When we walked into the lobby, we weren’t quite sure what to make of The Fitness Loft because they share a space with with one of our favorite healthy snack spots, Alchemy. We went up to the front desk and checked in to our class (Body Pump, more on that in a bit). We were told to head upstairs, and that the classroom was on the third floor. When we reached the top of the stairs, the space opened up and we got our first taste of why The Fitness Loft is such a well-regarded space in its neighborhood.
The main floor of The Fitness Loft is where most of the equipment can be found. Everything from traditional free weights, machines and treadmills were there, along with some unique pieces like heavy ropes that allow even the experienced gym-goer to tailor whatever kind of workout they are looking for to their specific needs.
What really surprised us about the space is that, for a not-too-early Saturday morning, the space wasn’t too crowded and you could use any piece of equipment without having to worry about running into somebody trying to pick up a weight. With there being 25,000 square feet of usable space in The Fitness Loft, it’s plenty easy to find a spot, no matter what time of day, and use it for whatever you need.
We moved past the main floor and headed upstairs, where there are two large spaces for classrooms along with a loft area with some treadmills that allowed you to look over most of the main floor. We went in to our designated room and got ready for Body Pump.
This was our first time doing Body Pump, and rest assured, the class was every bit as hard as any Crossfit or strength building class we’ve taken. Everyone found some space and got a combination of light free weights, workout bar, and step bench. As we worked through the sixty minute class, we focused on every part of the body. None of the exercises alone were very hard, but strung together, we were drenched with sweat and felt completely justified getting a healthy smoothie from Alchemy when we left.
The Fitness Loft, in addition to their expansive huge and super clean gym full of treadmills and other equipment, has a ton of classes other than Body Pump, ranging from Zumba to Yoga. The Fitness Loft is located at the corner of Parsons Ave. and Livingston Ave. For more information on classes or becoming a member, visit The Fitness Loft website.
With class names like “High + Tight,” “Core and Restore,” "Clocked," and “Asphalt Kick’n,” your mind will be racing before your heart rate at System of Strength. The Columbus based studio has two locations, one in Dublin and one in Grandview. Unlike most studios you’ll find around Columbus, there are huge differences between each class, which contributes to keeping the body connected in three core principles of fitness, including strength, cardio, and stretch. SOS aims to provide an entire system of workouts that gives you all the core components that you need.
We attended a class in the Dublin location called “Control,” which was taught by Darrion. The space is a big open box, with mirrors on one end and free weights on the opposite wall. In the back of the class, two huge garage doors were opened. Those who got their before us were gathering free weights and finding a spot for their yoga mat. Sweat from the class before (Clocked) could be seen on the floor, signifying that even though the class was called “Control,” we were in for an intense workout.
Everything happened on the mats. While each class might focus on a different area of the body, this one was mostly shoulders and core. There were clusters of exercises that all had three individual workouts. For example, the first cluster featured shoulder flys, weighted squats, and weighted squat-jumps. You would perform each exercise for about 90 seconds. Then, you’d do them again in split sets of 15-10-5. About half way through the class, we were struggling (in a good way), and by the end, felt like we had earned whatever the rest of the weekend had to offer.
SOS is great for those who need direction in their workouts, and if the other trainers are anything like Darrion, you’ll get someone who is passionate about both fitness and getting the most out of his classes. The trainers are both encouraging but also make you really push yourself. While our workout focused mostly on the shoulders, we felt that good body burn for the rest of the day. While each class is different, SOS seems like a great fit for anyone looking to burn fat, tone up, and build strength. It’s also great for people of all skill and fitness levels.
With the Columbus Marathon fast approaching (can you believe it’s only two months away?!?), we thought it best to highlight a couple other races going on around town that can either be used for tune up races, or, just to get out around town for a good sweat!
Whether you’re a serious runner or just someone who just likes the excitement of race day, these five races offer plenty of fun and all have something unique about them that will have you wanting to come back next year!
