Archive for July, 2014

pure barre at pure barre inman park


The instructor, Bridget, and I tucking after class.

Studio: pure barre inman park

Class: pure barre

Class description from website: We’re thrilled that you’ve decided to try out a class. You won’t regret it! We believe that everyone is capable of rocking our classes- no dance experience required. As long as you can hold a ballet barre, you can do Pure Barre. That’s not to say that it’s easy, your first class will likely feel challenging at times, but we encourage you to stick with it. Try your hardest and let loose and feel free to ask your instructor plenty of questions after class if you weren’t clear on any of the moves. At Pure Barre, we believe that exercise should be fun!

IMG_8436Location: Inman Park location.  240 North Highland Avenue, Building 3, Suite B-1, Atlanta, GA 30307

Phone: (404) 975-3244

Cost: $15 drop in for first time students.  They also offer packages.



What to Bring: Water and socks, preferably with rubber grips on the soles.  If you don’t have a pair, they sell these socks at the pure barre studios.  They do provide cubbies for your personal belongings and shoes.

What to wear: Comfortable workout clothes.  Yoga pants, leggings, tank top, t-shirt etc.  Shorts are fine, but you will be in several compromising poses and positions throughout the class that could lead to an unsolicited peep show for your classmates.  If you wear shorts, make sure they are tight to the leg and covering your nether regions.

Class size: Medium.  There were 9 people including me.

Props used during class.

Props used.

Props used: Barre, ball, resistance band, mat.

Volume and type of music: Music was loud enough to motivate and the teacher had a mic so you could hear her giving instructions.

Impact: No impact.

Modifications: The teacher, Bridget, walked around for the entirety of the class, checking our form and giving instructions.  So if anyone needed a modification it was easy to snag the instructor and ask questions.

Getting my tuck on.

Getting my tuck on.

Format of class: Before the class we were told what props to grab and set up next to our spot by the barre.  We began class with a quick warm up consisting of core exercises such as planks, a modified version of the Pilates 100s, and crunches.  After warming up, we picked up our dumbbells (you have a choice of 2 or 3 pound dumbbells) for some upper body exercises that targeted the chest, back, biceps, triceps, and shoulders.  I chose not to use the weight because (a) it was my first class and (b) I was having some issues with my shoulder.  I was still able to “feel the burn” by engaging my muscles, so do not fret if you are unable to do the arm exercises with the weights!  Following the upper body section we moved on to our legs.  These exercises were done at the barre and were reminiscent of some ballet movements but done with a different alignment than is used in ballet.  Following the legs we moved on to some butt exercises which were also done at the barre but on the floor.  These movements were reminiscent of modern dance and ballet movements, but again, a slightly different alignment.  After working on our buns, we finished on the floor with some ab work and a quick cool down and stretch.

What to expect:

  • Expect to work some muscles you might not be used to working.
  • Expect a to do some exercises that are very different from anything you’ve done before.
  • Expect a lovely studio space that really sticks to it’s theme.  I love a theme 🙂
  • Expect to move on to another exercise right when you feel like you can’t go on with the current exercise.
The Inman Park staff.

Inman Park staff.

Who should take this class:

  • People who are scared of the gym and lifting weights.
  • People who want to workout but don’t like to jump.  There was no jumping whatsoever.
  • People who like to workout with props.
  • People who always wanted to do ballet but were too intimidated to do so.  This is NOT a ballet class, but you do get to use a barre and that was always my favorite part of ballet class.

Professional advice:

  • If you are a new student, arrive 30 minutes early because you will need to fill out paperwork.
  • Be aware of your posture and body alignment throughout the class.  pure barre incorporates some unique exercises that do make your muscles burn, and it’s easy to become tired causing you to forget about proper form.  Whenever you ignore your form it can lead to injury. If you feel yourself getting tired and losing form, shake it out and jump back in when you’re ready.
  • Blinders on!  As with any exercise class, you have to work at your own level.  Do no look at the person next to you and get upset because they’re holding an ab exercise longer than you, or they’re deeper in a squat than you.
  • Bring water, and hydrate throughout!  Do not be afraid to stop and take a quick sip of water.  Though you’re not drenched in sweat you are still moving and it’s important to hydrate.
  • If pure barre is something you plan on doing regularly, you need to invest in a pair of socks with the rubber grips on the bottoms.  The studios are carpeted so regular socks can get slippery, especially if you are lacking in core and leg strength.

