Arlington, VA

On an early August morning in Rosslyn, fast-paced dance music played in the shopping center parking lot outside Good Sweat.

A group of ten, sitting on gray and black stationary bikes spaced over six parking spots, pedaled to the beat while coach Edgar Hernandez gave encouragement through a microphone.

“We’re gonna wake up Rosslyn this morning,” Hernandez said to the group. “Come on!”

This scene has become common for Good Sweat, an indoor cycling studio that now holds all its classes in its parking lot.

Like many other small businesses, Good Sweat has been forced to adapt how it serves customers amid the pandemic. For founder and owner Alessandra “Ali” Hashemi, moving classes outdoors was the only way to safely still conduct group exercise.

“We knew that we wanted to keep the community in the forefront,” Hashemi said. “Health and wellness are our core mission, so we want to honor that by providing people with the safest option possible for in-person group fitness.”

Good Sweat originally stopped all in-person operations in March when Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered non-essential businesses to close.

Shortly after, the studio began offering virtual classes. Customers could buy access to daily Zoom live streams and pre-recorded workouts for both on and off the bike. Good Sweat also started renting out its 30 Stages SC3 bikes for at-home use.

Hashemi said the virtual option had a lot of initial participation, but riders logged off as the realities of a solo workout set in.

“It’s so hard to recreate [the feeling of a group workout],” Hashemi said. “[Good Sweat’s customers] feed off the energy of others… If you’re a group fitness person, and that’s your personality, you’re going to just do much better when you’re around others versus through a screen.”

During this virtual period, Hashemi also began negotiating with Good Sweat’s landlord to use part of the parking lot for classes. Good Sweat, like other Northern Virginia gyms, could open indoors at 30% capacity on June 12 and 75% capacity on July 1, but Hashemi chose to forgo that and have all operations outdoors starting July 4.

“Just because we can doesn’t mean we should,” Hashemi said. “Even though we can be inside, we’re really committed to staying outside as long as possible. We know that’s the safest way to [reopen].”

Good Sweat now holds 2-3 classes a day with ten riders and a coach. A majority of these classes are sold out as regular customers return and a few new ones join each day, according to Hashemi.

Another core part of Good Sweat’s business that has continued despite the hardship caused by the pandemic is its charitable giving.

Hashemi describes Good Sweat as a place where people can “sweat it out while giving back.” The business, which Hashemi said is not currently profitable, donates up to 5% of its monthly revenue to a select charity. That did not change during the virtual period, Hashemi said.

“[Charitable giving] has been something that wasn’t an afterthought and is something that is so consistent and just baked into what we do that it is not something we start and stop,” Hashemi said.

According to Hashemi, Good Sweat has donated to charities like AFAC, A-SPAN and Martha’s Table since March. Following George Floyd’s killing by police, Good Sweat gave to Black Lives Matter D.C. and the Center for Black Equity.

Recently, Good Sweat coaches have organized classes meant to raise money for timely causes. Larger portions of the proceeds go to chosen groups, which have included the Lebanese Red Cross in Beirut and Fair Fight.

“We couple [events] with action. We try to do what we can to give back. Giving money is extremely important, but also what are we doing as a community actively to support these causes?” said Hashemi.

Photo (1) courtesy Good Sweat

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Morning Notes

Virtual County Fair Starts Today at Noon — “August 14-16, the Arlington County Fair will be hosting a variety of LIVE events on our Facebook page (via Facebook Live) to share the magic of the Fair even during unsure times. Check out our exciting schedule that includes fan favorites and some brand-new fun.” [Facebook]

County Considering More Early Voting Locations — “Arlington County Board members will hold a special session Aug. 25 to act on a request from county election officials doubling the number of ‘satellite’ early-voting centers across the county this fall. In addition to Madison and Walter Reed community centers, which had been used for early voting in recent presidential elections, the Electoral Board aims to add the Aurora Hills Community Center and Langston-Brown Community Center.” [InsideNova]

Local Movie Theaters to Open Soon — “Arlington’s two AMC Theatres are set to reopen on Aug. 27: AMC Courthouse Plaza 8 [and] AMC Shirlington 7… the movie theater chain said guests will pay just 15 cents per movie on that day.” [Patch]

Inside PBS NewsHour HQ in ArlingtonUpdated at 9:40 a.m. — From a magazine feature written pre-pandemic: “This is how PBS NewsHour happens every weekday: with a 9:45 a.m. meeting that feels, already, like midday. Each morning, some 30 people fit into a tight conference room in a low-slung brick building on the outskirts of Shirlington to discuss what the longtime public television fixture will air that evening at 6 p.m.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Fundraiser for Local Fitness Instructor — “Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many… He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy.” [Community Post]

Marymount Ditches SAT/ACT Requirement — “Beginning with applicants for the Fall 2021 semester, Marymount University will adopt a complete test-optional policy for submission of SAT and ACT scores. This decision builds off of the University’s longstanding commitment to a holistic review of applications, as Marymount has been test-optional for select students for a number of years already.” [Press Release]

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Ballston Business Improvement District (BID) is hoping to help locals shed their Quarantine 15, keep Arlington as the fittest “city” in the U.S., and provided some timely assistance to local businesses.

BallstonMOVES Fitness Week is a new initiative running this week from the BID that provides free access or certain discounts to the many gyms and fitness centers around Ballston — like the newly opened VIDA Fitness. The program started on Saturday, Aug. 1, and is scheduled to run until Sunday, Aug. 9.

“The health and well-being of the community is the Ballston BID’s highest priority,” stated Tina Leone, CEO, Ballston BID. “Many gyms are currently offering virtual class options, and all are ensuring proper distancing through reduced class sizes, in addition to maintaining enhanced hygiene practices for in-person classes and visits.”

Many local gyms have been taking health precautions as they start to reopen, but going to a gym — or anywhere indoors where people are congregating — still remains a fairly risky pandemic activity. Those who are feeling unwell or uneasy are encouraged to take advantage of some of the virtual training programs offered, the BID said.

Free classes are available at:

  • Ballston CrossFit (1110 N. Glebe Road): Free trial classes are scheduled today (Monday) at 6:45 p.m. and Saturday, Aug 8 at 12 p.m. Online registration is required. The gym is also offering six beginning classes for $99.
  • F45 Training (3865 Wilson Blvd): One free class to anyone who signs up with the code BALLSTONBID, with three more classes available for $10 per class and a 45% discount on the first two months of membership. The first 25 who sign up are also eligible for a free F45 water bottle and sweat towel.
  • Studio Body Logic (4600 N. Fairfax Drive): the pilates studio is offering free virtual classes on Thursday, Aug. 6, from 7-7:50 p.m. and Friday, Aug. 7, from 12-12:50 p.m. with 24-hour advance registration required. In-person, masked tours are also available this week by contacting [email protected]
  • Praxi Pilates (4141 N. Henderson Road): a pilates program in a condo building is offering 30-minute free sessions this week, featuring an orientation to equipment-based pilates. Sessions are held Monday, Aug. 3, at 5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 6, at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 7 at 12 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 8 at 11:30 p.m. Sessions are limited to one per person, but special discounts on future classes are offered.
  • Onelife Fitness (4238 Wilson Blvd): the Ballston Quarter gym is offering free Zone4 classes from Aug. 1 to Aug. 8. Class sizes are limited to eight people.
  • Orange Theory Fitness (4201 Wilson Blvd): the training program is offering a free first class, available to be scheduled by contacting 571-257-0050 or emailing [email protected]
  • VIDA Fitness (4040 Wilson Blvd): a complementary SweatBox class at the newly-opened gym, the first of its kind outside of D.C.

Other programs are offering discounts, but not free first classes to the general public.

  • BASH Boxing (700 N. Randolph Street): the boxing workout program is offering free first classes, but only to those who sign up for a discounted ten-class pack during their first class.
  • Gold’s Gym Ballston (3910 Wilson Blvd): the popular Ballston Gold’s Gym is offering discounted monthly dues of $29.99 per month for those who sign up this week.

Photo via VIDA Fitness/Facebook

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Ballston’s newest fitness concept, Training Ground Arlington, provides personal trainers with high-end fitness equipment and exclusive gym space for operating their own programs while bringing some of the best trainers to local clients for truly personalized training. Most importantly, clients can workout in an exclusive, appointment-based facility without the worry of an uncontrolled gym environment.

Training Ground Arlington is an exclusive shared workspace where trainers can run their own businesses without the hassle of maintaining overhead. Trainers can focus their time and talents on developing personal programs that best benefit their clients. Clients benefit from improved programming, flexible schedules and no cumbersome gym memberships.

Training Ground Arlington is readying its state-of-the-art facility for a soft opening in the coming weeks, but now is the time for clients to get in on the ground floor by taking advantage of grand opening specials, and for trainers to sign on while space is still available!

A few spaces remain in the schedule for trainers who want to take advantage of the Training Ground Arlington shared workspace concept.

Discount packages for clients in search of personal training are also available.

Training Ground Arlington is located at 850 N. Randolph Street in Ballston. For more information email [email protected].

