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Jan 25 2019

Why Mindfulness Matters When You’re Setting Goals

By Mekita Rivas, VIDA editor/member

Chris Parkison img

Chris Parkison

You’ve probably heard the term “mindfulness.” It’s been a buzzword for a few years now, with articles and influencers telling us that we all need to be more mindful. But what, exactly, does that even mean? Is it daily meditation? Going on wellness retreats? Escaping to a cabin in the woods for a week?

Well…yes and no. Mindfulness can look a lot of ways depending on your personality and priorities. But it definitely doesn’t need to be time-consuming or costly. In fact, there are super simple habits you can develop to lead a more mindful life. Below, Chris Parkison, group fitness manager and yoga instructor at VIDA Fitness The Yards, breaks down what mindfulness is really all about.

If someone has a goal to be more mindful, how should they go about doing that?

I would follow that question with another question: What is your goal for the mindfulness? To reduce stress? To be more loving or more grateful? For example, you could do something simple — you could wake up in the morning, sit without any music or TV on, and for five minutes, think about ten people in your life you’re grateful for. Just think about them. Let the gratitude consume you.

There are lots of people you can feel grateful for who do good things for you all the time. Working that muscle of gratitude will make you a more grateful person in general. And that will lead to being less demanding of people because you want to spread the gratitude.

Vida Fitness City Vista Yoga classThat’s a great, practical example. How does mindfulness fit into the big picture of wellness overall?

The number one killer in the United States is heart disease. One of the biggest factors in heart disease — besides poor diet — is stress. When you combine a poor diet and a stressful life, you get a recipe for death. Mindfulness can reduce your stress levels. When you spend more time being grateful, forgiving, patient, loving, and trusting, you spend less time being angry. You spend less time being hateful, intolerant, and jealous, and that’s less stressful.

Why is it important to be mindful of your emotions?

It feels much better to love somebody than to hate them. There’s no negative and positive really — just emotions that don’t serve us. Think about the emotions that don’t serve you and that do serve you. The problem is that anger feeds itself, and so the angrier you get, the angrier you get. Fortunately, the more grateful you get, the more loving you get, so that’s a positive feedback loop.

Mindfulness has kind of become this buzzword. What does it mean to you?

Mindfulness to me means taking your time. It means patience. For example, with eating: It’s a good thing. Whenever you eat something, instead of just sitting in front of the TV and shoving a burrito in your mouth, why not take the time to sit down? Why not take the time to make your dinner? Why not take the time to sit with a friend or loved one and eat together, instead of watching TV? It will take more time, but that time is better spent than if you just shove a burrito in your mouth and binge watch Netflix for four hours, which leaves you feeling totally empty.

Mindfulness is also taking that risk to be patient. Instead of doing what you’re doing every single day and repeating yourself endlessly. It’s taking the time to step out of your normal routine, try something different, and be a little fearless. It’s patience. It’s when you’re eating, taking your time eating. Enjoy your meal.

Vida Fitness City Vista Yoga pose-king pigeonWhy should people prioritize mindfulness, especially at the beginning of the year?

Because breaking habits isn’t easy, and mindfulness work takes time. The habits you’ve created have taken years and years to get cemented in your mind. If you want to break those habits, you’re going to have to take the time to unlock them.

You should also do it because of your health in the long run. They’ve done studies about the people who live the longest, and what they all have in common is that they eat family meals at least once a week. They spend hours together just interacting with their families — not sitting in front of the TV. We’re creatures who are social. We have been for millions of years. We need that in our lives.

Any final words on mindfulness?

I would stress that mindfulness is hard work, but it’s the most necessary thing that you could do. Ask yourself: Is what I’m doing serving me, or is what I’m doing not serving me? And if it’s not serving me, how can I break that habit? How can I do something else? Because there’s nothing more mindful than the present moment and making decisions based on what’s really there — not what’s in your mind.

Jan 23 2019

Everything You Need To Know Before Setting Your Running Goals

By Mekita Rivas, VIDA editor/member

Vida Fitness U-Street Jeffrey Horowitz

Jeff Horowitz

You don’t have to be a runner to have running goals. For many people, just getting started can be half the battle. Fortunately, Jeff Horowitz, personal trainer at VIDA Fitness U Street, is here to help. To say that Jeff enjoys running would be an understatement — he has completed nearly 200 marathons in his lifetime! If anyone can get you up and running (literally), this is the guy.

