Oct 22 2014

Healthy Lifestyle Tip: Sleep May Do the Trick

sleepSound slumber results in increased energy and productivity, an improved heart and immune system, health, a better mood, weight loss and maybe even a longer life.

Your keys to a good night’s sleep

• Set a sleep schedule and stick with it
• Keep a sleep diary
• Stop smoking
• Review your medications
• Exercise, but not within 4 hours of bedtime
• Cut caffeine after 2 p.m.
• Write down your woes
• Take time to wind down
• Sip milk
• Snack on cheese and crackers
• Stay cool
• Turn on the white noise
• Eliminate sneaky light sources
• Consider kicking out furry bedmates
• Check your pillow position
• Breathe deeply
• Stay put if you wake up

If you want to feel your best consider sleep as a necessity, not a luxury.

Oct 15 2014

Why You Should Join a Neighborhood Gym

u streetLet me start off by defining “neighborhood gym” because I think some people may hear that term and visualize a one room, hole-in-the-wall facility with a few treadmills, standard set of dumbbells and some old-school weight equipment.

A “neighborhood gym” doesn’t just have the potential to be a state-of-the-art fitness facility, but it also has the potential to be a company that is truly woven in to the fabric of the community.

It’s not just about the various equipment and classes offered (although we think neighborhood gyms honestly have some of the best offerings), it’s more about their other great qualities that give you the best gym experience you can get.

**Note of Disclosure: Obviously we’re biased about neighborhood gyms since VIDA strives to be one of the best neighborhood gyms out there, but no matter what city you find yourself in we hope you’ll break from the mainstream and go with the guys who have been around town awhile. These are some of the qualities we see in them that we strive to provide for you!

You Get Less “Corporate” Mumbo Jumbo

When it comes to big-box fitness chains it’s hard to get a human response at times.

Even neighborhood gyms have policies and contracts in place, but when you have a question regarding your membership or need to talk to someone at billing, you’re not stuck calling a corporate number to get a simple question answered or problem solved.

Neighborhood gyms empower their employees to make decisions where they can either help you directly or make sure it gets handled by the right person with minimal effort from you other than letting us know.

This isn’t to put big name gyms down, it’s simply that the employees of a bigger chain have less say in the policies and changes that are implemented since everything has to be okay’d by someone higher up in the chain of command.

Best Bang for Your Buck

So with large chain gyms it’s common that the monthly membership rate is pretty flat across the board. Meaning you could go to an awesome location of this gym in one city and pay X amount of dollars, and then you move to another city, find the same chain, price is the same, but the quality isn’t.

lacesThis could be due to the individual management team of the location you’re at, or it could be because the chain builds the new location, and then they move on without keeping up with maintaining the facility.

Neighborhood gyms have complete control of their pricing, unlike many big chains which have their prices set by those corporate guys we mentioned above.

By having control over pricing, neighborhood gyms know people won’t pay the price if they don’t see and experience an equal trade in value through amenities, classes, friendly and knowledgeable staff, etc.

Basically, with a neighborhood gym you are much more likely to get what you pay for, and with a big chain you are more likely to be paying for the logo and name at the top of your membership contract.

They Care

Neighborhood gyms are always going to be more invested in the community because it’s that specific community that has allowed them to thrive and provides the fuel and passion for what they aim to do.

When you center your focus on one particular area and the people in it, you can make a lot more change in the lives of others because you can dedicate more time and energy in to making your community healthier as a whole.

We’ve yet to meet a neighborhood gym owner that wasn’t deeply rooted and involved in their community whether it be through humanitarian efforts within the city, teaching kids how to making movement a part of their lifestyle or supporting other small businesses.

In the same way you like to support local farmers by going to farmers markets or by shopping at local niche stores for gifts and other services, you’re supporting the commerce of your community by joining a neighborhood gym.

A Unique Social Network

I can’t exactly pinpoint this factor except that it is definitely something you’ll experience in a neighborhood gym.

Maybe it’s because all the members value the points mentioned above, therefore they stay with the gym for years (as long as they’re living in the city where the gym is located) and want to spread their love of their “gym home” with others, even if it’s people they don’t know.

I remember the neighborhood gym I worked at all throughout college having a very strong social network. I saw members move from being single, to married, to having children and other members go through really tough life obstacles such as disease, loss of a loved one and divorce. Throughout all of those events, there were always other members there rallying behind them to cheer them on, lift them up and be a friend.

If you’re new to DC or just shopping around for a new gym and it sounds like VIDA Fitness is the neighborhood place for you, give us a call for more information.

And if there’s another neighborhood gym you came from that had something awesome that you think we should have too, let us know!

Oct 12 2014

4 Fall Treats That Will Wreck Your Diet

Halloween time is that magical prelude to the holidays where you can really start getting in the spirit of the season.

However, with all those fuzzy fall feelings also comes a pretty evil menace to society, and your waistline: Halloween and fall-themed treats.

They can be found in the bowls on front desks of businesses all over town, in the hands of every female coffee addict (lookin’ at you PSLs) and they stare you down from nearly every corner of the grocery store.

I tend to regard Halloween time as the “warm-up” to full-blown holiday food debauchery. It’s a handful of candy corn here, a Reese’s pumpkin there, and before you know it it’s Christmas and your kids don’t have any cookies to give to Santa because you inhaled them all in one sitting.

Don’t worry, I’m not judging, I don’t even have kids and I’ve been there.

