ReForm Total Fitness has big plans for their Reynoldsburg location, which had it’s grand opening in January. ReForm doesn’t want to just be an ordinary training gym, although they do offer some familiar group-style classes like Yoga, Spinning, and TRX-style suspension training. But for those of you who need a little “extra spice” in your workouts, ReForm also has bootcamps and OCR (obstacle course racing) training classes that allow you to get in a great workout while doing things you wouldn’t ever do in traditional workout classes.
And those big plans we mentioned earlier revolve around creating an outdoor course for OCR enthusiasts and anyone who enjoys that kind of workout. Inside, ReForm already has a rig, which is like adult monkey bars with some grip-practice components thrown in, as well as some floating walls, tall ropes for climbing, and a heavy bag on a rope-and-pulley system you can work on your grip and strength. They have a four and six foot wall you see at races to practice technique, and well as multiple big tires for flipping. And that’s all INSIDE!
Outside, ReForm has plans to build a dozen or so more obstacles and create a ⅛ mile track that they’ll use in their classes and open gyms to allow you to train and practice for anything you might see on an obstacle course. The beauty is that you don’t HAVE to be training for a race to enjoy these obstacles and get a great workout. You’ll use everything from core and lower body strength to upper body and grip.
ReForm Total Fitness was one of the most unique places we have been able to get a sweat on in Columbus. Jeff, one of the owners, was great during the open gym we attended and gave us some advice on some movements we struggled with.
For anyone curious about obstacle course races, this place is a must-try, and they have great drop in rates and packages that make it easy to try. We want to go back and check the place out once the outside obstacles are built, but there is plenty to do inside in the meantime to get a great workout and have a blast doing it!
They also offer yoga, Spinning, suspension training, and bootcamp classes on a regular basis. Check out ReForm, located in Reynoldsburg!
When people talk about PAI Yoga & Fitness, they usually comment on the yoga program. While the yoga is fantastic and the center of what PAI is about, there is so much more to this little studio that now has two locations. PAI Yoga & Fitness opened up its Dublin location 7 years ago. They expanded to the other side of town about 2 years ago with a new studio off in the Gahanna/New Albany area.
One thing that makes PAI really unique is that they offer yoga, barre, TRX, and Spinning classes at both studios. Where most yoga-focused studios only focus on separate yoga offerings, PAI gives you an entire selection of class options all under one membership.
I've taken all of the classes that PAI has to offer, but TRX is to be one of my favorites. There aren't many TRX gyms around town, and PAI's does not disappoint. TRX is just suspension training--using straps that come down from an anchor point and your body weight, you get a total body workout that leaves you sore for the next few days.
The barre classes aren't like other studios around town. PAI uses the Barre-OM technique which is a fusion of traditional barre/pilates and yoga. I always underestimate the power of a barre class and end up getting an awesome workout that leaves my muscles super worked.
The Gahanna/New Albany location is definitely the star of the show between the two locations. It's huge and has three separate rooms for TRX/Barre, Spin, and yoga. It's located just off of Hamilton Rd between Morse an 161. But, the Dublin studio is still my personal favorite. It's smaller, but the owners have done well keeping all the equipment up to date. It feels nice in cozy especially during yoga. And the location is perfect just off of Sawmill next to Trader Joes.
Want to try PAI? Use promo code: TryPAI to get your first class free!
We're taking our March Sweat Sesh to PAI Gahanna/New Albany on March 25 from 4-6pm. Grab your spot here!
Mesh Fitness is the first business to open in the new Dublin Bridge Street District, part of the multi-gazillion dollar Riverside Park project. Mesh has a prime location facing the river, in what will become one of the most exciting areas on the north side of Columbus. While the space isn’t huge, it has everything you would want in a somewhat “traditional” gym setup, but also has some really cool features that sets it apart.
First, the basics… The décor is very industrial, but in a modern way. High ceilings with exposed pipes and ductwork move down toward pale wood accent walls, with dashes of blue and yellow throughout the space. The building is brand new, so everything feels very clean when you are at Mesh.
The space is occupied by six “zones.” There are traditional zones like Cardio that face Riverside Drive that is full of top of the line treadmills, stair climbers, ellipticals, bikes, and rowers. There are also a few unique pieces like a Ski Erg machine and four Woodway treadmills, which are as good as it gets for runners. Then there is a Strength zone that has all of the upper and lower body machines along with free weights. Again, everything is brand new. Then, you notice three zones labeled as “Pulse,” “Power,” and “Pedal.” This is where Mesh begins to set itself apart from most neighborhood gyms.
