Day 8 of Fitness – Spartan Fitness 

Best Self staffer: Bethany Newlin

Spartan Fitness Atlanta Logo FRONT-blackFor Day 8 of Fitness, I enrolled in a personal training class with Bobby Fournier from Spartan Fitness Atlanta in order to evaluate my physical strength. Not only does an assessment and measurement guide the trainer to know where he or she should begin, but it also helps them to know how they can help you reach your fitness goal. Today’s goal was to simply work on both my legs and abdomen.

Edy Ganem at Spartan Fitness Atlanta

Edy Ganem at Spartan Fitness Atlanta

As a previous athlete, I was sure to notify Bobby of the changes that have occurred in my joints and tendons so that my muscles would not feel overworked. Since I was a first-timer to personal training with Bobby, it felt wonderful to know that Bobby made sure to ease me into each of the different routines from plyometrics to calisthenics, free weights and machines…Bobby does it all!

During the workout my heart rate was up and I was sweating profusely! And although I could feel my muscles burning, there was never any sense of pain. Once my personal training session ended, I felt relieved knowing that I had just had a killer workout where I felt energized rather than exhausted.

The hardest part of my workout was keeping the correct form throughout each entire rep. For example, during one of today’s drills I added an extra hop which made the rep quite easy to do. Bobby instantly corrected my form , and I could barely do 12. The most enjoyable part of my workout was the core work and stretching toward the end. Stretching not only prevents injury, helps with soreness and brings your heart rate down properly, but it also gives you time to relax and breathe before you have to get back to the rest of your day. A personal training session with Bobby is the way to go! If nothing else, be sure to set up an initial consultation to assess where you are physically!

Details: 920 Glenwood Ave Atlanta, GA, www.facebook.com/SpartanFitnessAtlanta

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Lisa Tanker-Potts from Boutique Body Fitness Studio is here to share her positive life changes as a result of her 2014 New Year’s resolution!

Tanker-Potts, Lisa_cred Janet Howard PhotographyWhat was your resolution? 

When I was 32, I decided to make healthy living a lifestyle because of my weight gain and my family history of high blood pressure and diabetes.

When did you achieve your resolution?

Within three months, I lost 25 pounds and was working out four times a week.  Over the next six months, I achieved the goal of keeping sweets (my former weakness) to a minimum of once a month.  Eight years later, fitness and healthy eating are simply a part of my life.

What helped you achieve your goal?

Discipline. I realized that I had to be 150 percent dedicated to my fitness and nutrition program and use the same discipline that I used in my career and personal life.

After conquering this goal, what’s your resolution for 2015? 

My goal is to touch as many women’s lives as possible as a fitness coach and trainer at my studio. I truly love seeing the joy women have when they get fit and healthier!

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by Laura Carson Miller 

Looking Polished

Photo courtesy of 1143 H20 Nail Polish Are your nails crying out for mercy after one too many polish color changes? It might be time to switch to a more nail-friendly polish like 1143 H20 Nail Polish. This vegan polish formula is free of chemical solvents and requires no base coat or topcoat with application, so your nails can still breathe. And the best part? Removing this polish only takes water! Simply soak your nails and peel the polish of to reveal healthy nails for the new year.

Details: 1143nails.com

Heat Lounge Opens at Lenox Square

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We know you already love to hit up Lenox Square for the fabulous shopping and dining. Now you can add beautifying to that list with the opening of The Heat Lounge Blowdry and Makeup Bar. This sleek spot offers a fun and relaxing atmosphere providing blowouts, up ’dos, braids, and even your own clip-in extensions. Don’t miss their makeup, lash and facial services, either.

Details: 3393 Peachtree Road NE, Unit #3142A, Atlanta, GA, heatlounge.com/lenox

Use ACV ASAP!

