What exactly does it mean to be healthy? For many of us, “good health” is just a vague notion — until something goes wrong and we’re forced to take a closer look.
In this series of biweekly columns we’ll discuss what factors — other than genetics — contribute to our mental and physical well being, including fitness, nutrition and even how we think about our lives. The goal is for all of us to start taking control of our own health!
When was the last time you felt great? Maybe it’s right now. But maybe you’ve been feeling sluggish and run down and you can’t quite figure out why.
What if I told you there was one thing you could eliminate or cut way back on that would help you lose weight and feel better, and even help stave off sickness and disease? Would you give it a try?
Can you guess what I’m referring to? Here are a few hints:
- This ingredient is hidden in many foods.
- It goes by at least 20 different names.
- It affects our weight, moods, appetite, complexion and energy levels.
- It’s been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and increased risk of cancer.
What ingredient do all these items share?
Give yourself a pat on the back if you guessed sugar! That’s right, all of the above processed foods have added sugar to make them taste better to consumers and to reap big profits for the food manufacturers — who don’t give a darn about your health.
What’s so bad about sugar anyway, as long as we don’t eat too many calories? Well, there’s nothing wrong with having a sweet every now and then. The problem is that our bodies are just not meant to process the huge amount of sugar the average American now eats on a daily basis: 22.7 teaspoons a day! (The recommended daily amount is not more than 6 teaspoons for women, 9 for men.)
Members of the health club were notified of the planned acquisition via email today from founder Peter Harvey.
Fitness First’s Arlington location, at 1310 N. Courthouse Road in the Courthouse neighborhood, will be rebranded as a Gold’s Gym “within the next 2-3 months,” according to Gold’s spokeswoman Caitlin Maddox.
The club’s dues structure will not change for existing members, club hours will remain the same, and club employees will be retained, according to a “Fitness First Acquisition Q&A” posted on the Gold’s Gym website.
Fitness First was founded in 1991 and currently has 18 locations in the D.C. region. The email announcing the sale is below.
Dear Fitness First members:
Effective last night, Fitness First has entered into an agreement with Gold’s Gym International in which they will acquire 17 of our 18 locations, leaving our Bethesda location unaffected. After the transfer of ownership becomes official (by the end of this month), we will send out more detailed information regarding our Bethesda club and any impact it may have upon you.
I would like to thank each and every one of you for your support over the years – from new members to those who have been on board for 22 years.
I hope we’ve made a difference for you, and I wish you all future success and great health!
Photo via Google+. Hat tip to Alan H.
Concealed Carry Permits Spike in Arlington — The number of applications for concealed-carry permits in Arlington has quadrupled in the past 8 years, and continued to spike. Last year the Circuit Court received 1,042 applications from whose who want to carry concealed weapons. This year the office is expecting nearly 1,600. [Sun Gazette]
Whipple Pens Pro-Streetcar Op-Ed — In an op-ed, former state Senator Mary Margaret Whipple compares the heated debate over the planned Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar systems to the debate over the construction of Metrorail through Arlington in the 1970s. “A small but vocal faction of our community claimed that the proposed Orange, Blue and Yellow lines were too expensive and risky and argued that we should just use buses instead,” Whipple writes. “After much deliberation, Arlington invested in rail.” [Washington Post]
New Gym for George Mason? — George Mason University’s Arlington campus currently lacks a fitness center for students. A plan to build a new gym, put in place after a student petition in 2011, has not moved forward because it was determined that the project would go over budget. The university is currently exploring options for either constructing a new fitness center or partnering with a nearby office building to use its gym. [Connect2Mason]
DCA Fight Attendants Protest Knife Decision — Flight attendants have been handing out flyers to passengers at Reagan National Airport, encouraging them to sign an online petition against a recent TSA decision that will allow small knives to be carried on to planes. [WAMU]
The new vending machines are part of the county’s FitArlington initiative. At first, about half of the contents of the vending machines will contain healthier snack options that are lower in calories, fat and sugar.
