Mar 31 2015

Class Spotlight: Zumba

Spring Fling Zumba with George, Tami, Jose, Karen & Eric!

Spring Fling Zumba with George, Tami, Jose, Karen & Eric!

In case you haven’t heard, Zumba is the dance-fitness phenomenon that has taken the world by storm in recent years. Described as “exercise in disguise,” Zumba delivers a fast-paced and fun cardio workout that leaves you feeling energized and rejuvenated after an hour of heart-pumping, calorie-burning dance moves.

Zumba typically consists of Latin style dancing, though instructors have freedom to incorporate hip-hop and other modern styles into their routines as well. Here at VIDA, you can expect a good mix of salsa, hip-hop and pop songs in our Zumba classes – so no matter what your musical preference is you’re guaranteed to find a track you love!

On their website, Zumba claims to combine all elements of fitness (cardio, muscle conditioning, balance and flexibility) into a one hour workout that leaves you with tons of energy and your endorphins sky-high. This could not be more true – as the first Zumba class I did left me sweaty, out of breath and exhausted in the best way possible afterwards.

The class is broken down into a dozen or so 3-4 minute songs, each with a different style and choreography. Your instructor will demonstrate the moves for each track, and you’ll jump in and follow along. Many Zumba beginners say they worry about not being able to catch on to the moves and falling behind the rest of the class, but within the first few minutes you’ll be surprised at how easy the movements are to catch on to and how much fun you’re having! There’s no pressure to do everything perfectly the first time, so no worries if it takes you a few tries to get all the steps right. This class is all about having fun and enjoying the movements, not stressing about missing a beat or two!

A great thing about Zumba is that each track is different, so even if one is trickier than others, you’ll be moving on to new style in no more than a few minutes. It’s a great way to sample tons of different dancing styles at once – all while getting an awesome cardio workout (expect your heart rate to stay up the entire hour.)  The tracks combine both low-intensity and high-intensity moves in an interval style format that works your entire body and torches tons of calories.

Spring Fling Zumba with George, Tami, Jose, Karen & Eric!

Spring Fling Zumba with George, Tami, Jose, Karen & Eric!

VIDA offers a variety of Zumba classes at each of our locations. At Verizon you can choose between original Zumba or Zumba Step for those looking to target the lower body and really feel the burn in their legs and glutes.

Zumba is a great option for people of all fitness levels and those with or without a dance background. You’ll be having so much fun that the hour flies by, and it’s a much more effective and enjoyable way to get your cardio in versus watching the seconds tick by on a treadmill!

Mar 30 2015

Featured Instructor: Santiago Hernandez

Santiago Hernandez

Santiago Hernandez

Santiago Hernandez has been practicing yoga since 2009, when he moved to the U.S. from Argentina to start a new life chapter with his partner. He began to find himself drawn to the study of movement and started to develop a passion for yoga while working in the restaurant industry in Charlottesville, Va.

As an avid swimmer, hiker and seasonal runner, Santiago says he enjoys the different approach that yoga brings to fitness.

“I always like to open students’ minds that yoga is not a workout class, but rather it brings purpose and focus into your movements. Yoga integrates more than just the physical aspect, it will bring awareness into all aspects of your life if you allow it to,” he says.

Although he was already actively practicing yoga, Santiago credits the Charlottesville yoga community for really kick-starting his passion for teaching.

“I was surrounded by so many knowledgeable yoga teachers. They really had a great mindfulness of the practice and made me want to develop my practice more,” he says.

Santiago is currently in school for massage therapy at the Potomac Massage Therapy Institute and expects to receive his certification in the next six months (we hope to see him at Aura spa in the future!)

Massage and yoga, as it turn outs, complement each other pretty nicely.

“My knowledge of massage has definitely improved my yoga practice and vice versa. They are both healing arts and are closely tied into each other. They both build proprioceptive awareness (being aware of how your body is positioned in space) and how it moves and functions,” he explains.

Santiago has been teaching alignment yoga at City Vista for eight months and says that teaching in a gym rather than a yoga studio has been a new and exciting experience for him. He enjoys having new people in his classes that are trying yoga for the first time, and loves giving those who have been practicing for awhile a new approach to try.

Since starting to teach at VIDA, Santiago has started to add weight lifting into his own fitness routine three times a week, and feels that it is only making his yoga practice stronger.

“It’s nice to have yoga in the gym because then you get a number of disciplines all in one place. It’s good to integrate them all and try a hybrid of different things,” he says.

So what’s Santiago’s favorite yoga pose?

“Definitely downward dog – I call that my ‘Island pose’ because if I could only take one pose to an island with me it would be that one. You have the inversion, the forward fold, the back bend, and your feet are planted in a standing position so it covers a lot of bases. It’s very expansive and integrated,” he says.

Santiago Hernandez

Santiago Hernandez

When Santiago isn’t teaching or in school, he enjoys spending time with friends, reading a good book or trying new restaurants in the city! Asian and Italian foods are his weakness, he adds.

Santiago teaches alignment yoga at 6pm on Wednesdays at City Vista, and is always looking for new faces to join his class!

“No matter where you are in your yoga practice, it’s my pleasure to have them in class,” says Santiago.

