Oct 6 2014

A VIDA Success Story: Mougeh Kowkabi

kowkabiA lot can change in the course of one year. In 2013, I had finally quit smoking and decided I wanted to lose the weight I had gained throughout the years. I made changes to my diet and thought I was pretty active living in the city. The moment I got a Fitbit I realized how little I was actually moving throughout the day. I realized that my perception of what I was doing didn’t match up with reality. No wonder I wasn’t getting the results I wanted – I had set the goal of losing fifty pounds. I knew how to make time for things that were important at work, and with my family and friends. So I finally ditched the excuses when it came to prioritizing working out. I needed to join a gym and decided I also needed a trainer to keep me accountable to my short and long term goals. Vida Fitness was the perfect choice for me as I had two locations near my house and one near my office. I wanted to make sure I set myself up for success with all the right tools to achieve my goals and stop making excuses.

Hitting the gym the first few weeks was not easy. It actually made me feel more out of shape than I thought I was. This would have been very discouraging and probably would have led me to give up in the past. The support of my trainer, Rachel Morrison, enabled me to maintain discipline and stay consistent with my workouts. I trained with her two days a week and supplemented my training sessions with the variety of classes that Vida offered the other four days to ensure I was doing all I could do for myself. She guided me through the best workouts for my goals, educated me on what weight training really is, and more importantly became a trusted friend that got me through the days when I felt like I couldn’t go on. It also helped that she started working out along with me and we laughed infectiously at each other’s workout faces.

In the end Rachel was right. Consistency is the key to accomplishing your goals. I think losing weight is very similar to gaining weight. You don’t realize that it’s happening until one day you wake up and your pants are too tight. This time around, they were too loose. Within a year, I lost about forty pounds, 8% body fat and 8 inches off my waist. I can’t believe at first I could barely get through a class or a training session without feeling the need to give up and today I crave more after a 45 minute class. It’s a great feeling knowing that I have overcome an obstacle in my life that I thought I would struggle with indefinitely. While I am still looking to lose those last few pounds, my desire now is to fitter and stronger and not just thinner. I want to maintain this amazing new lifestyle so I am broadening my range of classes I take and extending my training sessions with Rachel who always keeps me on my toes. I know if I stick to it, I can succeed with the help and support I have received from Vida and my friends and family.

Oct 5 2014

The Best Farmer’s Market Finds for Fall

It is officially fall! And while it seems like pumpkins are the only seasonal veggie in the spotlight, we wanted to share some of the other goods you’ll definitely want to throw in your basket this season along with some delicious recipes to incorporate them in.

All of these produce items are freshest from late-September to mid-December and are sure to be plentiful at local farmers markets. Check out some of the DC area’s best farmer’s markets here:

cauliBroccoli and Cauliflower
We know broccoli and cauliflower are different vegetables, but for the sake of brevity we’ll group them together. Broccoli is a great source of Vitamin C and die-tary fiber with a good dose of Vitamin A and K as well.

Cauliflower doesn’t pack as big of a nutritional punch as broccoli, but does win in its amount of potassium and folate.
Cauliflower also comes in other colors other than white if you want to get your kids excited about it, we love the purple variety. The difference in color is due to the presence of the antioxidant anthocyanin, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine.

No matter which veggie you choose to go with, you really can’t go wrong. Both are extremely nutritious, and we love how you can eat them raw or cooked in a variety of ways.

Recipes we’re going to try:

Magic Broccoli – roasted with garlic olive oil, lemon and parmesan
A healthier alternative to pizza! – Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Winter Squash
Despite its name, winter squash is actually grown throughout the summer months, and once it develops a full, hard rind it is good for eating and storing. By the time the squash fully matures, that time is in the fall and winter months.

squashThere are quite a few varieties of winter squash, pumpkins included (however, we had to give pumpkins their own category), but some of the other notable ones include butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, sweet dumpling squash and carnival squash.

According to epicurious, winter squash varieties are naturally low in fat and calories, and deliver rich amounts of vitamins A, B6, C, and E, as well as magnesium, potassium, and manganese. Winter squash is also a source for iron and riboflavin.

