Bigger is Not Always Better

It is often said, “Bigger is Better.” 

IIn fitness that can be true to some extent.

More people energizes a room... 

Louder music turns up your energy levels up a notch…

Heavier weight increases strength…

More stretching increases flexibility...

At Bodymass, we believe bigger is not always better when it comes to small group training. We cap our workouts at 10 individuals with the goal and intention of giving each individual the time and attention they deserve in the workout. 

Here are three reasons why having a truly small group training session is better for you:

You don’t get lost in the crowd. 

In large group fitness classes, the trainer is more focused on providing entertainment to the class, rather than giving proper coaching and form instruction. As a result, you may not get your value from the workout itself. You may be doing the exercises wrong, you may not know what modifications to make, or you may not push yourself as hard as you otherwise would.

At Bodymass, you are known, not a number. Our trainers will know your name, learn your movement patterns, and give you maximum value for your time and money.


You can ask questions. 

In large group fitness classes, it may not be possible to move to the front or flag the trainer over for individualized attention. There are a lot of bodies, there is a lot of movement, and there is loud music. The odds are not good for you to ask the trainer a question of what may be the best modification for you. There then may be the social pressure of completing the exercise because you don’t want to stand out.

At Bodymass, our coaches are always within ear shot or you’re given the opportunity to ask individualized questions. With fewer people, there are fewer variables for the coach. They always have eyes on you and can provide  dedicated attention.


You get better coaching. 

A good trainer or coach is a teacher and a problem solver.

In large group fitness classes, the instructor is more a cheerleader rather than a teacher, and more of a schedule keeper than a problem solver. You deserve better than that. Not only is your time and money valuable, but so is your overall well being. At Bodymass we take that seriously. Your health, your ability to move well, and your ability to prevent injury is our primary focus, and during each workout our trainers are able to ensure we’re working you towards and enhanced state of wellbeing. 

At Bodymass, you get top notch coaching, someone passionate to teach and problem solve. Someone who will take the extra steps to find answers to questions, someone who will consult with our in-house Physical Therapists to ensure you’re staying injury free. Most importantly, you’ll get someone who will listen to you.

Our small group workouts allow our trainers to take the time to dive into detail on specific movements and why they’re important. They are also able to troubleshoot problems: if you can’t complete an exercise, our trainers will give you an alternative, and suggest other mobility moves or stretches to improve the exercise. Rather than feeling as though you can’t keep up, you’ll feel accomplished with exercises specifically suited to you.


For all these reasons, you should come to try a workout at one of our two locations:  Arlington (Courthouse) or DC (Columbia Heights/Petworth). Your first workout is free and we promise you’ll see why smaller is better at Bodymass.

Book your First Workout Free!



Written by: Sam Pfister

Join one of Sam’s small group workouts here!

Tips to Stay on Track Throughout the Holidays

Halloween is here, and the Holiday Season is quickly approaching and for many, this will mean a time of stress and over-packed schedules.  Don’t allow yourself to get caught off guard or get off track of a regular workout routine. Here is a plan to help eliminate some of the stressors, and stay on track throughout the holiday season.

1. Schedule your workouts. Whether you work with a personal trainer, go to small group workouts, or train on your own, make sure your workouts are scheduled between now and the New Year.  Treat those workouts as an important appointment for yourself. Even if you have to adjust your workout time to go around holiday parties or gatherings, be sure it is on the calendar!

Schedule your Bodymass Small Group workouts here:



2. Take a measurement to hold yourself accountable.

It may be a good idea to get a DEXA Scan done in order to hold yourself accountable throughout the holidays.  Completing a DEXA Scan before Thanksgiving and then scheduling one right after the New Year will help keep you accountable to continue with your workouts and maintaining a good nutrition plan. 


Request to Schedule a DEXA Scan here.

3. Practice Moderation.

It is inevitable that you will be at multiple holiday parties where there will be foods and drinks that don’t align with your nutrition plan.  Moderation will be the key component to not falling off the wagon. Be sure to not skip meals or allow yourself to overindulge. Is it really worth ruining your progress for a holiday season that comes around every year?


