Decal Fee Officially Dead — “Arlington County Board members on May 14 followed through on a promise made last month and eliminated the ‘decal fee’ that has been imposed for decades as part of residents’ car-tax bills. And while the action will save residents a collective $6 million this year, it’s something of a rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul situation, as higher assessments on used vehicles in these inflationary times likely will eat up all the savings for some vehicle owners.” [Sun Gazette]
Wild Rosslyn Press Conference in the Works — “WHAT: Jack Burkman to give press conference from wheelchair, after losing more than 65 ibs, and all his hair. WHEN: Monday May 23, 2022 High Noon. WHERE… N Colonial Terrace, Arlington VA 22209.” [Twitter]
Free Fitness Class Tonight — “Join HUSTLE at Long Bridge Park in National Landing for a weekly sweaty and fun outdoor HIIT class. Arlington, VA has been named one of the fittest cities in the country, so get your heart pumping at an outdoor HIIT class with local fitness instructors.” [Twitter, National Landing BID]
Historical Marker for Eden Center — “The Virginia Historical Commission (VHC) has recognized Vietnamese Immigrants in Northern Virginia as a significant part of Virginia history by awarding it an Official Virginia Historical Marker… A dedication ceremony to commemorate the event will be held on May 24, 2022 at Eden Center at 3:30PM.” [City of Falls Church]
It’s Wednesday — Sunny during the day, with rain possible at night. High of 74 and low of 54. Sunrise at 5:55 am and sunset at 8:18 pm. [Weather.gov]
Good Sweat was an indoor cycling studio that temporarily became an outdoor cycling studio during the pandemic. It also tried virtual classes, but those quickly faded in popularity, owner Alessandra “Ali” Hashemi previously told ARLnow.
The business closed its doors over the weekend and is now selling its equipment.
Located at 1711 Wilson Blvd, in the low-slung strip mall that also houses Pho 75, Good Sweat sought to differentiate itself through its own charitable donations and commitment to social justice. But that was apparently not enough to overcome the challenging business environment for small fitness studios.
The following note about the closing was posted on its website.
Dear Good Sweat Fam,
We never thought this heartbreaking day would come: Good Sweat will be closing on April 30, 2022.
When we opened in April 2019, we were beyond excited to bring a community-oriented, positive fitness experience to the neighborhood. We knew the first few years open as a small business would be challenging, but we had no way of knowing a global pandemic was on the horizon. Before we were able to celebrate our one year anniversary, the pandemic forced us to temporarily close and since we reopened, we have never been able to fully recover.
While countless other small spin studios and local businesses closed in the area, we never thought we would be the next pandemic casualty. The past two years have been a rollercoaster and caused us to resuscitate the business multiple times. After numerous pivots from online to outdoors to indoors to outdoors, we have hung on for as long as we could. At this juncture, we have come to the difficult decision that we cannot revive Good Sweat another time.
We know that Good Sweat has become a safe space for so many, and we are immeasurably sad to see this day come.Thankfully, there is so much to be grateful for in spending three amazing years together. Good Sweat has been a beacon of light through some of our darkest days. We are so proud of all we have been able to accomplish in such a short period of time, including, but not limited to, raising over $21,000 to donate to local nonprofits as well as being named NOVA’s Best Cycling Studio, NOVA’s Best Outdoor Workout, and Best of Arlington.
Please know how much we wanted to stay open for you – for our riders and our squad who are the heart and soul of Good Sweat. We hope you understand that the fitness industry has been hit so hard and we were so young when this pandemic began that we constantly struggled.
We are trying to not cry because it’s over, but to smile because Good Sweat was so good to us. It carried us through these difficult last few years, and made us all a family. The relationships formed and the personal growth are priceless, and we have all changed for the better because of this studio.
We encourage you to keep in touch and to keep spinning. We highly recommend two other local woman-owned studios, New Trail and Cycled, which both have amazing missions that align with the Good Sweat way.
We will be sharing more on logistics and memberships in the coming days regarding our final 5 weeks of operations, but if you have any questions, please email us directly [email protected]
The Good Sweat Squad
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn.
OxiWear, an Arlington-based company developing a wearable oxygen monitoring device, has raised a pre-seed funding round of $1.25 million, exceeding its goal of $750,000.
