What Our Members Say About Us

We get it, joining a gym is hard. You kind of know what you're looking for but maybe not really; you think you should be a looking for a program, classes, personal training, a gym like your old one, nothing like your old one, crossfit, bootcamp, yoga, fat loss, muscle building, toning, high intensity interval training, athletic development, the list goes on. Hopefully by now, you've cruised this site and have a pretty good idea of what it is we are all about, but maybe not entirely. That's why this page exists, to give you a better sense of Ambitious Athletics through the eyes of our members. Because, like you, they weren't really sure either.


“I didn't think of myself as particularly athletic growing up. Despite knowing my health and well-being demanded it, I certainly didn’t think I had the confidence or knowledge to work out at a gym or join a fitness program as an adult! Until I met Carmen. Ambitious Athletics has been life-changing. It’s a challenging program with helpful coaches that meet you at your level and take you to one you could never imagine reaching. The community is incredibly encouraging and willing to assist new members get acclimated. With a good attitude, a commitment to this fun program and a solid effort, you’ll discover you really are an ambitious athlete!” - J. Stokes 


"Fitness is not a fad, sales promotion,or trend. It’s a lifestyle that places our most prized possession – the body – first. Once I figured that out, and it took me a long time to do so, I canned the Golds Gyms, LA Boxings, and LA Fitnesses of the world to go with Ambitious Athletics and never looked back. Carmen is real and passionate about his work, clients, and gym. Just being around him can motivate you to be better than yesterday. And, he is the type of guy you want on your side whether you’re starting a business, in a bar fight, or just need that little extra to get to the next level. Oh, and the workouts simply work. Period. You’ll get results – trust me. And, the best part is that there is no thinking involved – just go to the gym, get to work, and you’re done in an hour." - D. Melo


My approach to working out has completely changed since starting at Ambitious Athletics.  I feel like I finally have a direction and purpose to my workouts.  Before I used to wing it on my own and had no real concept of programming or what I was capable of with the proper coaching.  Not only have I gained strength, knowledge, and confidence, but I honestly feel like I am part of a family.  I look forward to class each and every morning.  I am pushed, I am challenged, and I have so much fun at the same time.  Not only do our coaches want us to be better, but it's that the members constantly encourage and push each other to be better that is unparalleled. The Ambitious community has truly changed my life for the better in so many ways. - A. Quinn 


I came to Ambitious Athletics having been pretty active to begin with - I took spinning, barre, and boot camp classes 3-5 days/week.  But I was looking for a new challenge; I wanted to build up my strength and endurance while learning more about my body and incorporating new types of training into my normal fitness routine.  I had tried cross fit, but it was just so boring.  That's when I found Ambitious Athletics.  Carmen's program is exactly what I was looking for: it is structured, thoughtful, and challenging.  He constantly encourages me to push myself and I am always surprised that he knows what I am capable of before I even am.  He pays attention to every detail and won't just throw you into an exercise without instruction - he will work with you until your form is perfect.  I can confidently stay I am the strongest I have ever been and could not have gotten here without Carmen and the rest of the Ambitious Athletics family. -Britt


"I have only been with Ambitious Athletics for just over a month, but I am already impressed enough to recommend them. From my very first session I was addressed by name. This seems insignificant, but compared to the impersonal experiences I have had at other gyms, it makes a huge difference! The workouts are group sessions, but Carmen keeps a close eye on everyone, constantly adjusting our technique to make sure we are safe and efficient in our movements. He takes a genuine interest in getting to know each of us and help us meet our individual goals.  I look forward to continuing to increasing my fitness with Ambitious Athletics!" - Rach H.


I have always been an active sportsman playing many sports including rugby to a senior level in the UK – my fitness and conditioning has always been based on aerobic training only, mainly running and circuit training.  I had no focus on core body strength and no proper consideration of diet. I relied on aerobic training to burn off what I ate!!  This approach worked in my 20s and early 30s, but as my sporting activity dropped off (busy at work, too old to play competitive sport and starting a family), I found that my old way of keeping fit did not work – I started putting on weight, didn’t feel great and my old rugby injuries started to re-appear!  That was before I started at Ambitious Athletics – fast-forward 3 years, and now in my early 40s I am now in the best shape of my life – I feel stronger and fitter than ever, and my old injuries have fully disappeared. This is all thanks to Carmen’s approach to focusing on the body, its movements, building core strength, recovery and ensuring focus on diet. As a keen sportsman all my life, I thought I knew what being fit and healthy was all about, but I was wrong and now after 3 years working with Carmen and the team, I finally have a good understanding on how to manage my fitness and health!  - Peter "The Machine" R. 


