We learned more about Cut Seven’s ethos and what this new location offers to gym-goers.
The writing is literally on the wall when I walk into Cut Seven’s bright Logan Circle studio: “The Hardest Shit We Do In Life Cannot Be Done Alone.” What have I gotten myself into?
Over the years, I’ve done everything from aerobics to Zumba, but I’m no athlete. I’ve stuck primarily to walking, yoga and the occasional dance party (with or without other people). Is there really a place for me in in a slick studio studded with kettlebells, TRX bands and – gulp – weighted sleds?
Let’s find out.
Cut Seven is a sports conditioning studio co-owned by husband-and-wife team Chris and Alex Perrin. After a few years gathering steam and fandom with pop-up classes around town, the corner studio in Logan Circle opened in January 2017. And soon, they’ll have a new, much bigger and more extensive sibling: the flagship Cut Seven studio opening in Clarendon shortly before Labor Day.
In addition to the classes and community Cut Seven athletes have come to know and love, the new location that tops at over 5,000 square feet will offer features like an infrared sauna, cold plunges and Normatec recovery sleeves.
Cut Seven classes take a team-based approach to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with certified fitness professionals leading each class in a variety of moves like squats, TRX abs exercises and weighted lunges across the black Astroturf floor.
And if you’re looking for a treadmill, you won’t find one here.
“I can’t stand to run and I hate treadmills,” Alex told her personal trainer over a decade ago, challenging him to design creative effective workouts for her.
That trainer was Chris. At the time, he was working as an accountant by day and as a personal trainer by night (and very early mornings).
A former college football player, Chris had learned a lot from rehabbing himself after a knee injury and sometimes trained peers. And yet, he never aspired to own a business or be a trainer.
“I was good at accounting [and I thought] maybe I’ll just be in finance and make money,” he says. “I won’t be happy, but I’ll be making money.”
Even as he put more and more time and ingenuity into his personal training side hustle, he never thought he’d trade in his suit for sweats full-time.
But with Alex, he had found more than a client happy with the results of their training. After their trainer/client relationship ended, two new relationships blossomed: business and romance, all at once.
Alex also knew she’d found someone special – as was his approach to training and exercise.
“He created an incredible program that took sports conditioning elements of his football years,” she says. “It’s fun to go over hurdles and do battle ropes. It’s fun to do these unique things from sports that I had honestly never done.”
Chris’ distinct approach to fitness training balances working each of the body’s seven (hence the studio name) muscle groups efficiently with proper rest and recovery – making something typically achieved with a personal trainer available in a group workout experience. Alex’s talent for articulating visions and setting goals complemented Chris’ concept perfectly.
“It never would have been this without Alex shining a light,” Chris says. “She showed me the potential of what this could be.”
A couple years after their 2014 wedding, their goal of opening their first brick-and-mortar studio was within reach. Financing came from an SBA loan, emptying their savings and maxing out every credit card. Alex even considered selling her wedding ring.
Ultimately, 2017 was a banner year for the Perrins professionally and personally: the studio opened in January, and only six months later, they became parents (a second little one – baby, that is – joined their family a year and a half ago).
When devotees of Cut Seven’s early pop-up-only classes learned the couple was expecting more than the new studio, they rallied around them, offering gifts and babysitting. The hardest things we do in life cannot be done alone.
My first class kicks off with Cut Seven’s signature two claps, a brief moment where everyone comes together in camaraderie and gets psyched up as a group for the demanding hour ahead.
My favorite station turns out to be those intimidating weighted sleds. Pushing one across the Astroturf feels like something out of a “Rocky” training montage. It’s completely new to me and I wonder if this thing is over 100 pounds – I can’t read the numbers through the sweat dripping into my eyes. The instructor jogs over to me.
“Nice job,” he says. “That sled weighs almost 200 pounds.”
I’m genuinely stunned that my ability exceeds what I thought I was capable of, but that’s part of the Cut Seven ethos.
“What you do in our workout room completely impacts how you treat yourself and how you act outside of that room,” Chris says. “If you have more confidence walking out of the room, you’re going to have more confidence on the sidewalk.”
With the new Clarendon studio opening in September, Chris and Alex continue to lead Cut Seven in achieving the hardest things we do in life not alone, but in community – two claps and one challenging workout together at a time.
You can sign up for memberships and classes at Cut Seven’s new flagship here.
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