Emerald City ¼ and ½ Marathon
When: August 28, 2016
Outside of the Columbus Marathon and the Cap City (and Sweat Local 5k, of course!), this might be the biggest race around Columbus all year. Last year, over 3,000 runners and walkers participated in this race that starts at Dublin Methodist Hospital, and winds through the scenic streets of Dublin. Between the race itself, the beautiful finishers medal, and the lively post-race party at Amigos Mexican Restaurant (21+), the whole day promises to keep all runners and spectators entertained all day long. For more information, visit
Summer Squatch 10k Trail Run
When: September 15, 2016
If you want to get out and do something a little different than your traditional road race, check out the Summer Squatch 10k Trail Run. This event is a part of the Rocks and Roots trail series, which does a great job at making sure the trails are clearly marked and as safe as possible to ensure the safety of the runners. The event is very family friendly, as runners and spectators are encouraged to stay afterward for a “squatch-friendly” film projected on a huge outdoor screen. This event is a great way to experience a different kind of race and to test your endurance in a beautiful setting at Alum Creek State Park. Proceeds benefit theRocks and Roots Trail Runners Association (RRTRA). For more information, visit https://summersquatch10k.com/.
5K for K9s
When: September 17, 2016
The 5k for K9’s is Franklin County Dog Shelter & Adoption Center’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and all race fees, sponsorships, and pledges help pay for the medical care for sick and injured dogs at the shelter. Last year nearly 300 runners and walkers took part in the inaugural event, and you can expect to see some four-legged friends along the course.
The 5k is held at Alum Creek State Park, and is a great way to take part in a 5k that is less about the results and more about the mission. Adoptable dogs from Franklin County and some other local rescues will be available to all racers and spectators. For more information, visit http://www.friendsoftheshelter.org/5k-for-k9s.
Running Water 5k, 10k, and 10k Challenge
When: October 2, 2016
This event also has standard 5k and 10k distances, but the exciting race to us is the “10k Challenge.” The Challenge is a team event has teams of four each carrying a five gallon PackH2O pack filled with two gallons of water (16 pounds). Proceeds from the race will support PackH2O and every $10 donation will be donated to a family in need in water-stressed areas of the world. The Challenge competitors are urged to call out other “teams” on social media in an attempt to stir up excitement and add an element of gamesmanship to the event.
Both 5k and 10k participants not involved in the Challenge will also have the option to carry a PackH2O willed with one gallon of water. For more information, visit http://www.Packh2o.com. Also, Team Sweat Local will be there so come find us!
The Broke Man’s Half Marathon, 7 Miler, and 3.5 Miler
When: October 2, 2016
We love the message behind the Broke Man, which is that people should be able to run, and enjoy the positivity of the organized race atmosphere, regardless of ability to pay hefty race fees. The event takes place two weeks before the Columbus Marathon, so it’s a perfect way to tune up and get in one last long run. It’s also a great alternative to those looking to avoid all the craziness that is downtown Columbus during the Columbus Marathon. The half marathon is held at Genoa Park, and also features shorter distances and a kid’s run. Last year’s edition got great reviews, and this year should be no different. For more information, visit http://www.brokemans.com/central-ohio.
Peak Human Performance has a reputation of being one of the best training facilities in, or around, Columbus. Their focus at Peak is on the athlete, which is a big thing that differentiates them from a lot of other gyms. Their “summer athlete” programs are a big draw for high school and collegiate athletes looking to take their training to the next level. They even have a “jump school,” which helps athletes playing “vertical sports” like volleyball and basketball improve their ability to explode off the ground through strength and targeted skill training.
But, even if you don't consider yourself an "athlete" or if you aren't training for something specific, Peak still has so much to offer for you.
The space, located just outside of Dublin in Plain City, is a perfect parallel for the type of training you can expect, either from a private one-on-one session or group class. Despite their focus on the athlete, their group classes are great for anyone, regardless of athletic ability, and the environment is as much positive as it is encouraging. When we attended, people we just met were cheering us on as we pushed weights around and tested our endurance with treadmill work and squat exercises.
What the space might lack in size, it makes up for by hanging equipment from the ceiling of the industrial space. Peak has the ability to raise and lower heavy ropes for climbing or punching bags for some boxing drills. When not in use, the equipment is lifted away from the floor that can then be used for sprints, sled pushes, or any number of creative workouts the trainers might come up with.
The trainers are the real draw at Peak. There are classes that you won’t find anywhere else (“Primal” for instance) that will challenge you mentally and give you a full body workout. Peak’s aim is to produce results and do a great job at getting the most out of everyone in their group classes and individual training sessions. Before you start with a class, you get a free consultation from one of the trainers who will discuss what you want out of your workouts, and help tailor the perfect balance of training to help you achieve your goals.
When you see Orangetheory Dublin from the outside, you don’t really get a sense for what it is, exactly. You walk in, and across the huddle of men and women gathered in the back of the lobby, you see some rowers and treadmills, and an illuminated checkerboard of color and numbers (the key component that sets OTF apart from any other workout in the city). We decided to check out the new Orange craze that was taking over our city!
Before going in for the workout, you’re fitted with a heart rate monitor (mine was one you strapped to your chest, but they use wrist strap monitors now) that tracks your heart rate throughout the class. The trainer, Stephanie, was great about welcoming everyone as they made their way to one of three stations: rowers, treadmills, or the “floor,” which is a combination of TRX, body weight work, and weights.
As the workout begin, the checkerboard starts flickering with changing colors and numbers. The whole idea behind OTF is based on raising and dropping your heart rate during the workout so that you burn the most fat possible. As your heart rate rises, you go through five “zones” that are represented by a different color. Instead of Stephanie telling us to work harder, she would tell us to “get into the green zone” to recover, or push ourselves into the “orange zone.”
My workout began on the floor, while others in the class filled up the treadmills and rowers. We had a series of three or four exercises using free weights and the TRX bands. I felt like I was getting a great workout, but I was having a hard time getting my heart rate to spike into the orange zone. After 20 minutes, the whole class rotated stations and I moved over to the rowers. 500 meter row followed by some bodyweight squats and lunges (easy enough, right?). As soon as I started pulling, my heart rate started dancing from the blue zone, right past the green, and into the orange zone where I stayed for the better part of that 20 minute block. I had run long distance races and didn’t think my endurance was going to be an issue during this class, but the rowers were humbling. Still, I survived long enough to make it to the final treadmill block.
Again, a distance runner shouldn’t have too much trouble, but the treadmill was just as tough as the rowers. Instead of just setting a speed, Stephanie told us to find a “base pace” that would get our heart rate to about 70-75% of our max heart rate (green zone). I started here, and all of a sudden, I find myself in a mess of incline sprints and brief cool down periods that, again, targeted slowing and speeding up my heart rate. By the end of that 20 minute block, I was soaked in sweat and ready for a shower (or at the very least, a big plate of carbs).
The workout as a whole was both a lot of fun and challenging. While there were more women than men in my class, the workout proved to have elements of strength and cardio. Once we began, I hardly noticed anyone around me because I was focused on where my heart rate was, and how I could push it up to that next zone. I think it is a perfect workout for athletes looking to build endurance or anyone trying to shed a few pounds before the end of summer.
OTF has many other locations around the city, with many opening up this fall! Check out all their locations here.
Sweat Local Columbus began as an idea in February 2016 to bring together all of the yogis, gym rats, athletes, runners, and fitness-focused people of Columbus together with the local studios and businesses that support their active and healthy lifestyles. This past Saturday, we were overwhelmed by the showing of support from all the vendors (30 of them) and participants (300 of them!) who helped make the Sweat Local Columbus 5k and Expo a huge success in just its first year. To all the runners, volunteers, Powell police officers, vendors, sponsors, and everyone who made their way through the expo on Saturday, please know that we truly appreciate your support and owe you a huge THANK YOU!
But Saturday was just the beginning…
Sweat Local Columbus is more than just one event. Sweat Local Columbus is a movement that will build a community through social fitness activities, charitable events, and collaborations with some of the best businesses in the city.
We believe that nothing should stand in the way of your health. Everyone has their own unique goals and ambitions, and we believe that we can help achieve those goals through encouragement from other people just like you. Columbus has some of the best trainers, studios, shops, and coaches in the country. Our mission is to introduce them to the community through creative monthly events that will showcase what makes them so special.
Imagine meeting up for a trail run one cool fall morning and your favorite coffee shop would be waiting for you with a cup of coffee and a muffin by your car. Imagine prepping for the Columbus ½ Marathon by doing some speed work on a track, and Bend Active would be there with their newest line of leggings to have you looking your best for the big race. Imagine getting a killer HIIT workout in, not at a studio, but in a brewery where you can enjoy a craft beer afterwards. On this website and blog, you'll also find interviews, reviews, and stories from the businesses who are keeping Columbus healthy and fit.
We hope you are as excited about Sweat Local Columbus as we are, and we hope that you’ll help to continue the momentum we built this past weekend! We were truly inspired by the entire day, and are so excited about what the future has in store for Sweat Local Columbus! Look for our first Sweat Local Columbus meet-up in September!
Keep sharing how you are sweating around town by using #sweatlocalcbus. We love seeing your photos!
If you want to join our email list to stay up to date--sign up here.
Ryan and Kelly of Sweat Local Columbus