Trying Out Washington D.C.’s Elevate Interval Fitness

A visit to Elevate Interval Fitness was on my District fitness to-do list since early this summer. I’m always up for a fun new challenge and after I found out a few of my colleagues worked Elevate into their regular fitness routine, I knew I needed to try it myself. An amped-up take on the popular high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, Elevate boasts a method designed to boost the “afterburn effect.” Afterburn increases your metabolism and allows gym goers to burn more calories up to 36 hours following the workout. This all sounded good to me, so I rounded up my husband for a class the morning of my 30th birthday. (We all know that celebrating birthdays with a side of sweat is the best!)

How it works

Elevate incorporates a variety of high intensity intervals, interspersed with periods of rest. In any given workout, athletes will do treadmill work, rowing, strength training with weights and body weight exercises. While most of Elevate’s exercise equipment is standard, Elevate uses slat belt treadmills that trainers instruct classmates to either set to manual or dynamic. Slat belts are said to be easier on the knees and I can testify that our drill on the manual setting was also one of the toughest parts of class. The machines can be a little tricky to use, so don’t hesitate to call out a trainer if you need help navigating during class.

First impressions

When we first arrived at the 14th Street studio, we were impressed. The trainers working the day we stopped in were friendly and approachable, as well as super knowledgeable about the workout we were about to encounter. The gym offers towel service, programmable lockers and showers and locker rooms.

The workout

On the morning we visited Elevate, my husband and I started our workout on the treadmill, along with about three quarters of the class. After a brief warm-up, our first exercise was running at a 4% incline for a fifth of a mile, followed by 300 meters on the rower. From the rower, we’d head back to the treadmill, increasing our distance by .04 miles each set, repeating these exercises for 15 minutes.

We got a quick breather before four minutes on the dreaded manual setting on the treadmill – 20 seconds of running followed by 10 seconds of rest, on repeat. I’ve never been so glad to hop off a treadmill!

On the floor, we partnered up to alternate between time on the air bike and planks/push-ups and resistance band exercises. We followed that up with a kettlebell series that the floor exercisers did as a group. We concluded with a final partner exercise – alternating plank pikes on the ab roller with chest presses on the TRX.


After attending this class, I’m going to try to incorporate the manual setting on slatted treadmills into my workouts at my gym. I loved the slat belts, but never understood how to use the treadmill manually – and now that I know how challenging it is, I absolutely need to do it more.

I also want to work on incorporating more strength training into my gym workouts. Generally, I’ll go to the gym and do medium-effort cardio for about 45 minutes followed by about 15 minutes of easy-effort “strength training.” Elevate inspired me to do more strength training and give it more of an even split by making both my cardio and strength training more efficient by pushing myself more in each part of my workout.

All in all the class moved quickly and I loved the wide variety of exercises. If I went more frequently I know I would learn the ropes and feel more comfortable with the transitions and working with the equipment. It was a tough hour, but man does it make you feel like a badass when your husband thinks it was even tougher.

Elevate offers your first class free, and a one-week trial for $30 following that initial class. There are two studios in the DMV, 14th Street (2428 14th Street NW) and Mosaic (2985 District Ave, Suite 195, Fairfax, VA 22031).

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About Emily Baseman

Emily Baseman considers herself a fitness generalist. A firm believer that wellness is found by giving your body what it deserves, she is dedicated to working out regularly, drinking lots of water, and eating plenty of vegetables. From barre to HIIT to yoga to cycling, Emily loves to work up a sweat running around to take in a little bit of everything. She is a midwestern transplant to Washington, DC, currently working, cooking, and exploring the fitness scene in our nation's capital. By day, Emily helps social impact brands and nonprofits use social media to tell their philanthropic stories. She's obsessed with her dog, Bascom, red wine, and cheese of all kinds.