This funding will allow the medical- and sports-technology startup to finish developing its product and start beta testing it before releasing the device by mid-year 2022.
OxiWear was started by Shavini Fernando, who lives with severe pulmonary hypertension: a condition in which the heart has trouble pumping blood through the lungs. It leaves her vulnerable to sudden and undetected drops in oxygen, known as silent hypoxia.
Rather than let the disease rule her life, she decided to develop an ear-wearable pulse oximeter that offers 24-hour, continuous oxygen monitoring and low-oxygen alerting. She invented the device in Georgetown University’s maker’s hub while a graduate student.
“OxiWear is a product that I developed to help patients like me — those living with pulmonary hypertension,” Fernando said. “Through our research, we learned that there is a larger market for oxygen monitoring including elite athletes, high-altitude travelers and patients with diseases such as [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease], sleep apnea and COVID-19.”
The ear is one of the most accurate body parts for measuring oxygen saturation levels and detecting when they begin to drop, according to the company.
But the device is not just suitable for those prone to silent hypoxia. Performance athletes and high-altitude travelers can use it to receive non-intrusive and accurate oxygen monitoring 24 hours a day, according to the company.
In anticipation of launching the product next year, OxiWear is meeting with the Food and Drug Administration to earn its medical device designation and is participating in the leAD Sports & Health Tech accelerator program.
Leading the pre-seed round was GAP Funds, an investment program of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation — formerly CIT — that previously invested in the company this summer.
“OxiWear is a game changer for those affected by the complications of pulmonary hypertension, and could be the difference between safety and danger,” said Tom Weithman, VIPC’s Managing Director of GAP Funds.
The startup received re-investments from previous supporters Ted Leonsis and The Paul & Rose Carter Foundation.
“I’ve been a proud, early supporter of Shavini and her life-saving work and I congratulate her on not only meeting her pre-seed funding round target — but decisively beating it,” Leonsis said. “It’s a testament to how in-demand her product is and how smartly she has built her company around it. I expect she will only continue to grow, and I happily stand by her to offer advice whenever she needs it.”
Paul Caicedo, Future Communities Capital, Gaingels, Halcyon Fund, Hourglass Venture Partners, TiE’s D.C. and Boston chapters and Tysons Angel Group funded this round.
Halcyon Fund is tied to a flagship residency fellowship for entrepreneurs at Georgetown, the Washington Business Journal reports. The fund has been building up an investment strategy, including an angel investment network and a microloan fund, with the goal of improving access to capital for women and people of color starting their own companies.
When 26-year-old Paralympic swimmer and Arlington local Alyssa Gialamas retired after 10 years as a competitive athlete, she decided to devote her newfound time to helping other people with disabilities get fit.
After competing in London and Rio for the U.S. Paralympic Team, she found inspiration for her next venture closer to home, where she saw few accessible workout opportunities.
“I started going to the gym and noticing there weren’t a lot of resources for people with disabilities,” said Gialamas, who was born with arthrogryposis, a condition that keeps some of the joints in her leg from moving easily.
The athlete drew on her expertise adapting workouts intended for able-bodied people to put together exercises and classes for people with different physical limitations. Last month, she launched a nonprofit organization called Adapt, Move & Gain Fitness to bring her exercises to people with differing abilities.
Gialamas aims to hold her first class in early November, with one class per month after that while the organization gets off the ground.
“There definitely are not adaptive classes here in Arlington, so I think it’ll be really cool to start here,” she said.
Gialamas said her organization taps into a pressing need in the local disability community, which includes more than 8,700 people under 65, according to the 2020 census.
“People with disabilities are three times more likely to have health issues like diabetes and heart disease,” said Gialamas. “There’s such a need for it. That’s why I started it.”
She developed three types of workouts: fully seated “Adapt” workouts, seated or standing “Move” workouts, and fully standing “Gain” workouts. The exercises are free to access.
“I don’t want people to not use these resources due to price,” said Gialamas. “Money will come through strategic partnerships and donations. There are some partners in the works. It’s been really cool to have so many people be excited about it.”
As for where the classes will be located, Gialamas said she hopes to one day operate her nonprofit from her own space. For now, she plans to host events at gyms around Arlington.
Folks can try her approximately 30-minute workouts at home, too.