Bragg-Organic-Apple-CIder-Vinegar

I’m very much a fan of oil and vinegar on my salad, and oils of all kinds – olive, coconut, argan and sea buckthorn – have been stealing the health and beauty spotlights of late. One behind-the-scenes star is apple cider vinegar. I love using Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. Try adding ACV to your routine in one of these ways:

  • Clarifying hair rinse – Did you know that conditioner and other hair products can build up on your hair and rob you of gleaming shine? Put a stop to that with ACV, which can help break down that build-up. Mix some in a cup with water and pour over your hair after your normal shampoo and conditioner routine, or add a bit directly to your shampoo.
  • Facial toner – Mix a small amount of ACV in a full spray bottle of distilled water to make your own facial toner. Shake well and squirt a little on a cotton ball. Apply on areas of discoloration, on overly oily areas or all over. (Start with just a dab and keep an eye out for any skin irritations.)
  • Teeth brightener – Rub ACV on teeth to help remove surface stains. Rinse with lots of water and grin at everyone you meet!

 Details: bragg.com 

Top Hair Tips for 2015

January Best Beauty Top Hair Tip Image 1-7Angela Castel, a senior colorist at Atlanta’s Sassoon Salon, offers three tips for starting the new year off with the perfect hair color.

1. Start out fresh. Before your color service, book a clarifying treatment to remove any mineral deposits or product build-up from your hair and scalp. Think exfoliation for your hair.

2. Add some depth. Blondes can add tawny lowlights for a more neutral look or various shades of beige or golden tones to add dimension. Brunettes can enrich their color by adding well-blended shades of wine, caramel or chestnut.

3. Finish with finesse. Always finish your color service with a moisturizing masque for maximum hydration. It will keep your hair looking healthy and shiny.

Details: Sassoon Salon, 3393 Peachtree Road, NE, Atlanta, GA, sassoon-salon.com

Brown is the New Black

Photo courtesy of Fadil Berisha

Photo courtesy of Fadil Berisha

Break free from your black smoky eye beauty rut! Atlanta’s (PLA) Beauty says brown is the new black. “The black smoky eye is classic, sexy and fabulous, but brown suits most skin tones and can look just as captivating,” shares Stephanie Green Bass, adding that blending creates a seamless finish.

Create the sultry brown smoky eye in two easy steps:

1. Blend (PLĀ) eye shadow in “Smoke” and “Hot Pants” shades all over the lid

2. Add a smudge of “Mother Earth” on the center of the lid

Details: Available at Woo Atlanta, Michele Coulter Salon, Skin IQ, plabeauty.com

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Day 7 of Fitness – Sculpted Body Pilates

Best Self editor: Flannery Keck

Kathy Carroll (instructor), Flannery Keck, Kathy Dickson (owner)

Kathy Carroll (instructor), Flannery Keck, Kathy Dickson (owner)

For Day 7 of Fitness, I went to a Pilates Megaformer class at Sculpted Body Pilates. When a workout takes places on something called a “Megaformer,” you can bet that it’s going to be intense. Sculpted Body Pilates certainly delivered!

I arrived at the East Cobb studio for the 6:15 class last night and slipped my shoes and socks off. I put them and my other belongings in a cubby, which sat right at the entrance. The whole studio consists of one long room, making it a very comfortable and non-intimidating space. Kathy Dickson, the owner, greeted me at the desk and introduced me to the class instructor—also named Kathy! She gave me a tutorial on the Megaformer equipment, which I had never used before. As intimidating as it may look, the machine actually is pretty straightforward to use. It consists of a stable platform at the front and the back, two sets of handlebars, a sliding “carriage” in the middle and straps in various places. There are also springs that attach underneath the carriage that can increase stability or change the challenge level of your workout.

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After that introduction, Kathy put us to work. We started with our hands on the handlebars and our feet on the carriage, sliding slowly back to a plank position and then slowly back up. It’s very tough to cheat with this type of workout, I quickly realized, because if you don’t activate your core and hold yourself up, your carriage will just keep sliding your feet further away from you! (Or your knees, or one foot, etc—the body part on the carriage changes with different postures.) This is true of most of the movements we did. You’re really forced to activate your core, legs, and arms in order to keep the right position. The hardest position for me was when we worked our inner thighs from a standing position. With one foot on the stable platform and one foot on the sliding carriage, I had to fight with my own flexibility to keep my legs together and my movements controlled. It was tough, but I certainly can feel the benefit in my legs today.

