Day 19 of Fitness – House of Payne Personal Training’s “Glute Camp”

Best Self publisher: Sherri

Best Self publisher Sherri with House of Payne trainer Jesse and other class participants Charlene, Laura

Best Self publisher Sherri with House of Payne trainer Jesse and other class participants Charlene and Laura

I was a little nervous about taking House of Payne Personal Training‘s “Glute Camp” for 30 Days of Fitness. The thought of one hour of nothing but “glute” exercises made me feel wonder, “What if I can’t do this?” But I can, and I did! I was quickly put at ease by the trainer, Jesse Mones. He talked with me about the class and assured me that the workout would be customized for me (even though I was part of a class), appropriate for my age and fitness level. I was challenged but felt good because I could do it.

The class started with alternating straight leg lifts while walking across the gym floor. We alternated touching toes of the extended straight legs as we walked. This was to help us warm up our glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads. We then proceeded to intervals—four stations, 30 seconds at each station, and did this three times for a total of 12 exercises. Exercises included alternating step ups, plie style squats with kettle bells, side to side alternating lunges across a step, hands and knees position alternating bent knee leg raises, leg curls on a machine, single leg dead lifts, alternating leg curls, squats, single leg forward and back lunges while alternating each leg, pelvic raises from lying on back position and more.

With each one of the exercises, the common command was to get the most out of each exercise by squeezing, you guessed it, your glutes. The “glutes” have three major muscle groups, the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The exercises were chosen to work all three areas of the buttocks: top, middle and bottom (hopefully to get that lift). People inherently have long, medium and short glute muscles which give our butts different appearances, but through exercise, you can actually define, build and reduce various ares of the buttocks to change the overall appearance.

By the end of the workout, while my legs and buttocks felt a little shaky, I felt absolutely no pain in my lower back. I loved the workout and will do it again. The great thing about this gym, though, is that they offer any kind of workout. House of Payne Personal Training has honed the art and skill of truly changing bodies. Their ability to work with clients, understand their goals and customize workouts to achieve them is second to none. I witnessed a gym full of people—all ages, all body types, men and women—who seemed clearly invested and focused on what they were doing and knowledgeable trainers working hard to get them the results they want.

Best Self publisher Sherri Adair and House of Payne owners Rachel and Steve Payne

Best Self publisher Sherri Adair and House of Payne owners Rachel and Steve Payne

A myriad of activities represented the various goals and chosen paths for their clientele. There is a lot of equipment in this gym, in addition to the equipment we used for class: free weights, weight lifting machines for every conceivable body part, huge ropes and tires, mats, balls, steps, kettle bells and the list goes on. You can see the activity everywhere as people lift, sculpt and chisel their bodies using the equipment with guidance of the trainers. A huge stage anchors one corner of the gym where about 25 physique, bikini and bodybuilding contenders were participating in practicing  the art of competition posing. Led by co-owner Steve Payne, who is a nationally renowned “posing” expert, it was fascinating to watch. In another area of the gym, younger guys are flipping and jumping on what appear to be huge tractor tires. Co-owner Rachel Payne explains this group is focused on gaining strength and muscle mass for their sports activities. If you need to lose weight, this is the place. There are success stories and “after” photos lining the walls of the gym and that is only the ones who decide to participate in fitness competitions. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters and singles of all ages find this a place to get help no matter your goals. Don’t like your biceps? They can help you. Don’t like your calves? They can help you. Not happy with your backside? They can help with that too, and the “glute camp” I took is just one way to work on that specific area of the body. Try it for yourself this weekend—it’s offered every Saturday!

Details: Glute Camp is every Saturday at House of Payne Personal Training at 10:30 and costs $20.  4565 Lawrenceville Hwy. Lilburn GA 30047, (678) 641-9188,


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Institut' DERMedLocal med spa Institut’ DERMed launched a newly designed and expanded website last month, now offering detailed treatment information, how-to videos and the ability to book appointments online. The new site also included easier and more interactive online shopping options, such as a drag-and-drop shopping cart, large product photos, and search options based on type of product or skin condition.