4. Rest. This may be a good time to allow your body to get some additional rest.  Ensuring proper rest will allow your body to recover and lower cortisol levels -- aka unwanted stress!

5. Celebrate!

The holidays are a time to be surrounded by those you love the most and celebrate another wonderful year coming to an end.  Don’t forget to celebrate with friends, family, and loved ones! 

Screen Shot 2019-10-29 at 11.26.18 AM.png

Get some more great tips here from Precision Nutrition’s Holiday Survival Guide: The Fitness and Nutrition Edition.

Written by: Megan Osysko 

Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach

Email Megan to set up a Nutrition Consultation today!

The Posterior Chain Crisis

We all know that obesity is a huge epidemic facing this country. We also know that smoking is dangerous for you and can cause harmful effects. But there is another problem that is facing nearly every American, and it’s a problem that is only now beginning to be addressed: sitting and the impact it has on our musculoskeletal system, in particular the Posterior Chain. Not only is it problematic to how we move, this crisis can lead to serious injury.  The great news, however, is that we can easily improve the critical state of our Posterior Chain by making a few minor changes.


The posterior chain is pretty much everything you don’t see in the mirror: the back of your neck, the muscles surrounding your shoulder blade, your lower traps, lats and spinal erectors. The posterior chain continues down the body and includes your glutes, your hamstrings, and the much smaller supportive muscles. Beyond allowing us to lift efficiently and injury-free in the gym, the posterior chain allows us to move and keeps us upright.



We sit… a lot. Most Americans  sit up to 13 hours a day and then sleep another 8. If we are sedentary for 21 hours a day, it leaves only a couple hours for our body to actually do what it’s designed to do. Move. By remaining stationary, the muscles of our posterior chain remain elongated for too long and aren’t under any type of tension. Because the back side is long and relaxed, our front side (the anterior portion of our body) is the opposite: shortened and tightened. This imbalance causes the short and tight muscles of the front side of our body to constantly pull on the lengthened weak back-side muscles. This results in rounded shoulders, hunched backs, hips that tilt forward, low backs that are stiff and ankles that are tight and just perpetuates the cycle.


As we age the neglect and underdevelopment of the posterior chain can lead to serious health issues that can shorten your life-span and drastically decrease your quality of life. What starts as a small imbalance compounds over time and leads to major reduction in range of motion, stability, and health.

Humans are hinging creatures meaning that our hips are the fulcrum we use to create leverage to move and support the rest of our body. This leverage requires the associated muscles to be actively engaged.Our glutes and hamstrings enable us to pick up pretty much everything. When we pick something up, our back muscles helps keep our spine safe and stable and our hamstrings allow us to use our legs efficiently. Our posterior chain also enables proper arm function. We have the shoulder girdle to help our arms lever around our rib cage, and the shoulder joint is surrounded by muscles that are important for posture, exercise and daily movement. If these muscles are weak, we can’t expect our spine or our shoulders to move properly. When they don’t move properly your  body is at a significantly higher risk of injury, in particular to these muscles of the Posterior Chain.


The easiest way to start making improvements is to stand and move more. Make a conscious effort every day to make a progressive change. Even if it is as small as 5 minutes an hour throughout your work day, that can really add up: 5 minutes every hour at work x 8 work hours a day x 5 work days a week x 52 weeks a year = 10,000+  minutes of more standing a year. Something small today can lead to big changes down the road.

The second thing to do is add more mobility exercises into your routine. Mobility movements allow joints, and therefore the corresponding muscles, to go through a full range of motion. Focus on all your major joints: neck, back, shoulders, hips, ankles. If you’re unsure on how to incorporate mobility into your daily routine, our partners at Performance Care Clinics offer a monthly Mobility Seminar designed to work through all ranges of motion and address muscles of the Posterior Chain.

Finally, exercise under the guidance of a knowledgeable coach. Since you’re stuck in a seated, hunched over position for hours on end, the last thing your body needs is to go sit on a bike and pedal at a high intensity in the same hunched over position; similarly, hitting a ton of crunches is an equally poor choice. These types of  exercise will reinforce the poor postural habits of sitting at a desk rather than allowing your body to go through opposing positions. 