We caught up with Jeff, who’s also an expert running coach, to learn about the art of establishing running goals. Whether you’re a couch-to-5K newbie, a seasoned pro, or somewhere in the middle, these are tips and tricks that everyone can use.

Are there any common mistakes people make when they set their running goals?

Runners try to get back to where they were too quickly, or new runners become a little too ambitious. You really have to wait for your body to adapt if you rush your training, you’re much more likely to get injured.

What’s a good starting point for setting your goals?

In running we have a basic guideline for your progression: the rule of ten percent. Whatever distance you’re running so the longest run of the week and your total mileage for the week the safest way to progress and give your body time to adapt to avoid injury is to increase each of those by no more than 10 percent from week to week. It might not seem like much, and you might only be progressing five minutes a week, but you should not rush this process. There will be plenty of time to just sit and wait if you end up getting injured. If you take your time, the progress will come soon enough. Just be very patient with your body.

Jeff MCM

Jeff Horowitz has multiple marathons under his belt.

People can definitely get a little overzealous, especially at the beginning of the year. How do you tell clients to manage their expectations? 

Here in the Washington, D.C., area, we have a couple of big races coming up. These are popular, world-class events. People sign up for them, put them on their calendar, and boom, they’ve got this big goal. But the most important thing to do in training and it applies to everything you do physically is learn to be in partnership with your body rather than dictate to your body what to do. Whenever I have a racing goal, I always think, “OK, that’s my goal, but it’s not a firm deadline. This isn’t something that must happen no matter what.”

Have a goal that will get you inspired, develop a reasonable training plan on your own or with help preferably with a trainer from VIDA and then see how you develop. If everything’s going well, continue toward that goal. But sometimes it requires you to change your goal. Maybe you’re not ready for that race, or you’re not able to do it the way you originally planned to. But your body will tell you that, and you need to listen.

If somebody is essentially a total novice or they haven’t run in a long time, what do you typically tell them during your first training session? 

It’s interesting, because we learn how to run when we’re maybe two or three years old? You don’t think of it as a skill you need to hone in the way you would approach tennis, rowing, or any number of other sports. But there is a proper technique to running. It’s helpful to have a professional who will work with you, who knows what they’re looking for, who will put you on a treadmill and give you a data analysis, and who will see what you’re doing and see if the mechanics are correct.

That goes a long way to being more efficient and much less likely to get injured. It also helps you get faster. One of the basics I tell people in our first session is that above all other things, become aware of the sound of your running. I tell my clients: If you can run quietly and make as little noise with each footstep as you can, then you’ll really reduce the risk of injury. Avoiding a heavy foot strike putting this pressure and pounding on your body is one of the key things you can do to run healthier, and that’s something you should do from day one.

If your goal is running related, sometimes there’s a misconception that that’s all you need to do. What’s your response to that?

I get it. The runners who come to me love to run, and they don’t want to do a lot of other stuff. But if running is all you do, then you’re leaving weakness in other muscles that can come back to haunt you. Ninety percent of running injuries are due to weaknesses in the core area, which is going to lead to some kind of compromise in your form. It’s going to put stress on an area that can’t handle it, and that will lead to injury.

So even though you love to run or maybe it’s just your goal to become a runner, ignoring all the other things you need to do at the gym means you’re opening yourself up to injury. The more variety, the healthier you’ll be overall. At VIDA, there are so many different types of cardio work, strength training, classes, machines and free weights, and cables. You should constantly be able to challenge your body in different kinds of ways, and that will make you a stronger, more injury-resistant athlete. And it’s just a lot more fun that way, too, because you’re less likely to get bored. 

We’ve talked about newcomer runners, but for more experienced runners who may have specific goals in terms of setting a PR or logging certain miles every week, how does their training differ?

That’s a fun situation because now you’ve gone beyond basic competency, and you’ve got specific goals. Of course, that requires a more advanced type of training. We would incorporate varieties of running, like tempo runs and speed work, into our training. We might do plyometrics and explosive movements to build some of that strength and speed in your body to get you beyond just running.

Pacer imgWhat are the pros and cons between training indoors on a treadmill and running outside?

The bottom line is to go with whatever you’re comfortable with. It’s about being consistent, just getting out there, and doing it. The differences are not so great that one way is worse or better than the other. Whatever makes you happy, go ahead and do that and make the most of it.