Details: 3726 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA, (404) 261-5199,

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If you have special dietary needs but still need to feed that sweet tooth, local Decatur business Raw Noble may have a solution, They offer 100 percent whole, raw, nutritious mousse pies made of cashews and almonds. Raw Noble These pies are also naturally free of gluten, dairy and soy. Try one or all of the six flavors including vanilla bean, key lime, chocolate, sweet potato, lemon and coconut. All six flavors are high in protein, low in harmful fats, nutrient rich and great for parties or a fun treat.


Details: Your local Whole Foods, Sevananda and Return to Eden,

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Thrive Farmers CoffeeThrive Farmers Coffee runs on a business model that offers coffee farmers a sustainable income by connecting the farmer directly to the consumer. Thrive represents more than 600 coffee farmers and has sourced 328,000 pounds of coffee from their Roswell headquarters. Find this coffee at local spots around the city.


Details: Octane Coffee Bar and Lounge,,

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Dr. Ellie Campbell from Campbell Family Medicine answers a reader’s question about the importance of bio-identical hormones. Campbell

Q: What is a bio-identical hormone, and why is it important?

A: Unfortunately there is a lot of misunderstanding about hormones. Using bio-identical hormones simply means restoring a patient’s hormone balance by using chemicals that are structurally, chemically identical to the ones our bodies should be making. A psychical exam, symptom assessment and lab tests are used to determine deficiency, and then hormones are replaced to a more normal level using nature’s own hormones as replacement.

Do you have questions for our doctors? If so, please email your questions to

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Day 18 of Fitness - Chaos Conditioning Training with Jeff Baird

Best Self editor: Jeyme

Jeff Baird from Chaos Conditioning

Jeff Baird from Chaos Conditioning

I had been searching for a personal trainer for a while, and when I heard that Jeff Baird, owner and instructor at Chaos Conditioning, had an opening I was excited to try out his methods and do some one-on-one training. I had heard good things about his high-intensity interval fitness classes and knew it would be a good fit for me and for our 30 Days of Fitness series.

The Chaos studio is located on East Paces Ferry Road next to Blue Moon Pizza. The parking situation is a bit confusing at first – there is a bank across the street that you can use or an apartment complex parking deck around the corner with two designated spots for Chaos Conditioning.

The studio itself is a no-frills place – no weights or fancy exercise machines. There are heavy ropes in the middle of the room and TRX bands and punching bags that line the outer perimeter. During our hour-long workout session, Jeff not only gave me a great workout but also took the time to explain what we were doing, why we were doing it and how it would benefit my muscles, stamina and posture – all things I wanted to work on!

We began on the treadmill, but not just any treadmill: this one was a unique manual machine that went as fast or as slow as I wanted. Since there was no motor, it was up to me to power it. I was a little unsteady at first, but then slowly got the hang of it. Jeff was very patient and encouraging. Next we moved on to the TRX bands where I used my own weight to push and pull myself up and down. This was very challenging for me because I was using my own body weight and working several different muscle groups at the same time. In between working out on the bands, Jeff also had me use these long, heavy ropes and pump my arms up and down to create a wave-like motion. This exercise made me use my core as well as my arms and after only a minute or two, my muscles were really burning!

The last part of my workout was my favorite – a bit of kickboxing. I donned my boxing gloves, Jeff got out some hand pads and we working on my jabs, punches and kicks. Finally we cooled down on the treadmill again. I really felt like I had pushed myself, I was tired but felt really good. My arms were the sorest from all the rope work we did, and overall I had a blast.

Chaos Conditioning

Details: 325 East Paces Ferry Road, Unit 1, Atlanta, GA, (404) 590-5852,,


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Day 17 of Fitness – Group Personal Training at Get in Shape for Women

Best Self staffers: Sandy and Flannery

Get In Shape for WomenI remember in school, there were some days when I hadn’t completed an entire reading assignment or quite gotten through every math problem. On those days, I could just sit near the back, avoid eye contact with the teacher, and scoot through those class discussions without anyone really noticing that I had slacked off. Today’s workout made me realize that I occasionally do the same thing in my fitness classes! Some days if I’m just not feeling like working hard, I can pick a spot near the back, move a little slower or lift lighter weights, and nobody notices. That was not the case at this morning’s 30 Days of Fitness workout at Get in Shape for Women. The format of this gym is group personal training, and that personal attention bumped up my workout to the next level—past that, in fact!

