The concept behind this gym is simple and sophisticated: Participants spend 20 minutes of cardio on a spin cycle, 20 minutes of strength training in a high-intensity workout (HIIT), and 20 minutes of active decompression and mindfulness with yoga.
One instructor leads all three activities in three separate sections of the 4,000-square-foot spa-like gym. An hour after entering, you are back out on the bustling streets of Ballston.
This is SPENGA, a Chicago-based fitness concept that arrived in Arlington in May 2021. After a fluttering pandemic-induced opening, the gym has found its footing and its devotees, says owner Sherry Ruffing.
A longtime fitness buff herself, Ruffing, a former corporate lobbyist, was tired of bouncing from one gym to the other to satisfy her needs. “I had tried them all,” she says. She was also looking for her professional Plan B when she discovered SPENGA. “It’s a one-stop shop,” she says, one that addresses what SPENGA calls “the three pillars of fitness.”
“It’s ideal for everyone, no matter where you are on your fitness journey,” Ruffing says.
- The session starts with the caloric burn of spin, with one of the gym’s specially trained trainers — who pass an “audition” to get the job — using dynamic motivating techniques to get clients’ heart rates peaking.
- The lights go out over the bikes to illuminate the strength section, where each participant has a station outfitted with kettlebells, dumbbells, weighted balls, TRX straps, and step boxes; the guided exercise routine changes daily to focus on a different muscle group.
- Once the third section of the room is illuminated, the clients head to their mats and blocks for a restorative session of yoga where they are led through strength poses — hey, you’re already warmed up — that promote flexibility and faster recovery, not to mention adding a finishing dose of mindfulness to the workout.
“You feel refreshed as opposed to beat up,” Ruffing says.
(In case you haven’t figured it out, the name SPENGA is derived from the words “spin-strength-yoga.”)
Ruffing says the Ballston location, one of about 300 in the U.S., is the only one in the region; the next closest, she says, are Philadelphia and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
As for rates, monthly memberships with unlimited visits tops the list at about $15 a session ($209 for the month); other monthly packages include eight visits ($159, about $20 per visit) and $99 a month for four workouts. Other bulk packages are available, as are drop-ins for those with commitment issues. 4040 Fairfax Dr., Ste. 100D, Arlington
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