Dec 29 2017

Member Spotlight: Matthew Felling

By: Mekita Rivas, VIDA editor and member

Although he’s now a mainstay at The Yards location, Matthew Felling says that when he first joined VIDA back in 2013, it was a decision he was reluctant to make.

“I joined — kicking and screaming — at my wife’s suggestion when we moved into the Navy Yard neighborhood,” Matthew says. “As usual, she was right. I’ve grown to fully appreciate the gym’s benefits over time, going from being mostly a treadmill chugger originally to diving into five or six classes a week.”

With the new year approaching and resolutions sprouting, Matthew emphasizes the importance of doing activities and trying workouts that push you beyond your personal threshold.

“I’m a 40-plus guy with a heart condition and torn ligament in my foot, and I’m keeping up with the younger, fitter members,” he says. “The hardest part about getting to the gym is just getting to the gym. Once you’re there, everything gets easier — particularly at VIDA.”

I sat down with Matthew to chat about his workouts, what he enjoys most about VIDA, and his advice for gym newcomers.

Describe your fitness journey up to this point.

The journey is always uphill, but it’s always worth it. Trite sports radio hosts always say, “Father Time is undefeated against athletes,” but getting to the gym is my way of giving Father Time a fight and also keeping my heart strong. I had open-heart surgery when I was 25 because of a congenital thing, and staying active keeps any additional problems at bay.

When you joined VIDA, what were your initial goals?

My initial goal was simple: Stay at it, and keep plugging away on the treadmill. But then I suffered through a humiliating Boot Camp class in Lewes, Delaware, and I realized that running is only a fraction of what the body needs. So I came back and spelunked into Enrique’s intense Friday morning class, and it took off from there. I still wear the Delaware gym T-shirts to VIDA to keep myself focused.

How has VIDA helped you achieve your goals?  

The goal has always been about feeling better and getting the most out of myself every day. I realized when I lived in Alaska that getting an intense workout in every morning kicks you into high gear and gives you a boost that caffeine alone can’t beat. VIDA allows me to stay committed to that, but also keeps the challenges diversified.

Describe your typical workout routine. How often do you work out and which workouts are you drawn to?

I’ve been working out despite a torn ligament in my foot, so my options have narrowed. I can’t do heavy impact things that require too much weight on the ball of my foot. So I’ve been spending quality time with Jourdan, Amanda, Joel, and Leslie in the spin classes, and dabbling in the HIIT classes when I can modify around my foot. You can find me walking in around 6 a.m. most mornings and around 8:30 a.m. on the weekends.

What do you most enjoy about being a VIDA member?

The vibe when you walk in. It starts at the front desk when the team welcomes you, and the staff and instructors add to it when they are supportive or helpful — or when they give you the kick in the butt you need to power through. The clusters of community that cross over from class to class give you support as well.

What advice do you have for someone who’s on the fence about joining VIDA?

Give it a go! They have a little bit of everything, including some things you wouldn’t usually try. The cliché is correct: You get out of it what you put into it, but there are more ways to push yourself at VIDA than at other places. Also, you’re a member, so try every class once like a sampler platter. Go with what works, and rule out things you weren’t crazy about.

Outside of the gym, how do you spend your time?

My go-to answer to “What do you do in your free time?” is VIDA, so the free time remaining is limited. I write a weekly political column for U.S. News, read, sleep, kayak at the Ballpark Boathouse during the in-season, and go to the movies and Nats games.

Dec 27 2017

5 Simple Ways To Maintain Healthy Habits During The Holidays

By: Mekita Rivas, VIDA editor and member


The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most temptation-filled. From office potlucks to boozy holiday parties and all the indulgences in between, it’s not surprising that sticking to those #fitgoals can seem pretty much impossible. Fortunately, our experts here at VIDA have plenty of practical tips for maintaining healthy habits during the holidays.


Keep going to the grocery store.


“As people travel more this time of year, we tend to avoid getting too many groceries since we don’t want them to go bad,” says Addie Merletti, the Registered Dietitian at VIDA Fitness. “This forces the need for takeout, which is always less healthy than food prepared at home.”


Don’t show up to parties hungry.


“This is a huge one,” Addie says. “Having a small snack with lots of lean protein before heading to a party will help prevent you from grabbing another block of cheese from the board or another cookie from the platter.”


