Bircoll, Lawrence_cred neededDr. Lawrence Bircoll from Resurgens Orthopaedics answers a reader’s question about running on hard surfaces.

Q: I recently heard some friends talking about the dangers of running on hard surfaces. Is this really a risk? What should I do to protect myself? 

A: Running on hard surfaces like asphalt does place a slightly higher level of stress on your bones and joints compared to running on grass or unpaved trails. However, running is inherently stressful on these parts of the body regardless of the surface you’re on. The key to protecting yourself against stress injuries is to give your body a break from running. Biking, swimming and hiking are great alternatives to help mix up your routine.

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Day 20 of Fitness – House of Payne Personal Training 

Atlanta Home Improvement staffer: Jeret Adair 

Jeret Adair, Rachel Payne, Steve Payne

Jeret Adair, Rachel Payne, Steve Payne

Yesterday, Jennifer Prins, account executive from Atlanta Home Improvement magazinetook a class to participate in Best Self Atlanta’s 30 Days of Fitness blog series. Today, I decided to hop on the fitness bandwagon and join in on the fun.

For Day 20 of Fitness, I took my workout regimen to the next level through a bodybuilding competition posing class at House of Payne’s Personal Training facility. While it may sound easy to flex and hold a pose for close to a minute at a time, to my surprise it was quite strenuous—especially as a first-timer.

Once arriving to the House of Payne Personal Training gym, I was greeted by co-owner Steve Payne, who then instructed me to remove my shirt and follow him to the competition stage. From there, I stood on a stage shirtless surrounded by a giant mirror. In the background of my reflection was the looming presence of competition bodybuilders flipping over monster truck tires and taping up their quads before hitting the squat rack. I felt intimidated at first but then noticed that no one was even looking at me. Everyone there was completely focused on their own body and their own progress.

Steve then joined me on stage and guided me through five main poses that builders are normally judged on. After completing those five poses, I noticed how sweaty I had become. Steve then explained that one of the most common misconceptions about exercise and muscle-building is the use of weights. He explained that the most important thing to remember when building a competitive and aesthetically pleasing physique is the mind-muscle connection. This is the process of your brain telling your body exactly which muscles to engage and how to engage them. I took this newfound knowledge off the stage and down to the back weight room.

In the weight room, Steve handed me a 25 pound dumbbell and told me to perform a dumbbell press motion. I normally do more than twice this weight, but Steve insisted I slow my motions down to a ten seconds up, ten seconds down routine. I then immediately felt an increase in my mind-muscle connection and noticed that my chest muscles were flexing and engaging like never before!

I was completely surprised by how slowing down and thinking hard about which muscles you are using can affect the workout. We then did this same routine with legs, back and triceps—low weight, high-concentration and powerful flexing and holding. The last 30 minutes turned into an extremely effective and exhausting workout. I went into this workout slightly intimidated and skeptical. I left with an inspired plan for training and an awesome pump.

Details: 4565 Lawrenceville Highway, Lilburn, GA, (678) 641-9188,

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Jennifer Acuff, Jennifer Prins

Jennifer Acuff, Jennifer Prins

Day 19 of Fitness – World Gym Smyrna

Today, the Best Self staff took a day off from fitness while Jennifer Prins, an account executive from our sister magazine Atlanta Home Improvement magazine, took a class at World Gym Smyrna.

If you’ve ever thought that running on a treadmill was boring, you must first try this one-hour TreadworX class! Imagine for a second, an inspiring fitness instructor guiding you to meet your fitness goals all while in a class set to music videos in a special full-movie screen media room. Instead of taking a seat in a chair, you are working out on a treadmill.

If you are a first-timer, it is good to note that these classes do fill up quite fast—especially in January. To reserve your spot be sure to arrive 15 to 20 minutes ahead of time to sign in at the front desk. Also, if you begin your warm up on the treadmill before class begins, be sure to restart it once the instructor starts showing the videos. Otherwise, your treadmill may go into a cool-down mode before the actual class is finished.

This is fun and energetic workout is for walkers, joggers  and runners alike. I can truly say that because of TreadworX my endurance and speed on the open road has increased tremendously. Jennifer—my class instructor—is a great motivator who orchestrates the run varieties to the beat of the music. When music’s tempo begins to increase, you know it’s time to prepare for a sprint! And once the class is over, you will be amazed at how far you were able to run. Also, to keep the class fresh, Jennifer and the other instructors are sure to change the videos often.

