By Alexandra McCray

Walking into The Daily I was immediately overwhelmed by a sense of calmness and serenity. This boutique Pilates studio, tucked away across the street from the King Plow Arts Center, is beautiful. Cool greys, blues and crisp whites can be found in every aspect of its interior design. Lily Collins, studio owner and instructor, greeted me with a warm smile as I walked in the door.

After putting my things away, Lily lead me up a small, spiral staircase where mats, balls, and foam rollers were waiting for me. Today’s Foundations Pilates class was small, with just two other women. Personally, I am always a fan of small classes. To me, it often means you get a little bit more one-on-one instruction and the chance to connect with your classmates more.

Lily and Alexandra

Lily and Alexandra

We began our warm-up by rolling small balls beneath our feet to get our blood flowing and release tension from standing all day, wearing heels and just general wear and tear our feet. We then placed the foam roller vertically on the mat and laid our backs on it. We gently rolled from side to side to help release any stress from that area.

After we were warmed up, we headed down stairs into the reformer room. I’ve never used a Pilates reformer before, but Lily was great at helping me get comfortable with the machine and making sure my form was correct. I loved that we were able to get in a whole body workout on the reformer. One of my favorite moves worked our legs and had us doing circles in the air with the our feet in the straps.

We ended class by using the straps and reformer to stretch out our muscles, which felt great. Lily reminded us that we would get more flexible with each class.

I highly recommend this class if you’re looking to venture into the world of reformer Pilates, or just looking for a new way to work your muscles.

Details: 981 West Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, doitonthedaily.com

 

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

By Ansley Bourn

Looking to spice things up in your yoga practice? Core Power Yoga North Druid Hills  is the perfect place to maximize the workout on your mat. Each class adds an extra twist to the modern yoga experience while still staying true to traditional yoga roots. Parking is plentiful, and you don’t need a reservation for class! Get there a little early to check yourself in and peruse the creme de le creme of yoga attire. If you’re like me and forget to bring a towel, mat or water bottle, no worries! They have them all available to rent or purchase (all three are free for your first class).

Each class at Core Power offers variations for all levels, but it is recommended to complete one Core Power 1 or 2 class (C1 or C2) before Yoga Sculpt. Set to upbeat tunes and heated at 92-95 degrees, this class is sure to fire up your muscles and get your heart rate moving. Hydration is key, so be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after.

Melisa and Ansley

Melisa and Ansley

I like to think of Yoga Sculpt as a hybrid of plyometrics, cardio, yoga and weightlifting. Chair pose gets a little more challenging when you’re holding five pound weights over your head! This class was extra fun for me because I took it with my good friend Melisa Newsome.

Ansley and Samson

Ansley and Samson

We both agree that the hardest part of Yoga Sculpt was the added weightlifting to the already challenging horse and frog squats. Just when I thought my quads couldn’t take it any longer, our instructor and studio manager, Samson Frederick would chime in with a “Yes you can!” and count us down to the next position. He made sure to spend time with each person in the class to help us focus on our breathing. “When you feel like giving up, just take a breath!” — a practice he encouraged us to use both on and off our mats. Excellent advice in my opinion! His energy and coaching throughout the class made the time pass quickly, and by the end I was proud of my reps and the extra calories I’d burned.

If you’re ready to take your yoga practice to the next level, then look no further. By the way, the first week is free! You’ve got nothing to lose.

Details: 2480 Briarcliff Road NE #23, Atlanta, GA 30329, corepoweryoga.com

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

By Alexandra McCray

Movement and mobility are not just essential for your efforts in the gym, but also everyday life. Think about it. Are you sore from hard workouts? Are you aching from keeping up with the kiddos? Or, are you feeling tight and stiff from a long commute then sitting at a desk all day? If you can relate to any of those, then I guarantee the Mastering Movement class at Snap Fitness Glenwood has something for you.

Walking in for my first class, I could feel my morning workout taking its toll on my glutes. So, I was pretty pumped when our instructor, Martha Jean (MJ) Schindler, informed us that tonight we would be focusing on opening up our hips and glutes. Each Mastering Movement class focuses on improving range of motion, joint health and reducing tightness in different parts of the body.