Standing inner thigh workout with rings

Standing inner thigh workout with rings

Kathy was great about walking through the room, adjusting people’s springs as needed and correcting form for the maximum benefit in each posture. With some postures, we added arm weights, rings (pictured) or stabilizing poles to get the best position. By the end of the class, all of us were shaking in our legs and cores from the muscle fatigue, which was the goal! During some of the movements, I definitely felt my heart rate spiking because of the muscle challenges, so I even got some cardio benefit from this workout. We had worked every major muscle group and then ended with a few stretches to work out some of the soreness that was already setting in. If you’re looking for a lot of benefit from a relatively short class, this is a great option! Don’t be afraid of the unfamiliar equipment—with a great tutorial and personal attention, you’ll be feeling toned in no time.

Details: First class is $10, eight-visit pass for new members is $119, 1205 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 133, Marietta, GA, sculptedbodypilates.com

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This local organization believes that caring for others is a top priority.

walking with new leg

Wheelchairs, walkers and crutches are an incredible help to those who need them. But Embraced, a local nonprofit founded in 2008, knows that too often, people go without the equipment they need for mobility. Founder Lauren O’Brien says, “I saw a need when I was interning in both a for profit and nonprofit heath clinic. On the for profit side, people were asking the doctor, ‘What do I do with these crutches since I am finished with them?’ On the nonprofit side, people needed this medical equipment and often went without it.”

After seeing this need, O’Brien wanted to meet it. Since founding Embraced, she and the organization have helped almost 5,000 people – both in Atlanta and globally – attain the medical equipment they need for mobility. Recipients are “beyond grateful and relieved,” O’Brien says, when they finally become mobile. “It impacts them on so many levels. When mobility is compromised, it leaves someone feeling vulnerable. Combine that with the fact that they don’t have the funds to get equipment to help them, and you can imagine what they are faced with. Embraced solves a huge problem for them.”

Embraced relies on donations, accepting everything from wheelchairs, canes, crutches and braces to prosthetic limbs. Donations are left in 61 collection bins at offices such as Resurgens Orthopaedics, Peachtree Orthopaedics and many more around Atlanta. If you have any equipment to donate, simply visit their website to find the drop off bin nearest you.

Supporters of Embraced can also “adopt” a bin, which simply means picking up a designated bin each month and delivering it to the Embraced facility. “This is very helpful, and we really need more Atlantans to adopt a bin,” O’Brien says. You can also join in at monthly “Saturday Sort Day” events, which happens on January 10 this month. “Volunteers come and help us to sort, barcode and inventory all of the medical equipment that has been collected that month. The more the merrier!” Your efforts will help restore mobility to people from Atlanta all the way to Haiti, Kenya and beyond. To learn more, visit embracedatlanta.com.

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Day 6 of Fitness – Rhythm and Ride at ROC House Women’s Fitness Spa 

Best Self staffer: Aubrey Campbell 

Best Self staffer Aubrey Campbell with Roc House Women's Fitness Spa "Rhythm and Ride" Instructor Deery

Best Self staffer Aubrey Campbell with ROC House Women’s Fitness Spa “Rhythm and Ride” Instructor Derry

To commence my first workout for Best Self’s 30 Days of Fitness blog series, I enrolled in ROC House Women’s Fitness Spa one-hour Rhythm and Ride class. Whether you are a first-timer or returning gym member, this high-energy workout requires nothing more than for you to simply show up!

Upon arriving, parking was a breeze, and I was also warmly greeted and shown to the locker room to house my personal belongings. I wasn’t sure what kind of workout I was going to, but by the name of the class, I figured some sort of spinning would be involved.

Once my personal belongings were secured, I was greeted by Derry, our class instructor, who was super friendly and a ball of energy. That energy lasted throughout the entire class! While I found my bike, Derry helped to make sure all of the settings were correct for me. I’ve done lot of spin classes before and the biggest thing for me to enjoy a spin class is the MUSIC! I find it important for songs to have a beat that you can follow along with while you’re on the bike, and Derry’s selection of songs did not disappoint! The whole class was pumped as popular hip-hop, rap and pop songs blared through the speakers.

ROC House Women's Fitness Spa

ROC House Women’s Fitness Spa

During the workout I felt energized, and although the hardest part of the workout was turning up my resistance, I felt even better knowing that I completed such a wonderful class. Overall, the staff was super friendly and accommodating to make sure I felt comfortable. Since ROC House Fitness Spa is a women’s only gym, I felt no intimidation, especially as a first-timer!