“All of the workouts right now are on my website so you can do them anywhere, which is super cool,” said Gialamas. “There’s also a community page so if you do a workout you can post about it.”
Gialamas says it’s important for people with disabilities to have classes tailored to them and places to exercise with each other.
“I think there’s a really cool aspect of seeing other people like you, in any sense, and being able to base it [workouts] off of each other is really cool,” she said. “You don’t have to be a Paralympian to feel good in your body and about your disability.”
Arlington is once again “America’s Fittest City,” according to the annual American Fitness Index rankings.
The new 2021 rankings were released this morning by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Anthem Foundation. It’s at least the third year in a row that Arlington ranked No. 1 on the list.
“Arlington, Virginia, earned its #1 designation by ranking first in eight indicators and scoring among the top 10 cities in 18 of the 34 categories,” the organizations said in a press release. “Residents reported the most physical activity with 85.7% exercising in the previous month. In the lowest-ranked city, Lubbock, Texas, only 64.2% of residents exercised in the previous month.”
Being a healthier place has benefits beyond just wellness, experts say.
“Beyond the health and wellness benefits of being a fit city, we know there are many economic advantages as well,” Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., the chief health officer for Anthem, said in a statement. “Cities designed to encourage physical activity have enjoyed higher home values, business and job growth, and more robust retail activity — leading to overall improved social drivers of health for our communities.
Separately, Virginia was again named America’s Top State for Business this morning by CNBC.
Arlington County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti is scheduled to be presented with an award by ACSM members at county government headquarters in Courthouse later this morning.
Rounding out the top 25 on the latest “fit” list were:
- Arlington, VA
- Minneapolis, MN
- Seattle, WA
- Denver, CO
- Madison, WI
- Washington, D.C.
- St. Paul, MN
- Irvine, CA
- Portland, OR
- Atlanta, GA
- Oakland, CA
- Boston, MA
- San Francisco, CA
- Chicago, IL
- San Diego, CA
- Buffalo, NY
- Boise, ID
- Sacramento, CA
- Austin, TX
- San Jose, CA
- New York, NY
- Lincoln, NE
- Honolulu, HI
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Miami, FL
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn.
The finish line is in sight for a Clarendon-based startup that has developed a wearable breathing sensor called Respa.
Zansors, located at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, has created an inch-square device that connects to a mobile app, showing wearers their breathing patterns. Originally created to help people screen themselves for sleep apnea from the comfort of their home, Zansors has also tailored the product to fit the needs of fitness enthusiasts who want additional data on their exercise.
The company has been around nearly nine years, during which time the product has gone through research and development and has been beset by engineering and developmental delays, said co-founder Abhijit Dasgupta. Now, Zansors is in the final stages of developing the app and connecting it to the device.
“We’re looking forward to ramping up this spring and getting out the door in the summer,” Dasgupta said. “It’s obviously a good feeling that we’re in the final stretch. It’s a lot of work, effort and sweat equity. The hiccups have been frustrating, but we’re just trying to hammer it home.”
Dasgupta, who has a doctorate in biostatistics and previously worked in medical research, said the idea for a wearable breathing sensor came from seeing how common — but under-detected — sleep apnea is.
“To create a device that can allow you to detect it at home, you wouldn’t have to get wired up, and spend the night in a foreign bed,” Dasgupta said. “We felt sleep studies weren’t reflective of your own sleep experience.”
The wearable sensor detects how sleepers move and breathe and warns doctors of abnormal patterns, he said. But Respa is a screening product, not a diagnostic one, he said.
Over time, Zansors started looking into other areas where breath and motion are synced, and made it work for athletes and fitness buffs.
“It’s the same device, leveraged in different ways,” he said.
Dasgupta and his team have other ideas for repurposing the product for respiratory diseases, something at the forefront of their minds due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Although it has become fodder for future development, the pandemic has also hurt Zansors’ ability to travel, meet buyers and clients and raise investment money, Dasgupta said. When personal protective equipment was hard to come by, Zansors pivoted to selling high-quality masks with filters, which it sold to several U.S. Army and Air Force bases, he said. Now that PPE is easier to find again, Zansors has refocused on the Respa.
The company is also in active talks about possible military usage of the device, Dasgupta said.
