By Wyndi Kappes

(L to R) Best Self staffer Caroline Simpson, owner/instructor Amber Barry, Best Self staffer Wyndi Kappes

(L to R) Best Self staffer Caroline Simpson, owner/instructor Amber Barry, Best Self staffer Wyndi Kappes

Name of fitness facility

Westside Yoga

Name and length of class

STRONG- 1 hour

Name of instructor

Amber Barry

What do attendees need to know before class starts?

There is plenty of parking in front of the studio just make sure to arrive at least 10 minutes to check in and claim your spot in the class. Classes start promptly at the time listed so make sure not to be late! If you forgot your mat, no worries. You can rent a mat the first time for free and for just $2 each time after that!

How would you describe this workout? How does it compare to similar classes you’ve taken?

This yoga class had many of the elements you can find in other yoga classes but with specific details put in place to take the experience over the top. To start off with I loved that the room was heated but not hot. Unlike hot yoga which can sometimes be overwhelming, in warm yoga, the room is heated to 85-87 degrees, a happy medium where you are less prone to injury but still comfortable.

Another part of this practice that I loved is that Amber and the other attendees didn’t take themselves too seriously. Amber encouraged everyone to have fun with their practice to try different variations and poses without of fear of getting it wrong or looking funny. This really allowed myself and other attendees to open up and try new things.

Core exercises in the warm yoga room.

Core exercises in the warm yoga room.

What muscle groups did this class work the most? Was it a great workout for your abs, butt, arms, etc.?

This was a full body class we took equal time to work our legs, arms, and core! Because it was the STRONG class we took extra time to go through different moves that strengthened our muscles. Holding poses longer and engaging our mind with what muscle groups we were working. This was definitely a calorie burner!

Did the instructor do anything to make the class extra special?

Amber was an amazing instructor! She was super sweet and knowledgeable from the moment I walked in the door. She took one look at my mat and could tell that I often had a problem slipping especially in warm/hot yoga classes. She quickly exchanged my mat for one of the studio’s mats and I must say the new mat made all the difference in my practice, keeping me from slipping and sliding while holding poses.

Click here for an explanation into the class and more info about Westside Yoga!

Click here for an explanation into the class and more info about Westside Yoga!

Throughout the class, Amber also took the time to explain different variations in each pose and help individuals find something that best suited him or her. There were several variations on typical poses that I didn’t even know about and enjoyed trying to branch out and do something more.

What was the most enjoyable part of the workout?

My favorite part of the class was about midway through where we really got into the rhythm of going through different asanas and stretching into new poses with ease. I was amazed midway through how much deeper I could get into my stretch than at the beginning of class. I also really liked the end where we played with different seated poses and my co-worker Caroline was even able to get into a complicated bind! It was amazing where our bodies were able to go by the end of class.

Any other feedback you’d like to give about this workout?

Happy attendees after class.

Happy attendees after class.

The motto of Westside Yoga is “Find Your Happy Place” and that is something that is incredibly easy to do here. Not only are Amber, the instructors, and the participants all so warm, open, and calm there is a sense of play at Westside Yoga that you don’t find at many other studios. The idea that yoga can not only be an amazing source of fitness but also a place where you can let loose and play is refreshing and encouraging.

Details: 857 Collier Rd. NW., Ste. 22, Atlanta; WestsideYoga.com

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(L to R) Best Self staffer Alex McCray and instructor Renae Murphy

(L to R) Best Self staffer Alex McCray and instructor Renae Murphy

By Alex McCray

Name of fitness facility

Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA)

Name and length of class

Les Mills BODYPUMP – 1 hour

Name of instructor

Renae Murphy

What do attendees need to know before class starts?

If you’re a guest, you’ll have to drive through security at the front gate and show them your ID, then check in with the front desk and get a guest sticker. Be sure to allot extra time for this (15-20 minutes should do) along with getting to the fitness area of the center, putting your things away in the locker room or the cubbies in the workout room, and setting up your station.

How would you describe this workout? How does it compare to similar classes you’ve taken?

