VIDA Blog
Dec 30 2015

Getting To Know Gene Sun: Creator of Power Xtreme!

Gene SunPersonal Trainer Gene Sun has been with VIDA for less than a year, but he’s already launched a successful and constantly growing small group training program at VIDA Verizon. Power Xtreme (PX) is Gene’s home-grown strength and conditioning workout that uses creative interval training techniques to maximize performance and bring out the inner athlete in all of us.

Gene studied architecture at the University of Maryland and graduated with his B.S. in 2012. He accepted a job working in an office during the week, but was spending his weekends competing in Spartan Races, Tough Mudders and other ‘adventure endurance’ events. His interest in fitness and nutrition was growing, specifically using periodization to build strength and endurance over time.

After two years in an office job, Gene decided to invest in his passion for fitness and earned his NASM certification in 2013, followed by his ACE certification in February 2014. He made the transition out of the office into training full time and joined the VIDA team this past summer.

“I immediately loved the culture and community at VIDA. They really integrate their personal trainers into the entire gym and allow us so much opportunity to form relationships with the members,” says Gene.

Aside from training clients one on one, Gene wanted to expand on his small group training experience and create a program designed for people seeking high intensity interval training.

“Tami approached me about creating a workout that would blend together classic group fitness exercises w/ moves that target different heart rate zones. I came up with Power Xtreme as a workout for those already athletically inclined looking for a way to burn fat and optimize performance,” he says.

The format for PX stays the same, though the exercises rotate and change each week. The 50 minute class consists of two main components, strength and cardio, which you’ll alternate doing with a partner or on your own based on the number of participants that day.

In the strength portion Gene includes a general muscle-specific warmup,strength-centric skills practice (more technical movements) and then some max effort explosive training (i.e. tabata exercises with minimal rest intervals) for full-body strength training in less than half an hour.

Then it’s time for more cardio! You’ll actually leave the studio and hop on a treadmill for this portion – which makes for a unique change of scenery not found in regular group fitness classes.

This isn’t your average treadmill run, however. You’ll be completing 60-90 second intervals using inclines, pacing, speed work and the ultra-fun dynamic mode (which most people don’t even know exists!) to target different heart rate zones and generate maximum power on the machine. In between your intervals you and your partner will switch out doing push-ups, core exercises or other floor work while the other gives it all they’ve got on the treadmill. We promise you’ll never look at a treadmill the same way after a PX workout!

Gene has a handful of participants that have been in the PX game since it’s launch in August, and says he’s seen a noticeable improvement in his students technical movements, strength and speed.

PX currently meets Wednesdays and Fridays at 7:30am. Gene recommends taking the class twice a week to see maximum results, but adds that even adding it to your regular lifting and cardio schedule once a week will provide benefits to your strength and endurance levels.

He adds that while PX is totally modifiable for people of all fitness levels, it does require running on a treadmill for the cardio intervals, so it would not be ideal for those needing to avoid high-impact exercises.

“It does require running, but the intensity and speed are totally scalable to your fitness level. People should come expecting a fast paced butt-kicker workout using lots of different equipment and new variations of traditional exercises,” says Gene.

Not only will you get a killer workout, you’ll also form close relationships with your fellow PX participants due to the small group structure of the class. Space is limited to 8-10 participants at a time, so you’ll see the same people over and over as you all get stronger every week.

“I strive for people to be very present in their workouts and focus on getting the most out of every rep. I’m a big advocate of noticing incremental progress – no matter how small it is. If you can push one inch farther or run a mile five seconds faster, that’s progress to me,” he says.

If you’d like to join the PX movement or have any questions about if the class is right for you, email gsun@vidafitness.com with your questions. We look forward to seeing you in Power Xtreme!

Dec 14 2015

Meet Our New RD at the Yards: Courtney Puidk!

Courtney PuidkNot only does Courtney Puidk teach Pilates Reformer and lead a calorie-torching cycle class, she’s also helping us grow our nutrition program as the new Registered Dietitian at the Yards!

Courtney has been teaching at VIDA since June of 2014, so it wasn’t too difficult for her to transition into our nutrition department when the opportunity arose.

Growing up in Columbia, Missouri, Courtney was active and athletic her whole life. She swam, ran track and played soccer through high school and says her interest in nutrition began at age 17 when she made the decision to give up soda.

“I remember wondering – why is Mountain Dew yellow? I started paying attention to artificial ingredients and sweeteners. I dropped soda from my diet and lost 5 lbs! I was amazed at my increased energy and body transformation just by removing soda – that was kind of the lightbulb moment for me,” she says.

With her newfound curiosity about foods relationship with the body, Courtney decided to study Nutrition and Kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

During this time, she learned tons about nutrients and health, and worked the front desk at the Lincoln Park Athletic Club in between classes. Working at the club provided the perfect tie-in to fitness with her studies, and sparked her decision to get certified.