“There are plenty of ideas out there but we need to get this out the door so that we can put this in the ‘done’ column,” he said.
Initially, most of Zansors’ work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, through its Small Business Innovation Research grant program, as well as a few investors in Northern Virginia. The Arlington community specifically has been supportive of Zansors, Dasgupta said.
“I think it’s great that we’re in Arlington,” Dasgupta said. “Arlington is a great place to center a business because there’s so much going on: There’s so much networking and the business development groups are good.”
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Shirlington Gateway. The new 2800 Shirlington recently delivered a brand-new lobby and upgraded fitness center, and is adding spec suites with bright open plans and modern finishes. Experience a prime location and enjoy being steps from Shirlington Village.
BASH Boxing, a boutique boxing gym founded in Arlington, has announced plans to franchise its model across the country.
“There’s so much uncertainty because people lost jobs, or stepped out of corporate jobs,” co-owner and founder Alexandra Trakas told ARLnow. “This is an amazing opportunity for people who want a fresh start to own their own business.”
Trakas and her investment team, which includes Washington Capitals player Tom Wilson, plan to help open hundreds of locations “in the coming years,” locally and nationally.
Trakas, who turns 32 this March and entered the fitness industry at 24, opened her first location in Rosslyn in November 2018 and her second in Ballston in October 2019. A graduate of Shenandoah University with a bachelor’s in fine arts and a concentration in dance, she said she came out of the womb with an entrepreneurial mind.
“It’s the way I’ve always been,” she said.
After working for franchise outposts of The Bar Method and Orangetheory Fitness, she said was ready to discuss with partners the possibility of franchising a new boutique gym.
“Give me the playbook — I’ll add a few things to bring camaraderie — but stick to the playbook and it works,” she said.
She announced to staff early last year that the business will be franchising and that more information would come soon. For front desk staff and sales associates, she said, the news would mean more opportunities to view the job as a career path.
Although Trakas had to lay off some staff and regroup as a result of the pandemic, she never fully closed BASH. Instead, she said her team always pivoted to meet changing regulations for staying open. During the spring shutdowns, coaches taught free Instagram Live classes almost every day, before reopening on June 13. Today, they can only coach nine members at a time, despite having 1,000 members and a capacity of up to 44.
“The only reason we made it through the coronavirus is because of our community,” Trakas said. “I have an incredible team with me.”
She pressed pause on franchising work for about five months, but by July, Trakas could sit and wait no longer. She wanted agreements with franchisees and properties in hand for when the country fully reopened.
“We want to be ready to grow,” she said.
Trakas is looking to expand into what she calls “sub-cities” — suburbs of large metropolises that are also cities in their own right. Her first choice is not the sprawling, fitness-obsessed Los Angeles, but rather a place like Arlington, or Reston, she said.
The first 5-10 franchisees will get the most favorable terms and hands-on support.
“If you have the means and the commitment, it’s time to get in,” Trakas said
Images via BASH Boxing
You can now, sip, stroll and get swole in Shirlington.
The gym is taking a 1,800 square foot space next to the new Stellina Pizzeria, which is expected to open by the end of the year at 2800 S. Randolph Street. F45 is set to open in the spring, according to an announcement this afternoon.
There are existing F45 locations in Ballston, at Pentagon Row, and on Columbia Pike. Another is planned at 1550 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. The international fitness company was founded in Australia and specializes in high-intensity group workouts.
More from a press release, below.
The Village at Shirlington in Arlington, Virginia announces that F45 Training (F45), a global fitness community specializing in innovative, high-intensity group workouts, will open in early spring 2021. The 1,800-square-foot F45 will be located between Stellina Pizzeria and the Studio Salon and Spa.
“We chose the Village at Shirlington because it is a beloved neighborhood,” said Jennifer Grillo of F45. “F45 is all about community and teamwork, and the Village at Shirlington is the kind of place that nurtures that atmosphere.”
The “F” in F45 stands for functional training or exercises that mimic everyday movement — lifting, squatting, jumping, twisting, pulling, pushing, punching, kicking, rowing, and biking — which build lean, functional muscle. The “45” represents the length of the workouts — 45 minutes each. Classes that focus on cardio are offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; classes that focus on resistance training are scheduled on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays; and a mix of cardio and strength training sessions are available on Saturdays.