Weight Training at Get In Shape for Women

Weight Training at Get In Shape for Women

At Get in Shape for Women, each hour is spent with only a handful of other women, and the trainers give each of you personal attention through the weights and cardio intervals. Sandy and I went to train together this morning, and it was an all-around great experience. We filled out paperwork before beginning to let our trainers know about any issues, and then got right to work. We began with weight training, where our trainers, Jake and Cedric, took us from area to area to work our backs, cores, legs and arms. During each exercise, our trainers would check in with us about form, how we felt, and if the weight was appropriate. Plus, weekly, they change up those intervals and movements so that you’re always getting a varied workout.


After the weights section, we each moved over to the cardio area. I have a serious mental block about running (I have it in my head that I’m terrible at it, so I almost never do it), but again, that personal attention from the trainer had me confident that I could push a little further. So I hopped on the treadmill, and after 30 minutes of running and walking intervals, had gone exactly two miles. Though that may not seem like much to some people, it was an achievement for me, and my trainers were encouraging when they saw me effort, helpful and comforting when I needed to slow it down a little after 15 minutes, and proud of me when I bumped my speed back up near the end. Sandy, meanwhile, tackled the cardio portion like a champ. This was her favorite part of the exercise, and it also shows another benefit of the group personal training—unlike some fitness classes, it’s not obvious here if your fitness level is drastically different than someone else’s. Had Sandy and I tried to run outside together, she would have left me in the dust! But in the cardio area, she could run at her fast pace and I could do what was right for me without either of us overdoing it or underdoing it. This would be a great way to work out with friends of all fitness levels, because the trainers personalize the workout, but you’re all still there together.

Because the trainers were giving us personal attention and kept a continuous conversation to evaluate our workload and exertion level, Sandy and I both ended up working much harder than in my typical workouts. This was a wonderful experience because it showed me that even though I sometimes think I’ve reached my limit, my physical limits are much further past my mental ones. I’m stronger than I knew! Sandy felt the same way, noticing that the trainers simultaneously encouraged all of us while helping us push ourselves further. Sandy also said the interaction with the trainers helped the hour fly by, since they consistently talked about the day’s exercises, her past experiences and future goals.

Janey Walker, Cedric Morris and Jennifer Spann at Get In Shape for Women

Janey Walker, Cedric Morris and Jennifer Spann at Get In Shape for Women

The confidence we gained today is priceless. In addition to the confidence, we got to take something tangible away from our workout: a body composition report. At the end, we hopped on what looked like a regular scale, but was much more. Jake input our height and age, and then when we each stepped on the scale, it not only weighed us but printed out a small report of our BMI, body fat percentages and more. If you train here regularly, this would be a fantastic tool to give you numerical evidence of the changes you’ll see in your body. After that, they offered us cups of protein shake to replenish our bodies, which brings up another aspect of this gym—nutrition. Co-owner Janey Walker emphasized that nutrition is a crucial part of everyone’s fitness journey, and because of that, she and the other trainers can provide you with sample meals and on-the-phone support for your healthy eating.  In addition to all of these resources, today they kicked off their first ever clothing swap. As their clients get in better shape and drop pounds, they can bring in their clothes that don’t fit anymore, and women at every stage in their fitness journey can find clothes that better fit their new and improved bodies.

To join this wonderful team of trainers and women dedicated to healthier lives, check out their website at or call owners Janey Walker and Jennifer Spann to sign up for a free trial week. Today’s the day to stop slacking at the back of the class—head right up to the chalkboard and get to work!

Details: 3822 Roswell Road, Suite 114, Marietta, GA, 770-605-8788,


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Day 16 of Fitness – Core Fusion Barre at Exhale Spa

Best Self staffer: Flannery

Core Fusion Barre at Exhale SpaJust because a workout is physically challenging doesn’t mean it has to challenge your mind or spirit. I experienced a distinct difference between those two options when I took Core Fusion Barre at Exhale Spa for 30 Days of Fitness. The Midtown location is on the seventh floor of the Loews Hotel, so even though I was wearing workout clothes, I felt special walking into the gorgeous lobby. I took the elevator up to the spa’s level and stepped out near a beautiful waterfall feature into the welcome area of Exhale. I signed in and was shown to the cubbies and the Core Fusion room around the corner. The views from the large windows were lovely, and lots of natural light streamed into the hallways. Even though I knew I was about to have a challenging workout, this calm atmosphere of Exhale (true to its “Spa” name!) relaxed me mentally. I dropped my stuff in a cubby, grabbed a mat, weights, a strap and a ball, and got to work.

