Jan 26 2015

No Weights Needed: Try a Pilates Reformer or TRX Class!

By: Elise Chretien

Aside from the spectacular selection of VIDA classes available to our members on a daily basis, VIDA also provides specialized small group programs for those committed to making big changes to their overall fitness level. These programs include Pilates Reformer training and TRX Suspension training! Both Pilates Reformer and TRX have been proven to increase muscular endurance, increase core strength and benefit people of all fitness levels.

manreformerLet’s start with Pilates Reformer. If you haven’t been on a reformer before, never fear; the machine is not as scary as it looks – I promise. If you’ve done Pilates on a mat, you can expect similar positions and exercises but with added resistance and a fuller range of motion on the reformer.

The reformer uses springs, leverage and body weight to provide resistance while performing movements targeting specific muscle groups. The workouts consist of controlled, flowing movements working your muscles through a fuller range of motion that you wouldn’t be able to reach on a mat alone. The increased resistance provided by the reformer makes your muscles exert more force to overcome it, therefore making them stronger.

Your instructor will guide you through the proper core, abdomen and lower back positioning required to use the reformer correctly. Proper spine alignment is critical to using the reformer and your instructor will make sure your body is positioned as it should be. Benefits of using the reformer include increased muscle fiber endurance, connective tissue strength, improved posture and stronger core muscles. A stronger core means more power generated to the rest of your muscles and a decreased risk of injury!

In the words of Pilates instructor and Group Fitness Manager Tami DeVitis, reformer classes start working their magic almost immediately.

“Mere words cannot describe the full benefits of taking Pilates Reformer classes. I must say that I started feeling the benefits and positive changes in my body after my second class, possibly even after my first! No other form of exercise has provided me with such a marked improvement in muscle strength and flexibility in such a short period of time,” says Tami.

Tami taught my first reformer class, and was extremely helpful with demonstrating exercises and explaining how the machine was working as we did them. Her coaching really helped me feel aware of my muscles contracting and working to overcome the resistance.

Since starting her Pilates Reformer workouts, Tami says she feels much more aware of what her body is doing than ever before.

“This increase in awareness remains at all times and prevents injury. In addition, my posture has greatly improved – I know I run faster than before and it has even improved my yoga practice! I love training clients on the reformer as I see the change in their bodies and overall body strength so quickly,” she says.

TRX1Next up is TRX – the class where you get to defy gravity! In TRX you’re using body weight, gravity and two suspension straps to perform literally hundreds of different exercises. The workouts are fast, effective, and can target every muscle in your body with just one piece of equipment!

By placing your hands or feet in the straps hanging from the ceiling, the number of different exercises you can perform using your own body weight as resistance is limitless. In addition to whatever muscle group you’re focusing on, your core will be fully engaged during every exercise – two birds with one stone!

The versatility of TRX is what makes it so effective for people of all fitness levels. The difficulty of any TRX exercise is solely based on your body position and angle of leverage, which puts you in complete control of how challenging your workout is. If something feels too hard or too easy you can adjust your feet just a few inches in either direction to find the right level of resistance for you.

Personal Trainer and TRX instructor Jeffery Cain uses TRX in addition to his weight training to focus on muscle toning. He explains TRX as a challenging, high intensity, dynamic cardiovascular workout that also teaches proper form for beginners.

TRX2“TRX is especially good for people who may be timid about weight training. It’s a great way to perfect your form before hitting the free weights or squat rack,” he says.

Both Reformer and TRX classes meet in small groups (Reformer no more than 4 per class, TRX usually maxes out around 6) which ensures you receive individual attention from the instructor. Each exercise is demonstrated beforehand and the instructor is always close by if something feels off or if you need help getting your positioning right.

If you’ve been peeking into the TRX or reformer studios, now is your chance to see what all the hype is about! Check with a trainer or instructor at your VIDA location to see if you can sit in on a class to get a feel for it. Once you’re sold (and sore), you can purchase a 50 pack of TRX or Reformer training sessions during the month of February and receive one month of free VIDA membership!

As someone who just tried both of these classes for the first time this week, I can say with confidence that your body will thank you for adding them to your routine. Just be ready to feel sore in places you may not have felt before!

Jan 25 2015

Class Spotlight: VIDA Xtreme

By: Elise Chretien

betsyextremeThe first thing VIDA instructor Betsy Miller will tell you at the beginning of an Xtreme class is that she better not see anyone on the treadmill after class is over. As someone who doesn’t have to be told twice not to get on a treadmill, I was totally okay with this command. Xtreme uses High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) broken up into small segments to give you a full body workout in just 45 minutes. Due to the nature of HIIT, you’ll keep burning calories and maintain an elevated metabolism for a full 24 hours after the class is over. See, no need for the treadmill!

