Dad Bod Fitness Reviews – Westside Yoga

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!

Best Fitness Studios by Neighborhood: East Atlanta

For my final installment of the Best Fitness Studios in Atlanta by Neighborhood, I will be featuring the many unique neighborhoods of East Atlanta. Arguably the trendiest part of Atlanta, this area has a lot to offer by way of specialized fitness boutiques and is home to some of my favorite studios.

Looking to try out multiple different studios to find the one that works best for you? Most studios offer discounted first time trial classes! You can also look into joining Classpass, an app that gives you access to hundreds of gyms in Atlanta. Take $40 off your first month with Classpass using the code here! And if you need recommendations for other areas of Atlanta you can view my Buckhead/Brookhaven recs here, and Midtown/West Midtown here!

fit to be pic2
Get your core work in at Fit To Be! They offer a variety of classes that target different muscle groups to help you build a stronger you!

O4W/Inman Park/Virginia Highlands

  • Barre
    • FIT: TO BE (842 North Highland Ave). Fit to Be’s classes give you a much better workout than most barre classes. They offer cardio, TRX, upper/lower body classes, and stretching; they basically cover it all! My favorite class: Abs, Thighs, & Glutes.
  • Cycling
    • I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to head to another neighborhood to find a great spin class. Check out my recommendations in Midtown here!
  • Pilates
    • The Daily (900 DeKalb Ave NE). This Inman Park location is brand new but offers the same great Reformer pilates classes as the original location in West Midtown.
  • Kick Boxing/Martial Arts
  • Strength Training
    • The Forum (675 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE). Started by two retired NFL players, the Forum offers seriously kickass workouts! Their Fast-Twitch class is one of the most challenging and rewarding classes I have ever taken.
  • Yoga
    • Infinity Yoga (655 Highland Ave NE). Infinity Yoga is my favorite yoga studio in Atlanta. I have listed it 3 times in my “Best Fitness Studios” articles because it is that good. The instructors make each flow unique and challenging, often incorporating arm balances with options that are suitable for beginners and advanced members.
daily- inman pic1
Check out The Daily in Inman park for a workout aimed at sculpting long, lean muscles using a pilates reformer machine!

Druid Hills/Emory/Decatur

  • Barre
    • Pink Barre (855 Emory Point Dr.). Pink Barre’s classes incorporate more cardio into their routines than your tradition barre class because it transitions into moves at a faster pace. These short workouts will leave you feeling like you checked all of the boxes in your fitness needs.
  • Cycling
    • I’d recommend heading over to Buckhead or Brookhaven for a better spin class. Check out my recommendations here!
  • Kick Boxing/Martial Arts
    • Again there are better gyms for this in other neighborhoods. Click here for Midtown recommendations and here for Buckhead and Brookhaven.
  • Pilates
    • Solidcore (150 E Ponce De Leon Ave.). Solidcore is another studio offering pilates on a machine. Not the Reformer or Megaformer though, as this is a custom-built machine exclusive to Solidcore. The class sizes are very small so you get attention to detail. They even offer beginner level classes if you are new to the whole pilates movement.
  • Strength Training
    • Orangetheory Fitness (855 Emory Point Dr. and 319 W Ponce De Leon Ave.). Orangethoery combines weight training with cardio by use of treadmills and indoor rowing machines. I personally love rowing as a way to get your heart rate up while also toning your arms, legs, and core! You can even schedule your first class for free.
  • Yoga
    • Corepower Yoga (2480 Briarcliff Rd NE). Corepower’s classes are not your typical yoga class. For example, they offer a class called YogaSculpt where you use hand weights and do things like bicep curls and back flys while in yoga poses. They also offer a heated candlelight power flow: be warned as it is HOT (100-103 degrees), much hotter than a traditional hot yoga class.

Atlanta’s Best Fitness Studios by Neighborhood: Buckhead and Brookhaven

Having been a dancer since age 5, I have a slight obsession with the latest fitness trends. Luckily, Atlanta has so many great options for you to get your sweat on! With so many options, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to find the place that’s right for you. In other words, tracking down Atlanta’s best fitness studios can certainly be a stretch! And if you are the type of person who needs variety in their routine, it can be even more challenging to find your favorite yoga, pilates, and kickboxing studio.

To help you out, I’ve created a comprehensive list of Atlanta’s best fitness studios by the type of exercise and neighborhood in Atlanta. I have been to dozens of studios over my 4 years here in Atlanta. I’ve also lived in West Midtown, Midtown, Druid Hills, and Buckhead so I’ve had the chance to visit studios all across the city. I joined Classpass when it first came out (and was only $70 dollars for unlimited; oh how I miss those good days) but I’ve also visited studios not available on classpass because like I mentioned I’m obsessed. So check out my list and let me know what you think!

P.S- If you’ve never heard of Classpass, check it out here! It is truly the best way to try a ton of studios and find your favorites.

Sculpthouse pic2
Check out Sculpthouse for an all encompassing workout including strength and cardio training!


  • Barre
    • Forme Studios (365 Peachtree Hills Ave. NE). I love Forme Studios! The instructors are all very welcoming and the classes challenging. My favorites are the bootybarre and Barre Fusion Sculpt classes.
  • Cycling
  • Kick Boxing/Martial Arts
  • Pilates
    • SculptHouse (3167 Peachtree Rd.). One of the most effective workouts I have ever done, SculptHouse uniquely combines the Lagree Method and cardio training. The Lagree Method is based on pilates principles and performed on a Megaformer machine. This is much more challenging class than pilates though, and aims at sculpting long, lean muscles. The woodway curve is a human-powered treadmill that is designed to be easier on your joints. SculptHouse offers both classes split between the Megaformer and treadmill and full classes on the Megaformer.
  • Strength Training
    • The Forum (3393 Peachtree Rd.). Started by two retired NFL players, the Forum offers seriously kickass workouts! Their Fast-Twitch class is one of the most challenging and rewarding classes I have ever taken.
  •  Yoga
    •  Infinity Yoga (2293 Peachtree Rd.). Infinity Yoga is my favorite yoga studio in Atlanta. I have listed it twice in this article because it is that good. The instructors make each flow unique and challenging, often incorporating arm balances with options that are suitable for beginners and advanced members.
Infinity Yoga pic3
Find your center at Infinity Yoga with multiple studio locations in Atlanta including: Buckhead, Brookhaven, and O4W.


  • Barre
    • Better classes in Buckhead.
  • Cycling
    • Burn (3575 Durden Dr NE). Burn’s spin classes measure your effort (by resistance and speed) and displays your name in either red, yellow, or green on a big screen in the front of the class. Seeing your effort measured simply by colors makes it very easy to push yourself to the next level (or color!).
  • Kick Boxing/Martial Arts
  • Pilates
    • Again, Buckhead has much better options.
  • Strength Training
  •  Yoga
    • Infinity Yoga (1376 Dresden Dr.). Infinity Yoga is my favorite yoga studio in Atlanta. I have listed it twice in this article because it is that good. The instructors make each flow unique and challenging, often incorporating arm balances with options that are suitable for beginners and advanced members.

Be sure to check out our events calendar for all the best events happening in Atlanta this week!