Day 24 of Fitness – Bien-Aime Strength and Stretch Studio 

Best Self editor Flannery Keck 


Biene-Aime Strength & Stretch Studio

I’ll admit it: I’m a cheater. It’s one of the reasons I love group fitness classes. I can blend into the group, and when a workout gets “too hard” I can—you guessed it—cheat a little bit. I won’t stretch as far, won’t put as much resistance on my stationary bike, won’t lift as much or won’t run as fast. It’s not because I’m lazy (after all, at least I show up to the class!). It’s more about being afraid to push my own boundaries. If I’m feeling tired or out of breath or tense, I get scared to push further, so I back off a little.

If this sounds like you too, then Bien-Aime Strength & Stretch Studio is the place to go.  For day 24 of fitness, Ulrick Bien-Aime, the trainer and owner of this studio, and I worked out for an hour on Saturday, and I quickly discovered the benefits of a one-on-one training session. I couldn’t cheat! With every exercise, Ulrick watched and adjusted my form for maximum benefit, and I worked as hard as I could since I couldn’t hide in the back. This was a fantastic experience for me to push through my own perceived limits and get a better workout than I’ve gotten in months. We did squats, lunges, planks, pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, crunches and more. I see now why these familiar workouts are familiar—they really work. Each exercise targeted and challenged my major muscle groups, and I was wiped out by the end of the hour.

Ulrick Bien-Aime, Flannery Keck

Ulrick Bien-Aime, Flannery Keck

My experience at Bien-Aime was great not just for the active challenges of the workout, but also for the restorative benefits of the season. At the beginning and end of the session, Ulrick and I worked on stretching. It wasn’t like the stretching you do on your own before a run—with this stretching, Ulrick actively helped me push my own boundaries so I could fully relax. For example, I lay on my back while he slowly pushed each leg, one at a time, to stretch my hamstrings, or I lay on my side while he pulled my knee to stretch my quads. This was a great addition to the workout because the depth of each stretch and the resulting relaxation matched the difficulty of the strength challenges. I left feeling equal parts challenged and relaxed, and I could feel the change (particularly in my legs) immediately.

The atmosphere of the studio was enjoyable as well, thanks to Ulrick’s friendly attitude and the face that he lets his clients pick which Pandora station plays through the studio during the session. At least while I was sweating through my sit-ups, I had some familiar tunes to motivate me! Ulrick also brings a sports nutrition degree and strength conditioning specialist certification to the table, so the workout and the dietary counseling he offers are all based on tried-and-true information.

These elements, coupled with the effectiveness of the workout, left me in a cheerful mood and feeling proud of how hard I had worked. I think it’s safe to say this has broken me of my cheating ways! Next time I work out, I’ll be more confident and able to push to my true physical limit rather than any fear-based mental limitations, thanks to what Ulrick showed me I can do.

Details: 663 Memorial Drive, Atlanta, GA, (678) 365-5770,

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SherriThis month, we kick off our annual Over 40 & Fabulous! contest. For the fifth year in a row, we want to support our city’s dynamic men and women who take care of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. They also believe that age is just a number!

If you or someone you know is over 40 and exemplifies feeling good, looking good and doing good for others, send in a nomination for our Over 40 & Fabulous! contest. Nominations will be accepted February 1 through midnight on March 1. Forty candidates will be chosen from all entries to participate in our Facebook contest.

The top 10 winners, determined by number of votes they receive, will be featured in our June issue, and one will be chosen by an independent panel of judges as the overall contest winner. The top 10 winners will receive prize packages valued at $500 each, and the overall winner will appear on the cover and win a $1,000 Best Self prize package.

Go to for further contest details and to nominate your candidate today.

Sherri Adair, Publisher

Meet Your 2015 Over 40 & Fabulous! Advisory Board

We, along with our panel of experts, will be bringing you great advice and information about how to look and feel your best at every age. Follow along with us on Facebook, our blog and the next several issues for contest updates, announcements and to hear more from our Advisory Board.


Dr. Dina Giesler, Atlanta Smiles and WellnessDental Health/Cosmetic Dentistry Dr. Giesler shares the secrets of how a beautiful smile can make you look years younger.

Amanda Hair, Bob Steele SalonHair Keep your hair healthy and up-to-date with tips from the CEO of Bob Steele Salon.

46.bsacover_june13Diana Hofsommer, Camp Horizon – Volunteerism Last year’s Over 40 & Fabulous! winner shares tips for giving back.

Molly Hopkins and Cynthia Decker, Livi Rae LingerieBreast Health/Self-Esteem  The Double Divas discuss how the right bra can improve your breast health and overall self-image at any age.

