A 30-foot rock-climbing wall soars up through The Energy Fitness Club's two floors, towering over the 17,000 square feet of fitness facilities. Certified guides lead students up the custom-built routes during official climbing-certification classes. The presence of credentialed experts extends to private training studios, where nationally certified instructors lead a variety of innovative group fitness classes, along with boot camp, personal-training sessions, and nutrition consultations.
Below the climbing apparatus, rows of advanced cardio and strength-training equipment challenge guests. Once they retire from the club’s exercise arena, clients can revel in the elegant hardwood lockers that wrap the walls of the full-service changing rooms. Childcare facilities are also available. Throughout the month, the club hosts social events—from group hikes to happy hours with complimentary wine tastings—providing clients a chance to mingle and politely request permission to poke the bulging muscles of the buffest members.
Following the principles of Rael Isacowitcz’s Block System, the instructors at My Thrive Pilates design group Pilates workouts that build long, lean, and toned bodies regardless of experience. Instructors start new students slowly and show them how to master core skills before moving on the center’s more advanced classes. Introductory mat classes develop central tenets of spinal alignment and ribcage-breathing techniques, and Reformer classes help isolate and sculpt stronger muscles using precise motions on the Reformer apparatus. Students can also take advantage of the center’s eight-week bridal program and build a rock hard core that can be used to break ice cubes for a perfectly chilled wedding toast.
Open 24 hours a day, XSport Fitness gilds pallid patrons with sunless Mystic Tan at the Falls Church location and VersaSpa systems at the Alexandria location as well as regularly re-lamped UV beds. With Mystic Tan and VersaSpa spray-tan sessions, unstained patrons stand in private booths while a moisturizing mist sweeps over the skin, bestowing the body with the healthy golden glow of a Spanish doubloon polished up for a night on the town. In about two minutes, airbrushes apply a natural tone that can be customized according to body size, skin type, and desired color. The formula imbues epidermises with bronze, line-free tans without the hassle of spending all summer loitering around sandcastle hard-hat zones.
Barking orders for more than 20 years, The Sergeant's Program's head sergeant Chuck Dyson and his dedicated troop of more than 50 sergeants and personal trainers transform figures with military-style fitness sessions. The program provides a knowledgeable instructor to lead recruits through cardio, core, flexibility, stabilization, and resistance training while creating camaraderie amongst fellow fitness platooners. Though each day is fueled with running drills and calisthenics, Mondays and Fridays will be focused on increasing lower body and flank strength and Tuesdays and Thursdays will be geared toward upper body workouts. Cardio-intensive Wednesdays are solely dedicated to getting the heart pumping, sweat streaming, and reshaping rumps flattened by years in stagecoach-driver seats. Although the sergeants utilize a tough-love approach to push clients to their fullest fitness factor, the atmosphere is kept personable by their injections of light-hearted humor and giggling quartets of chipmunks.
Olivia Sheldon, the owner of Positive Energy Yoga, doesn't worry about doing yoga "right". Instead, her classes focus on doing what's right for each person in each moment. She encourages students to perform only what they have the ability and comfort to do, but not because she's going easy on them. The program is actually designed to help each student realize, and appreciate, his or her own potential and uniqueness. Her classes emphasize flow, with each pose seamlessly melding into the next for a serene workout, and she offers guidance to the students for taking that self-reliance out into their lives outside of the studio. She teaches her 75-minute classes three days a week, and students can take home a DVD of her sessions for at-home practice or to leave it on for pets looking for indoor exercise.
A century ofshared experience unites trainers at Get Shaped Fitness, where they coach groupsessions and work individually with trainees. "We stress education over quick fixes," theysay, "striv[ing] to prepare you for continuing your success over the longterm." To these ends, they customize personal training sessions and makethemselves available to talk about lifestyle changes, such as replacing cupcakeswith a sheet cake inscribed with "eat carrots." The gym's own GetShaped app helps clients keep track of their classes and contact staffers.