Our readers voted, and here are their picks for D.C.’s best places to get fit.
Best specialty gym/bootcamp
Sweat Fitness Party at Stroga
1808 Adams Mill Road NW; 202-238-9642, stroga.com.
The word “workout” doesn’t sound like fun to Gerard Burley (aka Coach G, top, jumping). “Exercise doesn’t have to be an arduous task,” he says. That’s why he brings along a DJ, games and a social atmosphere when he hosts Sweat Fitness Party at Stroga. Since his debut bash in April, guests (who pay $20) have responded by clamoring for more — it’s now two Saturdays a month. Prepare to hoist medicine balls, hold planks and, of course, perspire. “Sweat is always good,” Burley says. V.H.
Multiple locations; vidafitness.com.
Whether you’d rather pound the ground with drumsticks or dance to a Zumba beat, Vida Fitness has an innovative way to make you sweat. Not a member? The homegrown fitness empire — which just opened its sixth District club and is eyeing locations in Maryland and Virginia — hosted free outdoor classes at The Yards Park all summer, and is offering complimentary workouts Tuesday nights at CityCenterDC through Oct. 28. V.H.
Best yoga studio
Multiple locations; yogadistrict.com.
Yoga District has won this category three times, but founder Jasmine Chehrazi humbly rejects the notion that there’s one best yoga studio in Washington. “It takes all kinds of studios to serve all kinds of people,” she says. She does, however, acknowledge that her studio’s six outposts and low-cost classes make yoga practice more accessible. V.H.
Wilson Aquatic Center
4551 Fort Drive NW; 202-730-0583, 1.usa.gov/ZSkrng.
Summer’s over, but the water is always welcoming at this year-round indoor complex, which features a 50-meter pool, a whirlpool and a kiddie pool. It’s ideal for laps — just ask the swarms of triathletes and masters swimmers who train there. If you take enough of the center’s classes in swimming and water aerobics, maybe you can join them one day. Entrance is free for District residents, and just $7 a visit for everyone else. V.H.
Best bike shop
The Bike Rack
1412 Q St. NW; 202-387-2453, thebikerackdc.com.
For those who don’t regularly wear spandex, bike shops can be intimidating. That’s exactly what Chuck Harney wanted to avoid when he opened the Bike Rack in 2007. “What we’ve done is a really good job of welcoming people when they come in regardless of who they are,” Harney says. The friendly, down-to-earth employees and mechanics help (no bike snobs here); plus, the shop cultivates its community with group rides, maintenance classes and even yoga. R.S.
Rock Creek Park
D.C. may not have skyscrapers, but few cities with more dramatic skylines are lucky enough to have 2,000 acres of parkland cutting straight through them. Rock Creek Park, which runs from the Potomac all the way into Maryland, welcomes cyclists, runners and drivers with its well-kept roads and trails. Its wilder areas are likely home to coywolves (coyote-wolf hybrids) and definitely home to the Hay’s Spring amphipod, an endangered crustacean found only in waters within the park. R.S.
Read the rest of the Express Best of 2014 issue.