New Fitness Options
We took classes at four gyms that opened in 2016. Each had its own charm and niche. Here’s what’s best if…
Photos by Erick Gibson
If you want to feel like part of a team:
Started by an Army veteran in Frederick in 2011, Soldierfit now has five gyms in Maryland and Virginia, including a Rockville branch that opened in September. The military-inspired classes incorporate strength, cardio and core training (think box jumps, walking lunges, jumping jacks with dumbbells, and tire pushups). All participants wear “Soldierfit” T-shirts; gym members are called “troops” and drop-in guests are “recruits.” The result: The intense workout feels more like a team practice than a solo sweat session.
12241 Nebel St., Rockville, 240-669-8298, www.soldierfit.com
If you prefer intimate to intimidating:
Bridges Fitness & Yoga
Last January, Bridges Fitness & Yoga opened a pop-up location on Wisconsin Avenue, and this June the boutique studio plans to set up shop permanently in the historic and renovated Bethesda Post Office building across the street. Patrons can find a mix of yoga, cardio and strength-training, and cycling classes. At the pop-up location, the class sizes are small (capped at 10 to 12 people) and the teachers are attentive. We’re told the new location plans to continue offering a personal approach. We certainly hope so.
Bridges pop-up: 7475 Wisconsin Ave. #102, Bethesda, 240-743-4004, www.bridgesfitness.com
If you believe that sore is more:
Since launching in Washington, D.C., in 2013, Solidcore has opened 17 studios in five states, including two in Bethesda in 2016 (one in the Wildwood Shopping Center and one in downtown Bethesda). The high-intensity, low-impact workout takes 50 minutes and features slow, controlled movements on a resistance-based machine. Expect dim lighting and loud, clublike music—as well as very sore muscles the next day.
7101 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, 240-200-5536; 10245 Old Georgetown Road (Wildwood Shopping Center), Bethesda, 240-242-5658, www.solidcore.co
If you like to track your progress:
Balanced Athlete (Formerly Rock Creek Studios)
A sister to the Rock Creek Sports Club in Silver Spring, Balanced Athlete opened in August in Chevy Chase, D.C. The classes-only gym offers seven types of group exercise, including Pilates and Spinning. In the “High Intensity Interval Training” class participants perform a handful of exercises, including climbing ladders. In cardio classes, every participant uses a heart-rate monitor, and a screen in the front of the classroom shows how you’re performing. You get an email later detailing calories burned, class rank and more.
5538 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 202-838-0055, http://balancedathletedc.com/