Crash Course: In a sea of fitness studios, Blast sets itself apart by being an all-in-one stop for your health and wellness goals. In addition to their crazy challenging fitness classes, they offer individualized nutrition counseling, metabolic testing, and heart rate training so you can get the most out of every workout.
class: Blast Class
sweat score: 9 out of 10
where: 2311 M Street NW | Washington, DC
wear: running shoes and clothes to sweat in
bring: water bottle
instructor: can’t remember but she was good
perks: showers, someone to refill your water and get equipment, in-house nutrition services, metabolic testing
cost: $34 drop-in class
I was in DC the other week for a quick work trip, and had just enough time in the morning to scoot over to a gym near my Foggy Bottom hotel. I did a quick search to see what my options were (the closer the better), and decided to sign up for a class at Blast – a new studio that just opened up near the Soul Cycle in the West End.
From a quick glance at the website, I knew the workout would be a good mix of cardio and strength training. But other than that, it was a mystery to me! I’ve often found that going into a class blind can turn out one of two ways.
One: the entire class is a thrill as you discover the fun and exciting new workout they cooked up.
Two: the entire class is not at all what you had planned on, and you spend each minute inching towards the door.
Luckily, I quickly determined that Blast was going to be more of option one. I showed up to the shiny new studio (located in the basement, so be sure to look down when arriving) and was immediately given a tour of the beautiful space.
They have fully stocked locker rooms with bright, clean showers and everything you might need to get ready for the day after sweating like crazy for an hour. Or if you need to freshen up + run, they also have a bevy of products like dry shampoo and wipes to help you do some damage control and get out the door quickly.
The space also includes a room that looked like something right out of a physical therapist’s office. I was curious – what the heck was this lone treadmill doing in a room by itself? And why the computer hook up?
I quickly learned that Blast is big on offering each and every student an opportunity to create a comprehensive plan to reach their fitness goals. This includes having an in-house registered dietitian to work on finding the right fuel for your body type, and a space where they can do metabolic testing to determine how your body responds to different kinds of effort. That way, they can help you create a holistic plan to help you (a) be informed and empowered about how your body it works and (b) get you to where you want to be in a healthy, strategic way.
How cool is that?
After my tour, it was time for class. I walked down a corridor lined with lockers and affirmations to the room where the workout takes place.
I had a bit of dejavu as soon as I stepped foot into the classroom. Wait a minute…this set up looks familiar. It’s remarkably similar to Barry’s Bootcamp. Treadmills lined both sides of the room, and in the middle there was open space for plyometrics, weight training, and more.
The big difference is that there are no creepy red lights glowing overhead or instructor strutting about (sorry Barry’s, I love you, but you do have a bit of an attitude). Instead the room was well lit, the equipment wall included lots of fun toys instead of just free weights, and two instructors floated around helping everyone get set up and ready to go.
The class split up into two groups, one starting on the treadmills and the others on the floor. We switched twice during the class so everyone had an opportunity to do the run portion and floor portions of the workout.
The treadmills were unlike any I had ever seen before. I am partial to the Woodway machines they use at Barry’s and Mile High Run Club, but the cool thing about these machines is that they have both an incline and decline feature. It was just one more option to help break up the running intervals – always a good thing – and I thought it was really fun to simulate running both up and down a hill.
The floor portion of the workout included a mix of resistance band exercises, body weight plyometrics, and some free weight moves.
While one instructor led the class, the other moved about the room helping to refill water bottles, mop up sweat, hand out extra towels, and make sure everyone had the equipment they needed. In such a dynamic environment where there’s a lot going on, it was awesome to have another set of hands on deck to make everything run seamlessly.
So what did I think of the workout? I loved it! It was a friendlier, more accessible spin on the Barry’s experience in a setting that felt much more positive and uplifting. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard though. The class was seriously tough. Incredible for anyone looking to really challenge themselves and not mess around with the hour they have to work out each day.
I would love to go back and do the full metabolic testing and nutrition profile. I think that information would be so helpful to have. Kudos to Blast for placing an emphasis on empowering their clients to look at fitness as a big picture effort that includes food + rest + smart workouts instead of just selling them class after class.
True to form, no trip would be complete without a stop at a local juice shop. So I ran over to my old stomping grounds in Georgetown to check out the new home of Down Dog Yoga and Greenheart Juice Shop. Looking good, guys! What an adorable little wellness haven in the heart of one of the cutest neighborhoods in all of DC. Of course, I’m a bit biased – this spot is right across the street from where I lived senior year, and it is so fun to see this vibrant space set up shop in the neighborhood.
I first discovered Greenheart years ago while living in DC. Their founder, Alicia, sold her delicious granola (similar recipe here), nut melks, and juices at a local farmer’s market in Columbia Heights every weekend. I’m so thrilled to see her business grow and flourish, and now have her very own brick + mortar store. Congrats, Alicia and the Greenheart team!
TIP: If you’re in the area, make sure to stop by for a bag of granola and the strawberry cashew melk. So. Good. Extra points if you take a class at Down Dog Yoga and grab a salad at the original Sweetgreen for later.
Till next time, DC!