Set limitations on booze consumption.


When it comes to alcohol, Addie suggests taking a step back and assessing whether it’s really worth it. “Ask yourself: Do I need this fourth (or fifth or sixth) cocktail? See my blog post on booze for more advice on this one, but just remember that all those empty booze calories will add up and keep you from getting a good workout the next day!”


Watch those holiday treat portions.

“Sweets and cocktails are constantly all around,” says Phaon Derr, General Manager of VIDA Fitness Gallery Place. “While I don’t traditionally enjoy baked goods, I do have a soft spot for Christmas cookies. Unfortunately, that soft spot can quickly turn into a soft gut.”


Continue to stay active — whenever and wherever you can.


“A common theme around the holidays is not having access to a facility,” Phaon says. “Due to members traveling out of the area, staying in a hotel, or having the in-laws over, it’s tough to carve out time for a good workout. And even if one has the time, they may not have access to the equipment they’re used to.” That’s why VIDA’s holiday workout is the perfect no-equipment way to get those endorphins going. Try it for yourself, and let us know what you think!

30 seconds for each exercise, eight sets total.


High knees

Oblique crunches (30 seconds for each side)

Lateral jumps

Incline push-ups

Dips (Use a bench or stairs.)

Air squats

Ys (Think like a “Superman,” but with a Y shape.)

Dec 21 2017

50 Pounds To Go!

David's Fitness JourneyHey everyone! My name is David Mizejewski and I’m excited to be sharing my new fitness journey at VIDA with you. I’ll be blogging here over the next several months as I work to meet my goal of losing fifty pounds, increasing lean muscle mass and reducing percentage body fat. I’m sure I’m going to stumble along the way, but I hope that in sharing both my successes and struggles, I’ll inspire you to follow me on the path to being fit and healthy, because I know I have the same challenges that you face. Making this journey public is going to help keep me accountable, and I know that I’m going to need your feedback and support as I work towards my ambitious goals.

A little about me: I’m forty-two years old and I’ve lived in the DC area for twenty years. I work as a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation and as a television host with NatGeo WILD. A naturalist is someone who studies the natural world and then inspires others to get involved protecting it. (I’m used to getting the question, so let’s get it out of the way: a naturalist is not a nudist; that’s a naturist.)  I specifically focus on using TV, radio and other entertainment media as a vehicle to get the National Wildlife Federation’s wildlife conservation messages out. You may even have caught me on the various NatGeo WILD shows I’ve been on, or one of my appearances over the years on Conan, The Martha Stewart Show, Today Show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, various NPR radio shows, Inside Edition, Good Morning America or the Wendy Williams Show.

I decided to bite the bullet and work with VIDA on this aggressive fitness goal in part for professional reasons. Working on-camera, I can confirm that it does indeed add ten pounds—and when you’re carrying actual excess weight, let’s just say seeing yourself on TV doesn’t give you the confidence and ease that’s critical in delivering your message effectively. And to be brutally honest, for good or for ill, television favors fit people. In my case, my physical appearance is literally part of my job and I recognized that it needs some improving in order to continue to be at the top of my game professionally.

Even more so, I’m doing this because I want to be healthy. As I’ve entered into my forties, I can confirm that things really do start to slow down. I’ve got a naturally stocky frame—people tell me I’m built like a football player—and I have a base of lean muscle mass that I’ve mostly been able to maintain without too much effort over the years. But I’ve definitely noticed some of that natural muscle mass isn’t what it used to be when I was younger, and that it’s become a lot easier to pack on extra body fat. I also have family histories of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, digestive issues and musculoskeletal issues, the risk for which can all be reduced or eliminated by being fit.

I chose VIDA because of the wide suite of fitness services they offer, from traditional free weights and machinery, TRX, and an awesome variety of classes to amazing personal trainers and professional nutritionists to help with the diet side things. And let’s not forget the amenities in the spa-like locker rooms which are an awesome indulgence (and are certainly a far cry from my last gym’s locker room, which was like a flashback to high school in smell and cleanliness).

So I’ll repeat that I’m incredibly excited—and a little scared—to be taking this leap into real fitness with VIDA. I look forward to hearing from you with your tips and advice, or even just words of encouragement.