The Pulse-Power-Pedal zones are all small, glass-front rooms that can hold 8-12 people. Each zone has it’s own room, and comes complete with equipment meant to enhance that aspect of the zone. The Pulse zone has TRX bands, treadmills, and rowers, and the zone focuses on getting your heart rate spiked and burning fat during and after class. The Power zone is full of boxing bags and trainers, medicine balls, and kettlebells. This zone will build strength and power. Finally, the Pedal zone is a spinning room, with bikes that track your rpm, resistance, and speed. Each room also has a TV monitor that, when paired with a HR monitor, will track your heart rate for advanced workout metrics.
The zones are really cool and are what makes Mesh stand apart from most other gyms, but one of the biggest reasons you should join is because of their pricing structure. Everything is month-to-month, and they operate on an “a la carte” basis -- in other words, you only pay for what you want to use. If all you want is a gym with a treadmill and some free weights, there is a monthly price for that membership (as little as $10 per month). If you want unlimited classes and your own locker, you will pay a bit more, but there is a price for that. They even have a package that gives you unlimited use of their zones, as well as an unlimited membership with Harbor Yoga.
Meshhttps://www.mesh-fitness.com/ will turn into one of the coolest gyms in Dublin, especially when the Riverfront area opens up and you will be able to get a workout in, then explore all the excitement around that area. With their flexible pricing options, Mesh makes for a great home gym that has it all, or somewhere you can keep a low monthly membership to pair with your other favorite studio. Either way, you should definitely check them out while their grand opening pricing is still in effect!
Columbus Monthly recently published an article called Year of The Warrior: The changing world of fitness. They profiled people pushing the boundaries when it comes to getting in shape or staying in shape, and having fun doing it.
If you have ever thought about trying an obstacle course race (OCR), there are plenty of places around the city where you can train that are as outside the box as the races themselves. This year, you can find these races within hours of Columbus:
Some of these races are easier than others, and some more well known. No matter your fitness level, there is no reason not to try one of these races in 2017, and start training for them in new and exciting ways. We definitely don't recommend jumping in to a OCR race without any training. You will regret that decision.
Below, we list five of Columbus’ most unique and effective training spots that will get you ready for your first (or next!) obstacle course race.
The Movement Lab
By now, you’ve probably heard of Ninja Warrior (the show where people way more in shape that you or I try to complete a series of obstacles in the shortest amount of time without falling). One of its first female stars, Michelle Warnky (also profiled in the Columbus Monthly article) owns an indoor Ninja/obstacle gym right here in Columbus. They offer classes for kids or adults, as well as open gyms. There is no pressure when you go in, and you can just try your hand at some of the obstacles you’ve seen on TV, or might see on an OCR course this year!
Vertical Adventures is the premier indoor rock climbing gym in Columbus, with over 15,000 square feet of space and walls that go as high as 45 feet. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an expert (or go to the top of each wall!) to try your hand at climbing. Vertical Adventures has beginning classes and one-on-one lessons that will get your grip strength and upper body strength ready for those walls you’ll face during your obstacle course race.
Peak Human Performance
Peak is one of our favorite gyms around Columbus because they take the time to understand what you want to accomplish and will put a plan in place to get you to reach your goals. Their main focus is on athletes and working to improve those athletes skills. Peak's coaches have trained some of the CBJ players, but do a great job at tailoring individual goals in their group classes as well. The Peak coaches will definitely improve both your endurance and your strength to help you power through any type of terrain you’ll face during any race this year.
Also, catch Peak at our next Sweat Sesh on February 18!
ReForm Total Fitness
Located on the east side of Columbus in Reynoldsburg, ReForm offers all types of classes, but they specialize in bootcamps and OCR training. Every Sunday, they put on an OCR training open gym, where you can come in and try all the different obstacles you’re likely to see, no matter which race series you choose to do. ReForm has both indoor and outdoor obstacles, so it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or not, you’ll get the best first hand experience at what you’ll have to conquer on the course.
Don't count our your local CrossFit gym. There are so many applicable moves and skills that you will learn in CrossFit that you'll need out on the course.
Barre always intimidated me. I've heard so many mixed reviews about barre classes I wasn't exactly sure it would be something I would enjoy...or if I would even get a good workout. Also, I definitely don't look like a ballerina and I haven't been in a dance studio working at barre since high school. But, when my girl Kelsie invited me to her class that she teaches at Pure Barre New Albany, I knew I couldn't turn it down.
I did some research before I went to my first class and found out that I needed to get some barre socks. Luckily, my local studio also offers barre and I was able to buy some beforehand--but Pure Barre also sells lots of them with different styles and pricing options. So, don't panic like I did the first time. You can purchase socks at the studio.
