Ambitious Athletics, Washington DC

07/18/2016 10:26 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

It was about 6:30am, Tuesday morning. Half of the nation's capital was awake, and the other half would soon be waking up. I'm sure taxi and Uber drivers had clocked on when I was still asleep. The lines at the Starbucks on each corner were out the doors; tall grande soy whip no whip decaf latte.

Underneath the city, specifically at 2021 K Street, nothing and no one was asleep. Ambitious Athletics (http://www.ambitiousathletics.com), owned by Carmen Sturniolo, had been open and awake since 5:30am, preparing and running the first of who knows how many sessions would happen in the underground gym that day.

I entered the building after being dropped off by my Uber ride, pushed down on the elevator, and hit the letter "T." As soon as I got off the elevator I could hear the music, throwing it back to some 80's, and the noises that you expect to hear from a gym in session. Yep, this is where I'm meant to be. I opened the door, and over she walks, 'Lori Lindsey.' (If anyone knows me, I'm a HUGE women's soccer fan, so the opportunity to meet a retired player of the USWNT and I almost fell over.) Anyway, I had connected with Lori through her website and emailed her back and forth a few times. My husband and I planned a few nights in DC so how could I pass up an opportunity to go to Ambitious Athletics.

Ambitious Athletics and coaches Carmen Sturniolo and Lori Lindsey were recently awarded the Capital One Community Champions Award from Washington Mystics and Monumental Sports and Entertainment. The Ambitious Athletics Team and their entire "Fit Fam" were recognized for their work, support, and dedication towards the DC community via the five pillars: Military/Veteran, Hunger and Homeless, Education, Fitness and Health, and Youth Basketball that this particular group focuses on. I could tell as soon as I walked in that morning that I was walking into a well-established group where everyone supports each other, it's not about who is the best but how can we be the best together? Both Carmen and Lori have now dedicated their lives to not just helping others on their fitness journeys, but also finding their best selves. Carmen began his fitness career after graduating from Penn State University with varying area clubs where he found too many people not getting the results they wanted through the programs they were so regimented in following. His desire to help others lead him to open Ambitious Athletics in 2010 and the rest is history. Lori Lindsey is a household name for anyone who follows US Soccer and the USWNT, but her passion for strength training and conditioning started back during her high school training days. This new way of training lead her to play for "The" University of Virginia and go on to play for the national team and all three women's professional leagues here in America. While still competing, Lori began personal training at some gyms in DC. Through her training, she linked up with Carmen and their "made in boot camp heaven" partnership began at Ambitious Athletics.

Carmen and Lori often work simultaneously as sessions take place, observing as a class member drives the group through a memorized warm-up, one of your most essential parts to the entire session. Carmen and Lori are right there, watching your form, correcting your form, pushing you to squeeze every inch more so then you already are. You don't just get stronger here, you learn how to be better, get better, be stronger, and do enough to push yourself even more than you already might. I was introduced as a new face to the class, welcomed with high fives and "good jobs", "way to work" and "get it." Everyone cheered everyone on, everyone got on each other; just what you want from someone who wants just as much as you. After a warm-up, we went into a huddle, hands in, some pep talking, some motivation, and then we went to work. Carmen was constantly checking, asking questions if we had questions, making sure we understood what we were doing.

Lori took the time to correct my swing form. Her focused eyes and knowledgeable mind took the few minutes to explain in words, and then demonstrate how to improve my stance, my CORE, my placement. It's not about quantity, about how many reps you complete. It's about how many reps you complete correctly. What's the quality of your work out, not the quantity? Are you getting results? Do you understand why you are getting results or why you might not be, and how do you change.

Anyone who is willing to enter a program with a trainer has obviously made that choice for a reason. I was ready to push my body to the limits and not let anyone stop me. I knew I could get so much more from my body than I was already expecting from it. If you want to begin your own journey, choose a trainer who will not just expect quantity from you, push you to an unrealistic goal too quickly, or not let you or help you understand your own body along the way. Choose a trainer who will do all of this and more for you. They are here to help you be better. Carmen and Lori have done that for everyone amongst their "Fit Fam" at Ambitious Athletics and certainly reassured me on my drop-in visit. Look them up. You will not be disappointed and you might just discover a whole new "you" you never knew existed.

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