Before the workout I am usually a little tired since Jennifer teaches this class at 5:30 a.m. on Friday mornings, but once you are warm it is off to the races! The most enjoyable part of this workout is how you feel once the class is complete. Overall, this class is for anyone who hates the treadmill but loves to walk, jog or run. It will change your mind and your outside run. If you’re ready to burn some calories, have fun and increase your endurance, TreadworX is for you!

Details: 4425 South Cobb Dr SE, Smyrna, GA, 30080, (770) 801-0006,

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Day 18 of Fitness – Cyc Fitness Atlanta – Buckhead 

Best Self editor: Flannery Keck 

Keoni Hudoba

Keoni Hudoba, Cyc Founder

For today’s workout, I took a class at the newly opened Cyc. This cycling studio is located in the Forum Athletic Club, tucked in Lenox Mall by the Macy’s package pickup entrance. Our ride was about 45 minutes and taught by Keoni Hudoba, who founded the Cyc method.

Like many dedicated cycling studios, Cyc provided clip-in cycling shoes for a more solid ride on the pedals. There are open cubbies available outside the studio, and the Forum has lockers available too. I changed my shoes, tucked my belongings in a cubby and hopped on my designated bike.

Flannery Keck and fellow Cyc rider Amelia Pavlik

Flannery Keck and fellow Cyc rider Amelia Pavlik

The workout got underway with some upbeat songs and a pedal pace that matched the beat. I always love when an instructor matches their ride to great music—it helps me stay motivated better than almost anything else! After we warmed up for a few songs, we spent the entire middle of the class adding upper body strength training to the mix. We slowed down our pace a bit and picked up a small, two-pound weight in each hand. Keoni worked out our arms with a variety of boxing moves such as upper cuts and jabs and even some swimming movements such as backstrokes and freestyle strokes. For anyone who is brand new to cycling, you may want to stick to a studio that focuses solely on the cycling itself, but for cyclists who want to add some variety to their rides, Cyc is a great choice.

Since I’ve cycled a lot before, I did enjoy the change of pace with so much added upper body work. I was surprised at how tough it was! I had to drop the weights pretty quickly because my body weight was plenty to challenge my muscles. Thankfully, Keoni kept all our movements right on the beat of each song, so even when I was getting tired, I was having fun. Overall, I liked that the studio was in a central location with plenty of parking, and I loved the high energy of the class. And really, you can’t go wrong with a studio whose T-shirts say, “I told my Cycologist about you!”

Details: 3393 Peachtree Road NE, Suite #2100, Atlanta, GA, (678) 904-1940,

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Day 17 of Fitness – UFC Gym Perimeter 

Best Self staffer: Chela Counts

UFC Gym Perimeter

UFC Gym Perimeter

I was once told, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!” So for day 17 of fitness, I took several steps outside of my comfort zone to enroll in UFC Gym Perimeter’s kickboxing class led by the Coach Daniel/Danny.

This high-intensity total body workout was more than just your usual punching bag routine. It’s park cardiovascular, part interval training, with a targeted focus always on the correct completion of each movement at a fast-pace.

Coach Daniel, Chela Counts

Coach Daniel, Chela Counts

As a first-timer I was glad to know that previous experience is not required, gloves are provided and parking was a breeze. Once I entered the gym’s doors I was warmly greeted by the reception desk staff and then asked to complete a fitness goal questionnaire. From there, I was then guided by Krista Cross to the gym’s cubby section and then led back to the front so that Danny could securely wrap my hands—wrapping the hands prevents against self-injury when punching the bag.

To warmup, Danny took each of us through a series of stretches and then straight to instructing us to place our hands in the gloves. We each positioned ourselves next to a bag and began to complete front-kicks, upper-cuts, right and left hooks, jabs and even ab work.

Danny did an excellent job of circulating the room to ensure that each participant felt comfortable and completed each routine correctly His enthusiasm kept me motivated, especially in such an early morning class. Before the workout, I anticipated something easy but was instantly surprised and mistaken at how tough kickboxing truly is. During, my body felt warm and my arms and legs felt strengthened from one movement to the next. I was challenged and felt accomplished afterward.