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Arlington has again claimed the title of “America’s Fittest City.”

The results of the annual ACSM American Fitness Index, published by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation, were released this morning. Arlington topped the list of the 100 fittest localities in the U.S. for the third year in a row.

Rounding out the top 10 are:

  1. Arlington, Va.
  2. Seattle, Wash.
  3. Minneapolis, Minn.
  4. Madison, Wis.
  5. San Francisco, Calif.
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Irvine, Calif.
  8. Denver, Colo.
  9. Boise, Idaho
  10. Boston, Mass.

“The science-based ACSM/Anthem Fitness Index evaluated America’s 100 largest cities using 33 health behaviors, chronic diseases and community infrastructure indicators,” the organization said in a press release. The indicators include access to athletic facilities, parks, and bike/pedestrian infrastructure; exercise frequency; healthy eating habits; and prevalence of chronic health conditions.

“Arlington’s balance of healthy behaviors and community infrastructure earned it the #1 overall rank,” the press release continues. “Arlington ranked in the top 10 cities for 19 of the 33 indicators in the ACSM/Anthem Fitness Index. Two indicators ranked #1, including lowest rate of adults with obesity and highest rate of residents meeting aerobic and strength activity guidelines.”

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(Updated 6/11) As Arlington prepares to move in to Phase 2 of reopening, some local gyms have started laying out their plans to start serving customers again.

At F45 at Pentagon Row (1101 S. Joyce Street), the gym is preparing to pivot from indoor sessions to outdoor classes.

“As safety is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, classes are restricted to nine attendees and one instructor,” according to a press release. “Participants and the instructor will all remain 10 feet apart throughout class to remain socially distant. While the studio is anxious to reopen, F45 recognizes the importance of safety and is excited to be able to adapt their offerings for their customers.”

The classes are scheduled to be held Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10:30 a.m. and can be booked through the F45 training app. Each class is $30 for those who aren’t “unlimited members” but is included in membership.

Gold’s Gym — which has locations in Ballston, Rosslyn and Arlington Ridge — announced in a letter to members yesterday that it is planning to reopen its Virginia locations on Friday, June 12.

“Our top priority is to ensure team member and member safety so we have created a phased Reopening Strategy in which we will implement various precautions throughout the gyms and reopen amenities slowly,” Gold’s Gym said. The start of Phase 2 means that gyms in Virginia can open indoor areas at 30% capacity.

The gym will adopt modified hours of operation for more extensive cleaning and sanitation. The new hours are:

  • Monday-Friday: 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Every other piece of cardio equipment, like treadmills, will be powered down to support social distancing.

“We will be conducting a screening process for members prior to entering the facility, which may include a questionnaire and temperature check based on state and district guidelines,” the gym said. “Touchless check-in process with credit/debit transactions only (please scan your own barcode and merchandise/concessions).”

Equipment with porous sources, like mats, will be temporarily removed so customers will be required to bring their own. While employees are required to wear face masks and gloves, the letter noted that face masks should not be worn while exercising.

“Once the Virginia gyms reopen on June 12, you can call your home gym Monday-Friday between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. with any questions,” Gold’s Gym said. “If at this time, you feel uncomfortable visiting the gym, please contact the gym to have your freeze extended at no additional cost to you.”

Top photo via Gold’s Gym/Facebook, training photo via F45

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Virginia will enter Phase 2 of its reopening on Friday, but Northern Virginia and Richmond will remain in Phase 1.

Gov. Ralph Northam made the announcement Tuesday afternoon, saying that key health metrics point to it being safe to further reopen in most parts of the state. He did not, however, give a timeline for when Northern Virginia — including Arlington — would advance in its reopening. The region started to reopen this past Friday, May 29, two weeks after much of the Commonwealth did.

Under the Phase 2 guidelines, the allowed size of social gatherings will increase from 10 to 50, restaurants will be allowed to open indoor dining areas at 50% capacity, and fitness centers can reopen at 30% capacity. Under Phase 1 guidelines, both restaurants and fitness businesses can only serve customers outdoors.

Northam said delaying Phase 2 for Northern Virginia will “allow for additional monitoring of health data.” As of Tuesday, Arlington has reported 236 new coronavirus cases and 10 new hospitalizations over the past seven days.

More from a press release from the governor’s office, below.

Governor Ralph Northam today signed Executive Order Sixty-Five and presented the second phase of the “Forward Virginia” plan to continue safely and gradually easing public health restrictions while containing the spread of COVID-19. The Governor also amended Executive Order Sixty-One directing Northern Virginia and the City of Richmond to remain in Phase One.

