By Laura Janelle Downey

Barnsley Resort Spa 1I just wanted to relax for my 41st birthday. No bells and whistles—just a quick weekend away with my super awesome friend, Ericka. So she flew in from New York City and then we drove about an hour north to Barnsley Resort. We had arranged to have treatments on Saturday morning and after looking at the online spa menu, I just knew I wanted to have the 80-minute Sticks & Stones Massage. So we walked on over from the Inn at Barnsley Resort to the 5,500-square-foot spa. It was a quick five-minute stroll and then we arrived in a calming sanctuary. The resort’s signature scent, lavender mint, filled the air and I was so ready to check in and put on my cozy robe.

As soon as I put on my robe, my therapist, Joanna Earley, walked into the locker area, called my name and let me know she was ready for me. After we got to the treatment room, she explained what she would be doing for my Barnsley Resort Spa 2Sticks & Stones Massage ($210 Relaxing/$265 Deep Tissue) and then I asked her to turn up the temperature on the massage bed. After she upped the temp, she stepped outside of the room so I could get undressed. I got comfortable under the sheets and waited for her to come back into the room.

When Joanna knocked on the door and walked into the room, I was more than ready for a relaxing rubdown. She applied the resort’s signature lavender mint oil to parts of my body before rubbing it in. Body part by body part, from the front of my arms and legs to the back of my thighs and calves, Joanna lathered me in oil and then placed the hot stones in corresponding areas. I hadn’t felt this relaxed in a really long time. After she moved the hot stones up and down my arm, she would then take the heated bamboo sticks and rub them over my arm. Can you say, “Heaven!?” This delicate movement happened for every body part. When the treatment was over, I didn’t want to get off the massage table. I was in a Zen-like state.

Afterward, I went to the lounge to chat with Ericka. When I saw her, she was reading a magazine while resting on a chaise. I snagged some yummy cinnamon yogurt-covered pretzels and Ericka enjoyed a fruity cup of Barnsley Resort Spa 3Chamomile Citron Tea from Tea Forté. After enjoying the lounge, we then perused products near the spa’s entryway. Everything from Éminence Organic Skin Care to Jane Iredale makeup lined the shelves. On my next visit, I’ll have to pencil in more time to use the steam room and sauna amenities.

Now that I am back in Atlanta, I’m thinking about when my next massage will be. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before I can experience 80 minutes of bliss again.

Barnsley Resort | BarnsleyResort.com | 770.773.2465 | 597 Barnsley Gardens Rd. NW. Adairsville, GA 30103

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Laying claim as “The largest celebration of African-American History Month in America,” the Black History Month Parade begins at Hurt Park and proudly traverses Peachtree Center Avenue to Centennial Olympic Park. The exuberant affair features local marching bands, dancers, entertainers on stilts and more. Don’t miss this colorful cultural commemoration on Feb. 23.

Details: 25 Courtland St. SE., Atlanta; BlackHistoryMonthParade.com

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Langston Whitlock

Langston Whitlock

At just 16 years old, Langston Whitlock, the chief information officer at Atlanta startup SAFETRIP, is the youngest ever Forbes 30 Under 30 inductee selected by four Forbes Enterprise Technology judges. Whitlock earned his spot in the prestigious 2019 class through his technological and data sourcing work that helps the SAFETRIP app provide effective nonemergency medical and emergency medical transport to those in need in Georgia.

Details: SAFETRIP.co

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Instructor Terrance Hutchinson, Best Self staffer Wyndi Kappes, associate editor Alex McCray, owner Christal McNair, managing editor Laura Downey, instructor Aleksandra Kazmierczak

Instructor Terrance Hutchinson, Best Self staffer Wyndi Kappes, associate editor Alex McCray, owner Christal McNair, managing editor Laura Downey, instructor Aleksandra Kazmierczak

By Halen Adair

Name of fitness facility

Studio Bungee

Name and length of class

All Level Bungee Class – 30 minutes

Name of instructor

Aleksandra Kazmierczak and Terrance Hutchinson

What do attendees need to know before class starts?

For this class, you should wear long pants/leggings and tennis shoes with a grip (preferred). Arrive about five minutes prior to class sign a waiver. Afterward, you will be weighed and harnessed!

How would you describe this workout? How does it compare to similar classes you’ve taken?

This class was a blast. We all had so much fun on the bungees. During the session, we learned many different workouts on our bungees and many of them used our weight as a resistance mechanism to get a full-blown workout. This doesn’t really compare to many classes I have done. If anything, I would say it is like a cardio HIIT class but you are on a bungee the whole time so it feels like you are floating!

Best Self staffer Wyndi Kappes executes a inversion.

Best Self staffer Wyndi Kappes executes an inversion.

