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! 

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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!

Bodymass DC Celebrates its One Year Anniversary!

While the doors of Bodymass DC have only been opened about a year, the story actually begins in 2012. New to the DC area, I was a fitness manager with Washington Sports Clubs and had been relocated from Alexandria to the Columbia Heights location. Kris was the top producing trainer at that club and motivated me with how he was always researching ways to become a more successful fitness professional. From my very first day I felt connected to him both professionally and personally. We began working closely together and realized that in addition to having a similar training style, we both had a drive that wasn’t matched by many in the industry. While living in Columbia Heights we also realized that for such a densely populated area, there were bare minimal options for fitness. Unless you travelled significantly away from the area, WSC was your only major option. It was seven years ago that the gears were turning about bringing more fitness options to this deprived area of Northwest. 


Over the next four years we continued to work side-by-side at other commercial gyms in DC before going out on a limb and opening the first Bodymass location in January 2016. Even though we enjoyed training at a commercial gym we knew we wanted to pursue something greater and find a way to impact a larger number of people. Our chance came when a gym member who knew we were looking for a bigger opportunity found us a beautiful space in Arlington that would serve as the perfect space to launch our entrepreneurial careers. 


The role as personal trainer in a commercial fitness company often forces you to balance upper management’s business expectations and our client’s  membership experience. We empathized with constant membership frustrations, yet still had to work within the confines of a large organization and those guardrails often kept us from providing the service we knew we could. Our experience with the red tape and emphasis of “company over client” within the commercial fitness environment dictated our mission of becoming the “anti-gym.” When forming Bodymass we instantly knew there were a few things we wanted to change: we didn’t want membership fees, we didn’t want binding contracts and we wanted members to always be able to communicate with us so that we could cohesively solve their problems. Most importantly, we just wanted a place where people are nice and like to work hard - this applies to both members and employees. Over two years, we felt we had built a community of just that.

In December 2017, almost two years to the date of opening Bodymass, we were still small but running efficiently and smoothly. We regularly receive junk emails to our main Bodymass email address, one came across that said “Fitness Concept Wanted for 2833 Georgia Ave NW”. Dismissing it as junk, I just clicked through it. Later that day I briefly mentioned it to Kris in conversation, and he said “well, maybe it isn’t junk- let’s forward it to our broker and see.” On a freezing cold day in January 2018, we set foot in Bodymass DC. The floor was dirt, the windows were boarded up, there was a butane heater as the only source of heat/light and we stood in our winter jackets trying to imagine what the space could become. As we met with the building owner, we realized this was the right place for us. He told us that he loved the organic aspect of Bodymass, and didn’t want the space occupied by some big company. He also said that he saw Flex on Instagram, and loved that we had a gym dog. We always tell Flex he needs to pull his weight to earn his keep, and it looks like his efforts finally paid off.


It had been 6 years since Kris and I first met and talked about how this stretch of NW DC was deprived of fitness. Slowly we were living out a dream that I’m not sure we even had. Over the next several months we would “cross the bridge” from Arlington to come check on the progress of Bodymass DC. Slowly floors were being poured, plumbing was being installed, walls were being put up. Each time we came back we would see more and more progress. Eager to open in August 2018, we felt like everything was coming along according to plan. We had staff, we had equipment, we were just missing one important detail- the necessary permitting from the DCRA. For anyone who has ever experienced dealing with this, you can totally understand. While the gym was ready to go, we were held off for one week, then another, then another, but eventually were able to officially open and Bodymass DC was born.


Over the past year, we’ve been honored to become part of the Parkview/Pleasant Plains/Petworth community. We love how this area in DC is, in every sense of the word, a neighborhood - it is a place full of residents, business owners and customers who invest in its growth. Thank you for allowing us to pursue our dream every day, for being open to learning and making progress. Thank you for making us smile and making us proud. There are several days I leave Bodymass with a smile on my face because I’ve been able to spend my day with great people who want to work hard towards their goals!


Written By: Virginia Petersen

Train with Virginia

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!

How to Increase Your Metabolism

How many times can you remember someone saying that they can’t lose weight, “because of their metabolism”? Chances are you’ve heard that phrase plenty of times as many tend to use it as a crutch to accept the defeat of the stubborn weight loss battle. 

Did you know that your current metabolism is not an end all be all? In fact, you can actually increase your metabolism with methods that are backed by science, building lean muscle.

What is your metabolism?

Your metabolism is your body's ability to convert energy at a certain rate. Your body takes in food, liquid, and oxygen then turns that into fuel. Our body requires energy to function regardless if you’re moving around or not.  While you remain sedentary your body still needs energy for breathing, hormone production, food partitioning, and other vital organ functions - this is known as your resting metabolic rate. Your resting metabolic rate is the rate at which you burn energy while remaining in a sedentary state. 

Muscle burns more calories 

Building muscle is a great way to increase your metabolic rate as muscle tends to burn more calories than fat. If you have more muscle mass than fat mass you are going to burn more energy. The more muscle you have, the more oxygen you need for cellular respiration. Eventually, you will be able to maintain higher intensity workouts for a longer period of time. 