35.bsacover_june12Dr. Brian Maloney, Maloney Center for Facial Plastic Surgery – Cosmetic Surgery As a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and founder of Atlanta’s Maloney Center for Facial Plastic Surgery, Dr. Maloney will share the benefits of facial rejuvenation both surgical and non-surgical.

Dr. Tara Frix, Total HealthCare – Non-23.bsacover_june11Surgical Joint and Spine Care Work through the aches and pains of physical activity and aging with advice from Dr. Frix, who focuses on non-surgical solutions.

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Day 23 of Fitness – Sacred  Thread Yoga

Atlanta Home Improvement staffer: David Leonard

Sacred Thread Yoga

Sacred Thread Yoga

January is the month that I usually bring my workouts indoors to try different things. And with my body in its mid-40s, for day 23 of Best Self Atlanta’s 30 Days of Fitness blog series, my fitness goal for the day was to work on developing my flexibility. I switched my fitness gear to Yoga and had the opportunity to experience a Vinyasa flow class with Shonali Banerjee at Sacred Thread Yoga in Old Fourth Ward.

Shonali Banerjee

Shonali Banerjee

Parking is easy, but be sure to give yourself some extra time to get in the door since you will have to be buzzed into the building. After a quick registration, you will then take your shoes off, and place your belongings inside the provided studio cubbies. Remember to turn off your cell phone.

All levels are welcome to this 75-minute class, but remember to bring a yoga mat, a water bottle and wear loose fitting clothes.  This workout also includes light chanting.

Because I took this class on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, to commemorate his life, Shonali gave us the opportunity to reconnect with our past dreams while playing truly inspiring music from Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone and Mavis Staples. My soul and body were truly moved.

The workout itself began with chanting, which then awakened us, and I then soon found myself sweating from holding each pose. My favorite part of the workout was holding a handstand (this was optional, and she had a lot of options if this is not where you are) and seeing the world from another perspective.

As she closed our practice, I found the most enjoyable part of this workout was listening to Shonali’s amazingly warm voice sing as we rested in Shavasana.  I ended the practice feeling grateful, especially since I was reconnected to a past dream of my own mine on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. -Namaste

Details: 828 Ralph McGill Blvd Suite W2, Atlanta, GA, (404) 500-6762,

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Day 22 of Fitness – Cowart Family/Ashford-Dunwoody Family YMCA 

Best Self associate publisher Patti Stephens 

Ashford Dunwoody YMCA

Ashford Dunwoody YMCA Pool

One of the many advantages to getting and staying fit is the sense of community that physical activity encourages. So for day 22 of fitness, I chose to enroll in the morning aqua Zumba class at the Cowart Family Ashford-Dunwoody Family YMCA.

While I’ve been a member of this specific YMCA for several years, I must admit that I hadn’t been in several months. The building has been under construction for quite some time, but renovations are almost complete, and I must say that they were really worth the wait! Once I checked in, I headed to the women’s locker room to change and store my belongings before heading to the pool, which has also gone through a major transformation and now includes a steam room around the deck!

Aqua Zumba instructor Anyanna

Aqua Zumba instructor Anyanna Torres

For a 9 a.m. workout, I was quite surprised by how many participants were in the class, and I was thankful to have invited my friend Ellen to this fun party atmosphere! Our class instructor, Anyanna Torres, instructed the class from the upper deck of the pool and also began the class by checking the music’s sound level. Aqua Zumba is exactly how it is described: fun fitness in the water through dance. For an early midweek January morning, it felt wonderful to jump in the pool. The music included was a mix of 80′s dance, reggae, a little latin and more. Regulars to this class clearly had their favorite tunes they danced to, like B52′s bang bang on the door baby!

Anyanna was fantastic! She was upbeat and never stopped encouraging us to have fun in the water, and she even made sure to grab a hat decorated with fruit when it was time to dance to the island tunes. This 60-minute class is wonderful for any fitness level and definitely a fun way to mix up the routine!

Details: 3692 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, GA, 30319, (770) 451-9622,

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Day 21 of Fitness – Studio Lotus Emory

Best Self staffer: Aubrey Campbell 

Aubrey Campbell with Studio Lotus Instructor Anne

Aubrey Campbell with Studio Lotus Instructor Anne

I’ve recently been in search of more effective fitness routines that not only give me strength, but also improve my body’s physique. For Day 21 of fitness, I enrolled in Studio Lotus Emory’s hybrid redcord and kettlebell personal training class. I was excited to see what was in store, especially since I had never heard of or worked with redcords or kettlebells.