Thank you to my instructor, Bridget, for an awesome class and for being so welcoming!  Thank you to the manager, Alexis, for being so welcoming!


They really stick to their theme 🙂


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TRX Circuit at Brookhaven Fitness Studio


Jenn and I “hanging around” after class.


Studio: Brookhaven Fitness Studio

Class: TRX Circuit (they offer many other class from Qigong to Kettlebell to Kickboxing)

IMG_8233       IMG_8234          IMG_8230

Class description from website: Make your body your machine using the TRX suspension trainer and your own body-weight. Build strength, flexibility, muscular endurance and core stability. Developed by Fitness Anywhere, and recently voted the “Best Total Body Tool” by Men’s Health Magazine, the TRX works strength, power, balance, flexibility and can help you stay injury free. Class size is limited.

IMG_8236Location: 2669 Osborne Road, N.E. Suite B, Atlanta, GA 30319

Phone: (404) 7814-9319

Cost: $20 drop in but they also offer memberships.

What to Bring: Water and a towel.  Shoes are not allowed in the exercise area but they provide cubbies for you to store your belongings while in class.  Bring gloves if you have sensitive hands or difficulty with your grip.

What to wear: Comfortable workout clothes.  Yoga pants, leggings, tank top, t-shirt etc.  Shorts are fine, but I always encourage you to wear bike shorts in a fitness class like this because you are on your feet, on your back, in a plank, jumping, running, rowing, and many other things that might lead to an unsolicited peep show.

Class size: Small.  There were 6 people including me.

IMG_8232Props used: TRX Suspension Trainers

Volume and type of music: Music was loud enough to motivate and the teacher had a mic so you could hear her giving instructions.

Impact: Low to medium impact and you have complete control over the intensity.

Modifications: The instructor, Jenn, offered modifications throughout the class.

Format of Class: We began class at 5:15pm on the dot with a 5 minute dynamic warmup.  The rest of the class consisted of several mini circuits made up of 3-4 exercises for a total body workout.  Each exercise was done for 20-30 seconds with a short break (less than 5 seconds between.  Jenn would demonstrate each exercise as we went along and  then she would walk around correcting form or offering modifications.  Some of the exercises we did included squat and rows, seated biceps curls, frog crunches (plank position on hands or forearms, feet in TRX straps, and bring knees to the outside of the elbows.)  We completed the circuits in 35 minutes and ended class with a 5 minute cool down/stretch utilizing the TRX straps.

What to expect:

  • Expect a total body (and when I say total body I mean all of those little muscles you forgot you had) workout.
  • Expect a cardio and strength training workout wrapped into 45 minutes.
  • Expect to keep moving and exercising for every second of this 45 minute period.  Jenn did offer water breaks but we were moving for 99% of the class.
  • Expect to be challenged.  No matter how strong you are, body weight training while hanging on to two straps suspended from the ceiling cranks up the difficulty level on even the simplest of exercises.

Who should take this class:

  • People with a beginner to advanced level of fitness.  However, if you don’t want to waste your time and money you should have a general knowledge of basic exercises (e.g. squats, lunges, planks, etc).
  • People looking to improve balance, strength, and coordination.
  • People looking to strengthen their upper bodies.  I have found that the most effective and efficient way to improve upper body strength is through bodyweight exercises and adding the suspension element just increases that efficiency.
  • People who don’t like lifting weights, because this is an excellent strength training workout using your body weight and some straps.
  • People with a short attention span.  You don’t have time to get sick of an exercise because you’ve moved onto the next one in no time.

Professional advice: If you are a new student, arrive 30 minutes early because you will need to fill out paperwork and  get a rundown of the basic terminology and exercises that will be used with the TRX straps.

Be aware of your posture and body alignment throughout the class.  Because of the instability of the straps it is incredibly important for you to maintain proper alignment of your joints to avoid any unnecessary strain.  This is extremely important for people who have shoulder issues.