This was a great group fitness class. Even though the workout was all about low weights and high reps, it wasn’t like a standard aerobics class or other fast-paced group fitness class. I loved that it essentially turned strength training into cardio.

What muscle groups did this class work the most? Was it a great workout for your abs, butt, arms, etc.?

We used traditional moves like squats, chest presses, push-ups, and bicep curls with barbells and dumbbells to work all the major muscle groups. So be prepared to work your upper body, lower body, and abs during this full-body session.

Did the instructor do anything to make the class extra special?

Renae was an awesome instructor! She paced the class so well. Before we would switch to a new exercise she let us know a change was coming up. She started the new move with slow repetitions so that we got a feel for how to properly do it before we increased the speed of our reps. As someone that can be very uncoordinated, this made the class so easy to follow along with.

 

BODYPUMP fitness equipment

BODYPUMP fitness equipment

What was the most enjoyable part of the workout?

The music was super fun and I loved that all the exercise sets were set to a specific song. So once the song was done, you knew you were done with that specific move. I also loved the Les Mills equipment they have. The barbells and weights are incredibly easy to put on and take off, which makes a difference as you are increasing and decreasing your weight for different body parts throughout the class.

Any other feedback you’d like to give about this workout?

This is a really great workout that will get your heart pumping while also engaging all the major muscle groups. I would highly recommend adding it to your regular workout routine. Also, the MJCCA has so many great fitness class options to explore, I can’t wait to go back!

Details: 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Atlanta; AtlantaJCC.org

Follow along with the rest of our 30 Days of Fitness Classes here.

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(L to R) instructor Hailey Swartwout, Best Self staffer Halen Adair

(L to R) instructor Hailey Swartwout, Best Self staffer Halen Adair

By Halen Adair

Name of fitness facility

The Sweat Shoppe

Name and length of class

Express Sweat – 45 mins

Name of instructor

Hailey Swartwout

What do attendees need to know before class starts?

Arrive about 10 minutes early to fill out paperwork. Make sure you have a water bottle and socks. They will provide cycling shoes at the front for you!

How would you describe this workout? How does it compare to similar classes you’ve taken?

This class was invigorating! I have a newfound passion for cycling in the heat, plus, a new respect for everyone who can do this daily. I have only done hot yoga, so trying infrared heat during a cycling class was different, and to me, more challenging. You start sweating within the first five minutes of class. During the whole class, Hailey would take us through different intervals on our bikes, targeting different muscles and challenging our endurance. We would vary between standing up and sitting down on the bikes often, and even did some tricep and bicep work while on the bike and cranked up our resistance. This class is similar to the type of intensity you’d find at most cycle studios, but at this one, you will sweat A LOT more than average due to the 80-84 degree room temperature.

The Sweat Shoppe studio

The Sweat Shoppe studio

What muscle groups did this class work the most? Was it a great workout for your abs, butt, arms, etc.?

This class is designed to be 45 minutes of cardio with some small, focused movements on your butt, triceps, and biceps. We did tricep push-ups and bicep push-ups throughout the class. You feel your hamstrings working to keep you level in your seat and your chest (pectorals) help you maintain the correct posture to ensure you’re breathing your best.

Did the instructor do anything to make the class extra special?

Hailey was so fun! Her music choices ranged from hip hop to pop hits and dance music. I loved listening to her encouraging words that helped us push all the way until the end of class. She would get off her bike and walk around to ensure everyone in the class had the correct form and was making the most of their cycling experience. She was very upbeat and never let us give up on ourselves.

What was the most enjoyable part of the workout?

Sweat Shoppe Lockers

Sweat Shoppe Lockers

This kind of workout is very challenging. The heat aspect of this class adds a whole different kind of experience than many other gyms. You are not only working out, but you’re detoxifying your body. The amount of sweat you release during this class is not only good for your muscles, but it’s also good for your blood. Hailey kept us focused on our breathing and explained the benefits of why it was so important. I loved listening to how passionate and knowledgeable she is about this class and health overall.

