VIDA Blog

Oct 26 2017

The Man Behind the Cupcakes: Chris Sharp!

Pride Cupcakes!

You know them well: the delicious, bite-sized cupcakes greeting you at the U Street (& now Metropole!) front desk on every Member Appreciation Day. The seasonal themes seem to get more and more intricate each month, from Teddy Grahams wearing flotation devices to kick off pool season, unicorns and rainbows for Pride month, or the most recent collection of too-cute-to-eat marshmallow ghosts for Halloween. They always taste as good as they look, and are just the right size for a post-workout treat on your way out the door!

So where do these adorable mini bites of deliciousness come from? One of our own VIDA members, Chris Sharp, is who to thank. Learn more about the man behind the cupcakes in our Q&A below!

The Cupcake Maker, Chris Sharp!

So, how did you first get into cupcake making?

I first started making regular size cupcakes back when I lived in Tampa.  One Christmas, I had wanted to give my coworkers and neighbors a small gift so I thought baking something would be a great idea.  When I moved to DC, I continued to bake for friends’ birthdays and holiday parties, but the regular size cupcakes just seemed to be too big.  Consequently, a close friend suggested I make mini cupcakes, and I have not looked back since.

How long have you been making the cupcakes for VIDA MAD?

I have been making VIDA MAD cupcakes for over 2 1/2 years.  I started with VIDA U Street in February 2015 and have expanded to VIDA Metropole in June 2017.

How do you find the creative ideas for the cupcakes each month? (You do such a great job tying them into each event/holiday!)

I first start with the theme that is provided by the VIDA team.  I then take into account the month, season, and what flavors or flavor combinations would fit well with the theme or season.  I then design the cupcakes around that incorporating seasonal/theme colors and decorations.

What’s your favorite cupcake that you have made, or which flavors do you enjoy the most?

My favorite cupcake is probably my sweet potato cupcake with a marshmallow cream cheese frosting.  It is a derivative of my carrot cake recipe and sort of my own creation through trial and error.  My favorite frosting though is my nougat frosting which is a combination of my marshmallow cream cheese frosting with bits of roasted pecans and toasted coconut.

Tell us a little about who you are when you’re not making cupcakes. 

When I am not baking, I work full time with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), a federal law enforcement organization within the U.S. Department of Justice.  If I am not working, you will most likely see me at the gym.  I also spend a great deal of time with my friends who have become my second family here in DC.  As a group, we enjoy traveling, going out to dinner, playing board games and just hanging out with one another.

What kind of cupcakes will Chris whip up next? Stop by our next Member Appreciation Day on Thursday, November 9th at U Street or Metropole to find out!

Oct 24 2017

Treat Yourself: A Day at Aura spa

Aura spa

Aura spa at Renaissance lobby

By: Guest Blogger Kelly Berry

Aura spa right inside the walls of VIDA makes it a little bit easier to treat yourself. Every Tuesday VIDA members can take advantage of 60 to 90 minute massages and facials at 15% off the original cost. For all the tools and tips for planning that amazing spa day, staycation, or personal day from work (don’t worry your secret is safe with us), we spoke with relaxation expert LMT and RYT, Layne Curry. Here’s what we found out:

What is Aura spa?

Aura spa is a full-service spa tucked away inside VIDA at U Street, The Yards, Metropole, City Vista and Renaissance locations. While the spa is conveniently located within some of our busiest locations, visitors can expect to feel transported from the vibrant energy of the club and the city outside to a quiet and serene place. The spa conveys a softer side of VIDA with dim lighting, candles, aromatherapy, tranquil music, and detox water. It’s a place to unwind and recharge from the busy Washingtonian life.

Layne Curry

LMT Layne Curry

Lots of options, how to choose?

The spa offers massages, facials, exfoliation treatments, the list goes on. If you’re struggling to decide which options are best for you, here are some general guidelines and things to think about:

One of the favorites for Fall is the Detox Body Cocktail, which includes, 1) a microbead scrub to exfoliate, 2) a sea mask to replenish moisture into the skin, and 3) a body butter to seal in all that goodness! Layne recommends this treatment if you are looking to balance your skin and reverse some of the effects of post-summer sweat and sun damage. All Aura services use Biotin products which are all natural and formulated for sensitive skin. The Detox Body Cocktail features a Baltic Sea mask that when heated naturally balances skin texture and adds moisture to areas that are in need of some H2O.

The signature Swedish massage is great option if you are looking to improve circulation and focus on the relaxation aspect. Pressure is light to medium using long flowing strokes, and aromatherapy of your choice is also included in this treatment.

If you’re looking for a way to alleviate more chronic stress and tension, Deep tissue massage might be your best bet. Strokes are slow or more forceful to tap into the connective tissue and trigger points in the efforts of repairing muscle damage from injuries or to relax tight muscles fibers that form from overuse. Something to think about as Layne reminds us, “Most of us sit at a desk all day in a flexed position and then head to the gym after work, go hard challenge the body – which is wonderful – but then we go back home and sit. That can be double trouble and cause muscles to seize, tighten and cause chronic pain. An excellent way to balance is through massage. Good for the muscles, good for the mind.” If you’re a health nerd like us and want to learn more about the effectiveness of massage to relax body and mind, check out the NIH study here.