One such snack machine includes options like baked potato chips, Clif bars, Nutrigrain bars, Sun Chips, 100 calorie sweet packs and other options. Drink machines will offer low-fat milk, low-calorie teas and bottled water — although the county is discouraging people from buying the latter.
“Our FitArlington Healthy Vending machines will have water but remember that it’s better for the environment to bring your own bottle and fill it up at a nearby drinking fountain,” the county said in a press release (after the jump).
The vending machines will first be deployed to county office buildings then are expected to be installed in community centers and parks starting in August. (Long Bridge Park, which was in need of vending machines, got an early installation.)
The machines are provided by a vendor at no cost to the county, according to spokeswoman Susan Kalish.
Walter Tejada, the new Arlington County Board Chair for 2013, says he will use his chairmanship to push for progress in four local policy areas: affordable housing, fitness and health, urban agriculture, and pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Tejada and other County Board members outlined their vision for the county at the Board’s traditional New Year’s Day meeting on Tuesday. As Chair, Tejada’s priorities will receive the sharpest focus.
In a seven-page speech, Tejada repeatedly called on the county to “move forward together… for all of Arlington.”
Tejada’s first major policy initiative is affordable housing. Tejada repeated a call he and Board member Chris Zimmerman previously made: for new affordable housing investment funded via adoption of Tax Increment Financing for Columbia Pike. The TIF would steer a percentage of taxes gained through increases in property values along Columbia Pike to the creation of new affordable housing, to bolster the county’s existing 6,585 committed affordable units.
“Already on Columbia Pike, market forces are threatening one of the County’s largest supplies of market-rate affordable housing,” Tejada said. ”I have asked [County Manager Barbara Donnellan] to analyze and submit a recommendation by June 2013 for creating a transit oriented affordable housing fund on Columbia Pike through adoption of a TIF.”
“We need to house our healthcare workers and teacher aides, our cashiers and restaurant workers, our cleaning staff and small business employees, and other hard-working people so vital to our County’s economic health,” he continued. “We need to maintain the cultural and economic diversity that is so vital to Arlington’s soul, for all of Arlington.”
Tejada acknowledged that more affordable housing will not come cheap, but quoted former president John F. Kennedy in saying, “To those whom much is given, much is expected.”
An affordable housing TIF on the Pike wouldn’t be the county’s first use of the funding vehicle. A TIF is in place to fund infrastructure improvements in Crystal City, including a planned Crystal City streetcar.
After affordable housing, Tejada called for the county to “promote healthy living” through an initiative called FitArlington.
The new focus on fitness and health will include the creation of a “Arlington Healthy Community Action Team” (HCAT) comprised of local health and fitness providers, youth services providers, nutrition educators and urban agriculture enthusiasts. In addition to promoting physical fitness in general, the county will work in partnership with the HCAT and Arlington Public Schools to help reduce the rate of childhood obesity in Arlington.
The childhood obesity initiative will kick off with a community meeting from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street).
Tejada also highlighted the work of the county’s Urban Agriculture Task Force, which was announced as an initiative at the 2012 New Year’s Day meeting. Among the issues being considered by the task force is the controversial proposal to allow Arlington residents to raise egg-laying hens in their backyards. Tejada said he expects the task force’s forthcoming recommendations to help promote healthy eating in Arlington.
Update at 9:20 a.m. — The surfacing below the fitness stations has been installed and the equipment is ready to use.
Arlington County has installed brand new fitness equipment along a stretch of the Four Mile Run Trail near Shirlington.
That stretch of the Four Mile Run Trail, which runs parallel to Arlington Mill Drive, was repaved last month.
The new Energi-branded outdoor fitness equipment utilizes bars and platforms to allow dozens of simple exercises that work out nearly all of the body’s 600 muscles. The equipment replaced older, deteriorating equipment that was once there, in Shirlington Park.