Any other feedback you’d like to give about this workout?

This is a workout you need to check out. I know hot cycling seems intimidating but this is the place to truly step outside of your comfort zone and find new strength within yourself. There is no doubt that after a trying this class a couple of times, you’ll fall in love with the trainers and facility. Plus, you’re body will feel AMAZING and rejuvenated after each time!

Details: 3393 Peachtree Rd., Ste. 2010A, Atlanta; TheSweatShoppe.com

Follow along with the rest of our 30 Days of Fitness Classes here.

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By Halen Adair

Co-owner of HiveFit Supplements Raul Hiteshaw and Best Self staffer Wyndi Kappes

Co-owner of HiveFit Supplements Raul Hiteshaw and Best Self staffer Wyndi Kappes

Name of fitness facility
Solcioty Fitness

Name and length of class
60 Minutes – LIFT

Name of instructor
Nikki Montesanti

What do attendees need to know before class starts?

Arrive about 10 minutes early before class to put your bags away in their cute lockers, pick up a heart rate monitor, and get signed in for the class. Make sure you are wearing tennis shoes and have a water bottle with you.

How would you describe this workout? How does it compare to similar classes you’ve taken?

This was the first class I have ever done at Solcioty and I really enjoyed it. It was similar to an Orange Theory class I have taken in the past but the lights in the studio are so awesome along with the state-of-the-art equipment they had to offer. You would focus on certain muscle groups during different phases of the workout. We worked our upper arms, back, triceps, glutes, and challenged our cardio. This workout was kind of the best of all worlds.

What muscle groups did this class work the most? Was it a great workout for your abs, butt, arms, etc.?

It was a full-body workout, but there were different exercises that focused on targeting different muscle groups. This was a great class for my core, legs, and arms which is why I would classify this workout as targeting all your muscles, just at different times throughout.

Did the instructor do anything to make the class extra special?

Nikki has the best energy. She cares so much about her clients and honestly just wants to help them reach their goals. She consistently goes around the gym to make sure everyone’s form is correct and really pushes you to keep those heart rates up. Also, her music selection was super upbeat and added a sense of motivation to keep pushing.

What was the most enjoyable part of the workout?

This kind of workout is one of my favorites. I love the whole aspect of circuit training because I never find myself getting bored or feeling like I’m using the same muscle groups over and over. And although the class was full today, I never once felt over-crowded or like I didn’t fit in. People of all levels of fitness can tackle this workout and make it custom to their own pace.

Any other feedback you’d like to give about this workout?

Click here to watch our Facebook Live with trainer Nikki and HiveFit co-owner Raul Hiteshaw.

Click here to watch our Facebook Live with trainer Nikki and HiveFit co-owner Raul Hiteshaw.

This workout facility is a must-try! They have such a gorgeous place with the most amazing, uplifting people. You immediately feel like you’re part of the gang right as you walk in, and I can’t wait to go back for another!

Plus, we were treated with an extra special surprise after the workout as My Buckhead magazine cover model and co-owner of HiveFit, Raul Hiteshaw, was there to pump everyone up post-workout with his all natural supplements. For more information on Solcioty and HiveFit click to watch the Facebook Live above!

Details: 900 Peachtree St. NE., Ste. 302, Atlanta; Solciotyfitness.com, HiveFit.com

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By Amy Smith

(L to R) Best Self staffer A.J. Weston,  owner Mike Prosnick, and Best Self staffer Amy Smith

(L to R) Best Self staffer A.J. Weston, owner Mike Prosnick, and Best Self staffer Amy Smith

Name of fitness facility
Just About Me Fitness (JAM Fitness)

Name and length of class
Beginner Class Timed Workout- However long you would like to spend

Name of instructor

Mike Prosnick is the owner/personal trainer at this gym. But there was a video personal trainer at each station!

What do attendees need to know before class starts?

Arrive 15 minutes before your workout/class to fill out personal info online, sign a waiver, get JAM wristband (which gives you access to each workout station and tracks your progress) and heart monitor, which is worn by everyone who attends the gym.

