What It’s Like to Workout At… Blast Fitness

Blast Fitness describes itself as a “60 minute interval workout for every fitness level with a personalized cardio and strength training plan.” Located in DC’s West End in a small basement space — it can’t have been easy to find a spot that could handle the weight of all of those treadmills! — it’s another of the trendy fitness concepts that packs participants in by alternating their use of treadmill running and floor strength training space.

To be fair, I wanted this to be a group running workout class along the lines of Mile High Run Club in NYC. I anticipated bouts of interval (and incline) training with accompanying kettlebell or weight exercises to supplement, and maybe stretch after the cardio and muscle strengthening. Instead, it’s an hour of fast-paced alternating between sprints, inclines, and strength training repetitions.

The 60 minute format is intense.  45 minute classes would be more tempting, but what’s an extra 15 minutes when the sweat dripping started around Minute 3? That’s right — Blast’s Full Body class made me sweat more than any other class I’ve taken.

At $34 per class, the Blast studio needs to spruce up its look and amenities if it wants to truly compete with the luxe likes of Soul Cycle next door — or other similar classes competing for the public’s hard-earned disposal workout dollars.  The treadmills were not as responsive as desired given the fast pace of the change (and the fact that a pair of users would switch off using them), and when transitioning to floor exercises, everything starts to feel crammed and claustrophobic.

Different days bring different instructors (Jamiyl gets two thumbs up!), different exercises, and different running routines, but if participants can stay the course for the full hour, each is a worthy workout. I could tell just leaving the studio that I would be sore, but I woke up the following day feeling great about myself and more than content that I had worked some harder-to-reach muscles. Recovery was well deserved.

Overall 4 out of 5 stars, since results matter more to me than atmosphere. But I’ll admit it’s going to take some nerve to work up the enthusiasm to do that one again too soon. 

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