Workout Wednesdays: A Run For Everyone

BY MARSALIE MACKENZIE

rooseveltisland

As I see it, there are two types of runners in this world: hard-core nature lovers and snack-loving people watchers.

I’m most definitely the latter, so you can imagine my surprise when my fiancé, an avid trail runner, agreed to lace up his sneakers and head over to Rosslyn with me for a jog.

I make it sound really exotic, but the truth is that Roosevelt Island is only a 10 minute drive from downtown D.C. Nestled on the Potomac between Rosslyn and Georgetown, the Island is a tiny wooded oasis of tall leafy trees, pebble beaches and attractive couples walking their dogs. It’s also the perfect place for anyone looking to get out of the city and get back to nature.

The route:Roosevelt Island pic

Park your car (for free) and run over the foot bridge to Roosevelt Island.

Take the wooded path that runs along the perimeter of the Island and complete one round-trip.

Once you’ve returned to the parking lot, hang a right, and you’ll see a steep path leading to the Francis Scott Key Bridge. Run across the bridge and take in some spectacular views of the DC skyline.

Continue along the board walk until you hit Fiola Mare restaurant (or you get bored of people watching). Then reverse your course back to your car!

Total Distance: 4.5 miles

 

Getting the Green Glow

BY DOMINIQUE YOUNGBLOOD

Green smoothies are not the typical go-to drink for us millennials. In fact, green smoothies only come to mind when we are in the mood to eat something quick and healthy. We may not have the extra time in the morning, or simply rather cook our greens than shove them in a blender.

We often pay attention to the inconvenience green smoothies bring, but let’s just take a minute to highlight the positive effects of sticking to one a day:  

First, green smoothies are extremely cost effective when trying to stay within a budget. Of course, purchasing from your local juice bar, or even the already prepared green smoothies in the health food aisle at the grocery store could be anywhere from $6- $11 per glass/ bottle. But what about the fresh fruits and veggies you have sitting around your kitchen? Imagine just having to purchase a single pack of kale or spinach at the store during your round of weekly grocery shopping and spending no more than $2.88- $3.00. Then, you could just add whatever fruits or veggies at home to make a smoothie.

Ingredients

Here is a list of ingredients you can include in your own green smoothie (remember to always grab a handful of spinach and/ or kale as your base, then go ahead and get carried away with your creative additions!).

  • Spinach, Kale, Chard, Collards (dark leafy greens); you can even add a fresh broccoli milk or yogurt to make creamier (drain out the after-kick from the kale; lemons also do the trick)
  • Applesauce (for thicker substance) or a fruit cup
  • Green apples
  • Pineapples
  • Mangos
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Bananas (another option for a thicker substance if you opt out of dairy)
  • Papaya

*Freezing your apples and pineapples is another option. Remember, adding more ice will help you stay hydrated!

The Benefits

Second, and my favorite part, the benefits for hair and skin. Kale is the solution to everything here. No matter what you decide to put in your smoothie, there should ALWAYS be some kale. It is loaded with vitamin A (206% DV per cup) and vitamin C (134% DV per cup), which is the key to hair growth and scalp circulation. Of course, Vitamin C is the foundation of everyday hair and skin maintenance; it helps the body to produce collagen [2], which forms skin as well as absorb iron, which is also an essential nutrient for hair.

Let’s be real, your skin is the first thing people see when they look at you. It is the largest external organ on our body. It needs our undivided care and attention. For women, our hair tells a story. You could skip those expensive hair growth vitamins and costly styles at the salon that lead to heat or chemical damage and opt for a three-month plan of daily green smoothies and simple protective styles! You may not make time to exercise as often as you want, but the great thing is you know that you ALWAYS make time to eat!

My Inspo

Here are the links to a couple blogs I enjoy reading to motivate me with my own natural hair growth and skin maintenance:

The Confidence Kitchen

YouBeauty

The third best thing about green smoothies: you crave less junk! A filling green smoothie normally contains the right amount of calories for one healthy meal. It will keep your blood sugar levels low until lunch time, helping you cut out snacking altogether. It is a mental thing. Once you decrease the amount of unhealthy foods you take in and replace those frequent snacks with fresh fruits and veggies, you begin to lose your desire for unhealthy snacks. If you are trying to lose weight, this is a great way to begin, but it is also a healthy way to gain weight. It is way easier to “drink” your extra calories than attempt stuffing yourself with more carbs, hoping you will see results.

You have total control of what goes into your smoothie, and the best part is that all those ingredients you add will have great benefits for your body. So, it is safe to say that with a green smoothie, you are always winning.

