Jan 30 2015

Groundhog Day Activities at the Yards

yardstourWhether or not the little guy sees his shadow on Monday, we don’t want you to be afraid of yours! If you need a little February motivation, come by the Yards on Monday for fun Groundhog Day fitness activities!

6:30-7:30 am – Breakfast To-Go: VIDA Lobby. Grab a flyer & a snack on your way in or out for some February words of encouragement and helpful VIDA info.

8am – Tabata Workshop: Try this intense but super effective short circuit workout founded by Japanese Scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata. Trainers will pick 6-10 Tabata exercises, performing 8 sets of each exercise for 20 seconds with 10 second rests between each one. This will fatigue the targeted muscles for each exercise and keep your heart rate up for a lasting cardio effect!

5:30 pm – G(row) Up!: Rowing demonstration by trainer Jeff Cain. Switch up your cardio from the treadmill or elliptical to a rowing machine! This will challenge your lower body’s aerobic and muscular systems differently, causing muscle confusion that yields different results.

Don’t be a 3rd floor hog! Try mixing up your weight training with an afternoon inner fitness or pilates class!

Jan 30 2015

VIDA Instructor Profile: Liz Warner-Osborne

By: Elise Chretien

liz1Liz Warner-Osborne is a familiar face around our U Street location. You’ve probably sweated your butt off with her in cycle, felt the burn with her in VIDA Assets or caught a glimpse of her squatting with a ridiculous amount of weight on her back. As a tenured personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and bodybuilder on the side, you could say Liz spends a lot of her time here at VIDA!

Liz has been with VIDA for three & a half years, and has taught group fitness for the past year and a half. During this time she has built a loyal fan base of members who take her classes devotedly every week. Currently on her schedule are Cycle, Spin & Sculpt, Assets and our new ab class KillerCORE. As a former Les Mills instructor, Liz says she loves the creativity and flexibility that teaching VIDA classes allows.

“The classes are great because it provides that group mentality that people feed off of. But with huge, structured classes it’s hard to focus on an individual’s form and technique. I wanted to take a more one on one approach, which is why I started personal training,” says Liz. “VIDA classes are created in the gym and as instructors we have the freedom to make adjustments as needed and choose between varieties of exercises for each class,” she says.

Liz always takes time at the beginning of class to explain to first-timers what the class will consist of, how to properly set up your equipment, demos the correct form and posture for certain exercises, and will give individual attention to those who need help throughout the class.

“I always tell people I’m a trainer too, so they can come to me with any questions they have after class. I’m more than happy to help if something feels off,” she says.

Like most VIDA classes, Liz’s are perfect for people of all fitness levels! When using weights, Liz encourages people to pick a weight that feels medium-difficult to start with and then figure out what works for them.

“It’s ok to take a second to stop and adjust your weight. I’m not going to be mad if you have to take something to a lower level because that’s what works for your body,” she assures me. “There are different levels for everyone,” she says.

liz2When Liz isn’t teaching 5-6 times a week, she’s got another slightly time-consuming hobby: body building.

Coming from a dance background, Liz explains that she was always curious about body building but didn’t know much about it. That all changed three years ago when she was approached by trainer Peter Gordon, who happened to judge body building competitions.

“He asked me if I competed, and I said no, but I had thought about maybe doing bikini. He quickly said I already had too much muscle for bikini and that I needed to do figure,” she laughs.

Competitions are broken down into four different levels: bikini, figure, physique and bodybuilding.

After attending a posing clinic here at VIDA, she was told her body type and style was perfect for the physique level. She competed in her first competition, the Baltimore Gladiator Championships, in March 2014 where she received 2nd place, and the East Coast Classic in June 2014 receiving 2nd place again.

“It’s a great way to recognize the hard work that you’re putting into your body. It’s cool to find other people that share the same mentality, and ya know, other girls who like muscle,” she says.

For as muscular and toned as she is now, Liz stresses that she hasn’t always been a gym rat. She tells me how she used to be a size 13, and that her love for the gym and lifting has evolved over time.

“That’s something I like to tell a lot of my female clients, because I’m sure they look at me and think ‘sure, she can do it because she’s probably always lived in the gym,’ but that’s definitely not the case! I like to remind folks that I have indeed been there, done that, transformed my body and life in the gym, and can certainly help them do the same,” she says.

Once Liz discovered her own love for heavy lifting she’s become an advocate for getting other women into weights. Even if it’s not at a bodybuilding level, she feels that too many women are focused on getting smaller, rather than stronger. Liz explains that lifting weights improves your muscles longevity, strengthens your bones, prevents osteoporosis, and helps with balance and stability. Plus, it makes you look good!