“I loved taking the classes! I was taking Pilates regularly and spinning up to four times a week. I was encouraged to start teaching Pilates and did my STOTT training in Chicago, and decided to get certified in spin too since I love music,” says Courtney.

She started training with a group of friends from the gym, and competed in her first triathlon before graduating in 2010! She has since done two more and says there will definitely be more in the future.courtney2

After receiving her B.S., Courtney Puidk realized that she was interested in nutrition to help people become healthier in a preventative sense, not clinical nutrition which focuses more on single nutrients and numbers related to health conditions and treatment.

“I know that nutrients alone are not relatable to most people. I believe in a whole health approach to nutrition, focusing on fresh foods and basic cooking skills. I want to be able to address people’s barriers to cooking by helping them look at the whole spectrum of health and make it less intimidating,” she says.

This attitude inspired her to pursue a M.S. in Holistic Nutrition at Bastyr University in Seattle – the only accredited program in the country with a holistic emphasis on nutrition! While working on her Masters she became certain that she wanted to work with people as part of the community, rather than in a hospital.

“I want to be in an environment that supports health and wellness, where people are voluntarily coming to you seeking advice because they care about their bodies. The gym atmosphere is perfect for that,” she says.

Her passion for food policy and advocacy eventually lead her to Washington DC, where she completed her 36 week nutrition residency program in 2013. During this time she worked as an intern at the Washington Hospital Center, the DC Central Kitchen, the Department of Health and the Office of State Superintendent of Education’s Healthy Schools Act division. She also holds a community chair on the DC Dietetic Association Public Policy Committee!

After moving from Tinleytown to H Street, Courtney discovered VIDA and was immediately drawn to our vibrant atmosphere, positive environment and health-focused corporate culture. Starting as a Pilates and Cycle instructor last year, she had no idea that she’d eventually be merging her two passions together.

“I remember meeting Cat for the first time and wondering if VIDA would ever expand their nutrition department. I loved teaching at the Yards location, so when I heard they were hiring an RD just for the Yards I knew I had to apply,” she says.

Courtney was officially brought on board in October, and says she’s had a great experience so far. Her goal is to empower people to take control of their health by creating sustainable lifestyle choices tailored to their needs, and to arm them with the knowledge needed about what foods to eat and when.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions out there and barriers people face when eating out. My number one piece of advice for takeaway is always that cooking your own food is the best thing you can do for yourself,” she says.

She also mentions that whether you’re trying to build muscle, lose weight or just maintain a healthy diet, proper nutrition is a key factor.

We’re excited to have Courtney on board, and encourage all of our Yards members to set up a Nutrition Fit with her if you haven’t yet by emailing cpuidk@vidafitness.com!

Dec 11 2015

You Could be the Next VIDA Model!

Would you like to be the next VIDA model? We are updating all of our marketing pieces this year with new images – and we want to fill them with real VIDA members who have worked hard for their bodies. Please submit a headshot and full body photo to photoshoot@vidafitness.com, and we’ll be in contact with the finalists selected to participate in our photoshoot.

Gentlemen please submit a shirtless photo, and ladies please submit a photo wearing fitted athletic gear. After the photoshoot, the final photo subjects selected by our photographer will win 3 months of VIDA membership! Photo submission deadline is January 29th – we look forward to seeing your pics!
instagramModel

Dec 10 2015

Your Guide For Eating Healthy During the Holidays

 

 

Your guide to healthy holiday eating, courtesy of VIDA Registered Dietitian Cat Taylor! If you have more questions about making sure your diet stays on track this season, email nutrition@vidafitness.com.

Nutrition

Dec 6 2015

Holiday Gift Guide for Fitness Fanatics

Gift Guide Feature ImageBy: Guest Blogger Danielle Pastula

Whenever the holidays roll around we love taking a look at all the latest fitness products on the market because not only do they help us figure out what to get for all the fitness lovers on our list, but they also give us a couple ideas for our own wish list!

So whether you’re looking to buy something special for the fellow gym rat in your life, or you’re looking to get some fit gifts in your own stocking this year, we suggest bookmarking this post or printing it out and leaving it where it’ll conveniently be seen. 🙂

So, without further ado, here’s our round-up of the best health and fitness gifts you can give this year:

For the Lifter

For the lifter
Lifting Belt

If your buddy’s lifting accessories are looking a little tired, a lifting belt fits in at a great price point for a nice gift that doesn’t break the bank. We love the selection over at bodybuilding.com, and if you want to add a little more to your gift, think about pairing it with a nice set of gloves.

Sports Massage

Designed for athletes of all levels, Aura Spa offers a sports massage on their services menu that helps broaden, condition, and stretch muscles for optimal performance. Trust us, if the lifter in your life doesn’t think they need a massage, their mind will be changed after their session at Aura.