Upon arriving to Studio Lotus’ Emory location, I was greeted by Joanna Williams who helped me put my things away and then introduced me to my instructor for the night named Anne. Anne then led me to the redcord training workout area where I was immediately reminded me of TRX suspension training. Redcord was developed in Norway around 1991 and is an exercise technique that addresses muscle imbalances and improves core stability by activating the correct muscles—at the correct time—in the correct amount. Redcord is unique in its ability to position the body in a controlled, unstable and pain-free environment by utilizing a system of ropes and slings suspended from the ceiling. Anne and I did a variety of suspension workouts in the plank and side plank position to work my core and my gluteus medius muscle.

Anne, Aubrey Campbell, Joanna Williams

Anne, Aubrey Campbell, Joanna Williams

After the redcord workout was complete, I went to the back room to complete the kettlebell portion of the workout and train on each set of training ropes. Anne and I both completed a variety of different motions to get my heart rate up and work my upper body. From there, my kettlebell routine had began.

For me, the hardest part of this workout was the 15-minute completion of the training ropes. The most enjoyable part of was the kettlebell portion. I’ve never worked with kettlebells so I loved learning the proper technique. I’ve always grouped kettlebells and free-weights in the same category, but they are two totally different workouts. Kettlebells are meant to be swung away from the body using natural momentum because they provide a low-impact, total body workout that can be complete in under an hour.

Studio Lotus is a wonderful facility to visit and build lean muscle! The facility is clean, quaint and the staff are extremely knowledgeable!

Details: 1145 Zonolite Rd, Suite 13, Atlanta, GA, (404) 817-0900,

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January 2015 - Best Health ADHD Blog ImageWhen it comes to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sometimes parents and caregivers have more questions than answers. ADHD isn’t something that can be diagnosed with a blood test or a brain scan, nor is it certain what role lifestyle factors play in ADHD symptoms. But local experts Dr. Regina Robbins and Dr. Jacqueline Kiefel agree that some parts of ADHD diagnosis and treatment come standard.

Dr. Robbins, who practices at WellStar Medical Group’s Kenmar Pediatrics, breaks down the details of diagnosis. “The common symptoms are hyperactivity, inattention, and/or impulsivity,” she says. In order for a child to be diagnosed with ADHD, there must be documented instances of those symptoms in two or more settings (such as home and school) for at least six months. These symptoms must appear before age 12 and cause impairment of academic or social activities. If a diagnosis of ADHD is reached, controlling some basic lifestyle factors can be helpful.

Diet – Dr. Kiefel, a pediatric neuropsychologist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, says some parents report a worsening of their child’s symptoms whenever they consume more sugar. To be safe, she says parents should “monitor sugar intake in their children and modify diet and daily habits accordingly,” opting for more fresh vegetables, healthy dips and nuts to avoid exacerbating symptoms.

Sleep – Ample sleep each night is key for every child. Citing research conducted by Dr. Dean Beebe with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Kiefel says there exists “a large association between a childhood sleep problem and the development of an attention problem over time.” Plus, ADHD can make a child more prone to sleep problems and daytime fatigue, making it even more important to emphasize a good night’s sleep.

Exercise – Research shows that children with ADHD who exercise struggle less with impulsivity and perform better on tests of attention. “Researchers believe that exercise increases blood flow to certain areas of the brain that play a role in regulating emotions and behavior,” Dr. Kiefel explains, so at least 20 minutes a day outside is a good idea.

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Craft Box Girls Website ScreenshotNeed a new dinner recipe , home decor piece or some party ideas? Instead of heading to Pinterest, try the website of Craft Box Girls. This platform will look familiar to you Pinterest users — it still centers on photo-sharing – but unlike Pinterest, the posts are not created by just anyone online. Instead, each post is carefully chosen by the Craft Box Girls national blogger team. These women have their fingers on the pulse of the trends, and many of them are lifestyle bloggers, chefs and fashionistas from right here in Atlanta. Log on today to meet the girls and get inspired!


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SBATL_FACES_CassConnBellaBag_Seated1_August2014Bella Bag, founded by Cassandra Connors, has been selling authenticated luxury handbags to their customers online for almost a decade. The company now has a brick-and-mortar store in the Buckhead Atlanta retail complex. Visit them at 3063 Peachtree Road NE, Suite B209, Atlanta, GA to find the highest quality pre-owned brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Gucci and more.