At Bodymass, we address all aspects of engaging the muscles of the posterior chain during both private training and small group training. Our workouts are designed in conjunction with Physical Therapists to ensure we are moving well. We cap classes at ten participants to ensure every participant receives individual coaching and has proper form. Every workout includes moving joints through a full range of motion, focusing on the small and neglected muscles, then lifting to activate those muscles.  

We can all take steps towards addressing this crisis. Stand more, move through full ranges of motion and exercise with the proper guidance. We’re here to help you get started! 


Written By: Sam Pfister

Join one of Sam’s Small Group Workouts Here!

Stress Management & Strength Training

We all know that exercising is good for us, but we may still avoid it at all cost. It takes many of us longer to make up an excuse to not exercise than it would to put on your tennis shoes and do something. It's not a matter of if we have time to exercise, but a matter of making the time to exercise.  More importantly that just basic exercise, strength training should be made a priority in your routine. 

Let’s talk about the benefits of regular strength training:

1. Controls weight

2. Combats health conditions and diseases

3. Improves mood and stress levels

4. Boosts energy

5. Promotes better sleep

Strength training allows you to put your body and muscles to have time under tension. When you put that type of stress on your body, it is positive (if completed correctly). It allows your body to have an outlet to relieve the bad types of stress in your life: work, school, family obligations, and busy social calendars. 

When you are on a regular schedule of strength training you build strong muscles, bones, confidence, and self-worth. Strength training simply makes your life better.

At Bodymass, we encourage individuals to complete at least 3-4 days of strength training - working your large muscle groups: lower body, upper body, and core. Our Build Program is a great way to help you get into a regular routine, and to learn proper form and technique - Mondays & Thursdays are upper body days, Tuesdays & Fridays are lower body days.

Set goals as to where you want to be, have a plan, stick to it, and prioritize your day with that in mind. Speak with a health professional or personal trainer for tips on how you can get the most of your workout time based on the goals you wish to achieve.  

Not sure where to begin? Book your first workout free or try our Intro to Build at Bodymass! One of our qualified personal trainers will take you through our Build program to help you feel confident and on your way to combating stress one day at a time!


Written By: Megan Osysko

Train with Megan

New Program Launch: Intro To Build

We are excited to launch a new program at Bodymass -- Intro to Build

We hear it often, “I’d love to do strength training, but let me get in shape first.” This class is meant to bridge that gap and provides the perfect opportunity to transition into strength training.


The Build program is a progressive fitness program designed to improve overall strength, build muscle and teach members how to lift with confidence. 

The Intro to Build program will take you step by step through the major movements, helping set a strong foundation for continued growth in our Build workouts.

This 5-class program will feature:

  • Smaller groups: Classes no more than 5 people (compared to 10 in Build)

  • A slower pace than Build: fewer movements over a 45 minute session

  • A deeper explanation of the “why” behind Bodymass movement philosophy


The slower pace and smaller classes enable you to get to know us better. It will allow you to ask more questions, make sure you’re moving correctly, not feel the unease or pressure that often comes when in a group.  It will get you familiar with the terminology we use in class, the exercises we will be using and how to set up equipment.

Similarly, the smaller setting enables our coaching staff to know you better, learn more about how you move, your injury history, and opportunities for growth in movement.

If you have never picked up a barbell, have been out of weight training for some time, or want to ease slowly into the strength and conditioning world, then this option for you. At $199, the 5 workouts are designed to mimic Bodymass philosophy of frequency and thus will be completed within a two week window. With the opportunity to learn, Intro to Build is the perfect chance to get started with Small Group Training at Bodymass.

Interested in joining Intro to Build? Get started today here!

Written By: Sam Pfister

Join one of Sam’s Small Group Workouts Here!

Client Spotlight: Samantha Bisogno

As Samantha wraps up her first year as a member of Bodymass Gym, we figure it would be fun to reflect back on her journey here at Bodymass, and how it’s truly impacted her appreciation for fitness and overall health. 