Innovator Insulated Meal Management Bag

Give the gift of a 6-pack! No, not the kind of 6-pack you would normally think of, but if your lifting friend or family member doesn’t have a 6-pack yet, they will when you give them this! For anyone who wants to be serious about their meal planning and eating, this is THE BEST way to keep on track. All the features speak for themselves, this is more than a glorified lunchbox, it’s a tool for achieving your biggest fitness and nutrition goals.

For the Runners and Group Ex Fans

For Runners and Group Exercise

The MyZone MZ-3 belt

Anyone looking to increase their cardiovascular endurance and get a more accurate read on their fitness stats will love the MyZone MZ-3 belt. It’s one of the most advanced heart rate monitors on the market, and if you go to our recent blog post you can read more about it and get a $50 discount. (http://vidafitnessblog.com/work-out-smarter-with-a-myzone-heart-rate-monitor/)

Bibfolio

If you’re not a runner you may not know that every bib gets held on to as a keepsake from the race. Some runners may have their favorite ones framed or in a shadow box, but for every one on display, there are 20 more stuffed in a drawer somewhere. However, with the Bibfolio, all of your loved one’s race bibs can have a home! We love the selection over at goneforarun.com, but be warned, if you’re also a runner…you’ll want everything on that website.

Small Group Training

Any group fitness fan is going to love small group training because they’ll still get to be in a team-like environment, but with these classes they’ll get a whole different workout than what’s typically available on the group ex schedule. Between TRX, Boot Camp, Pilates Reformer and more, this is the ideal gift for any runner or group exercise fan who’s looking to add some diversity to their training routine or if they’re looking to improve in a specific area as they gear up for a big fitness event.

For the Yogi

For the Yogi

YOHALA Yoga Mat

 Yohala is the first yoga mat to use a natural cork surface, which provides an unmatched grip that increases the more you sweat. In addition to making sure your toes won’t be slip sliding around while nailing a tough pose, the cork surface is also naturally antimicrobial and contains zero harmful chemicals.

Lululemon’s Vinyasa Scarf

First of all, this is one of the most comfy accessories one could own, secondly, the Vinyasa Scarf is beyond versatile! It’s not just a scarf, it can also be a shrug, cardigan, the list goes on. Any on-the-go yogi will love being able to throw this sweat-wicking scarf on after class to stay warm and feel like they’re still in the calm of the classroom.

The Chakra Box

Chocoveda, the makers of The Chakra Box, are all about natural flavors to create a higher state of chocolate. In The Chakra Box you’ll find, “All natural, dairy-free, 70% dark vegan chocolate truffles. Seven flavors correlating to each of the seven energy centers with beautiful yantra designs on each truffle. Flavors include chai, tangerine, ginger/lemongrass, green tea, peppermint, pomegranate, and honey/vanilla.” (P.S. make sure to order an extra for yourself because we wouldn’t blame the person you’re gifting to to not want to share.)

For Every Fitness Fanatic

For Any Fitness Fanatic

A VIDA Fitness Membership

No gym rat is ever going to give you the side eye for gifting them with paid-for time at their home away from home. Even if you can’t give them a full year, just a couple months is something they’ll love. Come in to any VIDA Fitness location and we’ll help you get set up with a new membership to gift, or a gift card for someone who’s already a member.

 The Mira Fit Bracelet

Fitness trackers are still all the rage, but the idea of wearing a device that looks like a fitness tracker isn’t so popular. Enter the Mira Fitness Tracker, which tracks your daily steps, calories, distance and elevation discreetly and fashionably. It’s also water resistant, so no worries about sweat or a rain shower ruining this piece of wearable tech.

Powerbeats 2 Wireless In-Ear Headphone

We love our Beats by Dre, but they can get clunky in the gym. That’s why we’re obsessed with the Powerbeats 2 Wireless In-Ear Headphone. These things stay put during the most rigorous workouts and of course, they deliver incredible sound quality. And with wireless Bluetooth technology, you can connect up to 30 feet from your Bluetooth-enabled device so you can move freely and stay focused on your workout.

Gift Sources:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/belts.html

http://auraspa.net/services/massage-therapy/

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DGCFXRY/?tag=kinofthegym-20

http://vidafitnessblog.com/work-out-smarter-with-a-myzone-heart-rate-monitor/

http://www.goneforarun.com/photo_bibfolios/

http://vidafitness.com/personal-training/small-group-training/

http://yolohayoga.com/cork-yoga-mat

http://shop.lululemon.com/products/clothes-accessories/women-headbands-and-hats/Vinyasa-Scarf-II?cc=21947&skuId=3637516&catId=cat1350015

http://www.chocoveda.com/pages/chakra-box

www.vidafitness.com

http://www.mymirafit.com

http://www.amazon.com/Powerbeats-Wireless-In-Ear-Headphone-Black/dp/B00IYA2ZJW