The equipment is still off-limits to the public while a contractor prepared to install surfacing under each station. No word yet on when that work might take place.
An open house will be held tonight to discuss the next big step in the development of Long Bridge Park: a planned aquatics and fitness center.
The Aquatics, Health and Fitness facility is expected to be built in two phases. A concept plan posted on the county’s website lists features of the proposed facility like cardiovascular and weight training equipment, an Olympic sized pool, a hot water therapy pool, a play area with slides and a lazy river.
Building the first phase of Long Bridge Park cost $31 million, and the aquatics facility is anticipated to cost around
$50 $70 million. If bond funding is approved this year, construction on the aquatics and fitness center could begin as soon as next year and the facility could open by 2015.
The open house is tonight from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street).
The Virginia leg of the Southern Regional Pole Dance Fitness Competitions will take place at the hotel from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 28. More than 20 women will compete for the title of Ms. Virginia.
Emphasizing fitness and form over eroticism, the competition is drawing both professional competitors and amateur competitors from pole dance fitness studios across Virginia. The finalists were chosen via YouTube video submissions.
Three women will judge the competition: pole dance instructor Jane Allen, former exotic dancer Trixie Lovett, and Torwa “Fiya Starta” Jo.
The general public is welcome to view the competition, but tickets start at $25.
Screen grab of Ms. Virginia competitor via YouTube
Within a year the area around Bob & Edith’s Diner (2310 Columbia Pike) will become a late night hub, complete with a 7-Eleven, a 6,500 square foot bar/restaurant and a 24-hour fitness center.
The first of the three new businesses to open will be Xsport Fitness, a 12,000 square foot, 24 hour per day, 365 day per year gym on the ground floor of the Siena Park apartment complex (2301 Columbia Pike).
If you’ve driven by during the day, you’ve probably seen muscle-bound Xsport representatives promoting discounted pre-opening memberships. General manager Matt Minuth, who can apparently bench press 900 pounds, says the company is offering free enrollment and a lifetime monthly rate of $19.95 for customers who sign up in advance. (Normally there is a $99 enrollment fee.)
Minuth says he expects the gym to open mid-July. In addition to modern fitness equipment, the gym will offer personal training sessions, tanning booths, a juice bar, a club store and a child care area.
Also located on the ground floor of the Siena Park apartments, William Jeffrey’s will offer “quality eclectic-American cuisine at reasonable prices,” according to a press release. The restaurant will feature “a well-stocked bar with several beers on tap, a full wine list, space for private parties, weekend brunch, live acoustic music, and multiple HDTVs.”
Restaurant partner Wilson Whitney says he’s hoping to have William Jeffrey’s open by mid-November.
Finally, a new 7-Eleven store is reportedly opening across the street, in the old Saah furniture store at 2330 Columbia Pike. According to Pike Wire, the new 7-Eleven — located just four blocks from an existing 7-Eleven — is expected to open in the first quarter of 2012.
Okay, it’s not Hollywood, but Arlington certainly has its share of beautiful people.
Don’t believe us? Next time you’re out near the local gym, the local pool, or the local trail, look around and see for yourself. This is a good-looking, fitness-oriented town.
At the risk of coming off as superficial — which would be a fair criticism — we’re wondering where the greatest concentration of attractive men and women is in our fair county. To make sure the list of locations doesn’t get too long, we’ve narrowed it down to Arlington’s residential Metro stops.
