Summer is here and it’s time to get your perfect beach body in shape!
For some of us that Summer body means bis, tris, and abs, but for many the “cut” look just ain’t gonna happen this Summer. That’s okay! Not everybody wants or needs the “ideal” fitness model body, and for those that do it’s never too late to start.
The journey from flab to 6 pack abs isn’t a matter of weeks but a matter of years, and it can be daunting to even start out. If you’re just looking at getting started in something like weight lifting, cardio, etc. it’s all about getting your foot in the door. I recommend fitness classes. It’s critical to push yourself and having an instructor in the front of the room guarantees you’ll be giving 100% the whole time.
As the owner of a classic Dad Bod, I’ve resolved to begin this series of Dad Bod Fitness Reviews to help out anybody else looking to start their fitness journey. I’ve signed up for Classpass, which will let me try out almost any studio in Atlanta for a few classes each month. In these reviews, I’ll be looking at the quality of each studio, class, and instructor based on how friendly that class would be to someone that basically just hopped off their couch and is looking to get back into fitness and shake off that extra weight.
The classes will be reviewed based on a few criteria:
- Studio Atmosphere
- Is the studio neat and clean?
- Is the studio atmosphere friendly to less fit individuals?
- Amenities and PARKING
- The Workout Class
- Ratio of Cardio / Strength / Other
- Difficulty level
- Overall quality
- The Instructor
- Clarity for newbies
- Relaxed? Encouraging? Pushy? Bossy?
- Helpfulness and understanding
My first step back into the gym was the BURN Yoga class at West Side Yoga. The class is a Vinyasa Power Yoga flow with some basic poses and options for more advanced variations. “Vinyasa” means that you’ll be moving through lots of poses like downward dog, upward dog, forward folds, and planks. “Power” means you’ll be sore the next day.
The studio itself is located in West Midtown near Fellini’s on Howell Mill – talk about temptation. Do I work out today, or get an 18″ wide sicilian pizza? The struggle is real. It’s easy enough to find with the word YOGA in massive letters across the top of the storefront, and there’s plenty of parking to go around.
Upon entering you’ll catch the scent of lavender and relaxation. It’s not exactly what hypes me up to do some deadlifting, but I can’t complain. On entering I was greeted by our instructor, who provided me with a loaner yoga mat and got me signed in.
Shoes, phone, wallet, etc. went into the designated cubbies next to the studio. I’m usually anti-cubby, but these were being watched over by a security camera so I was more at ease.
I got my mat set up in a room of about 10 people, and got my little yoga block thing. About that time our instructor, Sarah, came in the room and started to warm us up. Sarah is an absolutely wonderful instructor and is genuinely helpful and nice to talk to! Check her out at @sarahleeyogini on Instagram.
The class is fast-paced and definitely not a walk in the park. It’s flow yoga, so you’re going to need balance and strength with a helping of cardio. The pace isn’t going to have you panting, but if you’re new to yoga you won’t have the auxiliary muscles to hold some of the more advanced poses. Almost every pose had a variation for beginners as well as adults, and we were given the option to relax into child’s pose at any time in the class. Those options allow you to tune your own difficulty and tap out if necessary, but the class itself and attentive instruction will keep you pushing.
A majority of the poses were from the standing position and focused on movement through breathing. You’d move from standing to plank to an upward dog (back arch) to a downward dog (high plank with arched back) position, inhaling and exhaling as you move. Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to be – if you’re in bad shape you’ll be breathing much harder and faster than the ideal yoga pace. Between the movement you’ll be holding static strength poses that will test your balance and muscle endurance. I wouldn’t say I was drenched by the end of the class (it’s not hot yoga), but I wish I’d worn a headband or something because it was one hell of a workout.
The fast pace of the flow did make it difficult to follow some of the more tricky poses, but Sarah did a great job of demonstrating each pose for those that were behind. This and explanations of how you should be feeling during each pose helped me find where I was going wrong in poses and fix my form. Sarah was not pushy, but rather encouraged us to work at our own paces and take breaks as needed. She made a point to show discuss how even showing up was a step in the right direction – something that I feel makes this a great first class for this series of articles. I would say the only more helpful she could have been would be physically adjusting people in the class, but honestly I’m glad she didn’t because I’m personally not a fan of that.
Tl;dr, here’s my take on Westside Yoga:
- Studio Atmosphere – 7/10
- Clean and calming atmosphere
- Judgement-free atmosphere
- Mats available, monitored cubbies, and plenty of parking
- The Workout Class – 8/10
- Mostly balance and strength with some cardio
- Difficulty based on personal preference
- I would definitely recommend the class
- The Instructor – 10/10
- Clear and attentive instruction
- Encouraging and reassuring instruction
- Understanding in allowing breaks and variations
Stay tuned for more reviews for the everyman, and check out Westside Yoga!