MJ demonstrates proper foam rolling techniques with fellow classmate, Jack.

MJ demonstrates proper foam rolling techniques with fellow classmate, Jack.

We started with some basic foam rolling techniques, first on our hamstrings and glutes, then a little on our quads. MJ explained that we should be rolling slowly, and once we found a knot to hold it there, and to take deep breaths and try to relax our body so the knot could release. One of the biggest things I learned in this class is that timing is everything. To really loosen the tension you often need to hold the positions for a few minutes, which can be uncomfortable and at times downright painful. Like a deep tissue massage, the pain is very much worth it though. A few times throughout class MJ had us do a body-weight squat so we could feel the difference the stretches were making.

What I love most about this class is that MJ provides you with a ton of practical knowledge. She showed us stretches we could perform on the couch while watching TV, told us which type of sports balls work well as self-massage tools, told us about red flags to look for while stretching and showed modifications if stretches were too intense.

No matter where you rank yourself on the fitness scale, I highly recommend everyone take this class at least once. Not only will you feel great, but you’ll know a lot more about your body.

To learn more about MJ and Crossfit Mobility visit fitnesswithmj.com

Details:  920 Glenwood Ave. Suite 102/103, Atlanta, GA 30316, snapfitness.com

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

By Alexandra McCray

“Can you see me? I’m in the green jacket,” says Summit Fitness Center instructor Linda Bolton, who is braving the cold to help me find a parking spot. Summit Fitness Center is located inside the Peachtree Summit Federal Building in the heart of the city, which means parking can be a challenge at times. Once I am parked, Linda leads me into the center for her 6:45 a.m. Hip-Hop Cycling class.

I walk into the classroom and am immediately greeted by 10-12 friendly faces. I find one of the few open seats and get my bike set up. The energy in the room is contagious and I can tell I am in for a good class.

Hip Hop Cycling at Summit Fitness Center

Linda leads the class.

We begin pedaling with no resistance and start an upper body warm-up of stretches, shoulder shrugs and arm movements. Shortly after, we are up off our seats and pedaling full force. Linda has put on a CD of classic and modern hip-hop songs that have been remixed to create the perfect cardio soundtrack. I have taken spin classes before, but nothing like this. The whole time you are spinning Linda has you doing fun dance moves to the beat of the songs, one of my personal favorites included mimicking the motion of swiping a credit card. Fun radiates off Linda, and when she sees you getting into the moves and dancing along she offers lots of encouragement and praise.

The comradery of this class is appreciable, even though it was my first time at Summit, Linda and my classmates made me feel right at home. Towards the end of class we did a “relay race.” Linda would call out your name then you would peddle as fast as you could, as she told you to go on and off your seat, while everyone cheered you on.

After the relay race we eased up on resistance and slowly brought our pedaling to a stop. We then stretched using our bikes, and class was over. At this point I was a sweaty mess, but felt energized and ready to take on my day.

To learn how you can add Hip-Hop Cycling to your cardio routine contact Linda Bolton at stayfaithfullyfit@gmail.com.

Details: 401 W Peachtree St Nw Atlanta GA 30308, facebook.com/SummitFitnessCenter,

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

As we gear up for our 6th annual Over 40 & Fabulous! contest, we have decided to check-in with our previous winners to see what they are up to now.

Nominations for this year’s Over 40 & Fabulous! contest open February 1. So, mark your calendars and start thinking about who you would like to nominate! In the meantime, enjoy our updates on previous winners.

Collette McDonald

Collette McDonald, one of our 2015 Fabulous Five winners and professional dynamo, is widely recognized for her in-depth knowledge of the entire metro Atlanta real estate market, including her focus on homes in the City of Brookhaven. Her direct, engaged and charismatic personality shines through in her work as a REALTOR®, local community advocate, television expert and small business owner.

 Collette is the Official REALTOR® of the Atlanta Falcons Football Franchise. When she is not tackling the real estate market, Collette continues to run a free fit club in the Brookhaven area for friends and clients who want to live their healthiest life ever. In September of 2015 she sponsored Brookhaven’s Police Department’s Hot Pursuit 5K race to benefit the department’s Shop with a Cop program for needy children. A big supporter of the Brookhaven Police Department, she also sponsored the 2nd annual Christmas Appreciation Lunch for the Police Department on December 14 and 15.