Recipes we’re going to try:

Roasted Winter Squash and Sausage with Herbs
White Bean Stew with Winter Squash and Kale

Pears and Pomegranates

We couldn’t let vegetables take all the glory, there’s some fall fruits worth fawning over, too. These two fruits not only delicious on their own, but we think they’re pretty good as a pair as well.

While pomegranates do require a little more patience, the nutritional benefits make fighting for those little seeds worth it. Pomegranates contain three types of antioxidant polyphenols, including tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid, in sig-nificant amounts, which is why pomegranates are touted as one of the top superfoods.

Pears are high on the fiber scale with roughly 6 grams for a medium-sized fruit, and they also contain vitamins C, K, B2, B3, and B6 and folate. Calcium, magne-sium, potassium, copper, and manganese are also found in pears. Kind of makes you rethink that “apple a day” phrase. Maybe we should switch to a pear a day!

Recipes we’re going to try:

Pomegranate Walnut Pear Salad
Quinoa Stuffed Pears
Sweet Potato Pomegranate Salad


Although we already explained the health benefits of winter squash, we had to give everyone’s favorite fall treat a shout out.

One thing you may not know is that there are actually a ton (like over 40) varieties of the big orange thing we all go pick out, carve and go nuts over every year. Some pumpkins are better for savory cooking (cheese pumpkin), then there’s some that are better for the desserts (lumina) and some that are better for seeds (sugar pumpkin).

Also, something to note is that the nutritional benefits of pumpkin are great when you get them straight from an actual pumpkin, the canned puree still has some of the benefits, but all those pumpkin spice flavored goods aren’t actually good for you, but you already knew that…

Recipes we’re going to try:

Pumpkin, Chickpea and Red Lentil Stew
Pumpkin Spice Parfait

Swiss Chard

chardThere are few nutrients swiss chard doesn’t have. On top of the antioxidant pro-tection in the form of phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, swiss chard also contains Vitamins A, C, E, K, B6.

A favorite way to have chard is in salad, but this eye health and immunity boosting food is also great sautéed and added to soups.

Here are some recipes we’re going to try:

Swiss Chard and Potato Leek Hash
One-Pot Chicken and Rice with Swiss Chard

We would love to get some of your healthy recipes for these fresh fall picks along with a few of your other favorite seasonal goods, so share them with us in the comments!

Oct 2 2014

VIDA Metropole Instructor Profile: Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey has been in the DC area for 5 years, and Cycling is just one of the ways he’s found community in the city. Though his dayjob as a director in the Federal government can pull him away from the studio at times, you can expect a challenging but fun ride each time you take class with him. Learn a little more about Jeff below!

Why did you decide to become an indoor cycling instructor?

Several years ago, while working out at VIDA, I decided to try a cycling class. It kicked my butt, and I thought I was going to throw up or pass out after! The music was great and the instructor was fun. I was hooked, and I’ve been cycling ever since!

What’s one thing you want all your first-time class participants to know?

I try to remind folks that every class typically has a mix of beginners, intermediate and advanced riders. Don’t compare yourself to the person on the bike next to you. My job is to challenge you to pedal harder and faster than you think you can…but, always remember that YOU control the resistance. The most important thing: just keep your legs moving!

When you’re not squeezing another sprint out of your students, where can they find you?

Either (1) at the day job; (2) sleeping; or (3) enjoying Happy Hour!

How are your classes different from other instructors’?

Having music that people love and will get them energized and motivated to work hard is so important. I spend a lot of time creating my playlists, and the style and tempo of the music is carefully chosen to support the exercises we do. High BPMs for sprints, a steady beat for jumps, a slower tempo for those high climbs… just listen to the music, breathe, and I promise you just might forget you’re working out!

Tell us something we don’t know about you!

I’ve actually shared a lot with my classes (maybe too much??), like how I got into two car accidents in 10 days?? My apologies again to my students for having to put up with my rants about that!!!

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