Cruel Summer: Exercising in the Heat

Welcome to summer, y’all! As soon as this irregular northwestern gloom clears, we’ll soon all be sweltering together. While there’s reasonable dread about this time of year, when the air is redolent with honeysuckle and yesterday’s garbage, it can be a time of sweaty enjoyment.

As a personal trainer and the token jock at Freed Bodyworks, I observe the heat as a challenge, not a deterrent, to my hardy exercise habit. Our bodies are built to adjust to the heat, but that magical process takes roughly two weeks. To ease this harsh jump into the heat, I’ve typed up some tips to make your settling into summer a little more comfortable. My hope is to encourage you to enjoy safe, strenuous workouts in the great outdoors, and appreciate the light and warmth of the summer months. During this time, I entreat you to be attentive and patient with your body, and treat yourself as your own most important person.

 Preparing for the Heat:

  1. Start early. Once the temperature starts to creep above 82*F (27*C), and the sun gets higher in the sky, exercise becomes incrementally more challenging. While that adjustment to an earlier start can be … painful, it can be the best way to start fresh. For motivation, I enjoy getting my summer sweat on with the (actually-all-year) November Project, which kicks off its free and magical “hills for breakfast” workout at 6:30 a.m.

  2. Make it easier for your body to cool down swiftly. Wear light, breathable clothes, such that your hard-earned sweat can evaporate as quickly as possible. If your energy is going towards maintaining a regular body temperature, it will be considerably harder to kick out a third set of squats.

  3. Ensure your clothing is comfortable and not restrictive. Like many humans, I experience thigh chaffing in the summer. To make my runs less painful, I wear a light legging to keep my thighs from rubbing together.

  4. Protect yourself from the sun’s mighty rays: apply sunscreen (with an SPF over 15), and perhaps even consider donning a fetching baseball cap for coverage.

  5. Adjust your expectations. During your adjustment phase (ie. now), I’d suggest limiting the intensity of your outdoor workouts. Be prepared for it to take you longer to run a mile, for hills to be more arduous, and for sprints to be more challenging. You’re being a boss just by getting your sweat on — now’s not the time to set your PRs.


    Running with a fury for chips up 15th street for November Project!

Continue reading

Just doing it. (Iron Aries #2!)

In my experience, there are three parts of training:

1. Plan it. *

2. Do it.

3. Record it.

Of these three, I am definitely best at the “doing it” part, and I’m starting to see results. (Thanks, in honesty, to Chris.)

The results do not look at all like this. Because I am a human.


Continue reading


Hi, I’m Aries — I’m a licensed massage therapist and I work here in Washington, DC, predominantly at Freed Bodyworks. This is a collection of my thoughts on health, fitness, pain management, injuries, stress management and self-care strategies.

I see most clients in relation to chronic pain and athletic injuries, including issues such as shoulder injuries, headaches, TMJ, carpal tunnel, low back pain, neck pain, and restricted movement. I also appreciate working with clients to foster relaxation and assist in stress management. I use deep tissue techniques (and “Swedish” techniques) to decrease pain, increase movement, and help people feel more at ease in their bodies. I am in the process of getting my personal trainer certification so I can understand more about exercise physiology, stretching, and fitness.

As a massage therapist, I seek to create a safe, non-judgemental space for all people to receive bodywork. I welcome people of all body types, races, ability, ages, ethnicities, sexualities and gender identities. There are many reasons to seek massage, and I look forwards to creating massages that fit your needs and your body.

You can book a session online here (even for a same-day appointment) to find a time that fits your schedule. For more information, you can call or text me (202) 670-3886, or shoot me an email at aries [at] freedbodyworks [dot] com.

Iron Aries!

I was a chubby kid. And an unhealthy teen.

But as a grown-up, I’ve tried to found something close to a happy medium through regular exercise. Running, dancing, and calisthenics are my self-care.

As a massage therapist, I’ve definitely been pushed, both physically and mentally, to have a more complete understanding of bodies. I seen a number of clients in regards to pain management and injury recovery, and in our sessions, I’ve craved a more complete understanding of kinesthesiology and anatomy. I’ve wanted to be more skilled at explaining “good” soreness and “bad” soreness, and be more able to field questions about athletic training. I want to learn all the things. Continue reading

Why do you want to talk to me?

“Why do you want to talk to me?”

I hear this question at least once a week. As a part of a first session, massage therapists conduct an intake to hear about your history, goals, and what brings you in. While most massage therapists speak to their clients for five to ten minutes, I speak with clients for up to thirty minutes. We don’t charge for this time, nor does it “come off” your table time.

Yea. Thirty minutes: mostly of you speaking, describing your body and how your use your body regularly.

Thirty minutes is a long time, especially in our busy lives.

This is a vital aspect to Freed Bodyworks, and working with Frances, a piece that I initially struggled with. But as I’ve spent more time at Freed, I’ve realized how meaningful this time is to the practice. The thirty minute intake significantly changes the way massages work.

So why do we do it? Continue reading