Xtreme, like most classes, starts off with a light cardio workout to get your heart rate up (think high knees, jumping jacks, running, shuffling, and things of that nature.) Then we move on to three main rounds of interval training with short breaks in between. The first round is usually 5 minutes, and the second two usually between 3-4 minutes. Each round consists of a certain number of reps of 3-4 different exercises that you repeat over and over until the minutes are up.

For example, round one could go something like this: 5 pushups, 10 tricep dips, 5 in & outs, and 10 high knees. Then repeat this sequence until the end of the round, not resting for more than a few seconds in between exercises. Other examples of exercises that can be thrown into the mix include mountain-climbers, barbell moves (dead lifts, squats, rows, etc.) and abdominal exercises, just to name a few. You can go at your own pace, so if it takes you a little longer to get through a certain part, that’s okay! It’s all about staying in motion through the entire round and not stopping until Betsy yells “time’s up.”

What’s great is that no matter how exhausted and out of breath you are at any given time, you know there’s always only a few minutes left until the break! Betsy explains that having a chance to catch your breath in between rounds is a key part of HIIT.

“The breaks are important because, well, you need to rest after working that hard! But also, this type of training is scientifically proven to burn more calories, boost your metabolism, and build strength and endurance faster than a steady-state workout on a treadmill or elliptical, or even in a cardio class. It’s also fun!” she says.

She’s right about the fun part – I’ve taken Xtreme with Betsy twice and though the energy level was just as high, the first class was nothing like the second.

“I change my class every week so participants always get to do something new,” says Betsy.

If you hated an exercise in one class, never fear, because you probably won’t be doing it next week. The format of Betsy’s Xtreme is perfect for someone with exercise ADD, such as me. If you get bored with the same repetitions over and over and like to conquer new challenges each week Xtreme is the perfect class for you. I’m also a huge fan of 45 minute classes that still pack a full-body workout, and the noon class makes it easy to fit it into your lunch break!

Jan 24 2015

Healthy Lifestyle Tip: Achieving Goals

In 2015 we hope to see you often and look forward to helping you to lead a healthy and happy life. Together we can make things happen. Eat healthy, laugh often and keep things in moderation this upcoming year.

Goals provide you with direction and lead you to success. But, to be effective and achievable, goals should be smart.

Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals Goal setting is a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve and ends with a lot of hard work. The SMART process is an effective way to set and meet your goals.

Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal, answer the five “W” questions:
Who: Who is involved?
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Where: Where will I accomplish the goal?
When: When will I work on my goal and what is a realistic time frame for reaching my goal?
Why: What are the reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal?

Measurable: Choose goals that have results you can measure. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates and experience the exhilaration of achievement.

Achievable: Think about what you can honestly achieve. Goal setting is a good way to push yourself beyond your current limits. So pick a goal that requires some effort, but choose a goal that is within reach.

Rewarding: It feels great to reach a goal, but find extra ways to reward yourself along the way. Plan rewards ahead of time so you have something to look forward to.

A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. Keeping track of your progress will help you stay motivated. A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of your senses; taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.

Remember, goal setting is an ongoing activity not just a means to an end.

Jan 20 2015

Try Something New at a VIDA Health Fair

By: Elise Chretien

mptourNext Wednesday, January 28th, all locations will be hosting a #VIDAHealthFair open to the public from 5-7 p.m. (check with each location for extended hours.) Attending a #VIDAHealthFair is a fantastic way to learn more about the programs we offer and the nutritional counseling available to members. If you’ve been wondering about a certain class, this is the time to meet the instructors and see what the class is like! Each location will be doing a variety of demos including TRX, Boxing, Express Boot Camp, Pilates, and ab circuits.

Our Registered Dietician Cat Taylor will be available at Verizon for health and nutrition related Q & A’s. If you want to make healthy changes to your diet or need help creating a meal plan that will supplement your workout, Cat can provide you with the necessary guidance to reach your goals. Complimentary fitness consultations and health screenings will be available, and you can get a free body fat analysis done at Verizon, U Street or Metropole to see where you stand on the fat percentage scale. Proper nutrition is key in reaching your fitness goals, so stop by and learn about opportunities you have to improve your diet!