How would you describe this workout?

The workout was completely personalized and self-guided training designed for me based on my goals, which I filled out via an online questionnaire. Everything I did (10 stations) was tracked through my JAM wristband, (given to me upon arrival) my heart rate was monitored (given to me upon arrival) and the results of my workout (how many stations I went to, how many calories I burned etc) were available to me at the gym. The workout summary was also emailed to me an hour after the workout ended.

My individualized workout lasted for about an hour and consisted of guided fitness exercises both aerobic (treadmills, spin bikes, rowing machines, kickboxing, etc.) and anaerobic (wall sits, core training, and balance). Each station had a video personal trainer to demonstrate each exercise and motivational quotes to keep me going.

Owner Mike Prosnick explains a JAM Fitness challenge

Owner Mike Prosnick explains a JAM Fitness challenge

How does it compare to similar classes you’ve taken?

It’s totally different. This workout is all about the technology, personalization, and ease of access. I would check in to one of the 10 stations with my wristband and my name and stats would come up instantly. Soon after a video would start with my personal trainer showing me how to do the exercise correctly. Plus, I went at my own pace! I could have gone at 5am or 5pm or any time in between! It’s a 24/7 facility.

What muscle groups did this class work the most?

The beginning workout was for all muscle groups because that’s what I chose for me. The cool part though is that you have the freedom to choose your workout. If you wanted to focus just on abs or glutes, you could! I selected a workout for everything.

What was the most enjoyable part of the workout?

My favorite part of the workout was having a motivational quote at each station, a personal trainer to show me how to do the exercise correctly, and my independence to train on my own. I also love that as a member of this gym I could stop by anytime as it’s open around the clock. I also loved that at any time you can see how many calories you were burning, and your heart rate. Seeing your results right away and knowing what your next step is to get to your goal is incredibly encouraging.

The JAM Fitness entry way

The JAM Fitness entry way

Any other feedback you’d like to give about this workout?

You can totally put an achievable plan together to get to your fitness goals. This gym is great for anyone over thirteen and if you need help beyond the self-guided workout, a live personal trainer always available.

I loved the “wall of fitness success stories” which was also very motivational. Fitness is very personal. If you are tired of starting over…stop giving up. This is the place for you!

Details: 4620 Kimble Bridge Rd., Ste. 5, Alpharetta, GA; JAM.fitness

Follow along with the rest of our 30 Days of Fitness Classes here.

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Photo courtesy of Grand Central Life & Style

Photo courtesy of Grand Central Life & Style

Congratulations to Atlanta’s very own, Dr. Taz Bhatia on her contribution to Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest book, “The Clean Plate,” which was released on Jan. 8.

The two originally hit it off when Dr. Taz was invited to speak on Paltrow’s GOOP podcast. The chemistry between the pair landed Dr. Taz an opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to add her very own chapter in Paltrow’s new book. In the “Fat Flush” chapter, readers can learn about the real reasons behind weight loss resistance, the daily stressors that affect your hormones and how to rebalance them, the connection between your emotions and weight, and so much more.

“The Clean Plate” has over 100 great-tasting recipes and customizable meal plans that offer the health benefits we crave without sacrificing flavor. Dr. Taz says, “This recipe book brings everything to the table—from smoothies, soup, and bowls to comforting entrées, snacks, and desserts.” She also notes that the book is set up to make clean eating “doable and even fun!” From boosting heart health and weight loss to detoxing the body of heavy metals, you’ll find it in this exciting new read.

Details: Goop.com/The-Clean-Plate, DoctorTaz.com

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By Alex McCray

(L to R) Caroline Simpson, owner Melissa Lopez, Alex McCray

(L to R) Caroline Simpson, owner Melissa Lopez, Alex McCray

Name of fitness facility

Giving Tree Yoga

Name and length of class

Vinyasa Power Flow – 1 hour

Name of instructor

Courtney Kern

What do attendees need to know before class starts?

Be sure to arrive at least 10 minutes early so that you can put your shoes, keys and other personal items away in a cubby. If you don’t have your own yoga mat, the studio has mats you can borrow.