Equipment and Smart Buys

The tool that makes your life easy when “going green” is your Magic Bullet! Most heavy duty blenders are expensive, too time consuming to wash and re-use, and have a hard time grinding and blending all those combinations in one.

FullSizeRender 4 FullSizeRender 6 FullSizeRender 3

Remember, the goal is to fit green smoothies in your everyday routine from cost effectiveness and convenience. Below are a more affordable options that your body will thank you for later:

  • Magic Bullet – Amazon $37.99, Target $39.99, Sam’s Club $39.98
  • Elite Cuisine 17 pc. blender – Walmart $25.99

Now, take a small step in going green by putting yourself on a two-week routine. Try setting aside 10 extra minutes in the morning or at night to make your smoothie. Keep track of your energy boost, junk food cravings, and watch the difference in your hair and skin. Change up your ingredients every other day to try a new taste and make your two-week routine fun. If you are satisfied with the results, then go ahead and change those two weeks into a six-week plan, or even three months. Remember your body will thank you for it!

 

 

 

Workout Wednesdays Are Here!

BY MARSALIE MACKENZIE

Welcome to the first edition of “Workout Wednesday” – a chance for us to share our favorite workouts that you can do in the comfort of your apartment, school or office gym!

The workout this week comes courtesy of District Crossfit (DCF) located at 1525 Half Street SW. DCF’s slim fit  program is designed to be less intimidating and more accessible than its regular classes, making it a perfect fit for people who don’t have regular access to Olympic style weight-lifting equipment.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Crossfit (or the lingo) their website is a great resource and explains all of the basic movements featured in this workout through a series of 45 second instructional videos.

The best part? This workout can be adapted to fit whatever equipment you have on hand; for instance, you can do step-ups on a bench rather than box jumps, and bent over rows instead of ring curls.

Let us know what you think!

slimfit 

 

Does a Pricier Class Mean a Better Workout? We Compare the Cost Per Calorie Burned at D.C.’s Most Popular Boutique Cycling Gyms to Find Out

BY MARSALIE MACKENZIE

We spend a lot of time at On The Glow talking about fitness on a budget because – let’s face it – most young professionals in DC can barely afford their parking space, let alone a $30 drop-in fee at their favorite gym.

That said, it takes a lot less motivation to complete a prescribed workout as part of a group fitness class than it does to go for a 5 mile run by yourself. Not to mention that the structure of most fitness classes ensures that you spend your time at the gym being active (and not just sitting on a stationary bike reading US Weekly).

The demand for efficient, high energy workouts is part of the reason that spinning has become so popular with cardio-lovers in the District. The movements are simple, the pace is fast and virtually every class promises a 45-60 minute all-you-can-sweat-fest.

With the wealth of cycling studios around the city, there’s a membership to fit every budget – but what kind of workout are you really getting for your money?

With the help of our trusty heart rate monitors and smart watches, we took spin classes at 3 of the city’s most popular boutique cycling studios to see which gym offers the most bang for your buck.

The Answer? Biker Barre if you’re a frequent spinner, FlyWheel if you’re high on energy, but short on time and Off-Road if you’re feeling technical.

Biker Barre – 738 7th Street SE

biker

Biker Barre is a locally owned spin and barre studio that has earned a cult following with the Hill crowd for its unpretentious feel and music driven classes.

Tucked away in an unassuming row home on 7th street SE, owners Jane Brodsky & Katie Geffken have embraced a pared down approach to fitness that focuses less on technology and more on technique.

The spin studio itself is similarly understated, dimly lit by a handful of candles beneath the instructor’s podium, giving the room a relaxing, almost meditative quality; but don’t be fooled – the lighting is the only relaxing part of spin classes at Biker Barre.

Given that there’s no torque or RPM sensor on these bikes, riders are encouraged to push themselves as hard as they can over the course of a 45 minute class. Since 100% effort is different for every rider, we pushed ourselves harder than we do following a normal class.

The instructor wasn’t afraid to go heavy on the torque herself, which – combined with a great workout playlist that wasn’t exclusively EDM – motivated us to reach a record high heart rate of 181 bpm.

Fair warning, the bikes are older and more basic than most other studios in the District, and the sound system leaves a lot to be desired – but, weirdly enough, that’s part of Biker Barre’s charm.

Our two cents: If you’re looking for a community driven studio where you can break a sweat without breaking the bank, Biker Barre should be number one on your list.