Most of Virginia is expected to enter Phase Two on Friday, June 5, as key statewide health metrics continue to show positive signs. Virginia’s hospital bed capacity remains stable, the percentage of people hospitalized with a positive or pending COVID-19 test is trending downward, no hospitals are reporting PPE shortages, and the percent of positive tests continues to trend downward as testing increases. The Governor and Virginia public health officials will continue to evaluate data based on the indicators laid out in April.

“Because of our collective efforts, Virginia has made tremendous progress in fighting this virus and saved lives,” said Governor Northam. “Please continue to wear a face covering, maintain physical distance, and stay home if you are high-risk or experience COVID-19 symptoms. Virginians have all sacrificed to help contain the spread of this disease, and we must remain vigilant as we take steps to slowly lift restrictions in our Commonwealth.”

Executive Order Sixty-Five modifies public health guidance in Executive Order Sixty-One and Sixty-Two and establishes guidelines for Phase Two. Northern Virginia and the City of Richmond entered Phase One on Friday, May 29, and will remain in Phase One to allow for additional monitoring of health data. Accomack County delayed reopening due to outbreaks in poultry plants, which have largely been controlled through rigorous testing. Accomack County will move to Phase Two with the rest of the Commonwealth, on Friday, June 5.

Under Phase Two, the Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued recommendations for social distancing, teleworking, and requiring individuals to wear face coverings in indoor public settings. The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 50 people. All businesses should still adhere to physical distancing guidelines, frequently clean and sanitize high contact surfaces, and continue enhanced workplace safety measures.

Restaurant and beverage establishments may offer indoor dining at 50 percent occupancy, fitness centers may open indoor areas at 30 percent occupancy, and certain recreation and entertainment venues without shared equipment may open with restrictions. These venues include museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and outdoor concert, sporting, and performing arts venues. Swimming pools may also expand operations to both indoor and outdoor exercise, diving, and swim instruction.

The current guidelines for religious services, non-essential retail, and personal grooming services will largely remain the same in Phase Two. Overnight summer camps, most indoor entertainment venues, amusement parks, fairs, and carnivals will also remain closed in Phase Two.

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High-end D.C.-based fitness chain VIDA Fitness says its expansion into Arlington is just a couple of months away from coming to fruition.

VIDA announced today that it expects its new 29,000 square foot health club in Ballston to open in “mid to late March”

The club is located at the bottom of a new, 22-story mixed-use tower at 4040 Wilson Blvd. It will feature “over 100 state-of-the-art machines, 25 personal trainers and other high-end amenities,” as well as a spa, spin studio, “Fuel Bar” and co-working area.

The Ballston gym will be the brand’s first non-D.C. location, but it’s not the only facility VIDA, an ARLnow advertiser, has planned in Arlington. A second location, at the new “Highlands” development in western Rosslyn, is now expected to open in 2021, according to VIDA.

More from a press release:

The 29K SF premier health club facility, conveniently located next to Ballston Quarter and the Ballston Metro, will consist of three levels and will feature the lifestyle centers affiliate companies such as SweatBox, Aura Spa, and Fuel Bar.

Some of the highlights of the new location includes:

  • Over 100 state-of-the-art machines, 25 personal trainers and other high-end amenities;
  • A weight room with the latest equipment for strength work, including extensive free weights, an open layout for endless stretching;
  • Second-floor level dedicated to group fitness classes which includes yoga, pilates, barre, Zumba, Body Pump and more;
  • Aura Spa where members can indulge in one of the many signature treatments such as facials, massages, waxing, body scrubs, as well as CBD oil and cupping treatments;
  • Sweat Box – newest and most innovative workouts featuring jam-packed cardio and strength interval training;
  • A spin studio featuring 30 brand new coach by color bikes which allow you to set your bike based on your fitness level and get a personalized challenge in a fun, interactive class;
  • Luxury locker rooms featuring modern and luxury amenities, plus steam and sauna rooms;
  • Co-working area for members located by the Fuel Bar who need to take care of a little work before or after their workout session;
  • Complementary events and happy hours for members

“In our search for new locations, Ballston is a perfect fit”, said David von Storch, President, and Founder of Urban Adventure Companies. “It’s an active, health-oriented, well-educated submarket that we think will respond well to what we offer. We want to make sure that we open in locations where we believe that we can foster a new sense of community for those committed to fitness and wellness as an important part of how they live. We are excited to expand what we offer to this neighborhood. Ballston, we’re are all in!”

VIDA Fitness worked with leading architecture firm OTJ Architects on the Ballston design. The Ballston location is scheduled to open mid to late March. VIDA Fitness is also planning to open its second Northern Virginia location in Rosslyn in 2021.