Mar 28 2015

VIDA Featured Instructor: Luke Hudnall

Luke Hudnall

Luke Hudnall

You may recognize Luke Hudnall as the first smiling face you see when walking into our Verizon location. Or perhaps you’ve sweated your butt off with him in RX, cycle, MIT or RIP 30 – classes he teaches at Verizon, U Street, the Yards, Metropole and City Vista.

Although he has had an excellent experience as Front Desk Manager at Verizon for the past four years, Luke is planning to shift gears in the next couple months and expand his passion for teaching by moving to group fitness full time.

“At the front desk I was all about helping people discover what they were passionate about and what they wanted to turn into their career. For me, it’s time to explore my love for teaching and focus on that for a little while,” says Luke.

Luke started at VIDA four years ago after receiving his personal training certification and working at other gyms in the area. After a couple years he began to try out group fitness – starting with Pound Rockout, the musically driven full-body workout using Ripstix to create a beat while torching calories. He started teaching RX next, and has since added MIT, RIP 30 and cycle to his teaching schedule (all while managing the front desk at Verizon – you can say he keeps busy!)

His favorite thing about teaching? Getting to constantly switch gears and try new approaches.

“I love that you can always try something new as an instructor. If you get tired of one approach you can try something different. I love going to other instructors classes and experiencing their teaching styles,” he says.

As for his own teaching style – Luke has been described as “very happy” and “extremely peppy” by his students. He credits this to wanting to make sure his class-goers are having a great time, especially if they’re waking up at 6 a.m. just to come to his classes!

Luke HudnallLuke says that studying nutrition in school is what got him into fitness originally, though he has always been an avid biker and runner. He is currently finishing his Bachelor’s degree online at Old Dominion University in
Public Health, a subject matter that compliments being a fitness instructor nicely.

“I’ve always liked fitness for a purpose. I like the energy of having all the people in my classes moving together and on the same page,” he says.

Luke has several other hobbies besides teaching, including baking and singing in a local church choir!

“I’m doing this bread challenge right now where I make a new type of bread every week. I like to explore with different wheats, grains, quinoa flour, etc. Right now I’m making my own sour dough starter, and I always make all the cupcakes and cookies for events at the front desk,” he adds with a laugh.

Luke will officially make the switch to teaching full time on May 1st, so if you’ve enjoyed his classes before, get ready to see a lot more of him in the group fitness studios! He also has his eye on TRX & Pilates Reformer as his next programs to add to his repertoire in the coming months – so stay tuned!

Mar 27 2015

Class Spotlight: VIDA RX

One of our most popular VIDA classes is VIDA RX – the barbell based workout that hits every major muscle group one at a time to musically driven choreography. This class is a favorite for our members for obvious reasons – you get a full body workout and are in and out in just an hour, a feat that would be difficult to accomplish working out on your own.

For those unfamiliar with the class, VIDA RX takes you through a full array of traditional strength training exercises in this order: squats, chest, back, triceps, biceps, legs (again, I know) shoulders and core. For each track you’ll use a barbell with adjustable weight plates or dumbbells of your choice to complete 5-6 minutes of repetitions focusing on that muscle group alone.

VIDA RX instructor Luke Hudnall says it’s his favorite class to teach since it’s one of the only classes that use weights the entire time.

“I love that you’re not limited to just your body weight – you can continue to add more and do as much as you want. It’s the only class that gives you that option for the whole time,” says Luke.

This class is perfect for those new to weight training that need to learn proper lifting form and technique. The classroom setting is less intimidating than being out on the floor on your own, and it’s easy for first-timers to catch on to the movements by watching and learning from other class participants.

The low weight, high rep style of the class is also what makes VIDA RX a totally different experience than, say, doing squats on a Smith machine. Rather than maxing out on weight and doing a few reps with multiple breaks in between, you’re doing 5-6 minutes of reps with lower weights but no breaks. Your muscles will be just as (if not more) fatigued from that short amount of intense strength training than by spreading it out over half an hour on your own.

Luke agrees wholeheartedly that RX is the perfect class for people to really perfect their form as weightlifters, whether you’re just starting out or doing it every day.

“I always demonstrate proper form and try to cue preemptively exactly how to do an exercise. Even those who have been doing it for awhile can sometimes use reminders,” he says.

An important thing for active lifters to know before taking VIDA RX is to not be discouraged if you can’t do as much weight during the class as you would use on your own. The high rep nature of the class is designed to give you a different workout than a heavy lifting series would, so it’s totally normal to go down in weight. After doing the class for a while, you’ll probably notice that you’re able to go up in weight during regular lifting due to the muscular endurance that VIDA RX builds.

While each instructor follows the same class format for VIDA RX, they do have flexibility to pick and choose their favorite tracks for each muscle group and add their own personality to the tracks.

“I’ve been told my teaching style is very happy and peppy – maybe almost too peppy,” he laughs. “But if you’re waking up at 6am to come take my class, I want you to be happy to be there,” he says.

VIDA RX does have a tendency to get a little packed, so get there early to ensure you’ll have space to set up your bench. We also have a brand new RX release coming your way on April 15th, so get ready for some new music and choreography that will change it up on your muscles and keep them challenged!

Mar 27 2015


You can earn money just for referring your friends to VIDA Fitness! From January to March you can earn the following rewards for every person you refer who joins VIDA: Earn $25 for the 1st Member, $50 for the 2nd Member, $100 for the 3rd Member, and $100 for every additional member.

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