Nov 17 2017

5 Reasons to SPARC up Your Fitness Routine

SparcBurn more calories, keep it fresh, workout with friends!
By: Guest Blogger Kelly Berry 

You might have seen fancy new machines on the floor and new classes on the schedule and perhaps you’re wondering ‘what is this SPARC training all about?’ To share more about the program and its unique benefits, we spoke with Amy Hutchinson, personal trainer and SPARC instructor at VIDA Gallery Place, to give us the deets.

What is SPARC?

SPARC training is the highest form of intensity you can get in a group training workout.  In one 55-minute session you can complete a full body workout and/or isolate specific muscle groups to create a lower body or upper body focused workout. In addition to the SPARC training machine, VIDA SPARC classes employ a range of gear including CorMax equipment, Bosu balls, kettle bells, TRX and more. All equipment used in a SPARC workout is meant to turn on stabilizing muscles, reduce strain on the joints, all while reaching maximum levels of intensity to burn calories, improve endurance, strength, and mobility.

How is a SPARC workout different from other group fitness classes?

One of the biggest reasons why SPARC training sessions are able to dial up the intensity of the workout is due to the fact that all equipment used, including the SPARC machine, has no motor. Instead, you are the motor! The SPARC trainer also has no handles – which means you have no other option but to use your lower body to keep up momentum. This of course, as Amy explains, translates to a focus on strengthening and building quads, glutes and hamstrings all with minimal to zero impact on joints, making it a much safer and beneficial workout if you’re working with or looking to avoid injury.

In addition to using the SPARC trainer, sessions can include a variety of functional training tools. With a mixture of equipment and circuits, members can expect a unique workout each class that will incorporate fat burning, cross training, cardio, high performance bursts, low stress/impact, and strength training in each and every class. One of Amy’s favorite challenges is upping the resistance on the SPARC trainer while continuing to keep the speed.

“It’s like carrying 50 lbs on your body and marching up a steep hill, fast. Only in this version, there is no undue stress on the body, you are maximizing effort and you have a whole room of your peers cheering you on. It completely changes how you feel and what you are able to accomplish in a single class and from week to week the results will surprise you,” she explains.

What are the top 5 benefits of a SPARC workout?

  1. Burn more calories

On average, participants in Amy’s class using MYZONE are burning anywhere from 500 to 900 calories per 55-minute workout. Yep, you read that right. The calorie burn is intense!

  1. Work out with friends

Similar to boot camp workouts offered at VIDA in the warmer months, SPARC encourages teamwork and some healthy competition to keep you and your fellow VIDA champs accountable and consistent.

“There is something extra that you are able to tap into with small group training classes. It’s the best of both worlds; you’re getting more dedicated time with the instructor due to the smaller class sizes to focus on proper form and tailor the workout to you. Plus, you are receiving the benefit of working out with peers who lend encouragement and support to push you towards healthy challenges, while having fun doing it! As we all know, if a workout isn’t stimulating and you don’t enjoy it, it’s very difficult to motivate yourself to keep coming back. By combining a social element to a challenging workout, chances are far higher that you’ll stick with it and reap all the positive benefits!” says Amy.

  1. Keep workouts fresh, never get bored

Workouts vary by class and instructor and use the SPARC trainer, weights, kettle bells, CorMax, bosu, TRX and more to provide circuits that are challenging and provide variety in order to build a better booty, core, and upper body. If you want to get up early to work out but have trouble motivating, this format could be a game changer.

“I love waking people up and motivating in a positive way to start the day. My goal is to get people feeling 100% awesome and ready to take on their day with a positive mindset when they leave my class” says Amy.

Amy & the rest of the Verizon crew testing out the program for you!

She invites in playful music and encourages students to push themselves to their limit all while maintaining great form, of course.

