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I don't even have words for this thing they call a workout (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/ DC Refined)

My favorite workouts I tried in 2016

I love working out -- It's my "me" time. I wake up early, get to the gym by 6:30 a.m. and take an hour out of my day to not think about anything else.

When I joined the DC Refined team, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to combine my passion for fitness with writing and talk about all of these workouts I've tried (the good, the bad, and the really hard). I have been in my position as assistant editor since the beginning of April and in the last nine months I have tried out 11 different workouts! I have tried everything from pole dancing (sorry dad) to SoulCycle and hot pilates at Mind the Mat.

I have rounded up my top five favorite workouts I tried this year... You know the ones that made me sweat, puke and want to die:


If you have read my posts on MADabolic, it is not hard to tell that I absolutely love this workout. Out of all the gyms I tried this year, this is the one I bought a membership for (which says a lot..because it is not cheap). MADabolic challenges me every day but is sustainable as opposed to something like CrossFit, where I feel like I'm wearing my body down.

MADabolic is an intense interval training workout designed entirely around work-to-rest ratios. You take the time to test out weights, work on form and train hard. You can read everything I've written about MADabolic, here.

I would recommend this workout to anyone trying to get in shape or jump-start a new fitness routine.


Okay, SoulCycle got a little boost in my ratings from the fact that when I went to my first class I sat right beside Michelle Obama. It could've been the worst workout ever (which it was not) and I still would have loved every second of it. Other than meeting Michelle Obama, I love SoulCycle. I love the energy, the music, the whole setting. I would highly recommend SoulCycle to anyone! It's great cardio, mixed with a little lifting, all while listening to some bad a** tunes!

PS. This one may not be for the mom crowd... I took my mom and she was not a fan, to say the least.


I don't even have words for this thing they call a workout. It is by far the hardest workout I have ever done. I got dragged into this one by my coworker and I thought "how hard could it really be?" Oh, let me tell you -- you will be sweating within the first two minutes, your muscles will be screaming for you to stop and the instructor will be screaming at you not to stop, your legs will be shaking, your arms will be shaking, and your abs will be on fire. Doesn't that all sound so great? NOT! Okay, but really, once the class is over, you do feel great and you are ready to go back for more of the insane torture!

If you haven't worked out in a long time, I would not recommend jumping right into SolidCore, it is definitely a grueling workout.


I know what you are thinking... you hate rowing. Why on earth would you subject yourself to a 45-minute class of strictly rowing? Well, let me tell you! ROWVigor is a great full body, low impact workout. Each class includes rowing intervals punctuated with a variety of weight bearing exercises for maximum calorie burn and strength building.

This class changed my perception on rowing. I'm not saying I love rowing, but I don't hate it as much as I use to...and I would consider that a success.

I would recommend this class to anyone looking for a full body, low impact workout. If you have bad knees, weak ankles, shin splints, etc. I would give ROWVigor a try.


And last but definitely not least, DivaFit, a pole dancing studio with multiple locations in the Northern Virginia area changing the way people get their sweat on with an exhilarating, confidence boosting pole workout.

I didn't choose this one because I think it's a great workout, but because it was so much fun! I went with my coworkers (which I would not recommend for anyone else) and we had the time of our lives. We danced, sweat, laughed, and we were all sore the next day. I cannot say enough great things about DivaFit!

I would recommend taking a pole dancing class to all the ladies out there! Go with your girlfriends on an "active rest day" and get your heart rate up while having a blast.

If you want to read about some of the other workouts I tried in 2016, select one from below: