Finding the right fitness community for you can be a daunting task in a city as big as Washington, DC. From community-focused yoga studios to hardcore CrossFit boxes, no two gyms or fitness concept are the same in the District, that’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting for you (pun intended).
Here are the best places to break a sweat in the capital.
There's a reason this fitness junkies can't seem to get enough of OTF. Donning a personal heart rate monitor to track progress, coaches this circuit-style strength training studio take you through an intense cardio and weight workout featuring the treadmill, rower, and more designed to spike metabolism and boost overall energy. Want to see what the hype is all about? You won't find trouble finding them — they have studios peppered all over the DC area and in neighboring towns across Virginia and Maryland.
F45 has made a name for itself thanks to its signature, high-intensity, 45-minute workouts that blend HIIT, circuit training, and functional fitness exercises in one heart-pumping sweat session. They also promise you’ll never repeat a workout, which might be the key to keeping your body in tip-top shape. Stop by one of their gyms in Bethesda, Old Town Alexandria, U Street, Pentagon Row, or Arlington (with tons more on the way) to check 'em out, we just can't promise you'll be able to walk to next day.
Bodymass Gym focuses on small-group classes of no more than 10 people to really give you the one-on-one attention you need. Their 15th St. location in Arlington has been serving up sweaty sessions for some time, and they’re joined by a very popular set-up in Columbia Heights, too. No matter which gym you're sweating in, though, you can expect an unmatched community, top-notch trainers, and workouts that will torch every muscle in your body. Fitt Tip: in Arlington, they have a dog named Flex who romps around the front office — what could be a better pre- or post-workout ritual than chilling with an adorable pup?
CorePower Yoga has a loyal following in the District, and for good reason. This boutique studio has managed to keep the zen in yoga while upping the intensity, creating a hot yoga experience unlike any other. Choose from a beginner-friendly (unheated) yoga class, like C1, or really get your heart rate up in Yoga Sculpt — a class that perfects the combination of weight training and yoga flow. CorePower offers something for every yogi, just swing by one of their handful locations around Metro DC and don't forget to bring a water bottle.
At Yoga District, they believe everyone has the capacity to love yoga, it’s just a matter of finding what style works best for you. Whether your goal is to improve flexibility, heal an injury, realign your body, or tone up your tush, this local studio provides classes to suit a variety of needs. All seven locations are central to city-goers in the heart of DC, so if you’re in the 'burbs or surrounding cities, you’d be wise to catch an Uber or take the metro to a class.
If you’re looking for a high-intensity, low-impact workout class that will test your limits, look no further than [solidcore]. From Adams Morgan to West End, they've got studios all over, so getting in a full-body sweat using resistance machines, dumbbells and your own body weight to lengthen and tone your muscles. For those wanting to try it out but aren’t quite sure they can handle an infamous [sweatlana], that's what they call their custom-made machine, each studio also offers beginner classes to get you started.
barre3 is all about three simple steps: hold, move big, and move small. Which makes all the sense in the world because they specialize in a full-body workout that combines isometric holds and functional movements centered around balancing your body and mind. But don't for a second think this low-impact workout isn't going to be a challenge — that's exactly what you're in for. Using small hand weights, balance balls, and more, you'll tone and sculpt muscles you didn't know you had. Visit one of their five studios in the District or several others in the surrounding areas to see for yourself why people swear by barre3.
If you’re hip to the fitness scene in DC, odds are you’ve given SoulCycle a shot. The ultra-trendy cycling studio offers a 45-minute intense workout where cyclists enter a candle-lit room and ride to the beat of the music (FYI: their playlists are legendary). Arguably the best part of every SoulCycle class, though, is getting motivational pep talks from your instructor, making it a mind-body experience rather than going up and down hills for nearly an hour. Spots at their NW DC, Georgetown, Mount Vernon, and West End studios fill up fast, so be sure to book your bike well in advance. You can also find them in nearby Bethesda.
Much like SoulCycle, at CycleBar, you'll pedal to the beat of the music and really focus on the mind-body connection during each class. Where CycleBar differs is their use of technology, group challenges, and rider competitions to motivate each person to push further than they could have ever imagined. Though cyclists do have the option to opt out of having their performance tracked via CycleStats—displayed on a massive screen for everyone to see during class—we’d have to agree the stats add a motivational twist to our workouts. Head to their Falls Church, Arlington, or NE DC studios (Tysons Corner coming soon!) and see if you can out-rev your neighbor.
With every class integrating intense climbs and descents, a weighted arm workout, and riding to the beat of the music, Flywheel will leave you feeling on top of the world. Instructors at their City Center and DuPont studios suggest levels of resistance, but ultimately it’s up to you how much heart you want to put in. And Flywheel also tracks your performance, allowing you to set and surpass your fitness goals, one class at a time.
Founded by former athletes, MADabolic is one workout that will keep you on your toes. Their program is all about five main functions: primal athleticism, power, strength & stability, cardiovascular output, and rotational force. From boxing intervals to battle rope exercises, MAD instructors at their Clarendon gyms pride themselves on creating workouts that are incredibly challenging for yogis, runners, and CrossFit fiends alike.
In a dark, black-lit gym off Rhode Island Ave., you’ll find one of DC’s toughest group workout classes. Cut Seven, founded by a husband-and-wife pair of personal trainers, offers sports conditioning classes that focus on a different muscle each day. More than a killer workout, this studio offers that nostalgic camaraderie of your high school or college sports teams — what could be better than that?
There’s a reason District CrossFit is the largest CrossFit gym in DC. The SW box offers a variety of options, from group classes to personal training and even a beginner-level package. With that, this community-focused concept allows members to personalize their experience to fit their individual goals. If you’ve never tried the workout before, sign up for CrossFit 101 course, which includes six individualized classes with a coach and also a month of unlimited membership to get you started. If you couldn’t already guess, they consistently prove that they genuinely care about your health, safety, and personalized experience.
Living in a crowded city like DC, the idea of a 35,000-square-foot climbing gym is heavenly. Thankfully, Earth Treks in Crystal City has answered your prayers. Check out their massive climbing and bouldering areas to blow off some steam while getting an incredible full-body workout. As an added bonus, this sweat spot also offers yoga and group fitness classes, as well as a traditional gym for members to pump some iron or get their cardio fix after they climb — talk about a one-stop shop!
If you think you know what a boxing workout looks like, just wait until you get in the gym with the hardcore instructors at Rumble. With the lights down low and the music cranked to the max, they'll take you through 10 circuit-style, boxing-inspired rounds infused with HIIT sequences and strength training exercises meant to get every muscle in your body burning. And all the while, you'll be building endurance, perfecting your footwork, and nailing that jab, punch, and uppercut on their Aqua training bags designed to minimize impact on your joints. Want to get in the action? So does everyone else, so sign up for classes at the M St. NW studio as soon as the schedule is announced every other Monday at 7am.
**Updated May 2019.