  1. Maximize your time + calorie burn

SPARC is a full body workout with the ability to target all muscles groups all in 55 minutes. SPARC classes are typically offered in the early AM – 6:00 AM to be exact – and can be a great way to jump start your morning and burn your calories for the day all before you reach your desk. Amy also reminds us that because of the HIIT programming – which brings your heart rate up and down the entirety of the class – you can burn more calories per session and up to 24 hrs after the workout! To see the greatest results, Amy recommends two SPARC sessions per week in combination with active recovery or strength training such as yoga, barre, or weight lifting classes.

  1. Built for All Levels, Focus on Fun + Form

SPARC small group training might have elements of the HIIT workouts that are so popular in today’s fitness landscape, however SPARC offers a more personalized approach.

“So many studio workouts focus on speed, and then those that are brand new to the program are at a higher risk for injury during class or over time with repetitive stress movements,” says Amy.

The solution then becomes mindful movement, body awareness, and variety in workouts for all skill levels and to stimulate the brain to avoid fatigue and boredom.

“What I enjoy most about working at VIDA is the ability to connect with students 1:1 and as a group to offer variations of an exercise that works best in their body as it is right now and then watch that confidence grow as the challenge increases from week to week and a student builds the strength and confidence mind and body. It is hands down the most rewarding part of the job, seeing that positive shift in people,” says Amy.


Ready to join a class?!

SPARC is currently offered at multiple times during the week at our Gallery Place and City Vista locations. Click here to try a demo class for free!


Amy Hutchinson is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at VIDA Gallery Place. She teaches SPARC classes every Tuesday and Thursday 6:00am – 6:55am (Verizon) in addition to group training classes, abs, and HIIT. Amy strives for improvement, not perfection, and applies the same concept towards her clients’ training. She sets goals for herself and others that are achievable through hard work and dedication. She believes in loving what you do, because if you don’t love what you do you’ll find yourself putting in less than 100% effort.

Nov 7 2017

Tips For Fueling Your Early Morning Workouts

Early Morning WorkoutsTo fuel or not to fuel? VIDA Member & Guest Blogger Paulo Sibaja sits down with our in-house Registered Dietitian, Addie Merletti, to get the scoop! 

Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!

“But I just put my head down!”

“How is it 6 a.m. already?”

“Where the heck is the snooze button?!”

The struggle, it is real. For those early birds who work out in the morning before heading to the office, the morning routine is jolted by a good gym session that wakens even Sleeping Beauty. I sat down with Addie Merletti, VIDA’s Registered Dietitian (RD), to discuss the type of fuel your engine needs in order to have a successful morning workout.

“Oh! I workout late in the afternoon/early evening?”

Don’t worry, got you covered. We’ll address evening pre-workout meals for the night owls among you in another article. Stay tuned!

Americans currently average fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night, significantly less than previous generations. However, the hours-long fast remains about the same. They call it breaking the fast for a reason, or breakfast, and what you consume will help determine the quality of your morning workout.

We all know that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A 1944 marketing campaign launched by Grape Nuts manufacturer General Foods promoted the importance of breaking the previous night’s fast with a bowl of cereal, they also popularized that saying. But is cereal the right food to eat prior to your workout?

Luckily, Addie knows a thing or two about proper nutrition (actually she knows a lot more than a thing or two).  While a customized meal plan is best because each person’s body processes food differently and each person going to the gym in the morning has different fitness goals, the following information is what Addie considers a good general guideline for a morning pre-workout meal.

Addie stresses not just eating right but hydrating as well, an equally important task. She said, “Proper hydration begins the evening before your morning workout.” And while it is recommended to wake up to an 8 ounce glass of water, it is important to keep in mind that proper hydration begins way before your walk to the gym. So drink up… the night before.

After having fasted for about 7-10 hours, our body requires fuel in order to get moving again. You hit the snooze button once —shame on you— it is now 6:09 a.m. and you are getting up to get to the gym by 7:30 a.m. Addie recommends eating 45 minutes to an hour before you start working out. And depending on your fitness goal, she recommends consuming between 30-60 grams of carbohydrates and some protein, although not nearly as many grams.

“Why is the morning pre-workout meal so carbohydrate-heavy?” I asked Addie.