Another great compliment to a regular workout regime is the Sports massage, sometimes referred to as the “massage for athletes”. This treatment is similar to the Swedish but geared to athletes seeking to prevent or treat an injury by adding stretches. When muscles are more subtle, you are able to prevent injury and avoid the muscles from becoming short, tight and tense. As Layne explains, “Just like yoga, foam rolling or deep stretching, massage makes the body more adaptable to change and stress. When fascia and muscles are lengthened and open, the body can better manage the stress and demands you put on it without becoming compromised. However, while foam rolling and stretching can do a lot, only massage can get to the harder to reach areas, like under the shoulder blades, into deep hip rotators and close to the spinal vertebrae. Also, when you are passive in the stretch by relaxing on a table, that makes a huge difference to the result!”

What to expect & how to prepare

If it’s your first time to the spa, no special preparation is necessary, except for booking your appointment of course. One note of caution, if you’re dealing with any fractures or wounds, let your body heal first!

Other things to keep in mind, have an open dialogue with your massage therapist. They do have magical powers but they’re not mind readers. Be clear with expectations when speaking to your massage therapist before the session. If you are experiencing tension or pain in a specific area say so! Clear communication will make sure that you get the most out of your session.

Ready to book your appointment? Visit www.auraspa.net to make a reservation at either the U Street, Metropole, City Vista, The Yards or Renaissance locations.

If you want to book an appointment with Layne Curry, you can find her at the U Street location, which also has a sauna and steam room directly connected to the spa. When not at the spa, you can find Layne teaching restorative and power flow yoga classes as several VIDA locations.

Oct 11 2017

#VIDAWorld2017: The Winners!

Another summer of travel is behind us, and we loved watching the #VIDAWorld2017 submissions roll in from all corners of the globe! We had photos submitted from six out of the seven continents this year, and your photos keep getting more and more creative. This year we chose those that we felt did the best job of incorporating fitness into the photograph, as well as one from a vantage point that we had never seen before!

Congratulations to the Top 3 Winners below!

1ST PLACE (1 year free membership): Enbar Toledano, Yards member. (+ photo subject Jeff Ober) 
Photo location: An outdoor gym at the top of Mount Ulriken in Bergen, Norway.
“We hiked to the top of Mount Ulriken and were taken completely by surprise to find an entire gym at the crest. (Because, obviously what you need after a good hike is a full-body workout).  The view from the mountain is looking down on the city of Bergen.” -Enbar Toledano

Cranking out some pull-ups in Bergen, Norway! (One shot out of an album of 7!)

2ND PLACE (6 months free membership): Jenny Borman, Yards member 
Photo location: Anguilla in the British West Indies, on her honeymoon!
“Beautiful white sands and blue waters, friendly people, and delicious food! One of our favorite instructors, Meagan Clark,  provided us with some beach workouts, and we decided to have some fun with the coconuts!  Unfortunately, right after we left is when the hurricane hit- we send our love and prayers to those affected by these recent storms.” – Jenny Borman 

Gotta squeeze in a workout, even on your honeymoon at the beach!

3RD PLACE ($150 Aura spa giftcard): Brandon Garrett, All Access member
Photo location: Inside a Hot Air Balloon above Cappadochia, Turkey.
“Doing the hot-air balloon ride in seemingly the middle of nowhere, Turkey felt a bit dangerous at first.  But, once we took off, it was actually relaxing.  What also made it more interesting was the amount of people that all went to this fairly remote part of the world to do it.  Per my guide, Cappadochia, Turkey is the 3rd most popular place to ride in the world, coming after the vineyards outside of Paris and the Serengetti.” – Brandon Garrett 

From the basket of a hot air balloon above Turkey!

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to the 70+ VIDA members who submitted their photos and spread their VIDA love around the world!

Vida Fitness
City Vista 45 K Street, NW Washington D.C. 20001
(202) 289-8432 info@vidafitness.com Facebook Twitter Instagram

City Vista

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm

Phone: (202) 289-8432

$ 45 K Street, NW Washington D.C. 20001
Vida Fitness
Metropole 1517 15th Street, NW Washington D.C. 20005
(202) 588-5559 info@vidafitness.com Facebook Twitter Instagram

Metropole

Phone: (202) 588-5559

$ 1517 15th Street, NW Washington D.C. 20005

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm

Vida Fitness
Renaissance Hotel 999 9th Street, NW, 3rd Floor Washington D.C. 20001
(202) 742-1940 info@vidafitness.com Facebook Twitter Instagram

Renaissance Hotel

Phone: (202) 742-1940

$ 999 9th Street, NW, 3rd Floor Washington D.C. 20001

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:30am – 10:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 6:00 am – 10:00pm

Vida Fitness
U Street 1612 U Street, NW Washington D.C. 20009
(202) 939-2577 info@vidafitness.com Facebook Twitter Instagram

U Street

Phone: (202) 939-2577

$ 1612 U Street, NW Washington D.C. 20009

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm

Vida Fitness
Verizon 601 F Street, NW Washington D.C. 20004
(202) 393-8432 info@vidafitness.com Facebook Twitter Instagram

Verizon

Phone: (202) 393-8432

$ 601 F Street, NW Washington D.C. 20004

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm

Vida Fitness
The Yards 1212 4th Street, SE Washington D.C, 20003
(202) 554-0444 info@vidafitness.com Facebook Twitter Instagram

The Yards

Phone: (202) 554-0444

$ 1212 4th Street, SE Washington D.C, 20003

Open: Mon-Fri: 5:00am – 11:00pm

Open: Sat & Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00pm