How would you describe this workout? How does it compare to similar classes you’ve taken?

I’ve taken other power yoga classes before but sometimes they can be way too intense and too challenging. I thought this workout was a great introduction to power yoga and was very friendly to beginners. The class combined strength and stretching wonderfully. I would say people of any fitness level could handle this class.

To learn more about the classes watch our Facebook Live below with owner Melissa Lopez.

Click here to watch our Facebook Live with studio owner Melissa Lopez.

Click here to watch our Facebook Live with studio owner Melissa Lopez.

What muscle groups did this class work the most? Was it a great workout for your abs, butt, arms, etc.?

This was definitely a killer for the core and upper body! We did lots of moves that targeted our abs while we were in downward dog. We also did variations of planks, which engaged my entire upper body (hello, bicep burn and shaky abs).

Did the instructor do anything to make the class extra special?

I loved Courtney! She made the atmosphere of the class super fun! Her style of teaching is so relaxed and playful. She cracked jokes during challenging moves that helped take your mind off the struggle of holding the pose or moving through a flow. I also really loved that her approach emphasized safety.

 What was the most enjoyable part of the workout?

My favorite part of the workout was pushing myself during the more intense core portions and testing my strength. Courtney made it really fun and encouraged us to just try, even if we thought we couldn’t do it.

Class members bring their palms to heart's center.

Class members bring their palms to heart’s center.

Any other feedback you’d like to give about this workout?

The staff and members at this studio are super warm and welcoming! They offer so many different types of classes from gentle yoga to this more strength-focused one so everyone can find something here.

Details: 1295 W. Spring St. SE., #120, Smyrna; YogaStudioSmyrna.com

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Wyndi Kappes

Screen Shot 2019-01-18 at 6.56.34 PMName of fitness facility

onlYoga

Name and length of class

Hip Opening

Name of instructor

Anne Marie Johnsen

What do attendees need to know before class starts?

The studio itself is a bit difficult to find because there isn’t much signage. The vortex is a great landmark and you can call the studio if you get lost! There is street parking and a garage just around the corner. Bring a yoga mat and towel for sweat if needed. They will provide everything else.

How would you describe this workout? How does it compare to similar classes you’ve taken?

I have taken a plethora of yoga classes and this one really stood apart from the beginning. When you walk in the atmosphere is instantly calming and the space warm (the room is heated between 80-85 degrees) and intimate. The practice space is housed in a studio apartment with gorgeous wood flooring and a wall of windows in the front of the room. Wonderful smelling incense and serene lighting surround you.

Unlike large studios that seem to shuffle participants in and out, I loved how all the people in the class seemed to be a part of a community. The class had no more than 20 or so people in it and all attendees seemed to know not only Anne Marie but each other. Anne Marie was a fabulous instructor who clearly knew her stuff and went through the class with grace and ease. Giving more details and instruction when needed and letting the class meditate and focus along with the music otherwise.

What muscle groups did this class work the most? Was it a great workout for your abs, butt, arms, etc.?

This was a full-body workout, but I definitely felt the strength and the stretch in my hips, lower back, legs, and outer thighs.

Did the instructor do anything to make the class extra special?

Anne Marie was amazing at providing instruction, modifications, and encouragement when needed but also letting you focus and meditate during the practice. I really appreciated how well she knew many of the members in the class and how she interacted with each, complimenting them on how far they had come and assisting those who were struggling in this practice.

What was the most enjoyable part of the workout?

The entire workout was great, I loved how this one class served up everything I want to get out of a yoga class. The practice started out as a calm stretch great for meditation and focus but also moved into more difficult combinations that worked up a sweat. I felt like I was getting the best of both worlds with a soothing but calorie burning class.

Any other feedback you’d like to give about this workout?

I would highly recommend you give onlYoga a try! The close-knit community yoga experience and Anne Marie’s soothing teaching might be one of the best-kept secrets in town. Also, I would encourage you to go try out their aerial yoga class. The only studio in Midtown to provide an aerial yoga class, this unique workout is the perfect way to mix it up.