“Think of carbohydrates as quick fuel for your muscles,” Addie replied. After several hours of fasting the body needs fuel, carbohydrates deliver that fuel. Protein helps repair and build, while healthy fats help keep your body running smoothly. Addie recommends reducing your healthy fat and fiber consumption in your morning pre-workout meal because both the fat and fiber slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and may cause an upset stomach.

After my interview with Addie, who is a great resource at VIDA, I reviewed my notes and biked to my local grocery store. I walked up and down the Health & Nutrition aisle and picked up a handful of bars to analyze their content. Most bars were carbohydrate-heavy, had some protein, and hardly contained any fat or fiber. Interesting! Because whole foods are better than half-foods (Bad dad joke? Yes!) Addie recommends eating one medium-sized banana, a sprouted grain toast, and a slice of turkey 45 minutes to an hour before your workout.

Next up, what to eat after your early morning gym session!


Paulo Sibaja is a marketing & communications professional with a keen understanding of America’s Hispanic market. If Paulo is not drafting strategic marketing and smart communication plans, he is likely on the water paddle boarding, on the road biking, or at the gym lifting weights. To learn more about him visit

Nov 3 2017

Top 20 Reasons to Join VIDA Fitness

There are hundreds of amazing reasons to join VIDA Fitness. Here are the top 20, come find out the rest for yourself!

  1. In the ZONE

    All VIDA gyms are integrated with MYZONE technology. MYZONE heart rate monitors will transform your workouts and how you understand results by providing instant feedback and summaries, as well as offering social accountability with friends and other VIDA members. MYZONE monitors allow you to workout smarter, not just harder, to more quickly reach your fitness goals.

  2. DC’s Top Instructors

    VIDA instructors get it. Form. Safety. Fun. Results. All VIDA instructors are AFAA or NASM certified, and before joining the VIDA family, they go through a rigorous audition process. Once on board, D.C.’s top instructors expertly guide you through class so that you can be ready for adventure wherever life takes you.

  3. A Colorful Spin

    VIDA’s cycle classes are the triple threat: heart-pumping cardio calorie shredders, led by instructors that infuse variety into the routine and their playlists, and state-of-the-art Matrix IC7 bikes that allow you to customize your workout to a personal FTW number. Effort and exertion are tracked in real time using color zones that are personalized at the top of each class.

  4. Get Jacked & Give Back


    VIDA partners with our neighbors on a wide variety of fundraisers, social events, street festivals, fun runs, and other philanthropic efforts. Our ALS event in the spring raises money for Augie’s Quest, during Pride Month you can help raise funds for Athlete Ally, and this November 18, you can participate in our third annual 5K run/walk. All profits will benefit Thrive DC, a non-profit committed to ending homelessness in the DC area.

  5. Best Smoothies in the Hood

    Juicing may be headed for fad-dom, but not our beloved smoothies. Packed with the nutrients and protein that feed post-workout muscles, but with flavors reminiscent of the wet bar at Fat Tuesday’s, VIDA’s Fuel Bars offers a delicious and nutritious menu. Try the Green Machine – it packs a ½ cup of spinach with 29 grams of protein and comes in under 320 calories, or the Fuel Bar’s newest nutrition addition, Acai Bowls.

  6. The Wantable Spa Products

    We all have days where the best part of a workout is the moment it’s done. (I’m looking at you, 6AM VIDA HIIT.) At VIDA, the after-workout sigh of relief/accomplishment/OMG is made all the sweeter by stepping underneath the rainfall showerhead and lathering up with our divine lemongrass sugar scrub.

  7. Treat-Yourself Tuesday

    VIDA members enjoy 15% off Aura sSpa services every Tuesday. Swedish massage, sports massage, aromatherapy – oh my. Plus facials, body wraps and scrubs. Move over, Saturday – we’ve got a new favorite day of the week.

  8. Hydration Stations

    You’ve heard the saying – it’s the little things. VIDA gets it. You work out hard and need to hydrate. With multiple filtered water stations located throughout each gym, you can fill your water bottle without adding to landfills.

