The Women's Club Fitness Center & Day Spa has brought women together for nearly a quarter century to develop strong bodies and radiant skin. Under the direction of owner Florence Auld, their all-female staff has grown from 15 to 55 professionals who have earned advanced degrees, certifications, and secret handshakes in their fields, including specialists in cardiac rehabilitation and myofascial-release massage. Before earning her doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University, nutritionist Lucky Bennett fed her interest in women's health at the University of Washington, where she earned a degree in Women's Studies with a focus on women and medicine.
The staff welcomes new gym members by designing them a personalized workout regimen, then walking them through the correct use of strength and cardio equipment. More than 50 group classes add camaraderie to cardio or stretch-and-toning workouts, and childcare is available for a nominal fee to help mothers make friends their own age. Spa treatments focus on revealing fresh, smooth skin all over the body with topical treatments in tandem with pore-clearing sessions in the dry-rock sauna.
CEO Peter Harvey believes that a quality gym staff must demonstrate more than technical expertise. "Service doesn't only mean showing someone how to do an arm curl," he says. Certified personal trainers develop workouts that zero in on each person?s specific goals, giving clients the skills to pole-vault over impassable plateaus. By steadfastly refusing to hand out fish in favor of putting on master classes in fishing, they help clients become self-sufficient, educating them on fundamentals.
During these one-on-one sessions, and in solo workouts, guests set calories ablaze atop rows of continually updated equipment. Treadmills, recumbent bikes, and strength-training tools line the walls.
Members can also drop in for as many group classes as they can muster. Inside a separate studio, stationary cycles whir in time with galvanizing music, kickboxing strikes arc through the air, and barbells rise with each BodyPump rep. For more meditative practices, Pilates sessions and several types of yoga enhance flexibility and focus.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee, "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere." To make this challenging, yet hopeful philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cool-down exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance. Dahn Yoga is also taught at independently owned and operated franchises called Body & Brain Yoga.
The inspiring trainers at each MetaBody location lead troops of workouteers in results-oriented workouts several times weekly. Sweat sessions utilize a variety of exercises and disciplines to produce full-body results in a supportive environment, ideal for beginners and hard-core core-hardeners alike. During any class, motivational instructors will use the instinctual distrust of routine to their advantage. Begin a day of litigating with a refreshing early-morning boot-camp session, or wind down by burning evidence and pounds with a late-evening yoga class. Muscles are kept guessing with new and challenging moves during each session, so participants never fall into a boring, ineffective routine, such as regular teeth brushing. In addition to the fitness classes, students receive a success guide to help prepare for imminent pound loss, a nutrition guide, and a $100 gift certificate for individual coaching. Because the pass sets a 10-class cap for each company, roving fitness mavens can further shake up their workout regimens by vetting a series of classes or instructors that work best for them.
Helmed by owner Ursula Cox, the staff at Inner Power Yoga guides yoga disciples through the poses of Vinyasa yoga, drawing on training that earned them Northern Virginia Magazine’s award for Best Yoga Studio 2012. Perched on bamboo floors in a studio with natural light and high ceilings, students stretch, bend, and twist as the 85- to 90-degree temperature assists in purging their bodies of toxins and chronic goosebumps. Ursula and the gang teach students of all skill levels, focusing on helping them link movement and breath. The instructors also hold private sessions for students who need more practice, and training sessions for students who aspire to master the ways of the yogi during teacher training.
For Michelle Fondin, yoga is just one component, albeit an important one, to achieving inner and outer peace. She incorporates the ancient practice into the Ayurvedic system of holistic and meditative practices designed to cultivate overall wellness and address mind and body problems. When she meets with a new client for an Ayurvedic consultation, she seeks to determine the true cause of their ailments, discussing health concerns alongside the stuff of life, which may include anything from relationships to career paths. In addition to helming these in-depth consultations, Ms. Fondin and her team lead hatha yoga classes and meditation sessions within a spacious, sunny studio where glimpses of critters from the forest below are not uncommon sights. “There's this instant unplugging from the crazy hectic world into a serene setting,” explains Ms. Fondin.
Ms. Fondin hopes that The Ayurvedic Path not only equips her clients with new tools for achieving balance between mind and body, but also helps foster a sense of community. To that end, she keeps her classes limited to 13 students and makes an effort to get to know every practitioner.