Details: 900 Peachtree St. NE., Ste. 302, Atlanta; onlYoga.com

Follow along with the rest of our 30 Days of Fitness Classes here.

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By Caroline Simpson

Click here to watch our Facebook Live with club owner Mizelle Sizemore.

Click here to watch our Facebook Live with club owner Mizelle Sizemore.

Name of fitness facility
Club Pilates – Brookhaven

Name and length of class
Suspend 1.5 – 50 minutes

Name of instructor
Mizelle Sizemore

What do attendees need to know before class starts?
Bring sticky socks. If you don’t have a pair, the studio has a wide selection of super cute options up front! Or you could be like me and find an old pair of “The Grinch” socks!

How would you describe this workout? How does it compare to similar classes you’ve taken?
This was the second class I have taken at Club Pilates. The focus is on control and stability. You can really feel yourself increasing your stretches as you go! The equipment and set up of the class really set Club Pilates apart from other studios.

What muscle groups did this class work the most? Was it a great workout for your abs, butt, arms, etc.?
It was a full-body workout, but given that the focus is on control, your core is being engaged the entire time. I am already feeling it and it’s only been a few hours!

Best Self staffer Caroline SImpson rests between exercises

Best Self staffer Caroline Simpson rests between exercises

Did the instructor do anything to make the class extra special?
Mizelle was our fabulous instructor. She was able to keep everyone involved and most importantly, she helped everyone get the correct form so that we could get the most out of each exercise.

What was the most enjoyable part of the workout?
The entire workout was great, I never got bored or felt as though I was out of my league. Personally, my favorite thing about Club Pilates is the studio itself. Every person has their own station with state-of-the-art equipment and plenty of space to do every exercise. You will never feel crowded.

Any other feedback you’d like to give about this workout?
I would recommend this workout to everyone. It will benefit every body type and it also accommodates all levels of fitness. I can’t wait to go back and try another one of the many different classes they offer!

Details: 5001 Peachtree Blvd., #630, Chamblee; ClubPilates.com

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By Caroline Simpson

Best Self staffer Caroline SImpson, instructor and owner Pamela Molinari

Best Self staffer Caroline Simpson, instructor and owner Pamela Molinari

Name of fitness facility

Atlanta Fitness Diva

Name and length of class

Small Group – One hour

Name of instructor

Pamela Molinari

What do attendees need to know before class starts?

The studio is on the second floor. Just bring yourself, water and a ready-to-seize-the-day attitude to class!

How would you describe this workout? How does it compare to similar classes you’ve taken?

Personally, I am a runner and do mostly body-weight exercises. At Atlanta Fitness Diva, all of the exercises targeted specific muscles in your body. I had no idea some of them existed! Unlike other classes I have taken, I felt like I got a full-body workout while enjoying myself the whole time.

Watch our Facebook Live below to see some of the new interesting workouts I was able to tryout!

Learn more about the exercises designed specifically for women's bodies this Facebook Live with Pamela Molinari!

Learn more about the exercises designed specifically for women’s bodies this Facebook Live with Pamela Molinari!

What muscle groups did this class work the most? Was it a great workout for your abs, butt, arms, etc.?

It was a full-body workout but there was definitely an emphasis on the booty! I will 100 percent be feeling it tomorrow and I love that!

Did the instructor do anything to make the class extra special?

Pamela was amazing. It was a small group class but it also felt as though she was my personal trainer. She catered to each the wants and needs of each participant, for example, she altered my workout so that I would get more glute work in.

What was the most enjoyable part of the workout?

Caroline Simpson busy working out!

Caroline Simpson busy working out!

I really enjoyed all of it! It was great to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. If I had to pick something, it would be the instructor/owner Pamela. She truly wants the best for her clients!

Any other feedback you’d like to give about this workout?

Go try out a class! You will not regret it!

Details: 855 Mount Vernon Hwy. NE. Atlanta; AtlantaFitnessDiva.com

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