6 Outdoor Fitness Classes to Get You Out of the House
Step away from the fridge and step outside for a workout. The fresh air will do you good.
As Northern Virginia prepares for Phase 3 reopening approval, residents of the country’s fittest city are double-knotting their sneakers and digging out their yoga mats, ready to leave the confines of live-streamed or on-demand workouts for in-person instruction. Well, some of us are anyway.
Phase 2 regulations require fitness centers to operate at 30% capacity – that number jumps to 75% in Phase 3 – but not everyone is comfortable being indoors with other people. Boutique gyms, which have had to get especially creative to stay viable during the pandemic, recognize that and are offering outdoor classes for anyone who wants to whittle away at their “quarantine 15” in the open air. Here are a few options for getting your heart rate up.
Co-founders Melissa Blumenthal and Briana Milton started Mind Over Muscle Fitness on May 3 in response to the pandemic. So far, they have offered only virtual classes, but on June 27, they will host their first four outdoor classes as part of their Day of Movement to encourage exercise and raise money for Black Lives Matter. The classes – to be held at 9 a.m., noon, 4 and 7 p.m. at Lacey Woods Park (1200 N. George Mason Drive, Arlington) – are donation-based and limited to 20 participants.
Blumenthal says they will post dates and times for other outdoor classes on social media as they become available.
Classes include barre, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga and a strength-focused Total Body Workout. At a HIIT class, expect cardio bursts of burpees or mountain climbers, while strength hits the upper and lower body and core. “You could be doing chest presses for your upper body, lunges for your lower body and then planks for your core,” Blumenthal says.
For outdoor classes, bring your own mat. Unlimited classes are $20 for the first week. Packages and memberships are $50 for 10 classes or $99 per month.
COR FIT founder Sheila Cordaro usually holds boot camp-style classes outdoors at Westover Park (1001 N. Kennebec St., Arlington) from April to November, but hasn’t been able to since the quarantine began. So, in April, she created StreetFit – essentially, a street party, but with exercise and social distancing.
“My clients are standing on the sidewalk and they’re 6 feet apart,” said Cordaro, who also offers classes via Facebook Live. “We set up cones and then I am in the middle of the street walking around leading the class…. It’s a way for people to feel like they could just basically walk outside of their front step and have a fitness class.”
Cordaro says she will resume her regular outdoor classes in mid-July. She or instructor Sarah Chase devote the first half of the one-hour boot camp-style workout to high-intensity work and the second half to strength training and core conditioning. Expect to do squats, lunges and planks with a twist – sometimes literally.
All participants bring a yoga mat and light weights of 3 to 5 pounds. A single class costs $15, a package of six is $87 and 10 is $135.
This running-centric studio’s first summer in business is keeping instructors on their toes. “If we weren’t going through a pandemic, we were planning to hold some sort of outdoor class and host outdoor running programs,” says studio manager Jenna Fatica. “We have a really big patio space connected to our studio, so it was just a no-brainer” to have yoga and foam-rolling instruction classes outside.
During Phase 1, the Clarendon gym started offering Formula HIIT and Run, a 60-minute class with sprint intervals and full-body conditioning using dumbbells, kettlebells and Bosu balls. The patio fits up to nine people within the Phase 2 rule of keeping exercisers 10 feet apart.
FRC started offering indoor classes on June 15, but “if people aren’t comfortable to come inside and they want more outdoor classes, we’re certainly going to listen to them,” Fatica says.
Bring a water bottle to the outdoor class. FRC provides mats and towels, but participants can bring their own. Class packages and membership are based on credits, with training classes costing one credit each.
The gym typically offers outdoor classes from March to early June to avoid the extreme heat. This summer is different, however.
For about a month, F45 has provided 45-minute-long classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on the Pentagon Row Plaza. As of June 17, the class can accommodate up to 15 people. Participants must wear a mask before and after class, but not during, says Lynn Tallant, chief operating officer for the gym.
All exercises in the HIIT class are bodyweight. Each move is typically 30 seconds of work, 15 seconds of recovery. “The one thing about our workouts is they never stay the same; they change every day,” Tallant says.
Participants need a mat or long towel, plus a towel to mop sweat from their faces and a water bottle. Classes cost $30 each or $129 to $169 per month for memberships.
This women-only, small-group training gym doesn’t usually have outdoor classes, but it has been offering about 20 per week at Rock Spring Congressional Church (5010 Little Falls Road, Arlington) and the Franconia Moose Lodge (7701 Beulah St., Alexandria) since the beginning of June.
“This is a new thing that we had to do with the Covid restrictions, but we most likely will continue at least with our Saturday ones outdoors for the whole summer, if not forever, because people do like it,” says Allie Baier, co-owner and manager. Although the gym resumed indoor classes June 18, she plans to offer at least 10 outdoor classes per week for the next several months.
Clients who sign up for the 45-minute outdoor class can expect a boot camp-style workout.
“We’re doing no equipment because no one wanted to touch anything,” Baier says. “We’re having clients bring their own mats and the trainers are putting them through agility drills and squats and push-ups and running up and down the field.”
Participants can pay per session or purchase packages – 10 for $260; 25 for $550; or 50 for $1,000, respectively. Monthly memberships run from $184 to $272.
Owner Ginny Wright has been teaching outdoor fitness classes since 2003, but has made tweaks to them since reopening June 1. For one, she hasn’t been able to hold them at her usual spots — Madison Manor and Westover parks — because of pandemic restrictions. Instead, clients can find her at Bishop O’Connell High School (6600 Little Falls Road, Arlington) and Potomac Overlook Park (2845 Marcey Road, Arlington).
The hourlong classes incorporate strength and conditioning, plus cardio. “People bring their own hand weights; we have loaners,” Wright says. “We always do abdominal exercises, we always do core exercises and we always do cardio exercises.”
Participants bring their own mats, too, and may wear a mask. Wright also offers classes via Facebook Live for anyone who’s not comfortable attending in person.
The first class is free. After that, the drop-in rate is $20, and unlimited classes are $135 per month.