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

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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.

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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.

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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!

Atlanta’s Best Fitness Studios By Neighborhood: Midtown and West Midtown

For my second installment of the Best Fitness Studios in Atlanta by Neighborhood, I will be featuring Midtown and West Midtown. Being the first neighborhood I lived in Atlanta, West Midtown holds a very special place in my heart. Despite the fact that West Midtown was no where near as trendy when I lived there, many of the great studios in my list have been there for a while now. Midtown is where I’ve spent most of my time in Atlanta living, so I’ve had plenty of time to see what they have to offer.

If you are looking to shop around a bit before finding the perfect workout for you, many of the studios offer discounted first time trial classes! So make sure to click on the link to their websites and see what kind of offers they have available. Another great option is to sign up for Classpass. With a Classpass membership you’ll have access to hundreds of gyms in Atlanta. Take $40 of your first month by using the code here!

Want to know the best spots in Buckhead and Brookhaven? Check out my first article here!

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Check out Exhale’s sleek studio in Midtown for a booty-kicking barre class

Midtown

  • Barre
    • Exhale (1065 Peachtree St NW). Located in the Loews Hotel, Exhale is a fitness studio and spa, and it really shows in the locker rooms. Herbal scented with ambient music playing, these rooms provide everything from steam showers to fluffy robes. As for the classes, there are lots of options from traditional barre to HIIT training.
  • Cycling
    • FlyWheel (1180 W Peachtree St NW). This studio is very tricky to get to due to the parking situation but very worth it! Their instructors always have high energy and motivating playlists.
  • Pilates
    • Stellar Bodies (44 12th St NE). Stellar’s classes practice the Lagree method, which uses a Megaformer machine to practice a pilates-inspired regime. Each class is a 50min full body resistance workout.
  • Kick Boxing/Martial Arts
    • Unit 2 (240 Ponce De Leon Ave). Unit 2 offers classes like kickboxing and CrossFit but also more specialized martial arts like Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai. They even offer women’s only martial arts classes! You can try them for free for 1 week to see if this is the place for you!
  • Strength Training
    • Modo Fitness Bootcamp (Meets in the Park Tavern Parking Lot at 500 10th St NE). This is an outdoor bootcamp that runs through Piedmont Park every Monday-Friday at 6am and 630pm. It’s perfect for people who want to get outside and run but need a little motivation from an instructor. In addition to running through our beautiful Piedmont park, you will stop and do sets of burpees, pushups, sit ups, etc. for a fully body workout!
  • Yoga
    • CorePower Yoga (860 Peachtree St. NE). CorePower’s classes are not your typical yoga class. For example, they offer a class called Yoga Sculpt 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.
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Try a reformer class at The Daily in West Midtown!

West Midtown

  • Barre
    • Head over to Midtown for much better options!
  • Cycling
    • Torq Cycle (935 Marietta St. NW). This is the best spin studio in Atlanta, hands down! The owner, Alex Martinez, has been voted as Classpass Atlanta’s best instructor for the past 3 years! He has this incredible ability to remember your name even if you only went to one class 7 months ago. Such a friendly environment with challenging classes!
  • Pilates
    • The Daily (981 Joseph E Lowery Blvd NW). The Daily offers both traditional mat pilates classes and Reformer classes. If you’ve never tried a Reformer class before I highly recommend it! Reformer and Megaformer classes are the best way to sculpt lean muscles imo, as they are much more challenging than your traditional mat pilates classes.
  • Kick Boxing/Martial Arts
    • X3 Sports (1092 Huff Rd NW). X3 offers conditioning classes, like their “Fast-Track” class, as well as traditional martial arts classes, like Muay Thai.
  • Strength Training
  • Yoga