I Did Ashley Graham's Favorite Workout, and Holy Sh*t I Feel Like a Boss

If you've taken a scroll through Instagram lately, you've probably seen your favorite celebrities at Dogpound — the cult fitness studio that trains pretty much every Victoria's Secret Angel. Model of the moment Ashley Graham is also a regular, as is Karlie Kloss. The supermodels sweat it out at this exclusive gym that specializes in personalized high-intensity workouts.

I live down the street from Dogpound, and I've always wondered about it. Whatever the weather, you can see clients and trainers crushing hard workouts — even in the snow! I knew I had to try the ultrapopular workout — despite being intimidated. (And, yes, I will do basically anything that Ashley Graham does . . . don't you?! #Obsessed)

I looked up my trainer on Instagram the night before. He looked like an actual gladiator. I'm serious, he puts Thor to shame. I was excited to see an eight-pack in real life and quietly prayed he would instruct me shirtless.

The day of my session I was fully nervous. I'll be honest, I've never thought quite so much about what to wear for a workout. I usually wear a Lululemon outfit from, like, 10 years ago, and as I walked closer to Dogpound I was cursing myself for not getting some new duds.

Walking into Dogpound, I was so intimidated! I work out, but I certainly don't flip tires or do one-armed push-ups. Everyone inside is very cool looking — all the trainers could be celebrities themselves. All my fears were quelled when I checked in; everyone I met was so friendly and welcoming, giving me high fives and welcoming me to Dogpound.

Inside the Dogpound
Christina Najjar

Next I met my trainer, Matt. If you can believe it, his muscles are actually bigger IRL. I blurted out, "I'm really nervous! Sorry I'm not a celebrity!" and he started cracking up. He assured me that I would be fine and that I shouldn't be intimidated. "All these guys are big teddy bears!" he said, gesturing to the other trainers. I immediately felt better; he was so kind and genuine. He explained he had designed a full-body workout for me, with exercises to target each muscle group.

Feeling the burn!
Christina Najjar

Then we started. After warming up, Matt showed me a set of three exercises that I would repeat three times before we moved on to the next series. The exercises were so thoughtful and different — no boring lunges here. For example, Matt had me put a resistance band around my ankles and jump in and out while I moved an enormous rope up and down. Every move was so challenging and dynamic — and hard! Within a few minutes, I was sweating and could feel every area of my body being worked.

Harder than it looks!
Christina Najjar

Matt was incredible. He explained every move and adjusted my body throughout the session to ensure I was doing it correctly. He had amazing energy; even when I felt like I couldn't go on, he would clap and cheer and give me the strength to finish the reps.

Matt showing me the next move
Christina Najjar

Side note, the music was insane. I've written before about how crucial I think music is to a workout, and the Dogpound absolutely nails it. Imagine a playlist of all your favorite songs from the past five years mixed together, blasting from speakers. Had to try my very hardest not to take out my phone and Shazam every three seconds.

There were a couple other personal training sessions going on at the same time, and something that really struck me was how the other trainers were constantly cheering me on as were the clients. Everyone was encouraging each other, and the energy was palpable. It felt like a true family. "Dogpound is a community, everyone is so close," Matt told me. His favorite thing about working at Dogpound? "The environment — the people are incredible, the energy is always high. From the moment we open at 6 a.m., it's an incredible energy." And after an hour at Dogpound, I totally agreed.

At the end of the workout, I was completely demolished. I now understand why Dogpound's motto is #smashcity. So often with celebrity workouts it's all fluff and marketing, but Dogpound is the real deal. The trainers are highly skilled in getting results, and they really care about their clients' well-being. From the second you walk in, you feel like you're family and everyone is rooting for you. You can feel the passion and commitment. I left converted — and booking my next session. Feeling more like Ashley Graham already.

Christina Najjar