To learn more about Collette McDonald and our other 2015 Over 40 & Fabulous! winners check out our June 2015 issue.

 

Posted in Over 40 and Fabulous! | Tagged , | Leave a comment

By Ansley Bourn

Walking into my Level 2 class at The Bar Method East Cobb, I was really excited. I had been taking Mixed classes at the studio for a few months now, but this was my first Level 2 class. I was ready for a new challenge! As always, Carson Simonton, our instructor, welcomed me at the front with a smile and checked me into class.

The Bar Method East Cobb

Talking with Carson before this class, she gave me the run-down of what differentiates a Level 2 class from a Mixed class. Mixed classes are really “mixed” level, meaning that anyone is eligible. They are made up of people brand new to barre and clients who have been taking classes for years. Level 2 is “the next level up.” You have to have taken at least 25 mixed classes before taking a Level 2.

I felt great during the warm-up and noticed my muscles firing up a little earlier with the extra plank. Since all of my classmates were a little more advanced, the energy in the room was exhilarating. It was like we were all challenging each other to try the advanced options and hold positions longer for the extra shake!

Throughout the class, Carson made sure we were all in the correct positions and would help us each make small adjustments to keep our alignment safe. All instructors at The Bar Method go through extensive training before they can teach and are all very well versed in physical therapy. In addition to their auditions,  they also much complete a full week of seven hours per day training, lead community classes and certification videos, and take a manual and anatomy test.

My favorite part of the class was back dancing, and not because it was at the end of class either! During back dancing, you are laying on the mat lifting your seat up and down to the beat. This really sends a great stretch to your glutes and thighs, and for me it was a sign of success that my lower half had gotten a great workout!

If you haven’t been to The Bar Method yet, now is the time to check them out! They have a location in East Cobb and will be opening a new studio off of Lenox Road in Buckhead at the beginning of February (official date TBA)!

Details: 1281 Johnson Ferry Rd #112, Marietta, GA 30068, atlanta-eastcobb.barmethod.com

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

By Carmen Koehler

It is 5:15 a.m. on a Monday as I pull into the parking lot of Gold’s Gym of Woodstock, headed to Jenny Piacente’s 5:30 a.m. RPM class.  I am still amazed at how active the world is at this early of an hour.  Stepping into the RPM room, as a newcomer, I could definitely notice the easy camaraderie between the bikers and the instructor.

Instructor Jenny Piacente

Instructor Jenny Piacente

The lights dim, the music starts, and class begins.  During our warm-up, Jenny is sure to share with us the importance of correctly positioning ourselves on the bike. She then leads us through pace, hill and mixed terrain riding experiences – explaining the physical goals and health benefits of each tract.  She does this while riding hard herself, and singing, and bantering, and cueing and counting.  Oh, and don’t forget sweating!  The class responds in kind.  It is a beautiful thing when 25 people move in unison and sway to the rhythm of a powerful beat.  This strong syncopation of movement to music is truly the strength of this Les Mills designed fitness class.

RPM class is in session.

RPM class is in session.

Time for interval training – the cardio peak of class.  Now is when you will really begin to burn calories  and continue to burn them all day.  Jenny reminds us “your body will continue to work long after your mind says quit.”  It is one of the things I enjoy most about RPM – your mind can disengage but your body keeps responding, to the music, to your instructor, to your teammates. Then we are on to  the speed track, and finally the mountain climb.

It is then time to cool down – or as they say, the ride home.  Some stretching and we are done.  I feel great – calm, energized, ready to start the day.

Details: 301 Gold Creek Trail, Woodstock, GA 30188, goldsgym.com

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

By Chela Counts

This particular #30DaysOfFitness class was extra special for me because I took the class with my mom. Taking the Intro to Pole class at Pole La Teaz is something we have been talking about doing for the past year, and it was a great bonding experience.

Chela Counts, Angela Edwards, Greta Counts

Chela Counts, Angela Edwards, Greta Counts

Before jumping right into the class, Angela Edwards, our instructor invited each student to gather in a circle, introduce ourselves and state our reason for attending the class. While each student’s reasons varied, the overall objective for me to take the class was to leave feeling invigorated and tap into my inner sexy while getting a good workout in. For my mom, the purpose of the class was to engage her upper body strength and try a new fun exercise class that didn’t feel like your average everyday workout.

