4 D.C. Gyms That Let You Try Before You Buy


At On the Glow, we remember a time when free trials and guest passes were considered standard fare at most gyms. You’d have the opportunity to check out the facilities, take a few classes, go on a tour, and then – if you were really interested – sit down with a sales manager and talk membership options.

However, our experience with organized fitness in D.C. has made us realize two things:

  1. A large population and a relatively small number of gyms means that the days of free passes are over; and,
  2. Most gyms not only charge full price for your first session, but they also pressure clients to purchase 6-12 month memberships by charging exorbitant drop-in fees.

To alleviate some of the pressure, and to help you make the most educated decision about where to get your sweat on, we’ve scoured the city to bring you the best free trials in Washington. Whether you’re looking to lift, stretch or spin your way to fitness, these 4 gyms are all about getting you to try before you buy!

1. CorePower Yoga

CorePower Yoga wants to be a place to call your fitness Om, which means making sure that prospective yogis receive unrestricted free access to the variety of classes and schedules available at their 3 downtown area locations. In fact, they’re so serious about your business that they offer a no-obligation week-long membership for anyone new to the studio.

The Low Down: CorePower Yoga is the Starbucks of yoga studios: consistent, convenient and cheap. While it might feel like you’re selling out to big-box yoga, one benefit of a chain is that you’re virtually guaranteed the same quality of instruction at each location (which is more than we can say for some other studios in the city).

With prime locations like CityCentre, Dupont Circle and Georgetown, CorePower makes it easy to squeeze in a yoga sesh during the workday. Out of town on business? No problem! CorePower membership gives you full access to classes at each of their 150 locations across the U.S.

2. Crossfit


While Crossfit boxes are notorious for their community-driven programming, no two are exactly the same. That’s why most Crossfit gyms offer free introductory classes to help prospective members find the right fit.

Some of our favourite boxes in the city include: District Crossfit, Crossfit DC (multiple locations) and Crossfit Balance (multiple locations). These boxes are not only beginner friendly, but offer alternative programming to suit a multitude of needs, including fat loss and flexibility.

The Low Down: Crossfit is technically challenging and the coaches at each box undergo rigorous training to attain their certification. As a result, the cost of monthly memberships is easily double what you would pay at a Globo Gym. That said, the one-on-one instruction during a 60 minute workout is the closest thing you’ll get to personal training for $25 an hour. Our advice? Pay the money up front and learn to lift properly – your body will thank you later. 

3. Zengo DC 

Zengo cycle has a unique membership model: instead of a monthly fee, they ask clients to buy credits to put towards classes. With so many cycling studios in the city charging upwards of $150 a month for unlimited classes, this program allows clients to pay for only what they use.

Since the demand for efficient cardio workouts is at an all time high, it’s little wonder that most cycling studios forgo free trials in lieu of a slightly reduced rate on your first drop-in session; however, Zengo cycle bucks this trend by offering would-be spin enthusiasts an opportunity to try out their signature 50 minute class free of charge.

The Low Down: Zengo cycle has 5 studios in the DMV, but only two are located downtown (North west, specifically). It’s definitely more of a local spin studio than a convenient stop on your commute home – but that doesn’t seem to deter people from flocking to their morning and evening classes.

The studio is busy and high energy, and people rave about the 50 minute full-body workout. Just remember to bring $3 for shoe rental if you don’t sport clip-in cycling shoes regularly. 

4. Vida Fitness


Vida fitness prides itself on being a Globo Gym with an old school health club feel. With amenities like rooftop pools, spas and juice bars at their new U Street and Yards locations, Vida easily ranks top of the big-box fitness franchise market.

With so much competition from boutique fitness clubs, Vida wants prospective members to see for themselves the benefits of belonging to a traditional gym. Stop by in person, or fill out an inquiry online, and a Vida representative will contact you the next day to schedule a free trial.

The Low Down: Yes, the membership coordinators can be a little pushy, but what do you expect when you’re dealing directly with a sales team? Plus, they’re generally pretty accommodating if you’re looking to try a few specific classes.

All in all, Vida offers a wide variety of classes at 6 prime locations downtown. If the reasonable membership rates and modern facilities don’t convince you to give this gym a try, we’re sure the Penthouse pool will.





Workout Wednesdays: A Run For Everyone



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


Workout Wednesdays Are Here!


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!