Is there anything else you want to mention that we haven’t covered?

This should be fun! Sometimes you can get caught up in the data and the details, and you can be so performance-oriented that you forget it should be fun. One of my big mantras, especially as we go through the winter season when people get sick and they get colds and illnesses, is to be smarter than you are brave. Even if you’re sometimes brave enough to work out when you probably shouldn’t, it would be smarter not to. If you’re sick, if you’re injured, and if there’s something else going on in your life that needs attention, make sure you attend to that. VIDA will still be here for you when you’re ready. Be smart in your training, enjoy it, and have a healthy 2019!

Jan 18 2019

How To Rethink Goal-Setting So It Works For You

By Mekita Rivas, VIDA editor/member

Let’s be real: We tend to get a little, shall we say, ambitious at the beginning of the year. People are making resolutions, identifying priorities, and devising action plans to reach their goals. But there’s much more to goal-setting than simply sitting down and writing (or typing) them out. How you set goals is actually just as important, if not more so, than the goals themselves.

Break it down

“Anyone creating a goal needs to go into it understanding that they should break down the goal they’ve established into smaller goals,” explains Erik Strouse, general manager at VIDA Fitness The Yards. “People often set a main goal, and it can be too difficult or too out of their reach to keep.”

Strouse stresses that creating a realistic timeline is key. “Attainability is really important to keep in mind. Breaking down one big goal into smaller, more attainable goals helps ensure that you’ll stay on track and get where you want to go.”

In other words, running a 5K next week when you haven’t gone running in years might not be such a great idea. But on the flip side, if you make it a goal to run one mile every week for a few months, you’ll run that 5K in no time (and you’ll be less likely to get injured in the process).

Know your limits

Also crucial? Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many goals simultaneously. “I’m in the camp of hyper-focusing your actions toward one specific thing,” Strouse says. “Conquer that one thing, because if you try to multitask and try to do everything at once, you tend to water down your results.”

When it comes to setting your wellness goals, VIDA has got it covered. It’s a place where goals become a reality, whether you’re looking to get fit, eat better, be more active in the community, or all of the above.

The VIDA Difference

“We have a different approach with new members,” Strouse shares. “Our whole model is built on establishing connections with staff and setting people up to be successful. People generally want to hit these generalized goals, but they don’t know how to do it — what we really want from our members is to utilize us to help them reach those goals.”

And reaching your personal wellness goals can have added benefits in other areas of your life. According to Entrepreneur, staying active reduces stress levels and provides those necessary endorphins that keep you focused and less prone to burnout.

So, what are Erik’s goals for 2019?

“I’m trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep fitness a focal point in my week,” he says. “I’m not usually reaching for anything specific other than maintaining feeling energized. I just want to feel good, because the job is top-notch.”

Jan 3 2019

Why Yoga Teacher Training At VIDA Is For Everybody

By Mekita Rivas, VIDA editor/member 

It’s the beginning of a new year, which means it’s the perfect time to think about what you’d like to achieve in the next 12 months. Whether that’s changing careers, traveling more, learning different skills, or simply living your #bestlife, figuring out your priorities for the year ahead is essential for meeting your goals.

At VIDA, we provide limitless opportunities to step outside your comfort zone and take on challenges that will make you happier and healthier. Case in point: Our incredible VIDA Yoga Teacher Training Program. Whether you’ve always wanted to lead a yoga class of your own, or you’re looking to refine your practice, this 200-hour Yoga Alliance Registered course is perfect for all yogis regardless of experience level.

A Supportive Community

“It is a time for you to learn in an environment where you’re supported by your peers,” says Chris Parkison, who co-teaches the course and is the group fitness manager at the Yards. “And learning something new and growing together is something that no one can ever take away from you. When you go through that experience, you have that the rest of your life.”

When Natasha Hilton registered for VIDA’s Yoga Teacher Training Program, she was looking to take her practice to the next level.

No matter what city or chapter of life I’ve found myself in, yoga has proved to be a reliable and compassionate companion,” Natasha shares. “VIDA’s teacher training allowed me to overcome a plateau in my personal practice with hands-on training, a deeper understanding of yoga philosophy, and exposure to some of the industry’s most knowledgeable and well-respected instructors.”