We began on the yoga mat and performed some lower body exercises: hip rolls, planks and a light total body workout. When it came time to began the pole portion, Angela first reminded us that much of pole dancing is upper body strength. So, to tap into our upper body strength, we were shown where to properly place our hands on the pole, told to step close to the pole and hold both of our legs in the air for as long as we could. My mom was up first, and man did she make it look easier than it was. When it was my turn, I could barely hold both legs up for a millisecond. After a few tries and tips from my mom and Angela – per their observation, I was able to hold both legs up for at least five seconds.

Angela demonstrates a move.

Angela demonstrates a move.

Once pole training concluded, we jumped right into learning the fireman spin. Angela made sure to help each class attendant perfect their spins before putting each step to up-tempo music. Along with the fireman spin, Angela also taught us a floor routine that I’m sure would have seemed to teaz any audience.

I’ve never done anything like this workout before. Compared to my intense athletic training for track and field and cross country, it was much more laid back, less intense, fun, yet still involving all muscles to be worked and used.

Angela was a wonderful instructor. She was warm, inviting, informative and very encouraging. Great instructor and class to say the least!

Details: 2148 Hills Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, polelateaz.com

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

By Sherri Adair

The Sivananda Yoga class at Concourse Athletic Club is perfect for a Sunday, and I am not the only one who thinks so. Get there early if you plan to go, because it seems to always be full. All you have to bring is water and yourself — mats, blocks and towels are all provided.

The room where the class takes place, Studio B, is the perfect size. The architecture of the room is semicircular in shape, with windows that open up and provide a calming view of the surrounding nature. Mirrors help you to check your form in your postures and reflect the natural light from outside.

Instructor Akshak

Instructor Akshak

Sivananda yoga is an old and widely practiced form of yoga. This steady and firm, but relaxed form of yoga is built around preserving the health and wellness of the practitioner. For me, it is a class where I can really find internal focus and work on my personal flexibility with more depth than I normally would. I believe flexibility is youth. Aging brings the loss of flexibility, and we need to make a conscious effort to maintain it.

The instructor, Akshak Alexander, guides you through poses gently and confidently. Her peaceful presence and attention help keep you in the moment throughout the hour and fifteen minute experience.

It is great for beginners and more advanced yoga lovers. This is one of those classes I take just for me and it always makes me feel good.

At the end of the class you will like you have worked out and relaxed at the same time.

Details:  8 Concourse Parkway, Sandy Springs, GA 30328, wellbridge.com

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

By Jennifer Prins

BOSU at Thrive Beyond Fitness Wellness Studio

(Top) Instructor Richard
(Bottom: Left to Right) Keiffer, Liz, Jennifer and Patricia

I have used the BOSU ball for ab work, but I had never taken a full hour-long BOSU class before. So, I was excited to try the BOSU class at Thrive Beyond Fitness  and learn just what damage (Ha! Ha!) this ball can do.

The instructors, Pam and Richard prepare the class for you and have everything including towels, water, mats and the ball. All you have to do is be prepared to work!

This class works so many muscles all at once – some you don’t even realize you are working until the next day…possibly even two days later.  It was a challenging class with some exercises easier for me than others. The class has a lot to do with balance, and of course, core strength, which you are working on the entire class.

BOSU 1 at Thrive Beyond Fitness Wellness Studio

Some moves are on the dome of the ball and the other use the flip side.  From warming-up and running on top of the BOSU, to push-ups, squats, balancing moves and – my least favorite – the dead bug exercise for abs – this is a total body workout.

Richard laughed with us as we complained, and his energy kept us pushing forward to the next exercise.  He was a great motivator from move to move.  Some moves are very tough the first time, but over time your strength will build and you will be able to perform more reps.

Think you would be bored only using this one piece of equipment – think again.  The BOSU is amazing and offers so many balance and strength-training moves.  You will totally walk out of this class feeling you had a complete, total body workout.

Details: 5 Mountain Street SE  Atlanta, GA 30339, thrivebeyondfitness.com

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