What muscle groups did this class work the most? Was it a great workout for your abs, butt, arms, etc.?

This class targeted our abs and glutes. If you do not engage your core in this workout you’ll be wobbling and slipping all over the place. We also did some great arm workouts with added weights and challenged our legs doing lunges, squats, and burpees!

Did the instructor do anything to make the class extra special?

Both instructors were so helpful during this class. They gave us great examples and really talked us through each of the steps. Aleksandra was there to help all of us and spot us on some of the harder moves and Terrance taught us how to fly! Both instructors were super fun and you can tell they love what they do.

What was the most enjoyable part of the workout?

The most enjoyable part of the workout was learning all the different moves you can do on your bungee. I also loved that I could do like 10 burpees in a row and not quit! The bungee makes typically strenuous workout moves so much more fun and so much easier on the body. I also loved watching the instructors demonstrations, especially of the flying!

For a closer look at some of the amazing exercises we executed watch our Facebook Live below!

Any other feedback you’d like to give about this workout?

Click here to watch our Facebook Live illustrating some of our favorite moves!

Click here to watch our Facebook Live illustrating some of our favorite moves!

The instructors and Christal, the owner, are so passionate about what studio bungee offers. Christal started this gym with the idea of having a low impact but high-intensity workout due to her fused back and she certainly delivered! This workout can be done by anyone and is great for your joints and people who suffer from arthritis. All levels are welcome at studio bungee so I highly recommend you grab some friends and head over there! You will have the best time on your bungees and laugh harder than you have in a long time!

Details: 999 Whitlock Ave NW #3, Marietta, GA 30064; StudioBungee.com

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(L to R) Trey Sanders, Becky Shipley, Misty Lathem, Dr. Ross Brakeville

(L to R) Trey Sanders, Becky Shipley, Misty Lathem, Dr. Ross Brakeville

Recognizing those who positively impact the community, the Cobb Chamber of Commerce recently presented the individual 2018 Health Hero Award to Misty Lathem, wellness director for McCleskey-East Cobb YMCA. Both Lathem and the YMCA work to end hunger through programs such as the Farm Fresh Market, which provides produce to low-income areas.

Details: CobbChamber.org, YMCAAtlanta.org

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Lisa Washington

Lisa Washington

Written by our 2017 Over 40 & Fabulous! cover winner Lisa M. Washington, “Whispers of Silence” is a collection of affirmations, reflections, and life lessons gleaned from a year of silent meditation and prayer. In 2018, each Monday for eight to 10 hours, Washington would practice unblocking her mind from limiting notions. The results were truly life-changing—from growing her business to improving her health. Pick up her book to learn how to implement the practice in your life.

Details: Available for purchase at Lulu.com

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CaptureOwned by local couple, Tina and Greg Godwin, the new Alpharetta location of Pedego® Electric Bikes offers an exciting and modern way to experience the outdoors. Whether it’s an uphill path or a multimile scenic ride, you can switch from regular bike riding to the pedal-assist mode to tackle the adventure ahead with ease. Rent or purchase these motorized two-wheelers to try the experience yourself.

Details: 6480 North Point Pkwy., Ste. 1100B, Alpharetta;
PedegoElectricBikes.com/Dealers/Alpharetta

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By Halen Adair

(L to R): Instructor Kristen Marotte and Best Self staffer Halen Adair

(L to R): Instructor Kristen Marotte and Best Self staffer Halen Adair

Name of fitness facility

Life Time Fitness Sandy Springs

Name and length of class

Barbell Strength- 1 hour

Name of instructor

Kristen Marotte

What do attendees need to know before class starts?

Arrive about five minutes prior to class to set up your station. You will need tennis shoes and a water bottle will definitely come in handy during this workout!

How would you describe this workout? How does it compare to similar classes you’ve taken?

This class was so much fun. I have never done a workout where a barbell was the sole focus of the workout and it was amazing how many different things you can do with it! During the workout, you use different sets of weights on the barbell during the different exercises Kristen walks you through. Different exercises require different weights, but everything can be easily modified to fit what’s best for you. The class was constantly moving onto the next set, so you never get bored and it’s never repetitive.

Class attendees pumping the iron.

Class attendees pumping the iron.

What muscle groups did this class work the most? Was it a great workout for your abs, butt, arms, etc.?

This class targeted so many different areas of the body that by the end of it, your whole body has been targeted and torched. We started with legs, then triceps to biceps, to shoulders then to core. Kristen was so helpful when it came to instruction on keeping the right form and making sure everyone was having a good time while getting their sweat on!

Did the instructor do anything to make the class extra special?