As with any fitness class you need to keep your blinders on.  So many factors affect a TRX workout other than your fitness level such as height, weight, how much you sweat (sweat more and the mat gets a bit slippery), grip strength, etc.  Go at your own pace and listen to your body.  For every exercise we did, Jenn offered a modification and I was not afraid to apply those modifications!

Thank you to my instructor, Jenn, for an incredible workout and an excellent first suspension-training class!


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Orange 60 at Orangetheory

The instructor, Sadler, and I after class.

The instructor, Sadler, and I after class.

Studio: Orangetheory Buckhead

Class: Orange 60

Class description from website: Orangetheory Fitness offer 60-minute workout sessions split into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training with heart rate monitors to track intensity and maximize metabolic burn.  Increase energy, get visible results and burn more calories, even after leaving the studio.  That’s the Orange Effect!

Really want to change your body and your fitness level?  Join the best fitness movement in the nation!

The Orangetheory Buckhead staff.

The Orangetheory Buckhead staff.

Location: 3097 Piedmont Rd., Atlanta, GA 30305 (They also have locations in Midtown, Howell Mill, and soon to be Emory Point)

Phone: (404) 719-0170

Cost: Orange Theory is offering a special of 3 classes for free for new students.  Drop in is $15.

What to Bring: Water and, if you sweat a lot, a towel.  They provide cubbies for you to store your belongings while in class.

What to wear: Comfortable workout clothes.  Yoga pants, leggings, tank top, t-shirt etc.  Shorts are fine, but I always encourage you to wear bike shorts in a fitness class like this because you are on your feet, on your back, in a plank, jumping, running, rowing, and many other things that might lead to an unsolicited peep show.  Comfortable athletic shoes (cross trainers, running shoes).

Class size: Large.  There were 23 people including me.

Props used: Treadmills, rowing machines, suspension units (straps), dumb bells, and benches.  They have other equipment as well but this was what we used for this particular class.

Weight room.

Weight room.

Weight room

Weight room

Treadmills & rowing machines.

Treadmills & rowing machines.

Volume and type of music: Loud enough to be heard over all the machines.  Top 40, pop, hip hop.  The teacher turned down the music when she was giving instructions so we could hear her more clearly.

Impact: High impact, however, you control the intensity of your workout.

Modifications: Before class, the instructor, Sadler, asked if anyone had any injuries that hindered their ability to exercise.  She also said to come to her directly if it was something we didn’t want to mention in front of the other students.  She was very clear about giving modifications if necessary and not working through injuries.

Format of class: Upon signing in for class, we were given heart rate monitors to wear for the class because the philosophy of Orangetheory is based on you working in zone 4 or 5, the orange and red zones or >84% of your target heart rate, for 12-20 minutes of the class.  Our individual heart rates were displayed on a TV screen in two corners of the room.  Throughout the class we were told to try to increase or decrease our heart rate (increase or decrease our intensity) to get to a higher or lower zone.

IMG_8114Before the session began, Sadler asked all the new students if anyone had any injuries and then took us into the workout area and gave an orientation of the class, explaining how to use the treadmills and the rowing machines.  Sadler explained that when on the treadmills we had the choice to be power walkers, joggers, or runners.  Based on this choice, we were given our ‘base’ pace, ‘push’ pace, and ‘all out’ pace.  There was a laminated placard on each of the treadmills showing these options as a reminder throughout the workout.

Once our orientation was over we were ushered back out to the reception area to join the veteran students. Once again, Sadler asked if anyone had any injuries and we were guided back into the workout area with a high five.  We were split in half, with one half starting on the treadmills and the other half starting on the rowing machines.  I started on the treadmills.  While the other group went back and forth between the rowing machines and the weight room, Sadler instructed my group through intervals on the treadmill telling us when to switch from ‘base’ pace, to ‘push’ pace, to ‘all out’ pace.  We were on the treadmills for 30 minutes and then switched out with the other group.

For the next 30 minutes my group repeated what the first group had already done, alternating between the rowing machines and the weight room.

We began with a few minutes of intervals on the rowing machine and then went over to the weight room for seven minutes alternating between step ups with an overhead press, one leg jump squats with the suspension trainers, and steps ups with a hammer curl.  After that we went back to the rowing machines for several more minutes of intervals and then back to the weight room for four minutes of burpees alternating with plank and push up variations.  Following that round we went back to the rowing machines for a a few more intervals and then cooled down.  We ended class with a quick stretch and then were able to review our results based on our heart rate.  I managed to get 12 minutes in the orange zone and two minutes in the red zone.