More muscle, more intensity, more overall calories burned 

Speaking of intensity, when we have more muscle we tend to be able to exercise for a longer period of time. From the time you started your program to the time you finish, you should have noticed how it is easier to get through as you get stronger and build muscle.  Soon enough the intensity of any workout program will need to eventually increase as our body will adapt. However, the more muscle you have, the more you’ll be required to continue to increase and adjust different variables to prevent plateaus. These variables may mean in order for you to train harder you need to train different systems to help assist your muscle gains.

Muscle preservation while aging

As we get older our muscles start to dissipate. If we continue working on a resistance training program as we age, we have better chances at maintaining the muscle we have built while decreasing our risks for loss of bone density loss. Maintaining our muscle mass is just as important as building muscle. 

Overall health

It’s never too late to start building muscle. No matter your age, current level of experience, weight, size, gender, height, the average individual can build muscle mass. Because of the necessary actions, it takes to not only build muscle but to also maintain it, it creates a demand to continue to be active. We are not going for a quick fix. We are aiming for sustainable goals whether that means being bigger, faster, stronger, leaner, balanced, etc - it’s all built up over time. 

How we can help

If you are unsure of your metabolic rate or unsure of how much energy you are actually burning in a day, we can provide you with that information here at Bodymass. Our Resting Metabolic Rate Test measures your oxygen intake versus your output of carbon dioxide. It will provide you calorie ranges specific for your needs.  From here we can help you build a plan best for you to help you find success in reaching your goals in the most efficient way possible!

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Request to Schedule an Appointment here!

Written by: Mariah Webb

Train with Mariah!

Three Tips to Stay Injury Free

At the start of a new workout plan you’re eager to see results.  You bust your butt and everything is going well until it suddenly comes to a screeching halt and you become sidelined with an injury.  In that instant all momentum is lost and it’s easy to spiral into regression. At Bodymass, our primary focus, in order to keep all members reaching their goals, is to avoid injury.  

Checkout these three tips to reduce your risk of injury, keep your fitness routine progressing forward, and ultimately maximize your results.  At Bodymass we’ve implemented all three of guidelines into our programming, so without you even knowing it you are already proactively avoiding injury.  To reduce your risk even more, be sure you adhere to these three beyond the walls of Bodymass.


As children we are naturally mobile.  We’re on our feet moving, changing position, and adapting to the world around us.  As adults these abilities naturally decrease due to our new, generally sedentary, environment.  In fitness, mobility is the ability for our joints to move through a full range of motion. While our bodies are designed to do this, our lifestyle becomes inhibiting.  Increased stress that brings our body into a forward flexed position, being hunched over a phone or computer and sitting all day are all culprits for becoming less mobile.  While we can’t always get out of these positions in our daily life, we can minimize the negative effect by increasing our mobility thus giving our joints the ability to adapt to extended ranges of motion in our workouts. The easiest way to do this is by adding mobility drills into your daily routine.  Checkout this instagram video to watch a mobility routine in superspeed. The goal is to get all major joints to go through a slow controlled, but maximal range of motion. We apply mobility drills from our in-house Physical Therapists to all Bodymass warm-ups and workouts.



Perhaps the most obvious tip to avoid injury is to make sure you’re doing exercises correctly.  Most people can’t see themselves workout, or don’t know what it feels like to do an exercise correctly, so this often becomes a challenge .  Having a coach provide a watchful eye during your workouts is imperative, but even more important we want you to create the body awareness to be able to feel the change in movement.  At Bodymass we keep our group training small so that our coaches can see everyone perform each exercise. If someone isn’t doing a movement properly, we can quickly step in to correct form.  Over time, with continued repetition and understanding of that exercise, you are able to feel what it’s like to do a movement correctly. For those who are still having a difficult time learning to move well, we recommend either 1-on-1 Private Training, or scheduling a consult with one of our in-house Physical Therapists at Performance Care Clinics.



When pursuing a serious goal, it becomes very easy to overexert and not listen to your body.  Oftentimes in fitness we think that “more is better” when in actuality “better is better.” One easy way to give your body a chance to be “better” is to make sure you’re not working out every single day - give yourself a day of rest.  This is imperative to allow your body and nervous system a chance to recover and improve. Control the intensity and duration of your workouts - you don’t need to do multiple workouts a day, or work until you’re on the brink of passing out.  When your brain and body are tired you’re more likely to injure yourself. We schedule our workouts at Bodymass so that our members are only lifting heavy 4 days per week, and are only participating in high intensity workouts no more than 3 days per week.  We encourage our members to do heavier lifting days 3-4 days per week, and supplemental conditioning days 1-2 times per week.


By following these three tips, you will be on an expedited path to results by decreasing your chance of injury.  Try implementing them into your routine. Your body will thank you!

Written By: Virginia Kinkel

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