ROC House Women’s Fitness Spa is a gym and a salon offering services from massage, hair treatment, skincare, nails and makeup. It really is your one-stop shop to be your best self!

Details: ROC House Women’s Fitness Spa, 3402 Piedmont Road Northeast, Atlanta, GA, 404-500-1621, www.rochousefitnessspa.com

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Day 5 of Fitness – Torq Cycle Atlanta

Best Self editor: Flannery Keck

Torq Atlanta Cycling Shoes

Torq Cycle Atlanta  - Cycling Shoes

For Day 5 of Fitness, I decided to hop on the Spinning bike to give my cardio routine some much-needed attention. I went to Torq Cycle Atlanta, which opened just a few months ago in Midtown, for a 45-minute class. I also brought my husband along for this one—nothing like a workout buddy!

We pulled up a few minutes early and parked in the free attached garage. I had already reserved both our bikes online the day before, so once we arrived at the studio, we just had to check in at the desk. Katie, the owner, greeted us and asked our shoe size so we could change into the provided cycling shoes. Now, I took Spinning classes for about a year at the YMCA wearing just my tennis shoes, so I can vouch that the clip-in style of cycling shoe really makes a big difference. It grounds you on the bike pedals, helping you engage your hamstrings as much as your quads and get a great workout.

Torq Atlanta Owners Katie and Alex Marinez

Alex Martinez, Flannery Keck, Katie Martinez

So once we were strapped into our shoes and had topped off our water bottles at their water bottle filling station, we headed with the rest of the class into the studio. Each bike had a towel already placed on it, and Alex helped anyone who needed to adjust their bike settings to fit. Then he got the music going, dimmed the lights, and led us through 45 minutes of hills, jumps, “tap backs,” and more—even an arm workout with light weights. Throughout the class. Alex made sure to give us ways to gauge our ride, calling out RPMs to meet or watts to add to our bike—these stats are shown on a little screen right on your bike, so it’s easy to keep track and personalize your ride. And for me, this control over your metrics is one of the best aspects of Spinning—even though my cardio capabilities aren’t where I’d like them to be right now, I did as much as I could and still got a lot from the class. It’s truly your ride, so even if you can’t meet every metric the instructor recommends, just being on the bike is helping your health.

After class was over, we stretched and cooled down with chilled towels. It felt like a spa! The studio also has showers and changing rooms provided for whenever you need them. Afterward, my husband and I swung by Arden’s Garden a few doors down for some juice drinks to re-energize. It was a fantastic workout with a great team, and I really enjoyed it. The first ride is free, and if you want to buy a package before January 15, you can get a month of unlimited rides for $150.

Details: 935 Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA (404) 606-6931, torqatl.com

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Day 4 of FitnessFlow and Let Go at Active Sol Yoga 

Best Self editor: Flannery Keck 

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Active Sol Yoga

For my first workout of 2015, I couldn’t think of a better option than yoga. To me, it’s the perfect combination of strength-building, stretching, relaxing and getting my heart pumping. With that in mind, I chose to attend the Active Sol Yoga’s Flow and Let Go class with instructor Flo Sheffield. This is typically a 90-minute class but was a special two-hour session to ring in the new year.

The studio is just off of Peachtree Road in Buckhead, on Bennett Street. (If you’re new to the studio, give yourself an extra few minutes to find it—when you turn on Bennett Street, continue all the way down and then turn left. The studio is tucked up on the hill). I pulled in a few minutes early, parked and headed inside. I took off my shoes and placed them on the shelf in the entryway, and Flo got me checked in. Your first class is free! I filled up my water bottle, stuck my purse in a cubby and then got settled on my mat. If you don’t have a mat of your own, Active Sol has plenty available for you use during class.

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Best Self staffer Flannery Keck and Active Sol Yoga instructor Flo Sheffield

 

Once everyone arrived, Flo started class. We spent 75 minutes doing Vinyasa yoga, which consisted of the sun salutations and warrior poses that many of us are familiar with. The focus during this part of the class was getting our heart rates up, building strength in our legs and cores, maintaining good alignment and stretching out our hips, hamstrings, backs, pectorals and so on. Flo explained each pose clearly and circulated the room to adjust people as necessary. Her cheerful spirit and encouraging attitude made the class feel very safe and supportive.