“You remember the forgone years when you looked in the mirror at your chiseled abs, bulging pecs and a sculpted ass a runway model would get whiplash turning around to check out? Yeah, neither do I. But with some motivation, technique and coaching Ambitious Athletics is making my actual body image match what’s in my head.” - B. Blair


I have been an Ambitious member for over three months and it easily has been the best decision I have ever made for my fitness and health.  I stumbled across the program on Yelp as I was searching for a personal trainer to help jump start my fitness for my wedding day.  As a former Division III athlete I am embarrassed to say I did not fully understand how to train for the results I wanted, which is just to be toned and healthy–nothing crazy.  Prior to Ambitious I was going to spin classes several times a week, running occasionally, and injuring myself frequently.  I would then take weeks off to heal and repeat this cycle because like many people, I thought stereotypical cardio was the only answer and that two minutes and thirty seconds of 3 lb. arm work per spin class would tone my arms.  The Ambitious coaches (who, by the way, are awesome) have helped both show and teach me that the best way to build muscle and lose fat is a solid strength and conditioning program paired with a healthy diet.  I am so thankful to now know that cardio does not have to be forcing yourself to run four miles on a treadmill when you hate running, it can be a kettlebell complex done with a buddy or sled pushes while your teammates cheer you on.  Now I train 3x/week for an hour only at Ambitious and do some interval or stair running (something I actually enjoy for half the time commitment) on another day or two.  After only three months I have gained noticeable muscle and lost fat.  I am injury free, I look and feel better, and the best part is that I enjoy going to the gym to spend time with Carmen and other athletes.  I am starting a new work schedule and just emailed Carmen to plan it around my days at the gym.  Carmen has created a family-like community and anyone who walks in the door is treated as a respected athlete.  My three month contract just ended and I signed on for a year.  I can't picture training anywhere else ever again. - Nancy C. 

I'm not the type of person who would gravitate toward pushing, pulling, throwing, and lifting heavy objects and performing exotically named exercises like "Romanian deadlift." But now I am! Carmen won't steer you wrong. The Ambitious coaches are experts, no question. But they're also incredibly down-to-earth and genuinely nice people.  It's hard not to be intimidated by hardcore exercises and equipment, but it's easy to get over that once you join Ambitious Athletics. Just do it! - Vanessa "V.O."


When I first visited Ambitious, I was just getting back to exercising after years of inactivity. I looked around at all the gear, a little intimidated. I had never trained like that - never done a squat, dead lift, or pull-up, never swung a kettle bell, never pushed a sled.  More than once, I had met with trainers who beat me up and left me for dead. I never went back to them.

I told Carmen, "I'm not ready for what you do here." He said, "You're ready. We'll work with you to your own ability. Trust me." I said "If you break me, I'm never coming back." He said, "Trust me."

I did trust him, and am so glad that I did. True to his word, he worked me in at my own pace, but before too long, and when he knew I was ready, he was pushing me, and I was pushing myself. The culture at Ambitious is unbelievably great - fun, yet competitive and supportive. I've gotten almost as much encouragement and motivation from my classmates as I have from Carmen. Less than a year after joining, the results have been tremendous. I'm doing unassisted pull-ups, and squatting, deadlifting, and pushing sleds, all with substantially more than my bodyweight. This was inconceivable to me a year ago. I've never felt better. And with all the progress I'm making I still have a long way to go, but I know that with the help of Carmen and my awesome classmates, I'll get there. If I had to sum up Ambitious in one sentence, it would be "Good people doing their best to get better, every day." - Jim D. 