As I was setting up my little area in the class, many of the other ladies who were attending were chatting and laughing together. It was very clear that this was a group of regulars. I love joining a class where the same group of people attend each week. I think it always makes the class more comfortable when people chat and know one another.
Soon the class started and from reading Pure Barre's website, I thought I knew what to expect:
Each Pure Barre class is 55 minutes and begins with a warm-up in the center of the room, on the floor, and then standing with light weights to work those arm muscles. We’ll then move to the barre to work your thighs and your seat. After the seat work, you’ll do a series of ab exercises, followed by a cool down. While the flow of class is always the same, we are always changing the music and exercises, so you never experience the same class twice!
Within the first 3 minutes of the warmup, my core was on FIRE and I was shaking like crazy. I quickly found that each move was short and intense, but purposeful. Kelsie timed every move with the music like she had rehearsed it earlier--and she threw out terms like "tuck" and "pulse" all throughout the class. I always kept my eye on the other more experienced girls in the class so I could make sure I was doing the right thing--but I think "tucking" is just something that you learn with time. My "tuck" looked more like a bad dance move I used in college.
We moved from the floor to the barre many times, with a nice stretch series in between each section. We would exhaust lots of tiny little muscles for 5-7 minutes, and then stretch it out before moving on to the next muscle group.
When the class ended, I realized that I wasn't really sweating. I knew that I had worked really hard, but since there isn't any cardio in the classes, I wasn't as sweaty as after my normal Spin or high intensity classes. You could totally get a killer workout and then hit up a restaurant afterwards without having to worry about being super gross and sweaty.
The experience was way less scary than I thought it would be. Pure Barre is an amazing workout and I love that it's low-impact. There are three locations in Columbus: Dublin, New Albany, and Grandview, and all locations offer a $10 Friday Class Pass for new guests!
Have you tried barre before? What was your experience like?
Columbus is great for so many reasons, but one in particular is because we have so much variety when it comes to food options. While it’s not for everyone, vegetarian menu options are becoming more and more common, and chefs are coming up with new and exciting ways to add flavor when they subtract meat from their dishes.
Below, we have our five favorite places that are either 100% vegan, or have lots of healthier vegetarian options for lunch or dinner.
Alchemy offers one of the most fun and unique menus in Columbus. Their passion for focusing on sustainable ingredients is evident by their always-evolving menu. Our current favorite is their Cherry Cheezecake bowl, which has organic acai, cherries, vanilla cashew cream, homemade almond milk, almond butter, granola, and crumbled cranberry no-bake bite. It’s great for breakfast or even a mid-day snack! Their menu is mainly vegetarian and in addition to the smoothies and bowls, they have sandwiches and salads that are so unique and amazing.
Portia’s Cafe is a vegan restaurant that has been impressing vegetarians and meat eaters alike for years. They have everything from salads and wraps to Mexican dishes and pad thai. Everything we’ve tried has been excellent, and nothing on the menu cost more than $12. From the service to the way the food is prepared, you can tell everyone that works at Portia’s Cafe cares about what goes on to the plate, which always translates to a great experience for the customer.
Brassica hasn’t been around for long, but it’s already become one of our favorite lunch spots thanks to their out-of-this-world good falafel. You can customize your order by getting either a pita or bowl, and adding a variety of unique and delicious mediterranean inspired options like spicy carrots, lentils, and hummus (traditional or roasted eggplant). Between the lentils and falafel, you will get plenty of protein to fuel you through the rest of the day.
Great for a weekend splurge, Condado Tacos does a better job at offering veggie-friendly options than any other taco shop in the city. Their thai chili tofu is fantastic, as is the bbq jackfruit. The tacos at Condado are all “build your own” style, so you can make them as simple or crazy as you like.
Core Life Eatery
CoreLife Eatery just arrived in Columbus, and we’re glad they did! We tried their Sriracha ginger tofu and ancient grains bowl and are already planning our next trip back. CoreLife Eatery specializes in their grain bowls, salads, and soups (which they call bone broths), but most of their soups can substitute veggie broth for the chicken or beef based broths. We like how customizable their menu is, as you can choose from four different salad bases or eight different grain bowl bases.
If we missed one of your favorites, let us know so we can check it out for ourselves!
The first thing you notice when you arrive at CrossFit Clintonville is the sense of community you feel as soon as you walk through the door. We noticed big groups of people talking, not just small cliquey groups. Patrick, the owner and lead instructor for our Saturday workout introduced himself and made sure we had a handle on some of the basic CrossFit movements, then went over to a big chalkboard to write down the day’s three-person team workout. All Saturday’s at 9am are team workouts, and then the 10am class is a free class that is ideal for people who are new and want to learn more about CrossFit.
