Jun 30 2015

July Class Spotlight: Spin & Sculpt

The first half of Spin & Sculpt is spent in the cycle studio getting an intense cardio workout!

The first half of Spin & Sculpt is spent in the cycle studio getting an intense cardio workout!

Sometimes choosing which group fitness class to take on your lunch break or after work can be quite the difficult decision – especially at VIDA where we have literally dozens to choose from. Are you feeling some fast paced circuits that day, or perhaps some solid weight-training or steady-state cardio? The options can be overwhelming. Luckily, we have a class perfect for those who can’t make up their mind, and that class is Spin & Sculpt!

Spin & Sculpt is exactly as the name describes – half an hour of spinning, half an hour of sculpting. It’s the best of both worlds: an endurance-building workout that also focuses on toning and tightening your major muscle groups.

You’ll spend the first 30 minutes of class in the cycle studio getting a quick but intense cardiovascular workout. Since you’re only spinning for 30 minutes you’ll have the energy to give it all you’ve got and power through some challenging sprints and climbs that will get your heart rate up quickly. If you’re new to spinning this is a great way to get a feel for the bike, hand positions, and proper form for sprints and climbs before committing to a full hour-long class. Once the 30 minutes is up you’ll catch your breath, wipe down your bike and head to the group fitness studio.

Now it’s time to Sculpt! Part two of Spin & Sculpt is all about strength training with a focus on your core and upper body (your legs will welcome the break after the first half of class on the bike!)  You’ll grab some dumbbells and/or a barbell and your instructor will lead you through a series of compound movements designed to strengthen and tone your muscles.

Unlike HIIT or VIDA Circuit classes, Sculpt is less about speeding through the reps and more about slowing it down and controlling your movements. Extra focus is given to your form and being able to complete each rep successfully. You can expect some bicep curls, overhead presses, rows, push-ups and more to tire out your arms and chest, plus some challenging core work (think planks and Russian twists) to give you a full body workout!

SculptJust as the Spin portion is great for beginning spinners, the Sculpt half is beneficial for those just getting into weight-training. Those who are new to weights will learn the proper form for common exercises and be able to learn new moves to incorporate into their own workouts. They’ll also have the opportunity to experiment with different weights to see what works best for them.

Since this class is split into two halves it goes by so much faster than the typical hour-long class does. It also gives you the unique option that not many classes do of being able to choose which part to take! Only have 30 minutes to spare? No one will notice if you slip out after Spin. Just want to get some strength-training in? Join in for the Sculpt half and that’s totally fine.

Having the class split in two eliminates the awkward feeling of having to come in late or leave the class early. You can choose whatever workout you need that day, or stay for the whole time and get it all done at once! The combination of strength and cardio allows your muscles to get stronger while also building endurance so you get the best of both worlds.

Spin & Sculpt is offered at all of our VIDA locations, so check the schedule to see when you can try out this awesome class next!

Jun 27 2015

VIDA Instructor of the Month: Alex Wilson

Alex WilsonMeet our July VIDA instructor of the month, Alex Wilson! Alex teaches Spin & Sculpt, TRX and Cycle at both City Vista and U Street and does personal training part-time at City Vista. He does this all while balancing his full time job working in IT at ICF International, so it’s safe to say he stays pretty busy!

Growing up outside of Richmond, Va., Alex was a competitive swimmer all through high school. He continued swimming competitively in college at UVA while he pursued his degree in business. Although he loved the sport, he started having issues with his shoulders that limited his swimming ability. In search for a new way to get his cardio in without bothering his shoulder, he decided to give spinning a try.

“My mom was actually the one who got me into it. She was trying to get in shape and lose weight and had started doing spin classes so I started going with her. It was a fun thing for us to do together,” says Alex.

It turned out to be more than just mother-son bonding time for Alex, who quickly fell in love with the classes. He enjoyed them so much that he made the decision to get certified in 2012 and started teaching his first classes at the UVA gym that year.

Alex says that while teaching was scary at first he was excited to be able to share his passion for cycle with others.

“I try to make my classes all about the participants. I want them to have fun and want to come back, but also make sure they have a good workout and learn something,” he says.

After graduating from UVA in 2013, Alex moved to DC to begin his job at ICF International. Shortly after arriving in the city he auditioned to become an instructor at VIDA (which obviously went well) and got his personal training certification around the same time. He’s been teaching & training here ever since and couldn’t be happier!

“This is definitely the best gym I’ve ever been a part of. We offer an unparalleled level of service because everyone shares the same values and mindset when it comes to health and fitness. You can tell that everyone loves what they do here,” he says.

He adds that our facilities themselves are what sets VIDA apart from other gyms he has belonged to.

“It’s like the personalized, small studio experience but with all the amenities like the spa and sauna. Plus, they clean this place like nobody’s business!” he adds.

In his personal time, Alex is an avid triathlon competitor and enjoys biking around the city. He just competed in The Tavern Triathlon in Richmond last weekend, and is always up for giving advice to those interested in competing! After years of swimming he’s kind of over the swim part of triathlons, but he’s all about the running and cycling.