The Buckhead Atlanta shops have also welcomed another new tenant: Bonobos Guideshop. This new menswear store offers a unique shopping experience that allows shoppers to make an appointment, enjoy personal attention and leave without baggage because the purchases are shipped directly to a home or office. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Exhale Midtown Atlanta recently launched a new class: Core Fusion Extreme. It is an hour-long, circuit-style workout that utilizes TRX bands, medicine balls, free weights and plyometric movements to push you in the areas of cardio and strength training simultaneously. Try this class in Midtown or at their second Atlanta location, which opens on February 2 in Alpharetta’s Avalon complex.

Shannon Sliger - Business News PicA third Dtox Juice location is now open at 1531 Piedmont Avenue. This 2,500-square-foot space is close to Piedmont Park and includes a new kitchen and a spacious bar. Owner Shannon Sliger plans to open a fourth location early this year at Westside Provisions.

The Atlanta Institute of Medicine and Research has moved its offices to Alpharetta and changed its name to The Institute for Advanced Medical Research. Medical director Dr. Angelo Sambunaris and his team conduct neurological research into depression, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, anxiety and more.


Pink Barre shoot in studio.Pink Barre, an Atlanta barre studio franchise launched by former physical therapist Tara Joiner, has expanded its fourth location. Joiner owns and operates their Buckhead and Emory Point locations, which opened last year. The Sandy Springs location is owned by Maureen Chatelain, and now Amy Hoffman has opened the fourth location in Gainesville.

Whole Foods Market has expanded to its eighth location in the Atlanta area, now open in Alpharetta. It is located in Alpharetta’s 86-acre Avalon shopping plaza, which is also home to new locations of ITP favorites like Flywheel, DryBar and more.

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Bircoll, Lawrence_cred neededDr. Lawrence Bircoll from Resurgens Orthopaedics answers a reader’s question about running on hard surfaces.

Q: I recently heard some friends talking about the dangers of running on hard surfaces. Is this really a risk? What should I do to protect myself? 

A: Running on hard surfaces like asphalt does place a slightly higher level of stress on your bones and joints compared to running on grass or unpaved trails. However, running is inherently stressful on these parts of the body regardless of the surface you’re on. The key to protecting yourself against stress injuries is to give your body a break from running. Biking, swimming and hiking are great alternatives to help mix up your routine.

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Day 20 of Fitness – House of Payne Personal Training 

Atlanta Home Improvement staffer: Jeret Adair 

Jeret Adair, Rachel Payne, Steve Payne

Jeret Adair, Rachel Payne, Steve Payne

Yesterday, Jennifer Prins, account executive from Atlanta Home Improvement magazinetook a class to participate in Best Self Atlanta’s 30 Days of Fitness blog series. Today, I decided to hop on the fitness bandwagon and join in on the fun.

For Day 20 of Fitness, I took my workout regimen to the next level through a bodybuilding competition posing class at House of Payne’s Personal Training facility. While it may sound easy to flex and hold a pose for close to a minute at a time, to my surprise it was quite strenuous—especially as a first-timer.

Once arriving to the House of Payne Personal Training gym, I was greeted by co-owner Steve Payne, who then instructed me to remove my shirt and follow him to the competition stage. From there, I stood on a stage shirtless surrounded by a giant mirror. In the background of my reflection was the looming presence of competition bodybuilders flipping over monster truck tires and taping up their quads before hitting the squat rack. I felt intimidated at first but then noticed that no one was even looking at me. Everyone there was completely focused on their own body and their own progress.

Steve then joined me on stage and guided me through five main poses that builders are normally judged on. After completing those five poses, I noticed how sweaty I had become. Steve then explained that one of the most common misconceptions about exercise and muscle-building is the use of weights. He explained that the most important thing to remember when building a competitive and aesthetically pleasing physique is the mind-muscle connection. This is the process of your brain telling your body exactly which muscles to engage and how to engage them. I took this newfound knowledge off the stage and down to the back weight room.

In the weight room, Steve handed me a 25 pound dumbbell and told me to perform a dumbbell press motion. I normally do more than twice this weight, but Steve insisted I slow my motions down to a ten seconds up, ten seconds down routine. I then immediately felt an increase in my mind-muscle connection and noticed that my chest muscles were flexing and engaging like never before!

I was completely surprised by how slowing down and thinking hard about which muscles you are using can affect the workout. We then did this same routine with legs, back and triceps—low weight, high-concentration and powerful flexing and holding. The last 30 minutes turned into an extremely effective and exhausting workout. I went into this workout slightly intimidated and skeptical. I left with an inspired plan for training and an awesome pump.

Details: 4565 Lawrenceville Highway, Lilburn, GA, (678) 641-9188,

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