Expert Insight and Training

Chris, who leads the course alongside D.C. yoga expert Julia Romano, says that their job isn’t to change your life — it’s empowering you to do that for yourself.

“You will change your own life during those four months,” Chris says. “We don’t have to do anything. We just put the yoga out there, you take it, and you use it as you want. The idea is that when you put it all out there, you start to see yourself accepted for who you are.”

That’s exactly what Andrea Gilliam took away from her experience in the program.

I took the yoga teacher training to deepen my practice,” Andrea says. “Julia had led meditation and yoga classes at VIDA while she was pregnant, and she inspired me to keep up yoga throughout my own pregnancy and post-partum. The training helped me become a more centered, more mindful, and more joyful person.”  

Andrea even created a neighborhood volunteer yoga program with the other yogis she met during training.

A Greater Sense of Self-Awareness

“It’s a big group that will inspire you to be a better version of yourself,” Chris says. “We’re not about changing your person. We don’t think there’s anything wrong with you to begin with—what we want to do is have you accept yourself for who you are, whatever that is.”

For anyone still deciding if VIDA’s Yoga Teacher Training Program is for them, Chris has some sage advice: Stop questioning, and just do it!

“People always ask me, ‘Am I ready for the training? Is my yoga practice advanced enough?’” Chris says. “If you have the curiosity to find out more about yoga, you’re ready to do the training. That’s as simple as that—there’s no prerequisite other than your curiosity.”

Ready to make 2019 the year of your inner yogi? Register for VIDA’s Yoga Teacher Training Program before the Jan. 12 deadline, and you’ll be on your way to doing just that!

Dec 20 2018

How To Make A 12-Pack Of Nutrition Sessions Work For You

By Mekita Rivas, VIDA editor/member 

A new year is right around the corner, and we’re betting that you’ve got some serious goals for 2019. Getting in shape for your wedding? Training for your first marathon? Looking for a total wellness overhaul? VIDA is here to be your partner along the way. We’ll help you keep your eye on the prize — whether that’s walking down the aisle, crossing a finish line, or being able to say that you’re in the best shape of your life!

While regular workouts are obviously critical for reaching your goals, what you do in the kitchen is just as important. That’s why we offer expert nutritional counseling services with our team of registered, licensed dietitians. And now through the end of December, we’re offering VIDA members an exclusive offer: Purchase a 12-pack of nutrition sessions and receive a $50 credit!

For some people, especially those who haven’t worked with a dietitian before, you may be wondering: What will I do with 12 whole sessions?! The short answer is, well, a lot! It all depends on your goals and timeline. We asked VIDA Director of Nutrition, Addie Claire, to break it down for us and explain what 12 nutrition sessions could look like in three different situations.

The Countdown Is On

Maybe you’re getting married in three months. Perhaps you’ve got a high school reunion to attend. Or you just want to drop a pants size by summertime. Whatever the case, you feel like you need a miracle! While your timeline might be tight, our dietitians can get you on the fast track to success with nutrition consultations early on in the process. They’ll collect background information, establish baseline measurements, and set a plan that takes into consideration the time crunch. You’ll receive:

– Four weeks of meal plans, including meals and snacks

– Two months of biweekly in-person sessions

– One month of weekly sessions, which could include grocery shopping trips where you bring along a friend (or a certain spouse-to-be) to help you stay accountable

Get Game Time Ready

You’re preparing for a big race or competition. Or you maintain a high level of activity, and you’re consistently working toward setting new PRs. Or maybe both! You will receive preliminary nutrition consultations to collect background info, establish baseline measurements, and think about an action plan. You’ll also get:

– Six months of InBody composition scans. This would also include daily plans for how to match your activity level to your nutrition intake.

– Six months of scaled macronutrient adjustments based on activity level and training regimen. This would include specific brands, products, and recipes.

– Increased contact and attention around the event/competition, with specific recommendations for the days leading up to and after the event/competition

Live Your Best Life

You feel like you’ve tried it all from diet fads to trendy workouts but you still aren’t seeing results. You’re ready to buckle down and get serious! We’ll make that happen with nutritional consultations that will explore your history with food, current challenges, and next steps, both in the short- and long-term future. You’ll experience:

– Eight in-person sessions with InBody composition scans

– Meetings every one to three weeks for consistency and to address any necessary changes. For accountability, one session will include a review of MyFitnessPlan and ongoing monitoring.