“A lot of girls say to me ‘I want to have Madonna arms.’ Well, you gotta lift heavy sh*t to get Madonna arms!” she says.

Having a rock-hard body doesn’t come easy, though. Liz’s typical schedule consists of lifting six times a week with 30-45 mins of cardio almost every day. Oh, and those five extra spin classes she teaches every week, too. Not to mention that as a competition grows closer (she’s about 13 weeks out from her next one right now!) her diet shifts into high gear and only allows for 1300 calories a day.

Liz’s pre-competition diet consists of two main things: protein and self-discipline. In the weeks leading up to a competition she consumes no sugar, no fruit, no dairy, and no bread products.
“Sweet potatoes, zucchini, and cauliflower are all good carb replacements. Basically any vegetable can be turned into spaghetti,” she says. (We’ll have to just take her word on this one!)

So, what food does she miss the most when following this strict diet?

“Chocolate – because it’s hard to fake chocolate. It’s also the little things, like ranch dressing. And not having to measure everything I eat. Sometimes I miss fruit, but sugar-free jello is a wonderful thing. Oh and I have to be careful with peanut butter because I can go crazy with a spoon and a jar!” she says.

Despite the strenuous workout schedule and harsh diet regulations, Liz says it’s all worth it to see your hard work pay off.

“Having muscle gives your body the frame it needs to look its best. A dress shouldn’t make you look good – you should make the dress look good. Plus when you lift you look good naked, not just wearing clothes!” she jokes.

If you’re looking to build muscle and cut body fat, Liz should definitely be your go-to expert. She’s super easy to talk to and you can tell that she loves to share her passion for lifting with others. Next time you see her around the gym, make sure to wish her luck in her next competition!

Jan 29 2015

New Class Alert: KillerCore!

By: Elise Chretien

KillerCore classAs we all know, one of the trickiest places to burn fat and target muscle growth is around your abdomen. Most of us want a flatter, tighter stomach but are unsure about the best methods to get results. It’s easy to pick workouts that target your upper or lower body but finding effective core workouts sometimes takes a little guidance – which is what we’re here for!

We have totally revamped our abs class with a new name, new feel and a new level of intensity called KillerCore. The concept is 15 minutes of total core exercises – not just abs – in a format that will push you to the limits of your physical strength and will continue to challenge you class after class.

KillerCore instructor Gregg Martin at Metropole guarantees that after one class you’ll be hooked.

“When you take the class for the first time, focus on how much you can do without stopping – also try to identify which exercises you can do and which ones you struggle with. All group classes require a certain amount of endurance which you will build as you take it more regularly. After a few weeks you’ll be surprised at the difference in your performance!” says Gregg.

KillerCore is set to fun music and is only 15 minutes long, so the class flies by. If you’re new to group fitness, KillerCore is a great place to start due to the short nature and singular muscle group that the class targets. Plus, in Gregg’s class you’ll get so lost in the music you won’t even notice the burn!

gregg“I really let the music run the show and select songs that are inspiring and motivating. You can forget about everything else in your life (including the burn from the exercises) for 15 minutes and lose yourself in the music. When the music goes faster, we go faster. When it goes slower, we go slower,” says Gregg.

Strengthening your core is essential to improving your overall fitness level and getting those much-coveted abs that we’re all after! Due to the intensity of these workouts, you’ll observe a change in your body almost immediately. As you become a KillerCore regular the exercises will get easier and you’ll notice yourself getting stronger after only a few classes.

“As an instructor one of the best things to hear from members is that they completed a routine for the first time that they were previously unable to do. With dedication to KillerCore, you’ll start seeing results not only in the classroom, but also the ones you’re waiting to see in the mirror,” says Gregg.

Everyone should try this class – at only 15 minutes, you’re in and out. A great option for someone who hasn’t done a class before, or for those with regular weight training schedules who want to ensure they’re not skipping over their core muscles in their workouts.

If you’re around Metropole on Friday nights, make sure to stop in for Gregg’s KillerCore class at 6:30pm! Your abs will thank you.

Jan 28 2015

VIDA Instructor Profile: Jeffery Cain

By: Elise ChretienJeffCain

Jeff Cain is a motivator, who likes to help people in whatever way possible. He started helping out friends and family with their fitness goals several years ago and eventually turned his passion for fitness into a career with VIDA at the Yards. I sat down with Jeff after an intense TRX session last night and learned a little more about what brought Jeff to VIDA.