Samantha is a consistent member of the gym.  She comes in for morning workouts every weekday.  She is a true testament of someone who takes our coaching direction and sees results because of her focus.  She comes to Build 4 days a week, twice focusing on upper body and twice focusing on lower body. In addition so gets one day a week of high intensity cardio in Burn where she can hang with some of the strongest guys at Bodymass.


In the Spring Samantha decided to take her results to a new level and participate in the Body Composition Challenge. The focus of this six week competition was to improve her body composition by increasing lean mass and decreasing fat mass.  A DEXA scan, the most accurate and detailed measure of body composition, is used to analyze results. Over the course of 6 weeks, from May 17th to June 29th she not only dropped 2.3 lbs of fat, but also gained 7.2 lbs of lean mass causing her body fat percentage to drop from 28.8% to 26.1%!.  


More importantly with the Challenge Samantha learned “a lot about what and how much I needed to eat in order to get stronger. Now I have a better idea of what X grams of protein/carbs/fat looks like in each meal, so I am better equipped to make smart nutrition choices even when I don't have complete control over the meal preparation. I also realized that I had been consuming too much fat and not enough carbs, and I immediately noticed a difference when I made those adjustments and started following the nutrition recommendations for the Challenge.”  She is now able to make smarter nutrition decisions, and her overall health and performance in the gym continues to increase.

Are you interested in taking your fitness & nutrition to the next level? Sign up for the next round of our Body Composition Challenge here!

Written by Bodymass Co-Owner: Virginia Kinkel

Supplements - What You Should Know and Our Top 5!

For most people, walking into a supplement store can become very overwhelming. Let's say you ask the store clerk to lead you to the section where they keep their multivitamins. Now to your surprise, you are staring at over 25 different multivitamins. So when you reach your hand out, what bottle do you grab? Unless you know precisely what vitamins and minerals you want, chances are you are going to choose the container with the most pleasing aesthetic or promising of results.

It is essential to understand that not all supplements are for everyone, so you should know what and why you are taking a certain product.  For the general population, supplements are not mandatory to live a happy & healthy lifestyle. The vitamins and minerals you get from a supplement are also obtainable through a nourishing diet that contains a balance of healthy fats, carbs, meats, fruits, and vegetables. However, most people do not maintain a well-balanced diet, and therefore, some extra help may be needed. This is where your supplements will come in!

 First, it's important to know what the word supplement means. When you use the phrase supplement as a noun, the word itself stands for a pill or a powder. But when you use the phrase supplement as a verb, it translates to the action of fulfilling or enhancing. Which means if you are not deficient in vitamin B, then why would you grab a multivitamin with a higher dosage of vitamin B?

When you understand what your deficiencies are, then you can go ahead and supplement for them. Supplements can be used to enhance specific effects such as growth and development of muscles, recovery, aid in or maintain hormone levels, etc. You want to be careful with what you are trying to enhance because it could have an adverse effect causing health problems. That is why it is always important to consult your doctor before taking any new supplements.

Whether it's to enhance your lifestyle or fill a deficiency, here are 5 supplements we recommend using:

Fish oil

There is a wide range of health benefits when it comes to taking fish oil. Its primary use has mainly been for heart and joint health. Fish oil contains omega-3, which is then also made up of EPAs and DHAs. These two are essential to look out for in your fish oil as they each play crucial roles as far as helping lower triglyceride levels and inflammation. The dosage will vary depending on your needs.

EPA DHA.jpeg


Multivitamins are typically the most recommended supplement on the market because they are pretty generalized. When you turn over a bottle of multivitamins, you'll notice a wide range of vitamins, minerals and maybe even some herbs. The dosage of each vitamin and mineral is pretty small. These are typically to help fill in any minor deficiencies you may have. Not all multivitamins are made up of the same ingredients. Know what you want most out of your multi before just grabbing one from the shelf.


Greens supplement

Another great way to help meet your micronutrient needs is to consume a greens supplement. A greens powder - like a multivitamin can help you fill in any minor deficiencies as well as allow you to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Some greens powder can also help aid in digestion depending on the brand. Some may contain fiber, which is a crucial micronutrient you receive when intaking fruits, vegetables, and certain grains. Again, not all greens powder are made up of the same ingredients, so check before you purchase. Compare different brands and see which one will best suit your needs. It is recommended to look for one with little to no sugar. Just as a warning greens powders typically never taste the best, but the benefits definitely out way the taste so don't knock it until you try it.