As Patrick began writing, people slowly started to crowd around to see what was in store for them that day -- anyone who has been a part of a CrossFit team WOD (workout of the day) knows that you have to mentally take stock of which movements will give you trouble and which ones you’ll crush! As Patrick continued to write, a bunch of unfamiliar faces came up to us and introduced themselves. Again, the sense of community here was fantastic!
As he finished, Patrick went through the workout and as we broke into our groups, the chaos of setting up spots began to occur. People were moving rowing machines, getting barbells and weights, and setting up ab mats for handstand pushups. Our workout consisted of four mini-workouts that each involved 3-4 movements. Most followed a 21-15-9 (number of reps per exercise) pattern and we had to complete all movements as a team before moving on to the next set of workouts.
Our team finished before most other teams were done, mostly due to our third partner being a machine on some of the heavier-weighted exercises. As we finished and took in the scene, we again felt that tremendous sense of community. Patrick came over and asked how we liked everything, while our partner was over to another group cheering them on as they completed their last few reps. People were clapping, cheering, and continuing to introduce themselves until the final group finished and the clock stopped.
As far as a CrossFit box is concerned, CrossFit Clintonville has to be one of the best. After the class ended, Patrick was helping some members on some movements that we didn’t get to in class, and you get the sense that he really does care about each person’s personal journey through CrossFit.
After our early class, the CrossFit Beginners class was starting to fill in. It was refreshing to see some people you wouldn’t expect to see in a CrossFit gym giving it a chance. This kind of low-pressure environment is unusual for this kind of gym, and anyone who is either new or looking for a community-based CrossFit gym that wants to see you succeed should check out CrossFit Clintonville.
Tucked in a shopping center right off of Powell Road/750 between Route 23 and Polaris, is DK Fitness -- a powerhouse fitness studio that offers Spinning, TRX, and many other fitness classes. You might miss it if you aren't looking for it, but its location is super convenient and parking is a breeze.
I dropped in for a Spinning class on a weeknight and the studio was packed! The studio, while small in size, hits you with energy as soon as you walk in. I was greeted by Katie Fell, co-owner of DK, and she made me feel welcome immediately. I walked into a dim but loud Spinning studio where Katie and her husband, Doug, helped me get set up on my bike.
DK Fitness uses Spinner Blade bikes equipped with MyZone monitors that can track your heart rate, mileage, and RPMs. These are a luxury because you can immediately see how hard you are working and can follow the instructor better because she is actually calling out RPMs and not suggested levels of effort. I've also ridden on hundreds of Spinning bikes and these ones are by far the best I've seen. The owners take great care of them and riding them is comfortable and smooth.
This 45 minute spin class was taught by Hunny. I quickly found that Hunny had lots of energy and had definitely thought out her class ahead of time. Being that it was right before Christmas, she playfully told us that we were Santa's reindeer who had to drop off presents to all the houses. As we bopped along the rooftops and dropped of Christmas presents, I noticed that the class was going by quickly and the 45 minutes would be over soon. We spent a lot of time in the saddle but played with resistance, and when we had to take off from a rootop, we added resistance and stood out of the saddle to climb and work a little harder. It was a tough class, but her theme added a little bit of playfulness and distraction to the ride.
The class ended and as people were cleaning off their bikes and getting ready to leave, I noticed the owners, Doug and Katie, saying goodbye to each person by name. Being that it was a full class, there were probably over 20 different people in the class, and the owners knew each and every one of them. The personal attention and interest is such an overlooked thing at most fitness studios. The owners treat their members like family and really get to know them. It was great to see the interaction and I appreciated Doug and Katie even more for making the extra effort to get to know their members.
DK Fitness is one of the few studios that offers TRX classes, as well as Les Mills Body Pump and CXWorx. They also have a few yoga classes and, of course, Spinning. If you are near the Polaris, Powell, Lewis Center area, be sure to stop in to check them out!
I have been wanting to check out Balanced Yoga Studios in Clintonville ever since they went through a renovation earlier this year. All their photos made it look like such a serene and calming place. Balanced Yoga is owned by Leah Westwater and Nicole Klasa. Balanced has been around for awhile, but Leah and Nicole took over just a few years ago.
As soon as you walk in the studio, you can feel a peace. Not only is it gorgeous, but it's really clean. No shoes are allowed past the front door, making the floors extra clean and free of salt and wetness. There is an area in the back full of cubbies and hooks so you can put all your stuff away in one space without having to lug it through the studio or search for a spot to leave it.
