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 editorial@bestselfatlanta.com.

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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, jeff@chaosconditioning.com, www.chaosconditioning.com


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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 www.getinshapeforwomen.com 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, www.getinshapeforwomen.com


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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, www.exhalespa.com



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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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Day 15 of Fitness – Boxing at Sweet Science Fitness Boxing Club

Best Self account executive: Aubrey

For the halfway point of 30 Days of Fitness, I went to Sweet Science Fitness Boxing Club for their Knockout Cardio Boxing class. I was excited but nervous for my first class! I’ve done kickboxing before, but boxing is a completely different workout. I walked in, was greeted by Laura and filled out a waiver for the class. Hall & Oates blared over the speakers, which I appreciated, since I grew up with a dad who loves classic rock. As the instructor, Marty Hill, finished up his earlier class, I met some of the other “vets” who have been taking classes at Sweet Science for 4+ years. Everyone was super nice and accommodating, especially since I was the newbie.

From there, I met with Marty briefly and he wrapped my hands in order to stabilize them. There are 100+ small bones in your hands, so you definitely want to make sure you do this before any boxing class. Since it was my first time, they provided me with the wraps and gloves. (If you are thinking about signing up long-term, Sweet Science offers a plan that includes equipment and gloves.) After my hands were wrapped, we stretched and did some exercises to get our bodies warmed up. After the warm-up, we learned some basic boxing instruction and moves like jabs, crosses and upper-cuts. We then played a game called “Marty-Says,” a play off of the game Simon-Says where we had to practice the moves we just learned. The first time we played, I was the first one out, but by the time we played the second round I got the hang of things.


Instructor Marty Hill, Best Self staffer Aubrey, and Laura from Sweet Science Fitness Boxing

Instructor Marty Hill, Best Self staffer Aubrey, and Laura from Sweet Science Fitness Boxing

After “Marty-Says” we put on our gloves. We were partnered up in teams of 2 and went to a punching bag. We did a variety of combinations on the punching bag, then with our partner. My arms, calves and back muscles were all burning! We did not stop moving the entire hour I was there, so in addition to working my muscles, this was a great cardio workout as well. Even though it was my first time, he pushed me. He would go up to everyone, call us by name, and not let us slack off, which I needed! Once we were done at the punching bags, we finished up with planks, push-ups, ab exercises and then a cool-down. Afterward, I was exhausted but felt really accomplished that I made it through.

Overall, Sweet Science was great, and it definitely changed the expectations I had about boxing. When I thought of boxing before this class, I pictured physical contact in a boxing ring. Plus, I expected to be sharing the class with a bunch of Muhammed Ali types, but that was absolutey not the case! Especially in the Cardio Box class, there is no physical contact, and the workout was for everyone–not just men or people of certain fitness levels. Sweet Science even offers ladies only boxing classes several times a week. I highly recommend this class, especially because no matter who you are, there’s no better way to deal with a bad mood than to take it out on a punching bag.

To try Sweet Science for yourself, drop in and mention this blog. If you tell them Best Self sent you, you’ll get your first group class completely free!

Details: 1100 Hammond Drive Suite 400B, Atlanta, GA, 404-736-6302, www.sweetsciencefitness.com

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The DDP Yoga Challenge and Diamond Dallas Page are working to transform people’s bodies and minds through yoga, strength training and online blogging.DDP Yoga Challenge One goal is to lose weight and get fit, but another goal is to blog about the motivation and dedication that carry you through the weight loss process. The most inspirational bloggers will receive a reward of $5,000. One winner will be announced in June.

Details: www.ddpyogachallenge.com

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Day 14 of Fitness – Cardio Reformer at Stability Pilates and Physical Therapy

Best Self associate publisher: Patti

For today’s 30 Days of Fitness, I went to Stability Pilates and Physical Therapy (where I have taken classes for a few years now) to try a new class: Cardio Reformer. This studio is at the corner of Roswell and Hammond, so plan for traffic accordingly, but parking is a breeze. Stability has a great feel when you walk in–friendly greetings and clean, crisp decor, with lots of great Pilates clothing and some equipment like foam rollers and mats available for sale.

Pilates reformer with jump board attached

Pilates Reformer with jump board attached

I first want to point out that the Cardio Reformer class is not for novices! Before you take any reformer class, you need to take a few private sessions so you can learn how the equipment works, what your leg and spring settings should be and most importantly, how to correctly position your body in the various moves to get the most out of it. The class moves very quickly and while the instructor, Katie McNeight, is awesome at giving direction, each person really needs to know how to do the individual moves so as not to slow down the group. With that said, there were five of us last night and all seemed to be at about the same level. The level of intensity can be varied by the weight of the springs and how quickly you move.

Katie McNeight, Stability Pilates and Physical Therapy instructor

Katie McNeight, Stability Pilates and Physical Therapy instructor

The workout began with an abdominal warm-up. You hear “engage your core” and “legs into tabletop” a lot! This means you are clenching your abs and glutes like crazy while lying down with your legs up and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. It was an awesome workout! I absolutely love Pilates because you are stretching, toning and strengthening with every move. This had the added fun of a “jump board” being added–think trampoline at the end of the table. The reformer table glides with the resistance of springs, and you are “jumping” while lying on your back. This is so much easier on your knees and back, and during the numerous series of jumps, you definitely get your heart rate up–this was the most challenging part of the class for me. The hour flew by, and when I got up to stretch, I certainly had “the shakies” in my legs. I love that feeling of knowing I had a good, hard workout. Plus, my instructor Katie was fun and encouraging as always, and she really pushed me to do things I didn’t think I could do!

To try this class for yourself, or any of their other options like Pilates mat and yoga, visit their website to check out the pricing and class options.

Details: 5975 Roswell Road, Suite C-333, Sandy Springs, GA, 30328, (404) 303-9153, www.stabilityatlanta.com

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David Martin, RN, CRNFA, of VeinInnovations, gives us some valuable information about deep vein thrombosis and what to be on the look out for when traveling long distances. 

Recently I read an article by a fit, 50-something Delta Airlines pilot named Steve Powell, who was stricken with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a common condition among pilots because they have to sit in a cramped position for long periods of time.

As many of you will be traveling to escape winter’s cold, it is important to learn about this disease and ways you may be able to prevent it. DVTDVT is a clot in a deep vein and is a life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical care. If the clot breaks free, it can travel to your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. DVT is blamed for the deaths of more than 200,000 people each year, but it likely kills many more.

Sitting in a confined space or traveling for long periods does increase the risk of DVT, but there are other factors that contribute as well, including inherited disorders, certain medication or vein injuries.

There are ways to help prevent it, such as getting up and moving around regularly, especially if you will be in a situation where you’ll be seated for a long period of time. Also, with your doctor’s permission, wearing compression hose may help.

Happily, the pilot lived to tell the story and is now raising awareness of the dangers of ignoring the following symptoms:

  • Swelling in one or both legs, including swelling in the ankle and foot.
  • Pain in the leg which can also include pain in the ankle and foot.
  • Warmth over the affected area.
  • Changes in skin color of the legs or feet, such as turning pale, red or blue.

If you develop any of these symptoms, do not ignore them. Make sure to head to the emergency room immediately and seek medical attention.


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