$25 per class / 354 cals = 7cents per cal

$150 unlimited spin and barre (assuming 2 classes per week) / 354 cals = 5 cents per cal

$15 student/military/teacher class = 4 cents per cal

FlyWheel Sports – 824 9th Street NW

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Walk into FlyWheel and you might think you’ve been magically transported to a cycling studio in the year 2030. Located at CityCentre in the heart of D.C., the modern space has been optimized for convenience and efficiency in order to better serve its corporate clientele.

IPad log-in stations, complimentary shoe rentals and RPM/torque sensors on each bike are just a few of the perks of membership. No more lines – especially great for people short on time or patience – and no more toting around those sweaty sneakers in your gym bag for the rest of the afternoon.

Enter the stadium (FlyWheel’s name for its futuristic spin room) and you’ll immediately feel as if you’re in a Miami nightclub. Uplighting and the latest hits from your favorite artists set the tone for a high energy class, which is matched from start to finish by the intensity of the hard-bodied instructor.

Unlike some other studios, the instructors at FlyWheel cue their classes using the RPM and torque sensors on each bike. If you’re remotely competitive (which we are) then you’ll love ‘The Leader Board’ – a running scoreboard which ranks your power output relative to your fellow FlyWheelers.

The class was one of the toughest we’ve been to in the city – but a few things need to be said.

First off, for all of its conveniences, FlyWheel doesn’t have an adequate number of showers to serve the morning and lunch rush crowds. Yesterday morning, the line-up to get a rinse was 8 deep! Forget trying to put your makeup on either, because space in the bathroom is at a premium during peak hours.

Second, while rental shoes are really convenient, they’re also really gross. Who wants to put on someone else’s used footwear?

Our two cents: Regardless of where you stand on the issue of sweaty sneakers, we can all agree that FlyWheel offers an unparalleled riding experience. If you love gadgets and integrating the latest technology into your workouts, then you need to try FlyWheel.

$28 per class / 405 cals = 7 cents per cal

$350 unlimited spin and barre (assuming 2 classes per week) / 405 cals = 11 cents per cal

$18 student class = 4 cents per cal

Off Road DC – 637 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

offroad.pngOff-Road DC is a homegrown fitness studio that specializes in the three B’s: Bike, Box and Build. By including a mix of cycling and cross training classes in their weekly schedule, they claim to offer one of the most effective full body workouts in the District.

If their popularity is anything to go on, Off-Road’s claims aren’t far from the truth; in fact, the flagship studio located in the U-street corridor has performed so well that they’ve recently opened a second location on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Their newest studio is located in the shadow of Capitol Hill and has an old-world, industrial feel – think exposed brick walls, duct work and surgical steel light fixtures. This aesthetic is in stark contrast to the spin studio, which is packed with high-performance Stages bikes and a blank screen for virtual rides.

At the beginning of each workout, the instructor explains that an image mirroring the power output from your bike will be projected onto the wall in front of the class – allowing you to keep your head up, rather than fixated on the torque meter.  5 minutes into class, the instructor leads you through a 5 minute test, which allows the computer software to determine your relative maximum power output, which is also projected on the wall and helps you pace your ride.

Sound complicated?

We thought so too.

There was so much explanation involved that our heart rate stayed conspicuously low relative to other studios. While it was certainly helpful for our first class, the mere thought of being a regular here and listening to the same spiel every day made us want to poke our eyes out with rusty spoons.

Our two cents: Great equipment, cool space, and one of the most affordable boutique spin studios out there – just try to go after you’ve had a cup of coffee.

$22 per class / 371 cals = 6 cents

$199 unlimited bike, box and build / 371 cals = 7 cents

Get ready to get your glow on

BY DANIEL GOMEZ & MARSALIE MACKENZIE

group

Meet our passionate crew of contributors at On the Glow as they get tight, toned, and thrifty in the District! From left to right: Dominique Youngblood, Daniel Gomez, Maribel Padial, and Marsalie MacKenzie

Are you living in the District and tired of spending over $1000 a year on a gym membership that you rarely use? Maybe you love organized fitness, but are tired of paying premium rates at trendy boutique gyms. On the Glow DC is a blog designed to help you meet your fitness goals without breaking the bank. To anyone who has ever dreamed of saving time and money living a healthy, active lifestyle, follow us as we check out the city’s hottest new workouts, interview fitness professionals, and redefine healthy eating on a budget.

Whether it’s an article with suggestions for how to take your workout outdoors, or recipes for how to recreate your favorite Whole Foods smoothie, our focus is to introduce you to some of the best fitness and health practices in Washington, D.C.