When we started exploring our favorite studios in big cities, we were especially curious about the scene in DC. Compared to the other cities that we visited - Chicago, LA, NYC – DC is much smaller, and we weren’t sure how this would impact variety. To our surprise, DC offers some of the most exciting studios in the country. There’s no doubt that fitness enthusiasts can find exactly what they’re looking for here. Take a look our our *alphabetical* list of favorite studios below:
Out of all of the gyms we’ve covered, 305 fitness is definitely the closest one to a party. Don’t let that fool you, though; the environment may be fun, but the workout is TOUGH. 305 is self-defined as a dance cardio workout. For the majority of us out there who think this sounds great, but who may also lack…rhythm? Dancing confidence? Step foot in here and you’ll see right away that this place is completely inclusive. To summarize: you can burn 900 calories per class, in a party-like atmosphere, doing something that may push you a little out of your comfort zone, in a completely all-inclusive environment. Sounds like a win!
Ambitious Athletics is an end-to-end gym focused on their members’ well-being. This is evident after you visit the place and meet Carmen – who most members will agree – is as much of a support system as he is a veteran coach. Ambitious Athletics is weight training facility whose methodology is a hybrid of traditional strength and conditioning, bodybuilding, and high intensity interval training. You’ll use a wide variety of equipment: weights, kettlebells, sleds, bodyweight, etc… The difference between this gym and the packages offered is that it feels methodical and structured. Whereas some gyms may offer unlimited memberships, but the daily workout may not feel connected, Ambitious Athletics has their defined programs that they follow. The gym is nice with just enough grit to get you in the zone.
Tucked away in Logan Circle, B Fit offers a variety of barre classes. A great, lower-impact workout, you’ll leave B Fit feeling sore, but never feeling like you put too much stress on your joints. The boutique studio brings the boutique studio vibes and the tight-knit, regular community. The instructors are caring and supportive. Whether you’re an experienced Barre practioner, or this is your first barre class, we encourage you to check out B Fit. In fact, it’s one of only 2 barre studios to make our list!
Balance Gym Thomas Circle
A great gym offering at a competitive price. Balance Gym offers a variety of classes – dance, spin, bootcamps. For a small premium, you can also get access to crossfit classes. There’s a sizeable offering of equipment, which is more than enough for the average gym-goer. For $69/mo, you can belong to the Thomas circle location, access a full-schedule of classes, train with all types of equipment, and work with their trainers to hone in your favorite training style. Absolutely recommend Balance Gym’s Thomas Circle location, especially if you’re in the area.
I’ve personally been a member at Crunch and can say first-hand that these gyms are something special. The trainers and members are friends, the equipment is great, the classes are top-notch. It’s a special, neighborhood gym. This experience completely aligns with crunch’s mission: ‘CRUNCH is a gym that believes in making serious exercise fun by fusing fitness and entertainment and pioneering a philosophy of no judgments. No judgments means room for everyone, regardless of shape, size, age, race, gender or fitness level. No matter your workout of choice, we want you to feel good while reaching your goals. CRUNCH is best known for our colorful personality and kick a$$ group fitness and training programs. Join the fun.’ Amen to that!
One of the things that District Pilates prides itself on is truly getting to know its clients. Their bodies, their strengths and weaknesses. Here’s an example - DP deals with just about every injury in the book, and they keep detailed notes on each individual client so even if someone work with another instructor, they’ll be taken care of, but also challenged. Most importantly, the team at District Pilates understands that D.C. can be an intimidating place to workout (or start working out) so they never want anyone ever feeling uncomfortable or judged at our studios. They put it best themselves ‘we love our clients and want everyone to feel welcome and like they are working out with a bunch of friends.’
Elevate Interval Fitness
We’ve covered HIIT training in our Chicago and LA articles. This type of training has gained popularity, especially over the last 3-5 years. If done well, this could be your one gym with no need to ever go elsewhere. Elevate does HIIT training well. Right away, you’ll take comfort in a clean and organized studio. The format is: running, rowing, strength. The strength can be a combination of many things – bodyweight, dumbbells, etc… The classes are normally an hour long, and you’ll usually spend a third of the class on each of those 3 areas. Aside from the clean studio and great workout, one thing you’ll notice is that the trainers are deliberate. You always feel like you’re working toward something, and this brings focus to what you’re doing. You should absolutely check out elevate!
