Know Your Fitness D.C. workout (Photo via Know Your Fitness D.C.)

NoMa residents can meet their neighbors and get a workout at the same time this weekend.

Know Your Fitness D.C. plans to hold a free exercise session Saturday at the M Street NE underpass near the NoMa – Gallaudet University Metro station. The workout, which is for all fitness levels, will run from 10 to 11 a.m. Locals can register online.

The session’s first 30 minutes will focus on “functional movements and body weight exercise,” according to the organization. The second half of the workout will center on “performance and team-oriented circuits with weights,” the group says.

Know Your Fitness D.C., which calls itself “a bottom-up and sustainable fitness movement,” will monitor residents’ performance and put information online about how NoMa participants, as a whole, stack up to people in other neighborhoods.

“Our knowledgeable instructors will keep you motivated and on track!” the group says.

Photo via Know Your Fitness D.C.


Hill residents can spend their early mornings learning to hula hoop and even dance with fire from a Burning Man performer.

Professional hula hooper and fire entertainer Caitlin Matanle, aka Spinnabel Lee, is teaching lessons at CrossFit Capitol Hill (1502 Massachusetts Ave. SE). The private sessions offer playful cardio exercise and creative expression, she said.

“Depending on your personal style, you can run away and join the circus for an hour, or have a meditative experience, or dance, or all three,” she said.

Dancers learn to twirl hoops around their waists, arms, hands and legs. Once they master basic moves, they graduate to spinning multiple hoops and even working with hoops set on fire. Those students get extensive safety training in the physics of fire and how to avoid burns, Matanle said.

“There’s no secret,” she said, noting that spokes on the hoops are set on fire, not the hoops themselves.

Matanle, 30, started offering lessons on the Hill in September and will start small-group sessions soon. She teaches outdoors in the warmer months, on the tennis courts at Payne Elementary School (1445 C St. SE).

The Reston resident first saw fire performance in 2006, in Guatemala. She learned hoop dance in 2009 and now teaches and performs full time, doing shows everywhere from “buttoned-up” corporate events to weddings to churches. She has performed three times at Burning Man, the wild festival held annually in the northern Nevada desert.

Hula hooping offers much-needed play to people with serious jobs, Matanle said.

“The thing about hula hooping is it’s not just good exercise — it’s playful and fun,” she said. “You kind of forget that you’re exercising. I never forget that I went to the gym.”

Photos courtesy of Caitlin Matanle/Devon Rowland Photography/Heather Coburn Photography

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