Families Who Sweat Together, Stay Together!
Aug 6 2015

Families Who Sweat Together, Stay Together!

It’s easy to spot friends working out together at VIDA. Usually a group of friends, couples or coworkers will grab a gym partner for their workouts (which is scientifically proven to be more effective than working out alone!) While VIDA is definitely a place to catch up with your besties while you sweat, it’s not as common to see parents getting a workout in with their children. However, Betsy & Matt McCrary are doing just that – making their fitness goals a family affair!

Betsy McCrary (59) and her son, Matt McCrary (26) are both active members at U Street.  They hit the gym together multiple times a week and say that sharing a passion for fitness has strengthened their bond and gives them something fun to do together.


While their workouts differ from each others, both Betsy and Matt have had great success reaching their fitness goals at VIDA. Betsy joined Metropole last year after moving to DC from Texas with her husband, and works with assisting the homeless through mission and advocacy work.

She admits that she was a member of another gym first, but that she was looking for a change of pace, more modern equipment and better facilities. She says the first time she walked into a VIDA she was sold!

“It’s a very different feel here. The membership people have a great energy and the front desk always greets you and encourages you. And the personal training has been a night and day difference,’ she says.

Betsy started visiting U Street and began inquiring about personal training a few months after starting her membership. She sought out recommendations from other members about different trainers and their styles and was told that Jesse Johnson might be a great fit for her. As it turns out, they were right!

“I sought Jesse out and kind of watched his training style with other clients for awhile. I decided to go for it and bought a 12-pack, and now he is by far my favorite trainer I’ve ever had!” says Betsy.

Betsy trains once a week with Jesse and follows his workout plans for the remaining days of the week. She does a combination of weights and cardio, and says she’s noticed a huge difference in her fitness levels so far.


Betsy & Matt showing off all their hard work!

“I feel so much stronger now – my core strength was non-existent before but I have some now. Jesse does a great job of explaining the exercises and is always very positive. I learned that it’s not all about cardio, weights are important too! My legs feel stronger, and my arms are much more toned,” she says.

Betsy explains that her son, Matt, has always been athletic and physically fit and usually gives her advice for what to look for in a gym, trainer, etc.  Matt is currently working towards his phD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Sydney in Australia, but was home on break for a few months this summer. When Betsy learned about Alexx Griffin’s outdoor boot camp in the mornings, she knew it would be the perfect class for Matt.

“I’ve never really been a class person before, but she kept telling me that I would love it so I decided to try it out. Now I’m finishing my third round of 6-week sessions and I love it,” says Matt.

As someone who has always played sports and is used to tough conditioning, Matt says that Alexx’s classes are just the right kind of difficult.

“They’re hard but in an intelligent way, not in a way that doesn’t make sense. I love the variety in exercises and how each class is different. And it’s nice not having to come up with the workouts myself,” he explains.

Matt was also coming back from a knee injury about a year ago, and says thanks to Alexx’s boot camp and a cleaner diet he’s cut 3% body fat and finally feels back to his full fitness level. It’s also been a great way for him to spend time with his mom before heading back to Australia!


After a sweaty boot camp session!

“We’ve always been close, and fitness is a great thing to have in common. I’ve always designed workouts for her so it’s been fun getting to go together and talk about our workouts later,” he says.

Betsy agrees, and says she loves being able to ask her son questions about her workouts or turn to him for advice. She stresses the importance of staying active as an adult and says she can’t imagine not working out regularly.

“It’s a great stress reliever for me and it keeps my mind alert. It also really helps with posture and balance as you get older – I notice myself standing up straighter and being more body-conscious in general,” says Betsy.

She also shares that while VIDA is commonly thought of as a gym geared towards young people; she has felt totally welcome here from day one.

“At first I thought I would feel older than everyone else, but the members and staff are all so welcoming and have such an amazing energy. I immediately felt right at home!” she says.

Matt has since left us to continue his phD program in Sydney, but looks forward to picking up where he left off in boot camp when he next returns. Betsy plans to continue her regular workouts and PT sessions with Jesse, so that she’ll be in even better shape for her son’s return!