You’d assume from the name that LavaBarre was primarily a barre studio. That’s not the case here. LavaBarre offers your traditional barre classes, but they also use the barre studio for TRX and Yoga. What we love about this studio is its efficiency with its space, and its willingness to offer related classes. What the really does is turn this from a top-tier barre studio into an all-in-one studio offering. Cycling, yoga, barre, trx, you’ll find everything you need at LavaBarre. That’s just to get you in the door! Once you’re there, you’ll see what the buzz is about with their instructors. All are enthusiastic, supportive, and excited to be coaching you. Check them out!
Popping up across the countries are gyms that consolidate all different practices under one roof. This means cycling, TRX, barre, bootcamps, gyms, yoga – everything! When done well, these gyms scratch your itch of trying the newest form of exercise. You don’t have to have a collection of individual studios to satisfy your needs when one of them does everything well. Enter MINT. They offer one of the largest class offerings in the DC area. if you’re perfect workout regimen includes all different types of classes, you have to give this gym a shot!
This place. You’ve got to love this place. Bikes, boxing, and strength building. The thing that connects these three are that all leave you sweating and out of breath. While other studios offer different ‘types’ of workouts, it’s hard to compete with Off Road’s variety. Cycling is your traditional cardio, and Off Road does this better than most in DC. HIIT and Strength offer a change-up to engage your body and muscles. Boxing is one of the newest trends in working out that combines cardio with HIIT training. You could happily take one of these classes 3 times a week, but the fact that you can craft your routine here is special.
One of the national chains that’s made its way onto our list. Orange theory pushes you to a great workout on treadmills, rowers, and circuits. You wear a heart monitor to know exactly how hard you’re pushing yourself, which also allows the instructors to personalize their cues for you. Take one orange theory class and the endorphins will keep you coming back for more.
You’ve seen by now that a few studios are aiming to provide an all-in-one offering. Most of the time this means either crafting workouts that change daily OR pairing a cycling studio with a HIIT area. Reformation Fitness is one of the only studios in DC that applies this approach to pilates and full-body workouts. Their class offering includes intro through intermediate pilates, yoga, AND HIIT classes. We love this so much because it takes something that’s working well for studio-goers (offering a variety), and introducing pilates into the equation. You can take low-impact, recovery, reformer / yoga classes OR you could push yourself in an intense HIIT class. Best part? You could also mix it up and create your own personal class schedule.
A lot of times when people think of ‘low-impact’, they think an easier workout. That’s not the case at all, and solidcore is all the proof you need. Part pilates megaformer, part slow-lifting, but absolutely an intense workout. Set to playlists that you’d find in a HIIT class, this brings a new, energetic feeling to the megaformer. Pro-tip – don’t be scared when your muscles start to shake during the class, because they will; it’s solidcore’s way of telling you their workout is pushing you!
We include national chains on our list because, even though you’ve already heard of them, they’re national chains for a reason. SoulCycle was arguably the first grand-slam when it came to boutique cycling. The classes are amazing: the best playlists, talented instructors, and an aura that is guaranteed to keep you engaged and excited throughout the ride. Part cycling class, part experience, SoulCycle consistently delivers no matter what city it’s in. If you haven’t checked them out, you should. If you have, you already know the deal.
The first thing people probably notice about Sweat DC is the lights. The room is dark with some blacklights – you can feel the energy right off the bat. Combine this with a bootcamp style workout: weights, bodyweight, ropes, you name it, the instructors will add it into the workouts. Lots of gyms like to talk the talk about making members feel included, but SWEAT DC most definitely walks the walk. Come for a great workout and to meet the team, and perhaps you’ll find that this is the place you’ve been looking for all along!
VIDA packs a TON into their three studios: yoga, cycling, group fitness. Within each of these studios, you have a ton of classes to choose from. From recovery yoga to ripped yoga, bootcamps to Zumba to kickboxing, VIDA proves that it is not afraid to bring new classes and offerings to its members. They manage to pack all of their classes into a structured, organized offering so that every member is taken care of. And to make sure you can ALWAYS take the class you want, there are multiple locations located around DC.