F45 workouts combine elements of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuit training and functional training, with more than 2,700 exercises and 36 workouts in its database. HIIT speeds up a person’s heart rate to increase metabolism and helps burn fat more effectively than slow, steady-state exercise.
“The Village at Shirlington features a vibrant assortment of entertainment, dining and retail merchants and we look forward to F45’s ability to offer our customers a unique fitness experience in the neighborhood,” said Dan Corwin, Director, Asset Management — Mixed Use at Federal Realty. “We are excited for the group-training studio to join our long-standing community, which includes a mix of many merchants who have been with us for over 15 years, like the award-winning Signature Theater, Carlyle, Guapo’s, THAI in Shirlington, as well as contemporary concepts including the popular Taco + Pina and the soon-to-open Stellina, a Washington, D.C. favorite.”
(Updated on 6/30/21 at 1:45 p.m.)
The future is uncertain for the boutique barre fitness studio LavaBarre in Rosslyn.
The gym at 1528 Clarendon Blvd announced on Instagram earlier this week that it would no longer be providing in-person classes at the studio. On Thursday, the studio’s storefront appeared closed and empty, with a lock on the door.
The founders of LavaBarre did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The fitness studio reopened at reduced capacity on June 26, after shutting down when the state went into lockdown in response to the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, we must again take a step back from in studio classes,” this week’s social media post said.
Although the brick-and-mortar location is empty, the post invited members to contact the gym about in-person indoor 0r outdoor classes, as well as Zoom classes, “during this closure.”
View this post on Instagram
We first shared our LavaCode with you on August 17th, 2012. We are sharing it with you again because over 8 years later, we hold each of these truths dear to our hearts. On March 17th 2020, we were forced to shut the doors to LavaBarre due to the pandemic and we reopened them to you with reduced capacity and increased precautions on Friday, June 26th. Unfortunately we must again take a step back from in studio classes. Please DM @laurenelizabethprice if you are interested in taking in person indoor or outdoor barre or zoom classes during this closure.
LavaBarre offers high-intensity workouts that blend ballet, interval training, cardio, pilates and the use of props.
In the last five years, gyms offering ballet-inspired barre classes have proliferated in Arlington. Among them are Xtend Barre, Neighborhood Barre, Pure Barre, and Barre3 in Clarendon, as well as a Pure Barre in Pentagon City.
Since VIDA Fitness Ballston opened on June 27, about 500 members have had the 30,000 square feet to themselves.
The regional, high-end fitness chain usually sees up to four times that many people join before opening day and in the first three months. But the coronavirus has hurt the boutique gym’s ability to attract members.
After overcoming construction and pandemic-related delays earlier this year, VIDA Ballston’s biggest challenge is getting people to walk in the door, VIDA Fitness Director of Operations Aaron Moore said.
The rate of new memberships is lagging compared to other locations, since many are not comfortable with going to the gym. In response, the company has spent “tens of thousands of dollars” on cleaning equipment and takes state regulations a step further to keep the space sanitary and to follow precautions.
“Our primary motivation is how are we going to keep people safe, because if they feel safe, they’re going to feel confident keeping their memberships and telling their friends about it,” Moore said.
Typically, about 1,400 people will sign up before opening day, and another 600 to 700 will join within the first 90 days, he said.
At VIDA Ballston, 420 members signed up before June 27, and by Sept. 29, membership grew to 511, Moore said. Memberships cost $140 a month, and grant access to group workout classes and studios, personal trainers, individual equipment, a proprietary high intensity interval training studio called Sweat Box, a spa and smoothie bar.
Once people experience the check-in process and see what precautions the gym is taking, Moore said patrons feel comfortable.
The state permits gym patrons to take off their masks while exercising, but VIDA requires masks stay on. Double-layered cloth masks and 3-ply disposable masks are allowed, but gators, bandanas and masks with valves are not.
Members reserve a time on the gym’s app before arriving and go through the gym’s check-in and check-out process for record-keeping. If patrons alert staff that they tested positive for COVID-19, staff know who to contact.
“There is some honor system involved,” Moore said. “If someone doesn’t tell us they tested positive, then disappears, we’re not going to know.”
The gym has not yet had a positive case, but has told several people to stay home because they came in contact with someone who later tested positive, he said.
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