Sweat Box DC Review

4 May


If you’re into fitness/working out in DC and the internet algorithms have been doing their job, you have probably been inundated with Sweat Box ads across every social media platform on God’s green earth. Never one to miss a new workout, I signed up for the first class on the opening day  to see what this was all about.

Like a lot of boutique fitness studios, most of Sweat Box’s hype is self-driven. The instructors are called “Bosses,” there are all kinds of complicated lighting schemes in the studio, and the front desk staff wishes you a haughty “good luck” as you enter the studio. None of this is too surprising, though–  the studio is an offshoot of Vida, the fashion show masquerading as a gym with memberships ranging from $94-$129 per month. Whatever.

Anyway, the check in area doubles as the locker room (protip: they’re the ones you can set your own code to, so need to bring your own lock), but do know that there’s no actual changing area except the single spa bathroom, so come ready or early. It also gets a bit crowded between classes when one group is coming and the other is going–so if, like me, you are not into any scene where Lulu-clad fitness freaks stand around sizing one another up, just come dressed in your clothes with 3 minutes to spare and head right into the studio. Yes, you know what I’m talking about:


ANYWAY. The workout itself is similar to interval training and is set up similar to an Elevate or Barry’s, but, instead of separating the class into separate cardio and strength groups, you have your own little station that has a TRX setup, a set of dumb bells, and an awesome stationary bike. The class consists of three strength circuits alternated with ~5 minutes of work/recovery on the bike. The bike was really the interesting/novel part of the the whole thing– you answer a series of questions on the bike computer to get your Functional Threshold Wattage (FTW), and then the computer lights up in either blue, green, yellow, or red to indicate the “zone” you’re working in relative to that FTW.  Again- I am not that into gimmicks/gadgets, but I actually found this to be super helpful in maximizing those short spins and kept me working hard better than the usual 1-10 scale of spin classes. It was also REALLY accurate… when my instructor–err, Boss– said that, “By the end of class, Red should feel like you’ll die if you do more than 30 seconds,” he was spot on.

You can also use a heart rate monitor (has to be a MyZone), though my instructor didn’t focus very much on that. There are two screens in the studio so you can keep track of it yourself, though if you are really into HR training you should pick a spot right in front of the screens because otherwise they are hard to see.

The class was tough, and the instructor Isaiah kept us on cue and upbeat. The moves were easy enough to follow and I loved that it was a focused class (shoulders/chest) rather than total body. I was tired at the end of class but not totally pooped. I found the workout tougher on strength than cardio, and would probably pair this with a run in the future.


  • they bring you a cool towel at the end, and this is heaven
  • great strength training with great attention to working the same muscle(s) in different ways
  • good instructor (mine was Isaiah) who read the room really well and pumped us up when we needed some pep and pushed us further when we needed a kick in the pants
  • nice, spacious setup with everything you need for class in one spot
  • awesome way to mix up your workout routine

Not My Favorite:

  • kind of a scene, though this may dissipate as the novelty wears off
  • tough to see the screens where heart rate and other data is displayed
  • a lot of bells and whistles, which I know jazzes some people up but kind of turns me off… just give me the workout, man!
  • high price point ($29-$39/class, depending on number of classes purchased)– I would pay $30/class for SolidCore because it is the world’s most insane workout… this was not that, and should be priced lower accordingly.
  • no locker rooms/shower– I sort-of snuck upstairs to use the main Vida showers (which are AH-mazing, btw), but I’m not really sure I was supposed to, so plan to shower somewhere else.

Bottom Line: I’d go back if I were really in a rut or if a friend really wanted to try it out, but I don’t see this becoming part of my regular routine.

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