Alex Wilson

Alex competing in The Tavern Triathlon in Richmond last year!

“I love to run and bike outside. I know all the biking trails in the city! I like to practice my bike to run transitions in my spare time,” he says.

Some of his other favorite ways to workout are taking yoga occasionally, popping in on other instructors’ classes and doing some weight lifting when he can.

“I do squats and deadlifts and all that. Basically if it will make my butt look good I’ll do it,” he laughs.

Alex makes a conscious effort to stay active and eat healthy while working at a desk job all day. At the top of every hour he makes sure to stand up, walk around and loosen up his muscles. He also recommends drinking a ton of water throughout the day and incorporating as many natural foods into your diet as possible.

“If more of the food you’re eating is natural vs. unnatural then you’re good. I try to balance something unhealthy with something healthy. So if I have a diet coke I’ll also have a carrot or something,” he jokes.

When asked what his favorite part about teaching group fitness is, Alex says it’s all about making people feel good about themselves and creating a positive environment for them to workout in.

“I love hearing that I pushed people harder than they would have pushed themselves, that’s the most rewarding part,” he says.

Alex keeps his spin classes exciting by creating fun themed Spotify playlists for each class! Popular themes include: 90’s, DIVAS, Disney grads (Miley & Ariana, anyone?) and summer songs, just to name a few!

“Music plays such a huge role. There’s only so much you can do to keep a spin class exciting, so my music is how I keep it interesting,” says Alex.

You can check out his favorite spinning songs on his Spotify playlist – VIDA CYCLE! Or come experience the fun in person – check the schedule to drop in on a class!


Jun 24 2015

Local Celeb Paul Wharton Gets Fit With VIDA!

By: Elise Chretien

City Vista members may have noticed a new bubbly personality around the gym lately – TV personality and fashionista Paul Wharton! Real Housewives of DC fans will recognize Paul from his appearances on the 2010 show, plus he currently hosts Paul Wharton Style – a talk show on DCW50 covering all the latest fashion, beauty, style and entertainment trends in the DC area.

As you can imagine, Paul’s got a pretty packed social calendar. We all know how tough it can be to schedule workouts around long days at work, social events, and in Paul’s case – shooting television shows. For a long time, Paul had not been following any type of exercise or healthy eating routine and was becoming increasingly unhappy with his body. He knew that in order to start feeling better he needed to make a change, which lead him to VIDA Fitness!

After meeting with our personal training department and discussing his goals in depth, Paul started a 3x a week training program with City Vista trainer Justin Bucko complimented by nutrition sessions with VIDA RD Cat Taylor at the end of last month. Paul has just entered his 4th week of training, and says that he’s already feeling more energetic and healthier!

Paul & Justin

Paul with VIDA Trainer Justin Bucko after another sweaty workout session!

“I’ve been carrying extra weight around my stomach forever and I hated wearing tight shirts. I never thought that I would be able to stick to a fitness program, and I was actually considering liposuction as my only option. That’s why I’m so happy to be seeing progress already!” he explains.

Paul’s schedule consists of strength training with Justin three times a week, and cardio as his homework for the other two days (something he’s working on getting better about.) He has already lost 3 lbs of body fat and decreased his body fat percentage by a whole percent!

At four weeks in, Paul says he’s never had this much energy before and loves the changes he’s noticing in his body.

“I was in the Pride parade last weekend and was able to run and jump through the entire thing! My friends said they’ve never seen me this active before. I used to always just drive places but now I’m focusing on walking more and thinking about doing Capital Bikeshare too. It feels so freeing to walk through the city!”

Paul credits his training sessions with Justin to his progress so far, since he says he knows Justin pushes him in ways he wouldn’t be able to on his own.

“He’s always switching it up on me – just when I think something’s getting easy he changes the exercise or makes me add more weight. It really speaks to how valuable having a personal trainer is because I know if I was coming by myself I’d just do the same things over and over and be wasting my time,” he says.

Paul has also been focusing on making healthier choices in the kitchen; something that everyone with a hectic schedule knows can be difficult. But for someone who knows all about makeovers, he knew that his diet was the biggest thing that needed a transformation.

“Nutrition has been the hardest part for me.  When I get home I’m so exhausted, but I’ve been committed to making healthier choices. For instance going out to eat after Pride I ordered a salad with grilled chicken instead of a greasy sandwich,” says Paul.

Sitting down with Cat for his nutrition consult showed him exactly how many calories he needs to stay under in a day, and what portion of those can come from alcohol (300.) He says he isn’t always perfect with sticking to the calorie restrictions, but he is making a conscious effort to be mindful of what he’s putting in his body.

“The other day I wanted Chipotle so bad but I forced myself to go to Sweetgreen instead, and it was actually delicious and satisfied my craving. It’s all about the little choices that add up,” he says.

Paul says he appreciates all the support he has received from his VIDA team and that the people here have made all the difference for him thus far.

