lateral Squat Jumps Over Bosu Ball

Place the bosu with the flat side on the floor
Start with your Left foot in the middle of the bosu & your Right foot on the floor
Squat down into a small squat
You should have even tension on both legs
Your ankles, knees & hips should line up with each other (your knees should not cave in or point out. They should face the direction your feet point)
The leg on the bosu will be the leg you push off with
You will Squat down with both legs, push off with the leg on the bosu, jump up, switch legs on the bosu & squat back down again.
Keep the foot on the floor close to the bosu so your squat is not too wide.
This is a great leg exercise that gets your heart rate up, while working on some lateral (side to side) movement
Hold a medicine ball at your chest if you want to make the exercise a little more challenging
Perform 10-15 repetitions each leg or perform the exercise for a 30 seconds interval

Jun 13 2014

Clap Push-Ups

Lie on floor face down and position hands on floor. With toes on floor push body up with arms extended and body straight.

Lower body to floor and immediately push body up as fast as possible. As the hands leave ground rapidly clap hands together and place back to original position, catching body before it falls. Repeat.

Keep hips and waist straight. As with any plyometic, insure solid strength foundation is first achieved.

Jun 12 2014

Stop Before You Hurt Yourself Part 1: 5 Steps To Proper Overload During Resistance Training

By Erik Strouse, MS
VIDA Fitness Master Trainer

Hello VIDA members! It is a commonly known principle that to build a stronger, fitter body, you have to challenge it with loads that are greater than the body is currently capable of performing. This is called the Overload Principle, and it is widely accepted amongst the fitness and medical fields to be accurate. But what if I told you that this principle is actually misunderstood and presents a danger to people that they do not recognize? More often than not you see people in the gym trying to lift as heavy as they can thinking it will lead to a better, stronger body. Little do they know they are actually causing more harm than good if they keep pushing!!

too heavy lifting So how exactly do they cause more harm than good if they are meeting the requirements of the Overload Principle by going heavier? Just because you can lift a heavy object or push the body to a more intense level doesn’t mean you should. The body will always find a way to achieve the action your brain is telling it to (in this case, the lift), even if that means that it sacrifices form and mechanics. This is called the Law of Facilitation, which simply means the body will take the path of least resistance to execute moving the weight. What I am getting at here is, if you are lifting maximal loads, you may actually be altering your mechanics, thus using other muscles to make it through the movements. This ultimately may be breaking down the safest form for the lift to achieve the exercise without injury. Further, you may be training dysfunction INTO the body by continuing to train in a dysfunctional way. So instead of improving your overall fitness, you could be decreasing it!

That poses a challenge… How do you overload the body without breaking form or using the wrong muscles? These five steps will help:

1. Master the Mechanics of the Exercise: To put it bluntly, forget heavy weight until you have the safest, most efficient mechanics for the exercise. This can take several weeks, if not years, to achieve depending on your current flexibility/mobility, base strength and endurance, and experience.

2. Have proper Range of Motion at the Joints: You might not be aware you need to work on this until you actually attempt a specific exercise and realize you have bad mechanics. If you are unsure, ask a trainer! We are always eager to help when people ask should we not be with a client. Take advantage of that complimentary session if you have not already! That’s a full hour FREE to get this type of information.

3. Only Perform Exercise to Volitional Fatigue: Volitional fatigue is the point in the set where you can’t lift one more rep without cheating it up (using momentum, ,changing body position, leaning way back, etc.). That means you don’t break form, EVER!! Err on the side of caution, because if you injure yourself, you may never recover properly. This is no joke…

4. Progress Weight Slowly Over Time: People tend to add too much weight too fast because they want to challenge the body or think it will help them build faster. Realistically, you should only be increasing loads by small increments. For example, I often see guys go from 135 lbs (one 45 lb plate on each side of the bar) on the bench press to 185 lbs (one 45 and one 25 on each side of the bar) just because they want to see the bigger plates on there. Ever see those 2.5 lb plates? They work wonders in adding more overload without adding too much.

5. Listen to Your Body: If you feel things that remotely resemble pain, or cause discomfort after the lift, such as an achy lower back or joint, really rethink what you were doing up until then. Your body always tells you what’s up… Don’t ignore it because you want the numbers to go up…

All in all, follow these steps to make sure you overload the body properly and safely! If you need help with this, shoot me an email or ask a trainer. Last, if you want more free info on a weekly basis, sign up for my FREE fitness newsletter at!

Vida Fitness
City Vista 45 K Street, NW Washington D.C. 20001
(202) 289-8432 Facebook Twitter Instagram

City Vista

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm

Phone: (202) 289-8432

$ 45 K Street, NW Washington D.C. 20001
Vida Fitness
Metropole 1517 15th Street, NW Washington D.C. 20005
(202) 588-5559 Facebook Twitter Instagram


Phone: (202) 588-5559

$ 1517 15th Street, NW Washington D.C. 20005

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm

Vida Fitness
Renaissance Hotel 999 9th Street, NW, 3rd Floor Washington D.C. 20001
(202) 742-1940 Facebook Twitter Instagram

Renaissance Hotel

Phone: (202) 742-1940

$ 999 9th Street, NW, 3rd Floor Washington D.C. 20001

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:30am – 10:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 6:00 am – 10:00pm

Vida Fitness
U Street 1612 U Street, NW Washington D.C. 20009
(202) 939-2577 Facebook Twitter Instagram

U Street

Phone: (202) 939-2577

$ 1612 U Street, NW Washington D.C. 20009

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm

Vida Fitness
Verizon 601 F Street, NW Washington D.C. 20004
(202) 393-8432 Facebook Twitter Instagram


Phone: (202) 393-8432

$ 601 F Street, NW Washington D.C. 20004

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm

Vida Fitness
The Yards 1212 4th Street, SE Washington D.C, 20003
(202) 554-0444 Facebook Twitter Instagram

The Yards

Phone: (202) 554-0444

$ 1212 4th Street, SE Washington D.C, 20003

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm