Day 25 of Fitness – Zumba at Dance Stop Studios

Best Self publisher: Sherri

Since 1974, Dance Stop Studios has been recognized as one of our city’s largest and most successful dance schools. The 13,000-square-foot facility is located on Upper Roswell Road in the East Cobb area of Marietta. The school is known all over the country for its award-winning dance program, but Dance Stop’s curriculum offers classes beyond dance. They also offer fitness classes like yoga, Barre Sculpt and Zumba, so on Saturday morning, I went to try out one of their Zumba classes for 30 Days of Fitness. I have taken Zumba a couple of times, but it has been a while, so I can say with certainty that I am a beginner.

Dance Stop Studios Zumba instructor Kristi and Best Self publisher Sherri

Dance Stop Studios Zumba instructor Kristi Hickman and Best Self publisher Sherri

I was so impressed with the studio from the minute I walked in the door. The friendly greeting from the front desk and my Zumba instructor, Kristi Hickman, immediately put me at ease. I was feeling welcome and ready to start my class. The class started right on time with upbeat music and consisted of several routines (one per song).  Plus, each song worked the body from head to toe, both toning our muscles and improving our cardio abilities. The lights were turned down low to simulate a party environment, and I soon found myself doing “my” version of the moves. Kristi was very positive and motivating. Her smiling face and incredible energy were contagious. I found myself smiling, and occasionally laughing at my interesting interpretations of the Zumba dances. But that’s the great thing about Zumba—the instructor dances along with you the entire class and you simply follow along, so there’s no dance experience required! I also found myself thinking about Shakira as we danced to her music, and I thought to myself, “My hips do lie!”—they weren’t quite moving the way Kristi’s were. But it didn’t matter because I was getting a great workout and having a blast!

Zumba Class participants Regina, instructor Kristi, Casey and Tanya

Zumba Class participants Regina, instructor Kristi, Casey and Tanya

At one point in the class, the seasoned participants jumped on the stage with Kristi. I loved that because it felt very inclusive and made it easy for me to lose my inhibitions about my “style” and just enjoy the workout. And the workout went by so fast! I now understand why so many love Zumba workouts. For people who love to work out to upbeat music and enjoy the camaraderie of others, this is the class. The workout style is fun and liberating and makes you smile while still burning plenty of calories.

Details: 4400 Roswell Road, Suite 128, Marietta, GA,


Posted in 30 Days of Fitness | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Day 24 of Fitness – Fet-ness at Roc House Women’s Fitness Spa

Best Self account executive: Aubrey

For today’s 30 Days of Fitness workout, I went to Roc House Women’s Fitness Spa for their hour-long Fet-ness class. Our instructor, Keisha, is from Trinidad & Tobago, and she explained the word “fete” means an extravagant party in French, which perfectly describes the extravagant Caribbean party feel of this class. The basis of this class is about taking high-energy Caribbean music and combining it with toning, resistance and strengthening exercises. Fet-ness reminded me of a Zumba class, but with strong Caribbean and reggae influences with the music and moves.

Fet-ness instructor Keisha and Best Self staffer Aubrey

Fet-ness instructor Keisha and Best Self staffer Aubrey

When I arrived, I signed a waiver and they helped set me up with a locker. First off, this gym is beautiful and offers a variety of group classes. Not only are they a gym designed for women, but also offer spa services, a hair and nail salon, retail boutique, and an all-natural café. It really is a one-stop shop for health, wellness, and beauty! As for the class, I was excited to try it but didn’t know what to expect. Once class began, though, I felt like I was at a dance party! Everyone was smiling and the music was upbeat, so sometimes it didn’t feel like I was working out at all. We never stopped moving and the moves incorporated resistance training, so even though it didn’t feel like it, I knew I was getting exercise in. The hardest part of the workout was when we were doing the moves that required squats. My legs have been pretty sore from the other workouts I’ve done this week, so I was really feeling the burn when we were doing squats.

Not only was the workout fun and effective, but Keisha was great. She had so much energy and was having a great time, which was infectious throughout the class. Keisha had a smile on her face the entire time, and I could tell the music and dances moves were close to her and the culture of Trinidad & Tobago. Overall, the entire workout was enjoyable from start to finish! It was a super fun class that I would love to take again. 

Details: Fet-ness is offered on Thursdays at 7 p.m. 3402 Piedmont Road, Atlanta, GA, (404) 500-1621,

Posted in 30 Days of Fitness | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 23 of Fitness – Intro to CrossFit at CrossFit Atlanta

Best Self account executive: Sandy

Best Self account executive Sandy and CrossFit Atlanta owner Dan McDougald

Best Self account executive Sandy and CrossFit Atlanta owner Dan MacDougald

When we began our 30 Days of Fitness series, I knew I wanted to try CrossFit. When I went to sign up for a class at CrossFit Atlanta, though, they said the first step was to take a free trial/introductory class and fitness evaluation since I had never done CrossFit before. This hour and 15 minute introduction to CrossFit is so you can make an informed decision about joining CrossFit Atlanta.

Dan MacDougald, the owner and my instructor, asked me about my goals, my experience in fitness, exercise, and sport, my injuries and limitations, and assessed my mobility and flexibility. Then he began class by telling me the history of CrossFit, who started it and the science behind it. I learned that there are ten recognized fitness domains: cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. I think this is really valuable information to have before you embark on this fitness program. Knowledge is power, and it actually motivated me! He explained how a machine-based gym does not give you the overall rounded workout that CrossFit does. You can actually be good at everything and not just one or two things when you do CrossFit.

Then we began the true workout portion. I was nervous since I thought the gym would be full of just guys who didn’t look like they needed to work out one bit! I thought they’d all be in there pumping iron. I was wrong; there were quite a few young women and older women, some guys who were super fit and some who were still on their journey of fitness. There was every age and every body type and fitness level.  I was relieved.

CrossFit Atlanta

CrossFit Atlanta - for people of all ages and fitness levels!

Dan began by instructing me on basic movements like the proper way to do a pushup, pull up, sit up, squats, rowing and why I should do them that way. So many injuries are because of not doing an exercise the proper way. You don’t have to worry about that here, because they will make sure you are doing it correctly. Dan would stop me and make sure I got it right before doing any more. I felt safe and I knew I would not hurt myself with this type of personal training by my side. I learned that I can’t just keep doing “girl” pushups and think I can graduate to “men” pushups! Dan showed me a way to do them using my toes and very slowly coming down to the mat, touching the mat with my body, and then worming my way back up. He said that I would learn how to do a standard pushup faster by doing that than by keeping on my knees. I never knew that. He had me doing squats over and over until I got the form correct so that I would not hurt my knees. He prompted me in every exercise to think about where I felt the burn—if it was not in the right muscles, then I wasn’t doing it correctly. So I did them until I got the burn in the muscles I was supposed to feel it in…success! Plus, some of the exercises were fun, too, particularly the rowing – I pretended I was on the Potomac where I was brought up and the sun was rising and the wind was blowing in my face. I liked seeing the meters rack up to my set goals!

These may seem like small hurdles to some, but it’s all relative. That’s the great thing about CrossFit—each person can do their own max, be it lifting 20 pounds or 200 pounds, and you’re all still working out in a group together despite your different levels. After the workout I felt totally accomplished and excited for my Level One class next Wednesday!

This free trial is definitely worth giving a go – you will not be sorry. No matter if you are a Mr. Olympia look-alike or a grandmother of 10, they will help you understand how to reach your personal goals.

Details: 200 Permalume Place, Atlanta GA  30318, (404) 862-6580,

Posted in 30 Days of Fitness | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 22 of Fitness – FITin45 at Buckhead Jiu-Jitsu

Best Self account executive: Aubrey

Buckhead Jiu-Jitsu FITin45 class

Buckhead Jiu-Jitsu FITin45 class

Today’s 30 Days of Fitness workout was a class called FITin45 at the newly opened Buckhead Jiu-Jitsu. When I first arrived, I filled out a waiver and dropped my things in the women’s locker room. Sam Joseph, the owner, told me to remove my shoes, which I wasn’t expecting! The workout was done completely barefoot. Once I put my things away and took off my shoes, we got right to it. The FITin45 workout was broken up into four stations.

  1. Battle rope training (30 seconds of rope, 30 seconds rest)
  2. Lunges with kettle bells (15), mountain climbers (15)
  3. Box jumps (15), isolated crunches (15)
  4. Jumping burpees (10), Supermans (10)

We started with a quick warm-up to high-energy music, and then Sam instructed us to whichever station we wanted first. I chose Station 2 with the lunges and mountain climbers. The first couple minutes into the workout, I started to feel the burn. I alternated between the 15 kettle bell lunges and 15 mountain climbers until time was up.

We look a short, one-minute break to grab water, and then I was onto my next station: the battle rope. This is a great upper-body workout that I could feel in my biceps, triceps and shoulders immediately. For 30 seconds, you swing your arms up and down as quick as you can, making the rope do a “wave.” Not only was it working my muscles, but this interval workout had me breathing heavy and getting a cardio workout as well. Out of all the stations, this was probably the hardest for me because I don’t have a ton of upper body strength, which is something I’m working on for the new year!

After time was up for the round two, we took another quick break for water and went to our third station. My third station was the box jumps and isolated crunches. Once time began, I started with the box jumps. Form is very important in all of these workouts, so Sam helped me and told me it was important to control my jumps. He was very motivating at this station and throughout the workout. His demeanor was fun and encouraging. After my 15 jumps, I laid on the mat and did 15 crunches. Again, I alternated between these two workouts until time was up.

The final station I completed was the Station 4, jumping burpees and Supermans. I’ve done burpees with other trainers and have always had a love/hate relationship with this exercise. They are tough, but you are working your entire body (core, legs and arms), so it makes for an awesome workout. After the jumping burpees, I laid on the mat and did 10 Supermans. A Superman is a back workout where you lay on your stomach and raise your legs and arms simultaneously. I did probably four or five rounds of the station until time was up, and we were done with FITin45!

After the workout, we grabbed water and did a quick cool-down and stretch.  I was amazed how quickly time went by, but I still got a great workout!  For anyone who uses the excuse they don’t have enough time to work out, I highly suggest you go see Sam at Buckhead Jiu-Jitsu! You are warmed-up, worked out and cooled down all in 45 minutes. Not only was it fast, but you are also getting a total body workout with both strength and conditioning exercises.

Details: 2144 Hills Ave, Suite C, Atlanta, GA 30318, (678) 515-0472,

Posted in 30 Days of Fitness | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 21 of Fitness – BodyARTFitness Yoga at Lift Yoga Therapy

Best Self account executive: Sandy

Best Self account executive Sandy and Kim Saunders from Lift Yoga Therapy

Best Self account executive Sandy with Kim Saunders from Lift Yoga Therapy (Thanks to Caron Stajduhar for snapping these photos!)

For today’s 30 Days of Fitness workout, I attended BodyARTTM Fitness Yoga at Lift Yoga Therapy in Milton. I have never done anything like this class before, but I see why it’s a sensation over in Europe. BodyARTTM blends power yoga, interval training and strength work all into one awesome workout, with a resting portion at the end of class. The class was taught by Kim Saunders, who welcomed many of her students with a warm hug. It was clear that she genuinely cared about her students, and I felt welcome in the class.

We started by warming up with some guided movements and upbeat music. Kim is great at showing you exactly what you need to do, and she gives some alternate moves depending on your fitness and experience level. She showed us the moves and positions at the front of the room and then moved through the room giving us positive messages. She reminded us that we need to trust our love for ourselves. She asked us to consider what we needed to let go of and then to let go of it. She invited us to focus on where we needed to be right then. These prompts were perfect as they stopped me from thinking about my day, challenges and traffic and instead helped me to get centered in myself, in the moment and in my body.

Then, as the music bumped up to a faster beat, we were doing Cardio Yoga and loving it!  The music was carefully chosen for all the moves and guided our pace. Kim called the high intensity portion of the yoga workout “deep work.”  And yes, I could certainly feel it deep into my muscles – they needed waking up, and they came alive today! Even during that part, the class was never too much for a yoga rookie like me. My hip had been bothering me before the beginning of class, but during and after the workout, I felt wonderful. I was not over worked or under worked. My whole body was awake yet relaxed.

BodyART at Lift Yoga Therapy

The whole class after BodyART at Lift Yoga Therapy

At the end of class, Kim guided us through a resting phase. She handed out sachet packets, which were scented with relaxing herbs, for us to lay over our eyes, as well as thick blankets to cover up with. She gently invited us to consider how we can focus on giving more than taking in our relationships. She also reminded us to be one with the earth, reminding me that instead of trying to hold up the earth, I’m supposed to let the earth hold me completely. By that point in the class, I was ready for anyone or anything to hold me as I let my muscles and body relax completely.

For anyone who lives or works within driving distance of this studio, I highly recommend it.  On their website, check out the schedule of free classes going on right now and try it for yourself! The studio offers BodyART as well as a variety of other classes: Flow, Power, Fitness, Yin, Kids, Prenatal, Thai Yoga and Meditation. To try them all, take advantage of their introductory offer of $30 for 30 days.

Details: Located in the Bethwell Community Center, 2695 Hopewell Road, Milton, GA, (if you aren’t familiar with this location, be sure to use Google Maps, because your GPS will get confused!) (404) 906-8233, or on Facebook HERE.

Posted in 30 Days of Fitness | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 20 of Fitness – Core Barre Workout at The Core

Best Self account executive: Carmen Koehler

Recently, barre classes have become all the rage in the world of fitness. We should know—for our 30 Days of Fitness, we ended up at several of them! Carmen, one of our account executives, wanted to get in on the fun, so she went to local Pilates studio The Core to try out their Core Barre workout class. Here’s what she has to say about the experience:

Allison Stone, The Core owner, and Marisa Antolino, instructor

Allison Stone, The Core owner, and Marisa Antolino, instructor

“This was my first barre class to take, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. However, I really enjoyed this class and the instructor, Marissa Antolino. The class is on the smaller side, so Marissa was really able to get with each of us to make sure we were positioned correctly throughout the class. We used a variety of equipment during the class, including mats, balls, weights, belts and the barre, of course. I found the class fun and challenging and loved how Marisa mixed things up the whole time. She started us off with some cardio to get us warmed up, kept us stretching throughout the class and included a lot of ab exercises that impacted your whole body. My one warning for this class is to be prepared to work your abs! The biggest challenge for me during the class was doing sit-ups with my legs off the mat. It helps to have strong abs, but if yours aren’t quite there yet, I think this class can help you big time.

Also, I can’t say enough about the instructor, Marissa. She was such a great motivator and really made sure that we were all getting the workout that we needed in order to get the results we wanted. And unlike some workout classes I have done that have left me feeling exhausted, I felt stronger and invigorated after this class. I also really enjoyed that Marissa incorporated stretching throughout the class to help keep us loose.”

To try Core Barre at The Core for yourself, sign up for the one-hour class on Monday evenings, Tuesdays at noon or Saturday mornings. The cost is $26 per class, and packages are available.

Details: 12030 Etris Road, Suite 220, Roswell, GA 30075, (770) 998-6411,

Posted in 30 Days of Fitness | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Zero Sweat FitnessNo time to get to the gym is not a problem with Zero Sweat Fitness videos. You can exercise right at your desk without even having to break a sweat. This digital download will alert you every hour on the hour and show you exactly what moves to do to burn an extra 300 to 800 calories a day.


Posted in Best Bulletin | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Dr. Sheila Garnica from North Fulton Women’s Specialist answers a reader’s question about vaginal dryness. Dr. Sheila Garnica

Q: My primary care physician told me I have vaginal dryness. Do I need to do anything about it?

A: The only reason to treat vaginal dryness is if the symptoms are bothersome. Many women think the only symptom of vaginal dryness is painful intercourse, but other symptoms include itching or sting around the vaginal opening, recurrent urinary tract infections and light bleeding with intercourse. If you have one or more of these symptoms, you should address them with your gynecologist. This is an important opportunity to have your gynecologist perform an exam to make sure that the dryness is not due to another problem.

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

Posted in Best RX | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment‘s Janis Kupferer is here to give you her best advice on how to stick to your resolution to make your friendships a priority. Janis Kupferer

Q: What resolution did you make this year?

A: I plan to improve my health, and a great way to do so is by strengthening and improving my friendships and other special relationships.

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

A: The most common resolution I hear is women tell me they will be placing greater emphasis on their friendships by making them a priority and simply spending more time with friends.

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

A: When results aren’t immediate, it’s easy to lose sight of long-term goals.

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

A: One action someone could take would be setting smaller, more immediate goals to make staying on course easier. So perhaps lunch with friends this week, and a dinner party next month.

Q: What is an inspirational quote you can tell someone who is struggling?

A: “After all, tomorrow is another day.”- Scarlett O’Hara

Posted in Best Advice | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Through February 22, Jackson Fine Art will be showcasing acclaimed photographer and Atlanta native Tierney Gearon’s COLORSHAPE series at their Buckhead studio. COLORSHAPEThese imaginative and powerful images revolve around handmade, vibrantly colored plexiglass structures in picturesque landscapes, snow-topped mountains, urban streets and neighborhoods. Gearon’s work has been exhibited at many prominent galleries around the globe.

Details: 3115 East Shadowlawn Avenue Atlanta, GA, (404) 233-3739,

Posted in Best Fun | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment