Editor’s Note: The following biweekly column is sponsored and written by Disrupt Fitness.
Maybe it’s a backlash against a nation full of fast and processed foods. Or maybe it’s to counteract the sedentary desk-job lifestyle that tends to come with a career.
Whatever the reason, Arlington, as it’s grown stronger as a community, has also been getting physically stronger. The young professionals building their lives here are also health-conscious, fitness-savvy people, and the community is taking notice.
These are a few of our favorite local businesses that regularly encourage an active, healthy lifestyle. They’re all about not sacrificing health or happiness to life’s demands. You might say they make it easy to live well.
The Protein Bar (800 N. Glebe Road, Ballston) is a quick, convenient lunch option in Ballston — but it’s definitely not your typical fast food. The Chicago-based business is all about making healthy food accessible and keeping customers satisfied for the long haul.
They do this by offering a well-varied menu of salads, “bar-rittos” (the Bar’s version of a wrap), and quinoa bowls, the last of which does wonders to make the unfamiliar familiar. The ancient grain is dressed up in ways that would give your favorite pasta a run for its money, including a warm, flavorful spinach and pesto bowl, one of their most popular choices.
It’s a place that just feels fresh, with a philosophy of a new view of food, and genuine excitement about sharing it with everyone. “Not all calories are created equally — choose wisely,” proclaims one of its many quotes on the wall. Here, it isn’t hard to do just that.
South Block Café (3011 11th Street, Clarendon) has become the go-to juicing establishment in Arlington, bringing another healthy trend and some Left Coast-inspired freshness to the D.C. area. The café specializes in bottled cold-pressed juices — made at their own microjuicery — as well as smoothies and açai bowls. Owner Amir Mostafavi started the business in 2011 and has since infused it with some serious creativity: the labels on the bottles are a testament to his graphic design background, and the unique flavor cocktails in the juices are inspired.
When you stop by, congratulate the staff: the café recently won “Best Smoothie” in the Washington City Paper‘s Best of D.C. awards. (And if you’re in a time crunch, they deliver within a 10-mile radius.)
For even more fresh food with local roots, look no further than Sweet Leaf Community Café (2200 Wilson Blvd, Courthouse), whose third location just opened in Courthouse. They’re proud of their local heritage at Sweet Leaf, and especially of how they source from local farms as much as possible. It’s a well worth a stop inside the homey, wood-paneled space for a sandwich, big green salad, or even frozen yogurt (hey, “healthy” doesn’t mean “no dessert”).
Pacers Running Stores (3100 Clarendon Blvd, Clarendon, and 1101 S. Joyce Street, Pentagon City) have become some of the biggest destinations for Arlington runners to outfit themselves. Recreational and competitive athletes alike can find a perfect fit among the shoe offerings here. Or find an even better fit at one of their group run opportunities.
Chances are if you have ever been to a road race in Arlington, Pacers was the mastermind behind it. Go to the store or website to check out their race series and sign up to either run or volunteer. It’s a thrilling way to experience the local running community.
Potomac River Running (4501 N. Fairfax Drive, Ballston) is another local runners’ oasis, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Just like Pacers, Potomac River Running (or “PR”) offers individualized gait analyses and training programs for newbies, a calendar full of road races, and community group runs. And if you’ve got a competitive edge, consider joining the PR Racing Team for a faster path to fitness.
ASK THE TRAINER
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The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.