Q: Tell me about your fitness journey, how did you get into the fitness world?
A: I was born in Jamaica, where I played a lot of soccer and ran track & field. I moved here when I was 10 and we lived in Texas, Florida, and finally Maryland where I ran a lot of relays in track. I’ve always been smaller framed, so I thought putting on some weight would help me gain respect. I started playing football in high school and stayed active in the gym ever since.

Q: How did you make the decision to start personal training?
A: I’ve always loved helping people and knew I wanted to work in a field where I could help others. I realized fitness was what I was good at it so I started training at LA Fitness two years ago. I was teaching 40 sessions a week for four months and started teaching group fitness classes there too.

Q: Since you’ve had experience at other gyms, what do you think sets VIDA apart?
A: VIDA just has that sense of family. Everyone here has their clients’ best interests at heart. As a trainer it’s definitely organized and marketed better too. When I saw that the Yards location was opening I kept coming in expressing interest in working for them. Basically I was a pest and kept bothering Ali until she hired me!

Q: How would you describe your teaching style?
A: Right now I’m just teaching TRX, but I’d like to teach spin in the future. I like to make my workouts fun but effective. I try to explain every aspect of an exercise; I want you to know why you’re doing what you’re doing and how it’s affecting your body. My biggest thing is preventing injury and making sure my clients get the most out of their workouts.

Q: What are your favorite hobbies outside of the gym?
A: I’m a homebody, I love watching movies and cooking. I make a lot of baked chicken and veggies. I do have a sweets weakness though – doughnuts and cupcakes are definitely my favorite cheat food!

Jeff says his ultimate goal is to become a physical therapist so he can continue helping people recovering from injuries and staying active. He currently teaches TRX several times a week at the Yards and is always looking for new clients to help with their fitness routines!

Jan 27 2015

VIDA Instructor Profile: Katie Mason-Brown

By: Elise Chretien

dc headshots photographerPilates instructor Katie Mason-Brown is not the first person who has told me that joining VIDA changed her life, but she certainly shows her passion for the VIDA community within seconds of sitting down with me. Katie currently teaches mat and reformer Pilates, RX and VIDA Body, and shares with me how she transitioned from a coffee shop owner to a full time fitness enthusiast.

As the former co-owner of Chinatown Coffee Company, Katie had no idea five years ago when she signed up for a membership at VIDA Verizon down the street that it would be the beginning of a major life transformation. She began training with Kristin Tamasulo, taking VIDA classes, and eventually started teaching her own classes as her passion for fitness grew. When Katie started practicing Pilates with Verizon Group Fitness Manager Tami DeVitis, she knew she had found her calling.

“Tami introduced me to the joys of both mat and reformer Pilates. I quickly fell in love with it and started going to New York with her to train to be an instructor,” she says.

After going through a divorce and willingly looking to start a new life chapter, becoming a Pilates instructor was the perfect opportunity for Katie to leave the coffee shop behind and pursue a line of work she was passionate about.

“I could finally take the advice I had always been given – which is to follow your passion. If you’re lucky enough to do what you love for a living you should absolutely do it,” says Katie. “This is the happiest and healthiest I’ve been in a long time. I love my job and I love my clients!” she says.

If there’s one class she’s most passionate about – it’s definitely Pilates Reformer. She explains that doing Pilates on a reformer allows you to push yourself further in a safe, controlled manner that you’re not able to reach on a mat.

“The reformer provides both assistance and resistance – you can go deeper into any exercise or stretch. The resistance is in a controlled but unstable environment that really challenges your core in a way that mat Pilates can’t. It’s definitely worth the extra cost!” she says.

It’s easy to see how much Katie loves her job here at VIDA. She explains to me that even on mornings when she’s tired and moving slowly her clients keep her energized and excited about the day ahead.

“The members here are just fantastic. I’ve been at other gyms but it’s not quite the same sense of family that we have here. VIDA attracts people that make me a better person and who I want to be around,” she says with a smile.

When Katie’s not teaching or attending other instructors’ classes for new ideas, you can find her jogging, watching movies with her two pre-teen boys at home, or baking.

“I like to bake really unhealthy things. Like oatmeal raisin cookies!” she exclaims (this answers my next question, of what her favorite cheat meal is!)

“I also recently introduced my boys to High Teas and getting foot massages. But they would kill me if they knew I told you that!” she says with a laugh.

If you’ve wanted to try a class at Verizon or City Vista, look for Katie’s name on the schedule. But beware; her enthusiasm for fitness and the VIDA family is highly contagious!