Protein, which is made up of amino acids, help your muscles recover and rebuild. There are many types, but the body is unable to produce nine of the essential amino acids. BCAA/EAA's aid in muscle recovery, muscle preservation, and in some cases, muscle development. BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acids, which are three of the nine essential aminos. EAA stands for essential amino acids, and that supplement contains all of the nine essentials. It's important to do your research on which one supports your lifestyle best as they are two individual supplements.


Protein powder

Protein powder is another generalized supplement as a large amount of the population are deficient in protein. You typically want to consume most of your protein from natural sources - plants, animals, legumes, lentils, etc. However, protein powder can help you meet your daily macronutrient goal. Protein powder is also convenient if you are on the go. Leave the excuses at the door and put the protein in your cup. It's as easy as that. 


As mentioned earlier, it's important to always check with your health care provider before taking any new supplements. We recommend doing your research; make sure the brand you choose has been quality tested, and you are getting the most bang for your buck. 

At Bodymass, we support our most trusted brand, Core Nutritionals. Stop by either of our Bodymass Locations to check out the Core selection we have to offer!

Written By: Mariah Webb

The Importance of Incorporating Rest & Recovery Into Your Bodymass Routine

No matter what type of strength training or exercise routine you are involved in, getting adequate rest and recovery should be a part of that plan for both physical and psychological reasons. Rest and recovery allow the body the time it needs in order to repair and strengthen itself between workouts. Fatigue hinders skill development. Pushing the limit when your body isn't at its best can cause you to overtrain.

Overtraining can occur as a result of not allowing your body to adapt to the changes caused by the stress of exercise. It can cause an individual to feel tired and depressed, have decreased athletic performance, or an increased risk of injury. Ultimately, it can actually weaken even the strongest individual.

There are recommendations for the amount of time you should rest between working certain muscle groups (24-28 hours), but it is important to realize that everyone adapts to exercise differently. As a general rule, the higher intensity of your workout, the more rest you should allow. Same goes for rest intervals among and between exercises and drills.

At Bodymass, we recommend incorporating these rest and recovery techniques into your training plan to avoid fatigue, overtraining, or injury:


Incorporate Active Recovery. Rather than overdoing it, incorporate active recovery days into your workout plan. If you are a heavy lifter, have a day of training that incorporates body-weight exercises only. If you are a runner, have a day where you lower the intensity of your run, or cross-train. Take a yoga class, swim laps, get on the elliptical or bike, go for a walk, keep your muscles working at a lower intensity to allow your body to flush out the lactic acid build-up from intense exercise.

Get Plenty of Sleep. When your body is at rest, you are able to recover more quickly. You will not be able to perform your next day of exercise at your best if you are tired. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per day.

Avoid Lifting Heavy on High Stress Days. When you are having a stressful day, avoid squatting or deadlifting to avoid back injury. Exercise can help with the release of stress, but overtraining (intensity, duration, frequency) can actually worsen stress.

Take a Day Off. For some, this isn't even in your vocabulary (but it should be). Everyone needs it! A lot of what we do during exercise is "mind over matter." We push ourselves to do one more rep, run one more sprint, or run one more mile. A day off not only allows your body to recovery physically, but mentally as well.

Written By: Megan Osysko

Five Reasons You Should Strength Train

Focus on physical fitness has ballooned in popularity over the last decade with gyms of all types popping up. At Bodymass, we’re ecstatic to see so many people breaking out of their comfort zone, connecting with community, and seeking healthier outlets. The benefits of exercise are well documented.


