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. Meredith Chiapello draws from degrees in nutrition and health psychology to direct both the fitness-and-personal-training program and the group-exercise program. 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.
"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.
Balanced Bodies' windows look out onto Runnymede Park, where deer often emerge from the woods and blue herons land near the stream. Inside the studio, groups work to capture the animals' ease of movement, flowing from plank positions into mermaid side stretches while maintaining pristine posture and giving effort without strain. Co-owners Carrie Smith and Adriana Ferrer-Perez believe that through Pilates exercises, their students can attain pain-free, fully functional movement for life. The duo oversees seven other instructors—nearly all claiming BASI teaching certifications—who lead classes in mat work, Reformer machines, and the Avalon System designed by Rael Isacowitz. Balanced Bodies also serves as a BASI Pilates teacher-training host facility, where aspiring instructors can undergo comprehensive and specialized teaching courses, including one that demonstrates how to dunk full-size exercise balls.
The certified instructors at YourCore Pilates cultivate leaner torsos and stronger muscles with a range of Pilates and yoga classes. During the semiprivate Pilates Basics class, founder Susan Aarhus focuses on safety as she guides neophytes through fundamental movements, alignment, and breathing. Using this approach to teaching, Susan believes that students will be hooked if their first Pilates experience is fun, educational, and enjoyable. The method's controlled maneuvers tone core muscles to improve posture, coordination, and scores in games of Whac-A-Mole. Other classes, such as Pilates Fusion, blend Pilates with various workout techniques, incorporating yoga and stretching exercises. In Power Pilates, students use traditional weights for full-body resistance training.