Here we go!

Dec 21 2017

7 Last-Minute Gifts for Everyone on Your List

Stressed because you’ve still got holiday shopping to do? Don’t worry, we won’t judge you. In fact, we’re here to help! You can beat the countdown clock and cross that finish line in no time. Check out these ideas for last minute gifts from VIDA Fitness that are perfect for anyone on your list.

  1. MYZONE heart rate monitor

This is the ultimate gift for your super competitive, data-obsessed friend. The advanced technology of a MYZONE heart rate monitor will totally transform your friend’s workout through instant feedback, customized workout summaries, and a social accountability aspect not offered by other heart rate monitors. And as a VIDA Fitness member, you get an irresistible deal: Scoop up the MYZONE physical activity belt for only $99 (retail value $149) by using this link!


2. The SweatBOX

Fans of the epic SweatBox workout next door to our U Street lobby are lining up for the limited edition SweatBOX, which includes a SweatBox T-shirt and a $39 gift card. This is an ideal gift for friends and family members interested in a two-week trial of unlimited SweatBox sessions. Grab one from under the tree in the SweatBox lobby (1612 U Street) or order online.


3. VIDA Fitness gift card

VIDA Fitness gift cards are the best stocking stuffers. They can be used for lots of goodies including membership, personal training, swag at the Gear Shop, and so much more


4. Aura Spa gift card

What better way to wind down after the hectic holiday season than with a relaxing massage? An Aura Spa gift card will be a great gift for anyone who’s in need of a little TLC. Treat yourself to a massage, too, and you’ll be all set for a fun date night!


5. The VIDA T-shirt


D.C. is pretty much known for two things: cherry blossoms and VIDA T-shirts. They’re undeniably the District’s must-have fitness attire. Shape-defining polyester, comfy cotton, and rayon give these popular T-shirts a unique texture. These are perfect for everything — from workouts at the gym to weekend brunch.


6. The Penthouse Pool and Lounge membership


Looking to splurge on someone extra special? It doesn’t get more special — or more exclusive — than gifting a membership to the Penthouse Pool and Lounge, D.C.’s premier rooftop destination. Your friend can live it up at the District’s hottest local resort, which offers full food and beverage service, cabana rentals, private event bookings, and plenty of poolside fun in the sun. Join today!


7. Good hair


A good haircut can be hard to find. Fortunately, the hair experts at Bang Salon know exactly what they’re doing to make you look and feel your best. Anyone who receives a Bang Salon gift card will get the kind of haircut that dries perfectly and looks stylish even after a good sweat sesh. Talk about a holiday miracle!

Dec 10 2017

New InBody Body Composition Analyzers at VIDA

The Truth is in the Numbers – My Journey with the InBody Body Composition Analyzer 

By: Blogger Carrie Gelula

From what I can tell, there are two types of people: those who are proud of their body fat percentage… and those who don’t want to know. I fell into the second category.

The idea of finding out what my body was made up of was terrifying. I knew that my diet and exercise habits had not been great lately and that I couldn’t hide the facts from the state-of-the art, highly regarded InBody Composition machine that VIDA Fitness offers to members for $49 ($99 value). I had read enough about the machine to know that there is no other body composition tool on the market that matches its accuracy. Leaving little hope that it would accidently round down my number and make me feel less off track than I already do.

I stood on the surprisingly sleek InBody machine and grabbed its shiny handles. The machine asked me some questions then played elevator music for a few seconds, and when it was finished sending little bolts of electricity through my entire body, it printed out a handy sheet with a ton of stats and data about my body composition.

I must have looked like I had just been handed a menu in another language. The only thing I could really understand was the little box in the corner that told me exactly how many pounds I would have to lose. Yikes. But as soon as I was ready to run home to a pint of ice cream, the VIDA Fitness team started explaining the results, and why they are essential to my health management.

The VIDA Fitness team explained that the InBody body composition analysis tool inspected my muscle, bone, and fat. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is. The InBody provides a stat called Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the minimum number of calories your body would need to survive without any activity. I learned that, working with a registered dietitian and personal trainer, this data would help me develop a healthy fat loss diet that is sustainable and effective.