– Additional options include reverse dieting recommendations when necessary and help with planning meals and snacks

Remember, these are just sample plans that can be tailored and adjusted to fit your needs! Reach out to us to set up a complimentary consultation, and we’ll get a plan perfected for you. Make 2019 the year you make it happen, whatever “it” is! Take advantage of our 12-pack offer today, get your $50 credit, and be on your way to your best year yet.

Aug 24 2018

Get Ready For New Cardio Equipment At VIDA Fitness


By Mekita Rivas, VIDA editor/member

It’s time for a refresh! Every four years at VIDA, we swap out all of our cardio equipment and bring in a fresh collection of bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, and stepmills for you to enjoy. You’ll always find the latest and greatest because that’s what our members deserve! We prioritize member feedback to ensure that you’re getting the equipment you want, but we also like to include some unexpected machines that you didn’t even know you needed — until now.

Dates for the new equipment:

U Street – Oct 2nd

Logan Circle – Oct 8th

The Yards – Oct 10th

Gallery Place – Oct 11th

City Vista – Oct 15th

Before the new equipment makes its way to the gym floor, we’re giving you an inside look at what to expect with these upgrades. For starters, of the seven manufacturers, VIDA is partnering with, four will have consoles that enable you to directly log into your Hulu and Netflix accounts: Life Fitness, Matrix, Precor, and Technogym. Binging has never been easier!  

Classics like Life Fitness and Precor will remain a core part of our lineup. We’re also stocking our clubs with member favorites like the assault bikes and rowers. “They’re great for interval training — short cardio bursts combined with weightlifting,” explains Aaron Moore, Director of Operations at VIDA.

We’re also making room for some new kids on the block like Technogym, Octane, and Matrix.

“Matrix is a newer partner for us,” Aaron says. “We’ve bought stepmills from Matrix before, but now we’re getting some of their stationary bikes, as well as treadmills. We want to give our members variety, both in terms of the biomechanics and in the content the consoles offer.”

Another exciting addition? Apple GymKit compatible technology in Technogym machines, which enables you to connect your Apple Watch (a Series 2 or the new Series 3). You’ll share data between the two devices and get a super detailed deep dive into your workout. Aaron says members can also look forward to having “the Rolls Royce” of stepmills in the Artis Climb.

“Some stepmills have all these attachments, they go two feet higher, and they’re kind of intrusive,” he says. “With Technogym, it’s the cool, sleek lower profile design. It’s a very well-constructed piece of equipment, and the content is probably the most dynamic of any console that we’re going to have on any cardio machine. There’s tons of on-demand content, live TV, virtual courses, and the ability to log in and track your workouts. It’s the Rolls Royce of stepmills.”

VIDA is also getting two Technogym performance pieces: the Skillrun and the Skillmill Connect. These both feature “tank-style tread” that absorbs impact, similar to what you see on Woodway treadmills (which, by the way, aren’t going anywhere). “The Skillmill Connect is the big departure,” Aaron says. “There’s no console. All it has is this little monitor — basically it’s just giving you an output of force. There’s no on-demand content or information.”

This machine is intended for short bursts, sprints, and sled pushes, ideally while working with a personal trainer. “This is a compact way of offering that sled push movement without having to dodge somebody in the gym,” Aaron says.

The Skillmill Connect also includes a parachute attachment so members can do an indoor version of wind sprints. “It’s very performance-based, and many initial users are going to be clients who are getting instruction from personal trainers. Then people will see that and go, ‘I want to do that’ because it’s new and fun.”

The Zero Runner is one more addition to VIDA’s cardio lineup. It’s a treadmill alternative designed for people who can’t run anymore because it causes too much impact on their joints. “Because it’s a semi-controlled range of motion, it can help you improve your running stride so it’s more effective,” Aaron says. “You can run faster and longer with less impact than when you’re running outdoors. We think this machine is going to be pretty powerful for us.”

Another honorable mention goes to the Reflex Treadmill from Freemotion, a power belt style treadmill that absorbs the running impact back into the machine. “A lot of people, particularly outdoor runners, don’t like running on treadmills because of that pounding,” Aaron explains. “This absorbs it so you don’t have that. It’s a cushion feel — there’s some give to it that goes down so you’re running and striding.”