From the friendly staff to the facility, UFC Gym Perimeter’s kickboxing class will not only get you fit but tone your body’s muscles as well. If you are eager to try something new and see results instantly, they offer just that.

Details: Perimeter Village, 4745 Ashford Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta, GA, (404) 445.8324,

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Day 16 of Fitness – Gravity Studio Sandy Springs 

Best Self staffer: Bethany Newlin

Gravity Studios Sandy Springs

Gravity Studios Sandy Springs

More likely than not, many of you probably still remember actor Chuck Norris—the Texas Ranger—who we now see on infomercials promoting the total gym. Well, now you don’t have to complete this workout alone.

For Day 16 of Fitness, I took Gravity Studio’s Ride N’ Glide class at their Sandy Springs location. While this workout requires no equipment, be sure to bring a bottle of water! I’ve never done both cycling and a machine workout simultaneously, but this workout was awesome! Paige Castor was my class instructor and made sure each workout participant displayed the correct body positions, along with a level of comfortability on their machine.

Prior to arriving to this class I was quite nervous because I had never completed such a workout or been to this facility, but I was excited because I was finally able to give it a try. During, I was surprised at how effective it was because I only used my own body weight. The transitions to change positions were smooth, and afterward I felt sweaty and worked! I could really feel the workout in my arms which was perfect because that is always one of my target areas when working out.

Gravity Studios Sandy Springs Ride N' Glide Class

Gravity Studios Sandy Springs Ride N’ Glide Class

The hardest part of this workout was nothing! I was able to move at my own pace, which encouraged invited me to feel even more comfortable staying fit. But don’t get me wrong, I was still being pushed and my muscles burned for sure, but not the point where I felt as though I couldn’t complete the exercise.

The best part of this workout is knowing that any and everyone can truly do it! It suits all fitness levels, all ages and all body types. In addition, they even have heart-rate monitors for you to wear and track your own progress and pace. My workout was truly catered to my level and body.

For any first-timer like myself, I do suggest arriving ten minutes before class begins in order to sign-in, put your things away, set-up your heart-rate monitor, and ask any questions you may have. Doing these things will only aid in centering your mind and focusing yourself on the task at hand which is to enjoy the transformation of your body.

Details: 227 Sandy Springs Pl, Atlanta, GA, (678) 515.4006,

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Day 15 of Fitness – X3 Sports West Midtown 

Best Self staffer: Aubrey Campbell 

Morgan, Christina, Joe (our trainer), and Aubrey Campbell

Morgan, Christina, Joe (our trainer), and Aubrey Campbell

Often times, in order to get a different result, you must first try something new! For Day 15 of Fitness, I took X3 Sports’ one-hour power track weight lifting class at their West Midtown location.

Pulling into this fitness facility, I couldn’t help but notice how packed the parking lot was. I knew right then that I was in for a great workout! Once greeted by Randi and shown to the women’s locker room, I was then introduced to Joe, my instructor for the day. From there, he immediately split the class into groups to begin our workout. I was placed in a group with Morgan and Christina (pictured above). For Morgan, this was her second time taking the class, but Christina is a veteran. It was great to have her show us the ropes.

Although this class was different from any other class I’ve ever taken, my goal for 30 Days of Fitness was to become more comfortable with lifting weights in order to help increase muscle mass and strength.

Workout description on the white board

Workout description on the white board

Prior to the workout, Joe did an excellent job visually showcasing our workout for the day on a dry erase board. On the board, the workout was separated into A, B and C, all of which we did for three rounds. Our A1 and A2 workout included a Nordic raise and a supinated barbell row. Our second workout—B1 and B2—was the Nordic raise again with a bench press. And our third workout—C1, C2 and C3—were goblet squats, hammer curls with dumbbells and a table press. Morgan, Christina and I encouraged each other along the way!

During the workout, I became more comfortable with each repetition. After, I felt great and KNEW I was going to be nice and sore the next day. Power track is a full body workout!

If you are looking to build muscle, tone, burn fat and get stronger, I highly advise taking the power track class at X3 Sports. This class suits all fitness levels and will truly break down any fear you have of using weights.

Details: 1092 Huff Road NW, Atlanta, GA, (678) 903-0100,

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James, Madison 2_cred Ben Robi Photography

If your New Year’s resolution is to get in shape and eat healthy, the first stage is planning. For busy, active women like you and me, our plans have to include our trips to the gym as well as our healthy food for the day. And thanks to Six Pack Fitness, the days of the boring lunch bags are over. Their women’s collection ranges from $59.99 to $399.99. I have the Expert Renee Tote in Sienna, and I absolutely love it. So if your job requires you to travel or you’re a busy mom on the go, this bag is perfect to help you stay on track with a hidden compartment for all your meals, plus hidden icepacks and storage for days. Check out the many different sizes and colors that Six Pack Fitness offers, and find the right bag for you. Reach your goals for 2015 by taking your meals with you in style.


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Day 14 of Fitness – Pink Barre Sandy Springs 

Best Self staffer: Bethany Newlin 

Maureen Chatelain  teaching at Pink Barre Sandy Springs

Maureen Chatelain (instructor) teaching a barre class at Pink Barre Sandy Springs

We’ve all heard the saying, “When you look good, you feel good!” The same rings true for fitness. For Day 14 of Best Self Atlanta Magazine’s 30 Days of Fitness blog series, I visited Pink Barre Sandy Springs. Their 60-minute barre class required me to bring nothing more than myself and a pair of socks if I pleased.

So what exactly is “barre” you may ask? Barre is a ballet-inspired workout whose moves are very methodical yet intense all at the same time. You take the time to focus on tucking your tummy, protecting your spine and controlling each movement as well as your breathing.

Rie Oishi, Heather Chesser, Amy Liefer, Bethany Newlin

Rie Oishi, Heather Chesser, Amy Liefer, Bethany Newlin

Maureen Chatelain was my class instructor and made sure that each movement I completed was done with the correct posture. During the workout, my muscles and abs were burning. The hardest part of this workout was working my hamstrings. I am usually never able to get a really good targeted hamstring workout, but this did the trick! The most enjoyable part was our stretching and breathing exercise toward the end. Being able to close my eyes and focus on what I had just completed felt amazing. After, I felt refreshed, tight and ready for the rest of the day.

Overall, every barre studio is different. If you’ve tried a barre class but haven’t visited Pink Barre Sandy Springs, you are missing out!

Details: 230 Hammond Drive Suite 388, City Walk Shopping Center, Sandy Springs, GA, (404) 578-5198,

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Day 13 of Fitness – Boutique Body Fitness

Best Self staffer: Aubrey Campbell

Aubrey Campbell, Lisa Tanker-Potts

Aubrey Campbell, Lisa Tanker-Potts

Just as quickly as winter has arrived, spring will be here before you know it! So why wait for bikini season to tone my body? For Day 13 of Fitness, I participated in Lisa Tanker-Potts’ bikini body boot camp held at Boutique Body Fitness studio.

This series-based boot camp hosted 30 other women whose main goal for several weeks has been to get and stay fit. Toward the beginning of class, Lisa spoke with each workout participant in order to gauge the success of their customized meal plans. Once that was complete, the warm-up began quickly with a light jog to get our muscles ready for a great class.

To begin the day’s workout we were each separated into groups of four, where there were seven stations set-up across the floor. Lisa then demonstrated each stations’ routine, and immediately began the music to get us moving!

My station start point was an aerobics platform with lateral step workouts to increase the heart rate. From there, I moved to doing lunges, wall push-ups, squats and isolated crunches with a medicine ball. Each of the seven stations were repeated twice, and during the second round we did a minute of squat jumps and high-knees.

During the workout I felt energized and excited. Lisa was awesome! Her positive energy pushed each and every girl to give it their all at each station. I found it to be really special that she knew everyone by name and was so encouraging the entire time!

The hardest part of the workout was the hamstring curl machine. My most enjoyable part was actually getting to talk to the other women in class once the workout was complete. Lisa’s expertise and warm spirit has encouraged several women to live healthy lifestyles and work for their desired physique.

Lisa is a fitness guru who is in amazing shape herself! She competes in physique competitions, and I really love when fitness professionals truly practice what they preach.

Details: 650 Hamilton Ave SE, Atlanta, GA, (678) 568-9217,

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