There are two main studios at Balanced Yoga. The downstairs studio is the heated room, while the upstairs has a large room that can be split into two by gorgeous sliding wood doors. Apparently, there used to be two separate entrances for the upstairs and downstairs, making it feel less like a cohesive space and more like two separate studios. During their renovation, the built a beautiful staircase that connects the two floors--leaving one main entrance for everyone to use.
I was signed up for Hot Power Vinyasa (BPV). I have done plenty of hot yoga classes, but every style is different and I've never done a Baptiste style yoga class so I wasn't sure what the expect. The description on Balanced's website says: "The aim of Baptiste Yoga is to create freedom, peace of mind, and the ability to live more powerfully and authentically right now. The physically challenging practice is a training ground for facing emotional and philosophical challenges that arise in your life. Classes taught through the Baptiste methodology are designed to awaken you to your fullest expression physically and mentally."
Freedom. That was a word that our instructor Nicole repeated throughout class. I take yoga 1-2 times per week, but most of the time, I find myself anticipating the next pose or move, and thinking about what's happening next rather than what my body is doing now. I rarely feel like I'm able to move my body in a way the feels good without the instructor telling me to. But Nicole kept saying, "feel freedom in this pose," and that permission allowed me to move my body in a way that felt good while still remaining somewhat in the pose. I no longer was anticipating the next move. Instead, I was focusing on how I felt in the present, and that was freeing.
There were moments where music wasn't playing, and at first, I thought that was strange. We are so used to using music to move, not having it makes me feel like I shouldn't be moving. But, after about 10 minutes of music on, music off (not in a distracting way) it ended up making sense and ended up being really nice to have some silence--and the silence was full of deep breaths and movement from the people in the class.
The 75 minute class absolutely flew by, and while I was sweaty, I wasn't dripping and slipping all over my mat. The room had a nice heat that made me warm and made it easier to move into certain poses. I felt relaxed, stretched, and so happy that I had that 75 minutes to myself.
Balanced Yoga offers a ton of different classes of all different yoga styles. They also offer many workshops and events in and outside of their studio. Be sure to check out their beautiful space in the heart of Clintonville right on High Street.
Here are some photos of the space from their Instagram.
I will admit, now that I added CrossFit to my weekly routine, I walk around feeling pretty badass. So when T&J No Limit Fitness invited me to their NL-Burn class, I thought it would be a breeze.
Spoiler alert - I was wrong.
I remember meeting Theo (the T of T&J) at the Sweat Local Columbus expo in July. His intensity was infectious and he got everyone moving and sweating in no time during his class. It was not an act just for the event---he carries that same personality in his classes in the gym.
Before class started, Jerry (the J of T&J) gave me a quick tour of the facility, which is a totally open room that is surprisingly clean. I say surprisingly because there is a ton of equipment and stuff in the building, but it doesn't feel cluttered. The area is split up into 3 main areas-- a TRX/boxing bag area, group fitness floor, and weight/machines area. Jerry explained that while group fitness is the core of their membership, all their members have access to the gym during open hours to use the other equipment that is in there. That's an awesome perk of membership!
I was instructed to grab all the items I'd need for class, which were listed out on the wall by the weights, making it a lot easier to figure out what you needed. For this class, I needed a mat, step, barbell with medium weight, and about 3 sets of hand weights. The class started off with a "warm-up," which is hilarious because by the end of the warmup I was sweating. The class began and was split up into 3 different 12-minute time blocks. Each block had 3-4 exercises in each and you would do them for a minute and then switch. We mixed it up with lunges, squats, bent over rows, overhead press, TRX low rows, situps, and more that I'm sure I'm forgetting. This class is advertised as a full-body burn, and Theo definitely delivered.
One thing I like about group classes is that because you are in a group setting, you can sometimes slack a little if you feel like you're about to fall down because your legs are so wobbly--but in this class, it's like Theo has eyes in the back of his head. If you start to slack, he notices, and comes over to make sure you are encouraged and still working hard. I mean, I get it. You're only there for 60 minutes, might as well make the most of it (I tell my spinning classes this all the time while I'm teaching, but it's different when you're not leading the class!).
By the end of class I was exhausted, but felt the rush of endorphins which is always appreciated. The next day my legs were definitely reminding me of all the squats and lunges.
T&J hasn't been open very long, but they have already been very successful. It's evident that their energy and their workouts are what keep people coming back. The class I went to was at 9:30am on a weekday and the class was pretty full--which is impressive because that time is usually a downtime for gyms.
If you live in Powell or nearby, be sure to check out T&J. They are currently offering a Groupon at an awesome price, and you can always try your first class for free!
Ryan and Kelly of Sweat Local Columbus