Strength training is critically important to any exercise regimen. More than just a good sweat or a quick burn, a proper strength training program puts a very different stimulus on the body. Forced by a new stimulus, the body adapts to the strength training program in several ways which are beneficial in the near term and the long term. Here are the top 5 reasons you should take up a strength training program:  

Builds lean muscle mass and increases metabolism

A proper strength training program focuses on increasing an individual’s ability to move more weight over time. This means the body adapts to the new stimulus by creating lean muscle. This new muscle not only makes you look good and feel great, it also helps you maintain a higher metabolism. Lean muscle mass requires more energy and uses more energy throughout the day, where as fatty mass takes less energy to maintain. The more lean muscle mass one has on their body, the more calories they burn throughout the day. This can be measured by a diagnostic tool called Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). Our trainers are trained in implementing this tool and you can watch your metabolism get stronger as you do as well.

Builds stronger bones

Putting a barbell on your back, over your head, or in your hands literally gives you stronger bones. A lack of bone density can create serious problems in life: if an accident were to occur, say falling off a ladder while doing work on your row house or you hit a pothole on your scooter on your way to work, having strong bones helps absorb the fall and prevents breaking an arm or a leg. Later in life, having greater bone density helps prevent hips from breaking when an elderly person falls. Statistics show an elderly person who breaks their hip is up to 60% more likely to die within a year of the accident. A recent study showed a 12 week back squat regimen negated bone loss in middle-aged women with osteopenia and osteosclerosis. BodyMass has a great tool called a DEXA scan. Beyond measuring lean mass and fat mass, it analyzes bone density and you can see your bones get heavier as you do strength training.

Builds confidence

Strength training is a perfect way to have tangible results in a world that rewards accomplishment yet is increasingly digital and ephemeral. Emails, tweets, Instagram posts, database scanning all disappears when the computer or phone is off. A strength training program is tangible; you can feel it: the barbell’s knurl, the sweat dripping down your nose, the increase in your back squat. The feeling of strength sticks with you long after you leave the weight room and is transmitted to your peers through your shoulders and head held high, knowing you are taking on the challenge of a strength program literally meant to push you beyond your current physical limits. 

Builds a better, stronger range of motion

Having a full range of motion and strength in that range of motion is crucial to vibrant living. A strength training program puts you in positions your body would not naturally seek out -- the bottom of a back squat, having a barbell overhead, or hip hinging for a deadlift. These movements teach the body how to move well and stretch areas that otherwise wouldn’t get movement. Think about a heavy back squat. It stretches and strengthens your ankles, knees, groin, hips, all of your back, and your shoulders. While you may not back squat or deadlift in your daily living, you use those muscles for everything -- standing up from your desk, picking up groceries, putting away tools in your garage. Have you ever noticed how your out of shape aunt or uncle sits in their chair? They hover over it and then let gravity do the rest. Likewise, when they get up, it’s more likely they’re pushing themselves up with their arms than they are standing with their legs. Their range of motion is gone and the strength in that range went with it. A solid strength training program would help them immensely. 

Builds smaller, crucial muscles

There are lots of small muscles throughout the body that help support strong joints and healthy movement. Your arms and legs are strong not only because of your biceps or hamstrings, but because the joints they’re connected to are strong. The shoulder, for instance, is primarily supported by the muscles around your shoulder blade connected to your spine and rib cage. But, because people are image conscious, they tend to focus on lifts that look good in a mirror, creating an imbalance toward the front of the shoulder versus the more important back shoulder muscles. Serious injury can occur if these tiny muscles aren’t properly developed -- you can tear a labrum, a rotator cuff, or dislocate your shoulder. A smart strength training program will help build those small muscles to help the body move more efficiently during lifts and help prevent injury in and out of the weightroom. 

At Bodymass, our main strength training program is called Build because we believe it will build a stronger, more flexible, and more resilient you. Our Build program runs in four week cycles to help your body master movements instead of doing something different every time you’re in. This helps achieve results and minimizes the risk of injury. The program is developed based on over a decade of experience and in conjunction with our in-house physical therapists. Our team of professional coaches and small class setting ensures you can get individual attention to make sure your form is correct and your questions are answered.

Looking to build lean muscle and increase metabolism? Looking to build a stronger range of motion? Looking to be more resilient and prevent injury throughout your life? Looking to reach new goals and build confidence? Bodymass is ready to help you get there.

Written by: Sam Pfister