What to expect:

  • Expect an intense total body workout.
  • Expect a cardio and strength training work out wrapped into 60 minutes.
  • Expect to pay attention to the instructor the entire class.  No zoning out in here.
  • Expect plenty of opportunities for a water break.
  • Expect orange lighting…who doesn’t like a theme?

Who should take this class:

  • People who get bored easily.  You are constantly changing your speed on the treadmill and the rowing machine and we did several exercises while in the weight room.
  • People who love to cross train.  You get a little running, walking, rowing, weight lifting, etc.
  • People who like to work hard and push themselves.
  • People who need an outside motivator like the heart monitor.
  • People looking to knock out cardio and resistance training simultaneously.

Professional advice: If you are a new student, arrive 30 minutes early because you will need to fill out paperwork and get acclimated with the machines.

Be aware of your posture and body alignment throughout the class.  It’s easy to slump and round your shoulders forward when on the treadmill and, as you get tired, it’s easy to ignore proper form when in the weight room or while rowing so be aware of proper body alignment throughout!

I thought the display of everyone’s heart rates would create a highly competitive atmosphere, but I was so focused on my own heart rate that I didn’t notice anyone else’s.  That said, you should always keep your blinders on when doing any sort of fitness class to avoid injury or pushing yourself beyond your capabilities.  Go at your own pace!  I was a proud power walker during the class.

Thank you to my instructor, Sadler, for an awesome workout and your enthusiastic and encouraging attitude!

My friends, Josh and Corrie from lululemon athletica Shops Around Lenox joined me for our Orange workout!

My friends, Josh and Corrie from lululemon athletica Shops Around Lenox, joined me for our Orange workout!

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Fit 4 the Fourth Challenge!!

Photo Credit: Gordon Smith

Photo Credit: Gordon Smith

There are four days until the Fourth of July (the ultimate day of pool parties (read: bathing suits), eating, and drinking in the USA) and what better way to spend them than getting fit!  Don’t postpone your fitness makeover until after the holiday weekend, start now!  There are seven days in a week and unless you are training for some sort of competition, it is not necessary to be a strict fitness/nutrition freak all seven days of the week.  That is why I am giving you four days to give fit a go!  I have several guidelines for you and I will be posting daily workout challenges on my Instagram account (@fitdesiree) so play along and see what you can do!  Take pics/video of your workouts or nutrition changes and add #Fit4theFourth to hold yourself accountable.

  • Drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. (Ex. if you weigh 150 pounds, you will drink 75 ounces of water per day.)
  • Eat breakfast. (Even if it’s just a piece of fruit with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter or a glass of skim milk, something is better than nothing!)
  • Eat every three hours. (It doesn’t need to be a giant meal and it doesn’t need to be three almonds.  Caloric intake varies from person to person, but keep in mind that if you are a fully grown, generally healthy adult, a diet of less than 1300 calories should be medically supervised.)
  • Eat at least two servings of veggies every day.
  • Eat at least two servings of fruit every day.
  • Do not add salt to any of your food.
  • No sweets or added sugars! (Cookies, cakes, ice cream, candy, refined sugar, etc)
  • No soda! (Neither regular nor diet.)
  • No alcohol! (All alcohol has 7 kcal per gram and is metabolized to fat in your body.)
  • Eat only low fat dairy products. (No full fat dairy products.)
  • No white flour foods. (Choose whole grain pastas, breads, and cereals, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, black rice, etc for your carbohydrates.)
  • No fried foods. (Try steaming, grilling, or baking instead.)
  • Take a 20 minute brisk walk everyday.  (This can be broken into two 10 minute walks if necessary.)
  • Do the workout challenge that I post on my Instagram account.  (This is in addition to any physical activity you already have planned  😀 )

Don’t make yourself crazy with your nutrition.  There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to healthy eating.  You have to figure out what works for you.  Lean meats, legumes, nuts, seeds, veggies, fruits, low fat dairy products, and whole grains are your best choices.  It is not always about making the healthiest choice, it is often about making the healthier choice.

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