With so many awesome new machines to try out, it’s important to remember that safety is our members’ number one priority. If you see something you want to try but aren’t sure how to get started, ask a personal trainer or membership consultant for a quick demo. They’re ready to give you the guidance you need to make the most of our state-of-the-art equipment.

“This is new stuff, so don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Aaron advises. “A lot of it does have a learning curve and requires some coaching. We’re more than happy to schedule a time to walk you through the equipment and provide a free orientation.”

Jun 1 2018

Why You Need To Focus On Your Glutes

By Mekita Rivas, VIDA editor/member

Let’s be honest: Everyone wants a nice booty. And with swimsuit season in full swing, that’s motivation enough to get your derrière in tip-top shape. But aside from looking (and feeling) great, there are tons of other reasons to give your glutes some extra attention the next time you hit the gym. We caught up with VIDA Fitness Master Trainer Emma Krieger to learn why focusing on your glutes is important and which exercises are critical for getting the backside you deserve.

Do you think glutes are overlooked? Why do they matter?

Yes, the glutes are constantly overlooked when it comes to working out. We see this trend with the popularity of HIIT classes. Everyone is trying to get their heart rate up and sweat as much as they can, but at what cost? The glutes are responsible for hip extension and posterior pelvic tilt, hip abduction, and hip external rotation. We use them for squatting, sprinting, cutting back and forth, throwing, etc.

If someone does not have fully functioning glutes, the wrong muscles will work to overcompensate, thus still allowing us to perform the movement, but not in the correct way. If you have strong quads, you will use them more — the same thing is true if you have strong glutes. The glutes are an important muscle group because most of your power generated will be derived from them. If your glutes work how they should, you are far less likely to get injured. The glutes simply help the body function better.

How often should people focus specifically on their glutes within their fitness routine?

Everyone’s anatomy is a little different, and you need to find what works for you. For example, not everyone can perform a glute bridge the same way because of hip anatomy. Some people may need their feet further from their body or have their toes and/or knees out more. Others may need to work on maintaining a posterior pelvic tilt, while some may need to learn to engage their abdominals and other muscle groups.

Occasionally I get clients whose glutes aren’t strong enough to hold a body weight bridge. This is where a band can be your best friend. Bands are a great way to really isolate the glutes. I will also have a client go up into a bridge and actively press their knees in so the muscle is forced to perform its action. When I get a beginner, we find their optimal position. Your mind-body connection is the number one thing — if you don’t feel your glutes working, then they probably aren’t. As the connection develops and is mastered, you can add load. Once the connection is solidified, I introduce different methods of strength training.

What does that look like?

Emma is a VIDA Master Trainer at our U Street location.

As for strength training methods, variety will be your best friend. Variety includes volume, load, frequency, upper versus lower glute target areas, lateral work — the list goes on. At the very least, I try to have my clients who go to classes activate their glutes and feel the “pump” for a better mind-body connection.

One of my favorite ways to develop strength is through eccentric contractions. Eccentric contractions occur when the muscle is being lengthened under tension. The longer the muscle is under tension, the more metabolic stress it will go through. This means the muscle will have more muscle damage and will need more time for recovery. For example, during a barbell bridge, I may instruct my client, “Go up fast, pause for two seconds, and come down slowly for five seconds while maintaining tension in your glutes.” Typically after heavy eccentric sessions, I will program in a mandatory rest day. No need to overtrain the muscle — more is not always better.

What’s a good example of a typical glute-focused workout?

Here’s a sample workout you can try:

Barbell Bridges
– 10 reps, 4 rounds
– Pause at the top of the bridge for 10 seconds on the last rep.
– Find your optimal position on the first rep of the first set and work from there.

– 8 reps, 3 rounds
– Pause at the top of the lift for 2 seconds.
– Weight should be lowered with control.
– You may use a barbell, the trap bar, or kettlebell.
– Do this exercise for feel. Your main compound lift today is your barbell bridge — you are not maxing out.

Deficit Curtsy Lunges
– 12 reps each side
– Use a riser or a 45 lb bumper plate.

Lateral Band Walks
– 50 reps, 4 rounds

Clam Shells
– 30 reps, 3 rounds

Do you have any other trainer tips to share?

1. Make sure you pick a weight where you can feel 85%+ of your glutes working to perform every movement — don’t let your ego get in the way!
2. For lateral band walking, the band may go right above your knees, just under the knees, around the ankles, or across the flat part of your foot.
3. Feel free to use a band above your knees during your barbell bridges and press your knees out while keeping your tailbone tucked in by squeezing your butt, also known a posterior pelvic tilt.