  9. Penthouse Pool and Lounge

    Whether you’re looking for a cabana to house you and your friends for the day, or a comfy lounge chair perfect for you, some magazines, and your headphones, VIDA’s Penthouse Pool and Lounge (at U Street and Yards locations) offers resort luxury in the heart of the 202. Plus, the menu features healthy options like roasted garlic hummus and the super healthy quinoa wrap, as well as fun drink options that won’t derail your nutritional goals. (Try the Skinny Lemonade!)

  10. Small Group Training

    Combine the individualized instruction of personal training with the fun communal atmosphere of group classes. You can sign up for boot camps, TRX suspension training, and Pilates reformer groups just to name a few. Small group training is also a budget-friendly alternative to personal training that doesn’t skimp on results.

  11. Qualified Trainers

    All VIDA trainers maintain a national personal training certification, and many have specialized certifications for focused modalities. Trainers will develop personalized workouts based on your unique fitness goals. When you work with a personal trainer at VIDA, you’re putting yourself in qualified, supportive hands that are dedicated to your health and safety.

  12. The Latest, Greatest Equipment

    At the top of the list are VIDA’s Woodway Treadmills. The safe and comfortable running surface reduces the friction and wear associated with a conventional conveyor belt style treadmill. This means the treadmills are both easy on your knees and built to last.

  13. Look (and Feel) Good at Holiday parties

    Whether you’re a lady warming up to the cold shoulder trend, or a gent getting comfortable with skinny jeans, committing to a workout routine during the holiday season will help build muscle, stamina and confidence. And who doesn’t want that?

  14. VIDA Hires People People

    From the moment you walk in the door, staff that is welcoming, friendly, and knowledgeable greets you. VIDA’s vibe is inclusive – the staff, instructors, and other members provide friendship and community.

  15. Space that’s Out of this World

    Sometimes one size doesn’t fit all. We’ve all been to gyms where the yoga studio is also the group fitness studio, as well as the stretching space and cycle studio (You’re cool with moving your bike into position, right?). At VIDA, there’s dedicated space for stretching, yoga studios with ambient lighting and plenty of zen, group fitness studios that are light and airy, and spin cycle studios that feature motivational projections screens.

  16. The Steam Room and Sauna

    VIDA’s steam rooms and saunas are good for your skin and your spirit. The sauna helps to relax muscles after your workout, in addition to aiding in lowering blood pressure. The steam room is your go-to, all-in-one detoxification destination.

  17. The Gear Shop

    There’s nothing worse that realizing you’ve forgotten a workout essential once you’ve already arrived at the gym. Whether it’s a water bottle to stay hydrated, headphones to stay motivated, a lock to keep your gear safe or a workout tank/tee to keep you covered, VIDA’s gear bar … well, it’s got you covered. And if you’ve forgotten your wallet, charge it to your card on file.

  18. Nutrition Services

    Take advantage of VIDA’s RDs who will evaluate eating and exercise habits, discuss your fitness aspirations, and dig into your health and family history to customize a perfect, personal program. Our in-house Registered Dietitians will lead you through a Body Composition Analysis that provides a detailed analysis of your lean body mass. They will also develop personalized meal plans to fit your macros needed to reach your goals.

  19. Get a Jump on Your NYE

    For most of us, it happens every year. As the glow of the holidays starts to fade, we know it’s time to re-focus on getting stronger, losing weight, or adding tone and definition. Whatever your fitness resolution, get a head start by making time for your workouts throughout the holiday season.

  20. Eliminate Stress

    The holidays. Twinkle lights, flurries of glittering snowflakes, and the collective peace that surrounds a season of love and joy. Plus office Christmas parties, in-laws, competitive pricing, and cookies. So. Many. Cookies. This November, get a jumpstart on the holiday season in what is truly a win-win. Spend time on yourself, eliminate stress, and get in the spirit while avoiding your fat pants.

Come check out VIDA and see the Top 20 reasons for yourself!

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


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 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 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 Facebook Twitter Instagram


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 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