Arlington’s Modest Manager Reception – About a year ago, Arlington spent $600 to hold a reception for now-former county manager Michael Brown. By comparison to Savannah, Ga. — where Brown had held the position of city manager before jumping ship for Arlington — that reception seems like the pinnacle of modesty. Savannah is holding a reception for Brown’s replacement as city manager tonight. Locals are objecting to the fact that the reception — which includes keepsake wine glasses for guests — is costing the cash-strapped city more than $7,500. [Savannah Morning News]
New Pike Gym Selling Memberships – Xsport Fitness, a new 24-hour gym opening in July on the 2300 block of Columbia Pike, is selling $19.99 per month memberships out of a temporary office in the Siena Park apartment building. Xsport will be the second gym to open on the Pike this year, after World Gym opened in January on the ground floor of the Halstead apartment building. [Pike Wire]
Dels. Brink, Hope Launch Reelection Bids — Delegates Bob Brink and Patrick Hope formally announced their candidacies for reelection at last night’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by LittleNewton787
Sign Goes Up at Penrose Square Giant — The Giant supermarket that will be opening at the corner of Columbia Pike and South Adams Street this summer is teasing residents with a new sign. The sign went up recently on the side of the new Penrose Square apartment complex, in which the 60,000 square foot store will be located.
Fitness Center Coming to the Pike This Summer — Just up the street from the aforementioned Giant, a new 12,000 square foot Xsport Fitness Center is planning on opening on the ground floor of the Siena Park apartment building this summer. Xsports plans to stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. [Pike Wire]
East Falls Church Hearing Scheduled — The County Board has voted to advertise an April 16 public hearing on its controversial East Falls Church development plan. If the vocal opposition to the plan at Saturday’s board meeting was any indication, April’s hearing ought to be interesting. [Sun Gazette]
Fitness First, which operates a club in the Verizon building in Courthouse, is asking the county board to approve the conversion of unoccupied office and retail space for health club use at 2450 Crystal Drive.
The building, which houses DeVry University and recently became the home of a new Pizza Autentica restaurant, sits between 23rd Street and the ramp from Reagan National Airport. If its site plan amendment is approved, Fitness First would occupy the last available ground floor retail space in the building.
County staff is recommending the board approve the conversion as well as a greatly reduced parking ratio that would only require about 40 reserved garage parking spots. The spots would be monitored to see if additional parking becomes necessary.
The Fitness First location in Courthouse charges a $19.95 monthly fee. The company has 17 locations in the D.C. area.
No word on when the Crystal City location might open should the board approve its site plan request this weekend.
Power Expected to Be Restored This Afternoon — As of 1:00 a.m., Dominion was reporting that about 16,700 customers in Arlington — nearly 20 percent of all customers in the county — were without power. That number is now down to 13,350. Throughout Northern Virginia, 138,000 Dominion customers lost power after the storm. The company expects to have power restored to most locations in Arlington between 4:00 and 6:00 this afternoon.
Lee Center is No More — The Lee Center shopping center, at Pershing Drive and Route 50, has been torn down. [TBD]
Photo courtesy Steve Buttry
The rapidly developing Columbia Pike corridor is finally getting a commercial gym.
An outpost of the World Gym franchise will be opening next month at 1058 South Walter Reed Drive, on the ground floor of the Halstead apartment building.
The 11,000 square foot facility will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“The neighborhood has been waiting for a gym forever,” said Connie Pappas, the wife of one of the gym’s co-owners, who was manning the gym’s next door sales office today as a steady stream of curious potential patrons walked through the door armed with questions about equipment and pricing.
Currently, the closest comparable gyms for Pike residents are the Bally Total Fitness on Pentagon Row or the Gold’s Gym on South Glebe Road. There’s also a large membership-based fitness center in the Thomas Jefferson Community Center at 3501 2nd Street South.
World Gym may not be the only gym in the area for much longer, however.
There are rumors that an XSport Fitness club is coming to the Siena Park apartment building at 2301 Columbia Pike in mid-2011. (Update at 4:30 p.m. — Staff at Siena Park say the rumors are true.)
Pappas says the World Gym’s main selling points are the modern equipment and friendly staff. Certainly the hours can’t hurt, either.
The gym is still under construction, but Pappas says she expects it to open the week of Jan. 11. The parking arrangement for gym customers is still being worked out, but Pappas hopes to reach a parking validation deal with the manager of the Halstead’s underground parking garage.