If you want to shut down this year’s holiday treat-gorging cycle, start by avoiding these fall treats that everyone flocks to, and I guarantee you’ll be set up for strong decision making once Peppermint Mocha’s and Starbucks red cups start hitting the streets, which, you know, should be any week now.

1) Candy Corn

candycornI’m convinced there are two types of people in the world, those that absolutely love candy corn and those that hate it. If you’re in the hate category consider yourself lucky.

If you love it, just know I’m suffering right along with you. It takes serious willpower not to keep a bag within arm’s reach all day while you’re working, so the best strategy here is to just not buy them at all.

Candy corn is one of the worst Halloween treats out there because it has zero redeeming qualities. Candy corn is just sugar, honey and artificial coloring. That’s it.

There are no healthy fats or proteins, and there are about 150 calories per ounce. Forget about zombies and ghosts, I think that calorie count is scarier.

Since candy corn is something most people don’t eat year round, keep yourself limited to a few pieces here and there during October and don’t buy yourself a big bag. Basically I’m telling you to mooch a few pieces off other people. That’s simply the only way to avoid overindulging.

2) Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Oh, the PSL. This eagerly anticipated seasonal drink can really pack on the pounds if you overindulge.

First of all, the ingredients are very vague (read this article from Food Babe for the full breakdown), but there are three things that are certain: there is a TON of sugar (49 grams, which is more than a Coke), zero pumpkin and a slew of artificial flavorings and colors.

Besides the obvious health pitfalls, these drinks are expensive. A tall comes in at about $3.75. Between how many calories and grams of sugar you’re banking, and the amount of money you’re shelling out, this treat simply isn’t worth it.

Again, it’s not something you drink year-round, so maybe give yourself an allowance of two a month for October and November, but no more than that, or else it’s not really a treat anymore.

If you’re someone who can’t fathom going without your daily pumpkin-y spiced beverage, try the Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai tea (I know, you probably want to slap me right now for comparing tea to a PSL, but bear with me). This tea has that great spicy and pumpkin flavor, plus the incredible smell we’re all addicted to, and with a splash of almond milk, it’s seriously good.

You also get 20 tea bags for $3.99 and it’s caffeinated.

You can thank me later.

3) Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins

Here’s how the thought process goes with this one:

“Ooooh Reese’s, those are my FAVORITE! This isn’t that bad, peanut butter has protein, and I’m keeping myself limited to one because it’s just one pumpkin.”

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

The seasonal Reese’s (which also includes the tree-shaped cups at Christmas time) are larger and can contain an extra 100 calories and double the saturated fat. To give perspective, a standard Reese’s cup is 88 calories a piece, and one pumpkin is 180. Also, the individually wrapped mini cups are 44 calories, so you’re talking a big difference.

The reason we have an issue with candy like Reese’s cups and candy corn is because they’re so bite-size and easy to have one after another. After the first taste or two, it’s not even the candy we want, it’s just the gratification of continual snacking.

If you’re really craving a Reese’s pumpkin, offer to split it with a coworker or your parter. Savor your one bite and move on.

4) Caramel Apples

caramelAlright, I had to throw one thing in there that’s at least a little bit good for you. Carmel apples tap in to my childhood memories, so I don’t even try to deny myself because it’s not worth it, it’s a treat I love that I only have once a year.

So don’t mind me, I’m just living my life, reminiscing and slathering my face with caramel like a toddler.

However, there’s one trick to being able to enjoy this treat without suffering a sugary pitfall, just make them yourself.

A 2.5-ounce serving of caramel (caramel apples at a store or fall fair typically contain 2 to 3 servings) contains 271 calories and 5.75 grams of fat, but if you make them yourself you can significantly cut down on the sugar. Rather than dunking your entire apple, just add a generous drizzle of caramel and maybe add some chopped nuts for added protein and fiber.
At least you’re getting some nutritional benefits with your apple, just don’t follow that “apple a day keeps the doctor away” saying when it comes to the caramel variety.

The thing to keep in mind with these fall favorites is that they are treats. As Michael Pollan, the author of Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, states, “treat treats as treats.”

We tend to flock toward these items because we can’t get them year round, but let yourself hold on to that “special factor.” Pick your few indulgences, have it once or twice, enjoy it, and then wait until next year. I promise, you’ll find much more fulfillment in those treats and you won’t look back on the holiday season and think, “how did I let myself get this carried away?”

If you’re still looking to fill up on some fall favorites try these fruits and veggies that are in their peak season during fall. And for the truly pumpkin obsessed, VIDA’s R.D., Cat, has you covered with a healthy Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Smoothie.

Oct 9 2014

Healthy Lifestyle Tip: Tackle Diet, Exercise Together

Healthy Lifestyle Tip: Tackle Diet, Exercise Together for Best Results If you’re trying to get healthy, new research from Stanford University suggests tackling both diet and exercise is better than trying to improve one lifestyle habit at a time. The researchers did add that if you need to start with just one lifestyle change, choose exercise. They found that changing diet first may interfere with attempts to establish a regular exercise routine.

Although it may appear to be more manageable to improve just one lifestyle change at a time, it’s best to begin by improving both your nutrition and your activity level in unison. If you focus only on diet and put off changing your exercise habits, the research indicates that you may not get to the latter at all.


Oct 8 2014

VIDA Fitness Grand Opening Party

Don’t forget to RSVP to our red carpet Grand Opening Party for the Yards on October 18th from 7pm to Midnight. There will be performers, an amazing light show set up specifically for this event as well as a DJ staged/spinning on the Pool and Open Bar on all levels of the facility. RSVP to!