During law school I had the pleasure of meeting two outstanding ladies who became fast friends. As we became closer I learned more about their lives and what specifically they did to combat the many stresses that come along with being a lawyer in training. They told me about "Carmen's" (aka Ambitious Athletics) and how they woke up early before class to attend his workout sessions. I thought they must be crazy to get up so early unless it was for something really good. It was that good...and it still IS that good, if not better! 

Even after all the great things my friends said about Ambitious, I would always find a reason to drag my feet when it came to joining: "It's not the right time" "I've never done something like that before" "I'm too tired" etc. My wake up call came after a routine check-up. Before this check-up I had avoided the scale for three years, not wanting to know how much damage was caused by the sedentary lifestyle I led during school. The scale showed a weight gain of over 20 lbs on my small frame. It was time to face reality and start exercising for the sake of my health. I began attending spin classes regularly for a few months but wasn't feeling like I was getting that full body workout I wanted. Sure, I could try supplementing my spin workouts by going to Gold's or Planet Fitness or some other gym...but I wouldn't even know where to start. At this point I remembered all the great things my two friends had said about Ambitious and signed up for the Orientation. 

I was so nervous for Orientation because I hadn't walked into an actual gym in years...but I did it anyways and I'm glad I did. The Ambitious coaches were friendly and welcomed me at the door. Once the others arrived they had us sit in a circle and they asked us about ourselves and told us about themselves as well. This was more than small talk and it didn't feel rushed. I could tell these people really cared about where we came from and what brought us here. The last half hour of orientation was spent learning the "warm ups." I knew that Ambitious was going to be tough given that I was sore the next day after just the warm ups! 

With the orientation came two free group training sessions. Needless to say these sessions kicked my butt in a good way. I started out on a "strength" day and was introduced to sled pulls and pushes, kettlebells, and resistance bands - none of which I had ever done before, but what's nice about Ambitious is that the coaches take the time before every session to answer any questions and demonstrate proper form. The workout for the day is also conveniently posted on an app so you know what you're in for and can come prepared. The coaches are sticklers for form. They would rather have you do one push up with proper form than five without. So if you're ever being picked on, it's only because they care - you came to them and not the other hundreds of gyms in the DMV for a reason and they honor your time and your commitment by making you not only an ambitious athlete, but an honest one too. 

I've been with Ambitious for about two months now. I'm actually mad at myself that I didn't take the plunge sooner to find out what Ambitious had to offer. In the time that I've been here I have only experienced gains: confidence, friends, tone, muscle, community, core, empowerment and more energy. Ambitious Athletics teaches you to demand more of yourself each time while targeting muscle groups you never knew you had. 

A total mind and body transformation is what I was looking for and that's what I'm getting. Don't wait or make excuses like I did! There will never be a "right" time and it will never not be scary to get serious about your health. - A. G. 


I played sports in High School and I love the outdoors but was apprehensive about a "super" fitness gym. After I came to the orientation I was still a little wary. But you know what? It's been almost two months of 3x a week training. I feel great, have met new friends, and am doing monkey bars, kettle swings, pull ups, and more! I'm not that coordinated nor was my gym experience extensive but it didn't matter because Carmen spent time with me and my form. He gave me a few tips or reminders each class and it made it possible. Each week I encounter a new task I know nothing about. I don't get worried. Carmen demonstrates it to me, I try it, and then he corrects me. It's a fun place too! Did I mention that my husband goes here too?!? We love it that much.  - Kyle H. 


Carmen does a phenomenal job building a community that just happens to be a gym! Plenty of folks can open a gym you "go to" but not everyone can create an amazing training facility you "belong to".   After moving to DC from Atlanta, I had a hard time finding a gym that created a community atmosphere as opposed to competitive one.  Not only did I enjoy the training and programming, I quickly felt at home with the Ambitious Family.  

The family and community atmosphere became more apparent when I had major surgery a few months after joining Ambitious.  After my hospital stay, Carmen and other Ambitious members were some of my first home visitors! I'm grateful that I belong to the Ambitious Athletics family--they truly believe we're better together!

Ambitious Athletics is the only gym in D.C. proper that uses kettlebells, barbells, functional movement techniques, bodyweight exercises, and yoga to create a SAFE and challenging training program. Trust me, I looked for a year before I joined. - C. Harris