Kristen’s energy is radiant and you can tell just how passionate she is at what she does. She made sure everyone kept going and continued to make us test ourselves the whole time. Her music selection was AWESOME! It was a wide range playlist including hits from Ozzy Osbourne’s, “Crazy Train”, to electronic dance music. The music was specifically tailored to the workout- each area we targeted lasted the duration of a song. Once the song was over, so was the shaking… well, until the next one came on!

What was the most enjoyable part of the workout?

Body weight workouts

Body weight workouts

I loved so many things about this workout. It was so great for my entire body and I could really feel myself toning and targeting some of those ‘problem areas’ I have. This was an hour dedicated to working on your strength, endurance and most importantly yourself. Kristen is a huge advocate of fitness and inspiring other people to incorporate fitness into their daily lives no matter what age you may be! The class had a range of people from 14-65+ and everyone there was working it! I love this class because no matter what level you are at in your fitness journey, Kristen makes sure you are getting a workout tailored specifically to your needs while having a blast!

Any other feedback you’d like to give about this workout?

Whether you are a member at LifeTime or not, you have to go see Kristen and take this class. She is such an amazing woman and will really motivate you to test your body. She has so much fun during her classes which in turn, makes everyone else smile and laugh all the way through. If you are looking for a class with a family-feel and an amazing fitness inspiration as your mentor/coach, this is the class you won’t want to miss!

Details: 5580 Roswell Rd, Sandy Springs, GA 30342, GA 30342; LifeTime.life

Follow along with the rest of our 30 Days of Fitness Classes here.

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Dr. Karl Smith - Cortland PartnersCortland’s Director of Fitness and Wellness, Dr. Karl Smith, aka “Dr. Fitness,” offers three tips for an effective and efficient at-home workout.

1. Take inventory of household items. Grab a gallon of water for curls or slippers as sliders for mountain climbers. Get creative!

2. Don’t move furniture. Instead, try using the coffee table for dips or your couch for step-ups!

3. Let the fresh air in. Open a window or door to help elevate your mood and keep the gym smell out of your home.

Details: Cortland.com

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(L to R)  co-owner and instructor Nesrien Morris, Best Self Staffer Wyndi Kappes

(L to R) co-owner and instructor Nesrien Morris, Best Self Staffer Wyndi Kappes

Name of fitness facility

BodyJump Fitness

Name and length of class

Jumping Fitness- 1 hour

Name of instructor

Nesrien Morris

What do attendees need to know before class starts?

There is plenty of parking in front of the studio just make sure to arrive at least 10 minutes to check in, claim your spot, and get your heart rate monitor.

How would you describe this workout? How does it compare to similar classes you’ve taken?

This workout isn’t like anything I have ever done. If you are like me and dread working out this is the perfect alternative. Instead of feeling like you are doing a difficult and draining workout, this class easily puts you in the mindset of being a kid again. I was lacking energy and willpower when I arrived at the class early Saturday morning but quickly became energized with the lively music and how much fun I was having jumping on the trampoline.

Nesrien explained to me that unlike other trampoline classes, the trampolines at BodyJump were larger and let you engage in more movement and really enjoy a variety of types of jumping, from power jumping to rebound jumps.

Best Self Staffer Wyndi Kappes mid jump!

Best Self Staffer Wyndi Kappes mid jump!

What muscle groups did this class work the most? Was it a great workout for your abs, butt, arms, etc.?

This was a full body cardio class but you could definitely feel the emphasis on your legs and your core (which you had to keep tight the entire time to control movements). Even though the workout was pretty leg heavy at the end of the class we spent time doing planks, pushups, and a variety of different exercises to engage our upper body.

Did the instructor do anything to make the class extra special?

Nesrien did a fantastic job of keeping the energy in the room fun and light but also pushing you to do your personal best. After illustrating the next movement she would walk around the room helping individuals with their form and encouraging them to push harder and longer! Her excitement and encouragement were authentic, by the end of the class you felt like you had made a new friend.

What was the most enjoyable part of the workout?

I loved the entire class, with some of my favorite songs popping up throughout the session! My favorite part of the class was when we did pulsing squats and power jumping. I am always looking for ways to tone my butt and you could really feel the burn during these exercises.

Any other feedback you’d like to give about this workout?

My personal workout summary

My personal workout summary

What an amazing way to get in shape while having fun! Many of the class attendees that I spoke to had been members since the inception of the gym, continuously coming back for not just the energetic workout but also the community. Although the class I attended was primarily cardio Nesrien walked me through the variety of classes they have available that can tone and tighten every part of your body. I also loved that after my workout I was sent a summary outlining my workout and all the progress I had made. If you are looking to “jump” into something new this year I would definitely recommend BodyJump.

Details: 3162 Johnson Ferry Rd. #130, Marietta; BodyJumpFit.com

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