If you have questions or want to use your free VIDAFit consultation to try these moves with Emma, contact her at ekrieger@vidafitness.com.

Sep 12 2017

Loosen up! The Importance of a Proper Warm-Ups

By: VIDA Personal Trainer Patrick Merkel

“I walked here, so I’m warmed up and ready to go!”

But are you? Warm ups are essential for all modes of exercise but unfortunately, many people neglect this very important part of their routine. So what are warm ups? It is a common misconception that doing a few arm crosses and quad stretches will get you all ready for your brutal workout that’s to come. The truth is, warm ups and stretching are apples and oranges. A warm-up is “an activity that raises the total body temperature, as well as temperature of the muscles to prepare the body for vigorous exercise” (Coburn and Malek, 2012, p.259). A stretch, on the other hand, is a mode of increasing flexibility over the long term.

Proper warm ups are a key aspect in attaining the intensity needed to achieve optimal results (Coburn and Malek, 2012). Physiologically, many things happen within your body during the warm up period. These changes include:

  • Increase in blood flow to the muscles
  • Increase in sensitivity of nerve receptors
  • Increase in the disassociation of oxygen from hemoglobin and myoglobin
  • Increase in the speed of nerve impulse transmission
  • Reduction in muscle viscosity
  • Lowering of the energy rates of metabolic chemical reactions

(Coburn and Malek, 2012)

What do these changes mean for your performance? Enhanced blood flow to the muscle means that it not only has more oxygen available for use (because oxygen is transported by hemoglobin in the blood), but it also has more nutrients to assist in performance. Another very important bullet point above is the reduction in muscle viscosity. During your warm up, the joints release synovial fluid which acts as a lubricant to lubricate the joints. Doing this lowers the risk of injury and stress on the tendons and ligaments.

Finally, let’s talk biochemistry. By lowering the energy rates of metabolic chemical reactions, you are lowering the amount of energy required for certain reactions to be completed. For example, during exercise (especially weightlifting) our body is rapidly undergoing glycogenolysis, or the break-down of glycogen (our muscles main fuel). This process of breaking down glycogen for use by our body is essential for us to complete any activity involving our muscles. This process happens at a much quicker rate once a warm-up is completed because our body has been “primed” for the metabolic demands that lie ahead. The simple graph below illustrates the result of increased metabolic activity after a warm up. The red line represents someone who has completed a warm up, and the blue line represents someone who has not.

Warm Ups Chart


Now that we have all of the science out of the way, what do proper warm-ups look like? Let’s make one thing clear: static stretching is NOT a proper warm up. In fact, recent research indicates that static stretching prior to dynamic activity (running, jumping, throwing) may have a negative effect on performance (Coburn and Malek, 2012). The National Strength and Conditioning Association suggests three different modes of warming up: passive, general, and specific.

A passive warm up involves warming the body by using methods such as hot showers, heating pads, or massages. Although it may be beneficial, this method is not the most practical in many situations. The general warm up involves basic activities that require movement of the major muscle groups, such as jogging, cycling, or jumping rope (Coburn and Malek, 2012). The method increases the heart rate, blood flow, muscle temperature, and lubricates the joints. Finally, the specific warm up involves movements that are an actual part of the activity that will be performed, such as using a very low weight on squats before performing your working sets. Research suggests that this method is the most effective at boosting exercise performance.

Another widely accepted method of warming up is using dynamic stretching (the method that I often use with my clients). This involves movements that actively stretch the muscle and increase body temperature to prepare one for exercise. Examples of dynamic stretching include lunges or high knees, both of which are featured below.

Warm Ups

Ok, so we understand that  proper warm ups are necessary, but how good is good enough? The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends that warm up involved one of the methods listed above (passive, general, specific, or dynamic) until a light sweat is broken. This usually takes anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to achieve. It’s time to rethink our warm up routine and give our body what it deserves—a proper warm up that will maximize our performance!

Interested in learning more? Email Patrick at pmerkel@vidafitness.com to schedule a training session! 



Mar 22 2016

The VIDA Fitness App is Here!