Individuals interested in becoming a member or want to learn about upcoming pre-opening community events can visit VIDABallston.com for more information. The location is also planning a community Open House in early April.

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The wait is almost over. VIDA Fitness is set to open its doors to their first ever Virginia location, and we can’t wait to welcome you.

Arlington has been voted America’s fittest city by The American Fitness Index, and VIDA is excited to join the ranks of the countries most dedicated enthusiasts. Our newest club, opening this March, promises to deliver all of the exceptional amenities & equipment that members have come to expect from our existing five D.C. locations.

VIDA Ballston will feature expansive weight room floors, state-of-the-art cardio equipment, hundreds of group fitness offerings, personal training, luxury locker rooms, and steam rooms & saunas. VIDA will also be opening alongside SweatBox, D.C.’s newest studio workout craze. This class combines both strength & cardio training, and is sure to provide you with an incredible fitness experience that is guaranteed to challenge your entire body in one hour. Also opening will be Aura spa, a premiere day spa offering massages, facials, waxes and other pampering services for an ultimate day of relaxation.

VIDA is offering special early bird pricing when you join our Ballston location through the end of the month, that will no longer be available upon opening.

Be sure to act fast to take advantage of this incredible fitness opportunity, and let us show you what exceptional results VIDA can help you achieve in an already extraordinary city.

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Citing the arrival of Amazon’s HQ2, the parent company of Sport&Health says it will be expanding and renovating its fitness club in Crystal City.

The expansion will add 8,000 square feet to the club at 2231 Crystal Drive, adding additional space for strength training and studios to a location that already includes a cycle studio and indoor salt water pool.

The work is expected to begin this spring and wrap up this summer. The club will remain open during construction.

More from a press release:

US Fitness Holdings, LLC, has announced that it will expand the Sport&Health club at Crystal Park (2231 Crystal Drive, Arlington) in conjunction with the JBG development of National Landing. Sport&Health Crystal Park currently includes an indoor salt water pool, a Cycle Studio, Mind&Body Studio and Group Fitness studio in addition to the newest cardio and strength equipment.

The 8,000 square foot expansion and renovation will elevate all aspects of the club including additional fitness space for strength training, functional turf training areas and expanded studios. Sport&Health Crystal Park will be the fitness anchor to the National Landing providing the best value and fitness experience at an affordable price.

“We’re excited to expand our location along with the new development of the National Landing area and the new Amazon headquarters,” said Kirk and John Galiani, Co-Chairmen of US Fitness. “Our successful partnership with JBG has allowed us the opportunity to deliver the ultimate fitness experience to this rapidly growing community.”

US Fitness has over 50 locations nationally and Sport&Health is the company’s award-winning, full-service health club brand in the DMV area with 10 premier clubs.

The expansion and renovation are scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2020 and to be complete by the Summer of 2020. US Fitness anticipates minimal disruption to the current facility with most of the work taking place in the expansion space.

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Arlington’s first indoor running studio is opening this weekend in Clarendon.

Formula Running Center (3101 Wilson Blvd) features coached treadmill and strength workouts for runners at all levels, in addition to runner recovery resources and private training.

The 5,000 square-foot studio, in the former American Tap Room space, plans to open its doors this Saturday and Sunday for free classes and tours of the studio, with pre-registration required.

“We wanted to make sure we weren’t just another fitness studio, and that we were going above and beyond for our athletes,” said co-owner Chris Hoffman.

Hoffman, an avid runner, founded the studio with fellow athlete Nicole DonVito with the goal of providing a one-stop training shop for area runners.

“Not only can they get these great, coached running sessions, but we’re making sure they recover properly to prevent injury,” Hoffman said. “And that’s whether they’re getting ready to run their first mile, or training for a marathon.”

Running workouts are coached on state-of-the art Woodway treadmills, with scoreboard screens throughout the studio displaying progress. Runners are encouraged to wear heart-rate monitors, which will be available for rent in the studio.

Recovery services include guided foam rolling, yoga, and stretching classes, muscle compression wraps, an infrared sauna, a cold water “ice pod,” and a cryotherapy machine, which uses localized freezing temperatures to soothe muscles.

Membership starts at $104 per month for four “credits,” with first time discounts and credit packs available. Each class and most recovery services will cost one credit, and the cryotherapy machine will be two credits.

The studio applied for a construction permit in February, per county records. It will join the ranks of nearby boutique fitness studios SoulCycle and Barry’s Bootcamp, among others, and is also just steps from the Clarendon Metro station and running store Pacers.

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