UPDATED JAN 9, 2020
From community-focused yoga studios to hardcore HIIT, no two DC gyms or fitness concepts are the same. 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 The District can't seem to get enough of OTF. Here, you'll slip on a personal heart rate monitor and your track progress while their expert coaches take you through an intense, cardio-heavy circuit workout featuring the treadmill, rower, and more. Your strength, endurance, and sheer willpower will be tested, but you'll walk away with a new sense of achievement. 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 neighborhoods across Virginia and Maryland.
F45 has made a name for itself thanks to its high-intensity, 45-minute workouts that blend interval 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 one of their gyms (there are many) to check 'em out, though, we can't promise you'll be able to walk the next day.
CorePower Yoga has a loyal following in The District, and for good reason. This boutique studio takes your typical yoga class and flips it on its head, creating a heated experience unlike any other. If you're just starting out, ease into things with their unheated, beginner-friendly flow. And if you're up for a challenge, try out Yoga Sculpt, a class that combines weight training with fast-paced movements in one sweat-dripping workout. Even better, there are a handful of studios in the DMV, so you're never too far from a CPY. Just don't forget to bring a water bottle!
From the outside looking in, this may seem like your average Pilates studio, but trust us — it's anything but. [solidcore]'s workouts center around a custom-made, Reformer-like machine they call the [sweatlana], and it is not to be underestimated. During their 50-minute classes, you'll get your muscles burning in a series of low-impact moves that add in resistance for good measure. And from Adams Morgan to West End, they've got studios all over, you can get a workout in no matter where you are in the city.
At this boutique studio, it's all about small, controlled, isometric movements. But don't think for a second that the low-impact nature of this workout means it's easy. Their classes integrate small hand weights, balance balls, and more, for a toning, sculpting, muscle-shaking sweat sesh. Visit one of their five studios in The District or one of 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 try. The ultra-trendy cycling studio offers an immersive workout where cyclists sweat it out a candlelit room and ride to the beat of the music (their playlists are legendary). Arguably the best part of every SoulCycle class, though, is getting motivational pep talks from your instructor, which make it a true mind-body experience. Spots at their 14th St., 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 in Bethesda and Clarendon.
Sure, you can expect rhythm-based rides complete with perfectly-timed choreography at CycleBar. But this studio also integrates innovative technology, group challenges, and rider competitions to push yourself harder than you thought possible. And while cyclists have the option to opt out of having their performance tracked via CycleStats—and displayed on a massive screen for everyone to see during class—we have to admit that the stats add an extra bit of motivation to the workout. Head to their Falls Church, Arlington, or NE DC studios (Tysons Corner coming soon!) and see if you can out-ride your neighbor.
With classes that include intense climbs and descents, a weighted arm workout, and plus tap backs and push-ups done in time to the music, you're guaranteed to leave 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 and battle rope exercises to weighted squats and never-ending planks, this no-frills gym's workouts are no joke. Good news: you'll have the backing of expert instructors and a second-to-none community when you're approaching your breaking point.
In a dark, black-lit gym off Rhode Island Ave., you’ll find one of DC’s toughest group workout classes. Founded by a husband-and-wife pair of personal trainers, Cut Seven offers sports conditioning classes that focus on a different muscle groups, so even if you pushed your quads to fatigue one day, you can still show up and put in the work the next. And, more than a killer workout, this studio offers nostalgic camaraderie that rivals that of your high school or college sports teams — what could be better than that?
If you think you know what a boxing workout looks like, just wait until you take a class at Rumble. With the lights down low and the music cranked, they'll take you through 10 circuit-style, boxing-inspired rounds infused with HIIT 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? Sign up for a class at the M St. NW studio as soon as the schedule hits. Fitt Tip: it's announced every other Monday at 7am.
The gold standard of sweat spots, Equinox has a reputation for setting the bar high. And if you've ever stepped into one of their clubs, you understand why. With immersive workouts led by some of the best instructors in the industry and a luxury amenities most people associate with five-star spas (think on-site juice bar, a spa, and eucalyptus steam rooms), this place is the complete package. Want in? Become a member at one of their four DC-area locations, and keep a lookout for a fifth opening in City Ridge.
An international fitness powerhouse, Barry's Bootcamp in Dupont Circle (and Clarendon coming soon) has revolutionized group workouts with a signature structure and a inclusive vibe that people everywhere are completely addicted to. Once the lights turn red, it's game time. You'll get your adrenaline pumping, spending half of your time going the distance on the Woodway treadmill and half of your time engaged in weight training exercises on the floor. No into running? Check out their Double Floor class.
Looking to take your sweat sessions to the next level? Book a class at BASH Boxing's studios in Rosslyn or Ballston, and get ready for a game-changing strength and conditioning session that'll make you wonder why you ever worked out anywhere else. During their boxing-based mash-up, you'll alternate between punches on the Aqua Bag and muscle-torching circuits that integrate med balls, resistance bands, and free weights. Trust us — you'll be having so much fun, the 45 minutes will be over before you know it.
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