“You know I’ve been to many gyms where you’re just nameless when you walk in and they don’t make any effort to get to know you. Everyone here has been so encouraging and has helped pull me through. To be honest without my team here I probably would have quit by now,” he says with a laugh.

We are certainly glad he hasn’t quit on us yet, and we’re so excited to see his continued progress throughout the summer!

“I feel stronger and more confident every day but I know I’m a work in progress. By the end of the summer I just want to be able to take my shirt off by the pool!” he adds enthusiastically.

We have no doubt that you’ll get there Paul, keep up the awesome work!

Jun 22 2015

Six Healthy Summer Treats that Will Keep Your Sweet Tooth Satisfied


One of the best combinations in life is arguably an ice-cream cone and a hot summer day, but if we gave in to that craving everyday during the mercilessly hot summers in DC we would all need to hit up VIDA twice a day.

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time for that. Five sweat sessions a week is my current threshold, so that means being pretty selective about what summer treats I decide to indulge in.

To keep from caving in to typical summertime cravings like ice-cream and milkshakes, here are six healthy summer treats you can easily make at home that will keep your sweet tooth satisfied:


I can’t even begin to suggest flavor combinations for you because the options are endless. You can do fruit and juice based popsicles, popsicles with yogurt, pops with fruit and lemonade, pops with almond milk and coffee, the list goes on and on.

Only thing to keep an eye in the ingredients you use. If you’re going to incorporate juice or lemonade, go for the all-natural options that aren’t from concentrate. You don’t want to thwart your efforts of making a healthy treat by accidentally using ingredients with high levels of refined sugar.

My personal favorite combo: mixed berries such as sliced strawberries, blueberries and blackberries with coconut water for the liquid ingredient. It’s delicious and great for hydration! P.S. you can pick up a popsicle mold at any Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Kitchn sorbetSorbet

For the ice-cream lovers that just can’t resist, sorbet will become your new best friend. You can make it with just about any fruit and it’ll satisfy your hankering for a sweet in scoop form.

This go-to recipe for making sorbet with any kind of fruit has been a consistent winner in my house, and with only one cup of sugar going in to one quart of sorbet, it’s not too bad for you on the sweet scale. But, as always, consume in moderation.

Grilled Fruit

So this may not be the solution if you’re looking for something cool and refreshing, but seriously, you have to try it. Grill the right fruit and you’ll be sold on this healthy summer treat.

Some of my personal favorites fruits to grill are pineapples and peaches, which are perfect with a dash of cinnamon or drizzle of honey, and you really don’t need much since the sugars from the fruit will caramelize, creating a more sweet crust.

Chia Seed Pudding Parfait

I have yet to try this particular recipe, but I have a full bag of chia seeds in my pantry currently calling my name to whip this up.

Between the health benefits that the fruit and chia seeds provide, you’ve got a pretty healthy dessert option with this vegan and gluten free Fresh Mango Coconut Chia Seed Parfait from Vegetarian Gastronomy.

Oh She Glows granitaGranita

A what? A granita is an Italian dessert that’s kind of like an Italian ice, but it’s more granular than an Italian ice or a sorbet would be. Granitas are typically made with pureed fruit, but some are coffee based (and they’re amazing), and some granita recipes incorporate wine for all you boozy dessert lovers.

However, be on the look out if you search recipes for granita flavors because some will be heavy on the sugar. But in all honesty, a quality fruit flavored granita (this is coming straight from my Italian mouth by-the-way) shouldn’t need much, if any, refined sugar.

If you get in season fruit that is juicy and fresh, that’s all the sweetness a granita needs, in my Italian loud-mouthed opinion. Here’s a great recipe from the blog Oh She Glows that knocks it out of the park without bringing any refined sugar in to the picture.

Fresh Berries

You’re thinking “duh,” I just know it, but I think so many people underestimate the deliciousness that is a simple bowl of fresh berries. However, if you really want to get fancy with it, take an extra minute to make homemade whip cream to top your berries and you’ll feel like you got >more of an indulgence.

You can even make healthy whip cream by chilling a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight and then scooping out the thick coconut cream that separates from the coconut water, which will be left in the bottom of the can, into a mixing bowl and then whisking it with a touch of vanilla extract and pinch of cinnamon until you have a thickened whipped cream.

What are some of your healthy dessert go-to’s? We’re always on the look out for new recipes to try, tell us about them on Facebook or Twitter!


Jun 15 2015

Yoga Night at Nats Stadium

yoganats2“VIDA’s finest yoga instructors took it to the field on Sunday, June 7th to lead the Washington National’s first ever Yoga Night In The Outfield event after the Nationals game vs. the Cubs. The weather was perfect and the energy on the field was amazing as over 1000 yogis rolled out their brand new Nats Mats and practiced their downward dogs with us. Special thanks to Yoga instructors Mimi Rieger, Yoga Man Dan, Angela Meyer, Chris Parkison, and the Racing Presidents for leading the class!”