The workout was, as the name suggests, a blend of movements on and off the barre that were targeted predominantly at the core of the body–abs and back. The instructor, health and fitness blogger Kristin Gilbert, frequently reminded us that the goal of each small movement was to “make a muscle,” which was a great way to put it, because it kept my eyes on the prize. We used small, targeted movements for our core, of course, but also for our butts, quads, hamstrings, calves, and even arms and chest during the weights section. The pace was upbeat, and exercises happened on the barre, mat, and both standing and sitting. By the end, I was physically pretty wiped out, but little did I know, I had some restorative spa time coming my way!

Kristen Mason at Exhale Spa Atlanta

Kristen Mason at Exhale Spa

When the massage therapists at Exhale Spa have a little extra time in their schedule, they will sometimes set up a massage chair and offer quick, post-workout chair massages. I snagged a seat as soon as I could and enjoyed a wonderful chair massage from Kristen Mason. Then, my Core Fusion instructor–also Kristin–showed me around Exhale. It was during this tour that I realized how mentally relaxed I was, despite my physical tiredness. Exhale has several sauna rooms, massage rooms, a quiet yoga studio, a sunny outdoor patio, and a whole host of other amenities that made me feel like I could stay there all day, including spa-grade shampoos and cleansers in the locker room so you can feel fresh and pampered after your workout. So if you’re not a gym lover, Exhale Spa might be the perfect place for you–you can pair physical fitness with all the relaxation of a true spa and take care of yourself in every way.

For just $30, you can try out every aspect of Exhale for yourself during a Week of Transformation. Take Core Fusion barre, yoga or cycling classes, unwind with their spa therapies, enjoy discounts on a private training session, and shop in their boutique. After this relaxing, fitness-filled week, you can officially join and keep the calmness coming!

Details: 1065 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA, (404) 720-5000,



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Intimate Details‘ Dr. Tiffanie L. Davis Henry is here to give you her best advice about your sex life in 2014.

Dr. Tiffanie Henry

Q: What resolution did you make this year?

A: My goal this year is to look for way to be of service to others.

Q: What is a common resolution that you hear from people?

A: In terms of the clients that I see in my practice, it’s certainly to have sex more or to be more sexually adventurous.

Q: Why do you think people fail to keep their resolutions?

A: I think that people set goals that are unrealistic and aren’t attainable. For couples in a sexless marriage, it makes very little sense to set a goal to have sex three times per week. A more realistic goal might be to have sex just once per month. You can always work toward greater, but I never want my clients to feel like they’ve failed before they’ve even gotten started.

Q: What is one action a person can take to stick to their resolution?

A: Make one change, not a drastic change. Be realistic in your resolve, and don’t set a goal that will be to hard to attain or maintain.

Q: What advice would you give someone who is struggling?

A: Rather than focus on what you want to stop doing, focus on what you want to start doing. When you focus is on being healthier, you’ll find that the unhealthy habits begin to dwindle away.

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Katherine Akra, from Orangetheory Fitness is here to give you her best advice about sticking to your New Year’s resolution to work out and get fit.

Katherine Akra

Q: What resolution did you make this year?

A: I will eat cleaner. I will focus on only indulging in my favorite things a couple of times a week. The key is to create an obtainable goal.

Q: What is a common resolution that you hear from people?

A: Everyone is different, but I’ve heard a lot of “I want to lose this many pounds,” or “I want to run a marathon in this many months.”

Q: Why do you think people fail to keep their resolutions?

A: Fitness requires dedication day after day. Whether you roll out of bed excited or tired, you’ve got to show up and do your work. It also requires patience.

Q: What is one action a person can take to stick to their resolution?

A: Find a motivating trainer to assist in creating a schedule for you. This will build up a normalcy in your fitness regimen, making it easier to follow and commit to seeing results.

Q: What advice would you give someone who is struggling?

A: I love what Tom Hanks says in “A League of Their Own.” “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” Staying fit and healthy is tough stuff- you have to get into the gym and work hard to see the results. But when you do see those results, it’s the greatest feeling!

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