After the Vinyasa section, we moved into a period of restorative yoga, which was new to me. Instead of focusing on alignment and strength building, this restorative approach simply meets your body where it is. We started out by sitting with our legs out straight and folding forward into a seated forward bend, but instead of pulling with our hands and trying to stretch further, we simply placed our foreheads on blocks and relaxed as far froward as our bodies would naturally bend. Flo pointed out, “If you’re Type A, always on the go, these poses might be challenging for you.” She might as well have been speaking directly to me! It really was tough to site still rather than continually striving to stretch further and work harder, so it was a good lesson for me both on and off the mat. I really enjoyed this new element the class introduced to my yoga practice.

We finished with a guided meditation, which focused on positive affirmations for ourselves, our family and friends, and all living things. Then we moved into savasana for several minutes, simply lying back on our mats and letting our bodies completely relax. Even though the class was two hours, it really seemed to fly by. Flo kept up a great pace, and having two distinct sections of the class helped keep me engaged and focuses. This class would be a great option for people of all fitness levels—there are plenty of blocks, straps, bolsters, blankets and towels right in the practice room so you can modify any pose you need a little help with. Anyone interested in trying yoga for the first time would also benefit from this class, since it gives you a sense of two different types of yoga practices: Vinyasa and restorative. I’ll definitely be back—maybe I’ll see you there!

Details: Active Sol Yoga, 200 Bennett Street NW, Suite A Atlanta, GA, 404-236-9643, activesolyoga.com

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Concourse Athletic Club “Strength” Instructor Lindsay Beery with Best Self publisher Sherri Adair

Day 3 of Fitness – Strength Class at Concourse Athletic Club 

Best Self Publisher: Sherri Adair

This morning, I decided to kick off my new year’s fitness regimen with an overall body workout. I did not know I would be stepping into a packed class. It appears that many others have discovered this awesome class already and I actually just learned that “Strength” is the most popular fitness class at the Concourse Athletic Club. There is a good reason why. This is the perfect class to get a little bit of everything in one hour. It starts with an up tempo warm-up that gets the body warm and ready to work. The workout uses a combination of dumbbells, a straight bar, and includes step and mat exercises. The routine begins with standing exercises to work the large muscles of the glutes. hamstrings and quadriceps and then moves to the upper body, abs and core. The class ends with a generous stretching session.

Lindsay Beery taught the class and her instruction and the music kept me engaged and motivated!

When finished, I felt I had achieved a very balanced total body workout. This is the type of class you could do three times a week and know that you are getting a good dose of strength training, which is needed to build or maintain muscle mass which fuels the body’s  metabolism and burns fat! After the holidays, I can certainly use a lot of that.

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Day 2 of Fitness – Synergy Level 1 Hip Hop at Dance 101 Atlanta 

Best Self staffer: Chela Counts

Jan 2015 Day 2 Of Fitness - Dance 101

While fitness has always been a top priority on my New Year’s intentions list, this year I made sure to include the word F-U-N beside it! Although health is a serious topic, getting fit can indeed be quite fun. For Day 2 of our 30 Days of Fitness, I attended Dance 101 Atlanta’s 5:30 p.m. Synergy Level 1 Hip Hop class with instructor D. Norris.

This hour long workout was action-packed from the moment the music began to the very end. Our pre-workout stretch tested my body’s flexibility, while the choreography tested my memorization. While each dance style does consist of a specific form to use, D. Norris encouraged each class attendee to express freely while still committing your body to flow into each choreographed step.

As I was a first-time attendee to Dance 101′s Synergy class, D. Norris highly suggested to me that although no equipment is needed for this specific workout, that each student wear comfortable shoes, keep an open-mind, exude confidence and to move the way you would naturally. Before the workout I was anxious and unaware of what to expect. During, I felt a bit of fatigue but by the end my body was energized and ready to be replenished with lots of water. If you’re looking for a class with an enthusiastic instructor in an intimate and fun setting, this class just might be it!

D. Norris’ Synergy class is offered twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday, with a participation fee of $20.

Details: 2480 Briarcliff Rd NE, Atlanta, GA, 404-542-3887, info@dance101.org,www.atlanta.dance101.org

 

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