Feeling competitive? See if you can out-burpee a trainer at City Vista! We’ll be hosting a ‘Beat The Trainer’ competition where members can challenge trainers on number of squats, push-ups, plank times, etc., done in a certain time frame. Now is your chance to get them back for all those reps they’ve forced upon you over the years! If you’re in the Renaissance area you can participate in a timed workout competition consisting of a set number of burpees, push-ups, sit-ups and squat jumps. The fastest male and female win a T-shirt!

Our preferred partners will be on site educating guests on the benefits of their products, and usually giving out free samples! Participating partners will vary at each location, but include Sweetgreen, Isagenix, Compass Coffee and more. There’s a good chance you’ll get hooked on your new favorite product or lunch spot here. Love biking to the gym? Hit up Metropole to win a free bike from Bike Rack. Want to try something new? We’ll be raffling off TRX & Pilates sessions at our Verizon location (& T-shirts, too!)

If you’ve been having aches and pains following workouts, visit our U Street or Yards location for chiropractic screenings from PalmerCare and Rose Physical Therapy. We will have specialists on site that can help identify any problem areas in your workout plan. Need a good stretch? Verizon will be demo-ing how to use foam rollers effectively to work out muscle tightness after a workout. And of course, Aura Spa massage therapists will be giving free chair massages if you’re feeling especially sore!

Guests are welcome at this event! If you know someone who may be interested in joining, the #VIDAHealthFair is the perfect opportunity for them to learn what it means to be a part of the VIDA Family. Plus, once they sign up you can enlist them as your workout buddy! Our membership consultants will be available at each location to sign up new members and ensure that you receive your referral bonus ($25 for the first guest, $50 for the second, $100 for every guest after that.)

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

Jan 16 2015

Two Is Better Than One: Workout With a Friend!

jonmattThere are some things in life that just couldn’t be done without a friend along for the ride. A few that come to mind: brunch, happy hour and deciding upon the perfect outfit. All of these things could be done solo, but would be so much less fun (and more time consuming), am I right? Another that belongs on the do-it-with-a-friend list is hitting the gym!

Bringing a friend along for your VIDA workouts not only gives you a chance to catch up, but also offers a ton of benefits to your current fitness routine. Working out with someone who shares comparable goals (talk about these first to make sure you’re both aiming for similar things) can help you stay motivated and ensure you’re giving your workouts all you’ve got. Here are three major reasons why a gym buddy will enhance your workout:

1. You’re less likely to skip. It’s easy to talk yourself out of getting to the gym when it’s too cold, too early, you’re too tired, or a number of other reasons. You’ll be less inclined to bail knowing your friend is depending on you to be there especially if you know you’ll catch heat from them afterwards for not showing up. Coordinating your workouts with someone else means having to plan them in advance, so you can make sure no other obligations will interfere with your gym schedule. Come up with an agreement that whoever bails on a workout owes the other dinner so you have further incentive not to skip. No one likes to let down their friends!

2. You’ll push yourself harder. Alternating sets with someone introduces a healthy level of competition to your fitness routine. You may only do three reps of 15 on your own, but if your friend does four, you’re more likely to do four too. Experts say people are motivated to perform better when paired up with someone slightly more in shape than they are. So don’t be discouraged if your friend can lift a little more than you – you’ll challenge yourself in ways that you wouldn’t normally as you try to stay on par with him/her. Friendly competition gives you the push you need to finish those last few reps or hit that last machine when you’d usually be in the locker room by now. Your friend might also have suggestions for new exercises you haven’t tried yet, and vice versa. It’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone and discover new moves that work for your body!

3. It’s more fun! Incorporating a social aspect into your workouts makes it less of a chore and more of something enjoyable to look forward to at the end (or beginning) of the day. You’ll get to catch up with your friend in between sets and spend some QT together while pushing each other to give it all they’ve got. Having someone to laugh and talk with takes your mind off how much time is passing, and before you know it you’ve completed your workout! As long as you’re mindful of others and focused on your workouts (don’t tie up a machine for 20 mins talking about the latest Real Housewives drama,) then working out with a friend is one of the best things you can do for your fitness and social life!

Aside from these awesome benefits, VIDA offers the membership referral program! When you refer a friend you’ll receive a $25 bonus for the first one, $50 for the second, $100 for the third, and $100 for every friend after that. Not only will your workouts be getting a boost, you’ll be saving money too! VIDA also offers small group training packages, so you and your friends can receive private sessions with one of our certified trainers. We look forward to seeing you and your friends crushing your workouts, and don’t forget to tag your #VIDAresolution selfie when you’re done!