Download it for free! It’s been a long time coming and we are thrilled to announce that we have officially launched our VIDA Fitness app! Now available in both the App Store & Google Store, the VIDA Fitness app is a free download that will make managing your account and checking class times convenient and user-friendly.

By using your MyiClub login, you can manage your account, view class schedules and purchase training packages and stay up to date on deals straight from your phone.

Click on ‘Find a Class’ for a mobile-friendly view of our group fitness schedule. You can filter by home club, instructor, or class type to easily find what you’re looking for with just a few clicks. You can even reserve small group training or personal training sessions and purchase packages right from the app!

Check class times right from your phone!

Check class times right from your phone!

The VIDA app is compatible with popular fitness trackers FitBit, MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, etc., and will display your workouts in the Activity Feed after you upload them. You can also sync your workouts directly from our Woodway cardio equipment, so you can review the workout even after wiping down the treadmill! We’re also working with MYZONE for the ability to integrate your MYZONE workouts into the app, so you’ll be able to have all your fitness-related data and info in one place.

Useful club information such as hours of operation, address, directions and contact info can also be found in the top right menu – so you can get ahold of us in a pinch if you need to. You can also subscribe to push notifications so that we can send out mass messages to our membership base in case of emergencies, weather closings or major announcements. Want more info about Aura spa services or joining the Penthouse Pool? Check our Extras tab to have someone contact you!

Download ‘VIDA Fitness’ in the app store and let us know what you think!

Dec 2 2015

Top 3 Tips to Stay Motivated During the Holidays

decBy: Group Fitness Manager at Verizon Tami DeVitis

The holidays are upon us and that means lots and lots of fun, food, and festivities. There’s no better time than the holiday season to enjoy family and friends, as well as the occasional extra helping of stuffing or sweet treat. But what happens when the sofa suddenly sounds better than a super-sweaty workout? It’s all about maintaining your mindset and keeping yourself in check until the New Year kicks in.

Here are our top three tips to stay motivated and fit during the most tempting time of the year:

1) Buddy Up for the Holidays

The more the merrier, right?  Grab a family member(s) or friend(s) who will be your holiday buddy—decide to maintain, not gain during the holiday season by doing workouts together, trying new fitness classes on your holiday days off!

2) Maintain your current routine!
You have a long list of places to go, presents to buy, and people to see. So maybe you don’t have time to work out today. Tomorrow will work, right? Wrong. Make sure your workouts are still scheduled. Holidays don’t mean a holiday from working out! For many people, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, so be sure to maintain a healthy balance to keep it that way.

4) Plan Short Workouts
With so much happening during the holidays, it’s easy to commit to everything but your workout. To compromise, commit to short workouts. HIIT workouts, KILLER CORE or RIP 30 classes are great for getting your workout in with limited time! These classes focus on efficient routines that are intense and take less time.  My advice, take your pick during the holidays, but “Fitness is not negotiable.”

Thanksgiving Hours ›


  • Wednesday, November 25th – 7am-7pm
  • Thursday, November 26th – Thanksgiving – 8am-12pm
  • Friday, November 27th – 7am-7pm


  • Wednesday, November 25th – 7am-7pm
  • Thursday, November 26th – 7am-1pm
  • Friday, November 27th – 7am-7pm


  • Wednesday, November 25th – 7am-7pm
  • Thursday, November 26th – Thanksgiving – 7am-1pm
  • Friday, November 27th – 7am-7pm

Holiday Hours ›

UST, LC & Ballston Holiday Hours

  • Thursday12/24: 7am –2pm
  • Friday 12/25: CLOSED
  • Thursday 12/31: 7am – 5pm
  • Friday 1/1: 7am – 7pm

The Yards Holiday Hours

  • Thursday12/24: 5am – 3pm
  • Friday 12/25: CLOSED
  • Saturday 12/26: 7am – 7pm
  • Thursday 12/31: 5am – 7pm
  • Friday 1/1: 7am – 9pm

City Vista Holiday Hours

  • Thursday12/24: 5am – 1pm
  • Friday 12/25: CLOSED
  • Thursday 12/31: 5am – 7pm
  • Friday 1/1: 7am – 9pm

Gallery Place Holiday Hours

  • Thursday12/24: 8am – 2pm
  • Friday 12/25: CLOSED
  • Saturday 12/26: 7am – 7pm
  • Thursday 12/31: 5am – 7pm
  • Friday 1/1: 7am – 9pm
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


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


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