I learned that The InBody can also help identify possible injury and disease, or help track the healing of an injury. One of the many stats it measures is the amount of water inside and outside the cells. The water inside the cells is beneficial, and shows a healthy level of hydration. The water outside, however, when in excess, can be an indicator of swelling and inflammation. To pinpoint areas in need, the InBody gives a detailed breakdown of both muscle mass and body fat per limb.

While some of my numbers were high, they are not outside of my control. The team at VIDA detailed an exercise routine that seemed manageable, and encouraged me to take control. I am inspired! I am going to schedule a meeting with Addie, their Registered Dietitian, next week.

I walked the extra-long way home drinking a green juice, thinking about what the InBody would show on my next visit.

Interested in an InBody Body Composition Analysis? Email us at

Dec 5 2017

Foam Rolling 101

Myo-Fascial Release: What is it and what’s the big deal?

By VIDA Personal Trainer Joe O’Connor

Whenever you walk into the gym you see someone doing it. Contorted in weird positions, a Styrofoam log underneath their leg, rolling across the floor with the same painful expression on their face that Skins fans make when Dan Snyder makes another bad decision. (Sorry, Pats Nation right here.)

Sports jokes aside, what on earth is this guy doing?! Its foam rolling, my friend! Or to get even more scientific with some big SAT words it’s specifically called “self-myo-fascial release” and you should be doing it too! So, what is it?

Hit me with the science *Thomas Dolby shouts SCIENCE from somewhere in the 80s.*

Your body’s organs are covered in a thin spider-web like tissue called fascia, more specifically your muscles are covered in myo-fascia (myo = muscle), unfortunately this doesn’t make you more like Spiderman, but actually very prone to tightness and pain, especially with the high stress city culture we all live in. Fascia’s job is to keep our muscles as comfortable as my mid-morning nap on a Penthouse pool day bed. But, because we live in such a high stress, low mobility environment with virtually no airplane leg room, cramped cubicles and the ever-infuriating DC traffic, we tend to tense up quite a lot. That’s a one-way ticket to Painsville for our muscles, and when our muscles are in pain, working out can seem like torture.

When it comes to muscle pain we can essentially divide it into two categories; the feeling of being tight, or the muscle actually being tight. When the muscle itself is tight and the fibers cannot physically stretch and relax, this refers to the muscle tone. The other type of tightness comes from your nervous system putting a constant halt on your actions like the Red Line during single tracking. Your muscle fibers themselves may not be that tight, but because there’s so much tension and stress built up your brain decides this is a no-go. Because myo-fascia is the home to so many of your muscle nerve endings, foam rolling and other forms of myo-fascial release are so crucial to any exercise routine.

This is also why foam rolling can be painful, because you are putting those nerve endings under a lot of pressure, nonetheless, good pressure, but be forewarned it may hurt a bit. Just imagine Al Pacino from Any Given Sunday screaming “Every inch counts!” that always helps me get through it. Remember that with that pain comes relief, and studies have shown that foam rolling will increase your range of motion. Better ROM means better form, which ultimately leads to better gains.

Okay, I get the science behind it, but which roller do I use? With a myriad of colors and shapes; blue’s my favorite color so should I stick with that? The one with the spikes looks like torture device out of 13th century England, unsure about that one… With most foam rollers keep in mind; the lighter the color, the softer the foam. White is your softest, so if you’ve never done it before try that, then move to yellow, blue and finally black. The spiked rollers are great for hitting specific pressure points and really dig into the areas where you’re feeling the most amount of muscle pain; kind of like a deep tissue massage as opposed to a Swedish.

Speaking of massages! That’s another form of myo-fascial release. Getting a regular massage once or twice a month is insanely healthy for your sore muscles; not to mention being a great mental stress reliever. Lucky for us, we have Aura spa in the building for the most convenient post-workout massage appointment ever!

Alright, you’ve convinced me, but when should I foam roll and should I do my whole body or specific areas; like legs on leg day?

Many different studies have been done to decide this question. If you take 15 minutes out of your day, before or after lifting; upon waking or before you go to bed, you will be well on your way to loosening those muscles. As a trainer, I recommend foam rolling your entire body, the benefits are countless.

Man, all this rolling is making me hungry, maybe a Spicy Tuna roll… or a cinnamon roll… yes, puns are also a specialty of mine. Happy rolling!

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