Hey Cloture Club readers, the folks that run the site have noticed that a few of you still haven’t lost the 10 lbs you gained during campaign season so they asked me to review some of the new fitness classes and gyms in the area to give you an extra push of motivation. If there are any classes or gyms you’re curious about, feel free to let me know in the comments or via twitter.
After attending a SweetGreen-sponsored Dance Trance class hosted at the Lululemon store in Georgetown, and loving it, I decided I would try out the dance classes for real at their location inside Balance Gym’s Thomas Circle location. From what I understand, Dance Trance is a nationwide franchise and they operate separately but rent space from Balance. The classes are not cheap ($18 drop in fee, with various packages and memberships available) but they offer the first week free, and I took full advantage by attending 3 classes last week.
Dance Trance is nothing like the dance aerobics, hip-hop or Zumba classes offered at other gyms. It actually feels like you are out clubbing with your girlfriends, minus the uncomfortable heels and unwelcome manhandling! For newbies like me, they have a one-hour breakdown class where the instructors run you through the steps of two routines. The second hour is “high cardio” where you dance the routines you learned as well as many that are unfamiliar. The lights are low, the music loud, and you’re too focused on keeping up with the complicated steps, turns, and hip thrusts to realize you just got a great hour-long cardio workout.
Routines to Cobra Starship’s “Good Girls Gone Bad,” Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite,” Def Leopard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and, a personal favorite, Maklemore's "Thrift Store," repeat sequences just enough that by the end of the song you feel like you almost have the hang of it. Pro tip for newbies: scope out the regulars (they are hugging friends and chatting with others before the class, it seems be a very collegial group!) and try to position yourself near a few, you’ll often want to have someone to watch on all sides of you when you can't see the instructors. Speaking of the instructor, the owner, Sarah Sands, teaches the classes and could not have been nicer or more encouraging to all of the participants!
I have to say that my class at Lululemon where, with no mirrors, I could pretend that my shimmying was just as sexy and coordinated as the instructors, was a little more enjoyable! With walls of mirrors in the Balance Gym studio, I had no such illusions. However, I found that when I ignored my reflection, watched the instructors, and focused on having fun I got a great workout and the hour of "high cardio" flew by. By the end of the week did I have all of the routines down? No, but I was much more confident and less apt to hit a neighboring dancer with a flailing arm or wrong turn. What’s that Justin Timberlake? You want me as a backup dancer in your next video? I’d LOVE to.
And on to some of the logistics: it takes some time commitment to come to the breakdown classes and learn the routines, but Dance Trance is a good workout for the fitness beginner too intimidated by other classes that require major muscle. For those looking for the maximum burn in a short time, stick to boot camp classes or spinning, because you aren’t going to wake up after a Dance Trance class needing an Advil and a day off. While going to Balance has the added bonus of seeing the buff Crossfit dudes throwing tires around shirtless, the ladies locker room was no-frills (showers had body wash and conditioner but no shampoo) so it’s not the most comfortable place to shower and change. Lastly, the classes I went to each had only 1 male participant, so guys who love to dance shouldn't be shy!
Photo credits: courtesy of Dance Trance Fitness Website.