Lauren Whitmore Powers knows what it's like to be out of shape?she was more than 80 pounds heavier before she discovered boot camp. Her transformation from heavy to fit inspired her to become certified in Schwinn cycling and Level 1 CrossFit so that she could help others achieve the same kind of results. Today she acts as program director of Total Fitness Revolution, working alongside a team of 15 other instructors that includes lifelong athlete Rashad McDade, yoga and pilates teacher Michelle Wade and CrossFit Coach, Richard Bowen. This team of trainers helms one-month boot camps and one-on-one training sessions, as well as small-group classes that cover the ins and outs of CrossFit, Pilates, yoga, and Zumba.
Hammocks of lilac-colored silk hang in ordered rows from the ceiling, the sunlight from Vita-Prana Yoga Studio's large windows warming them before the start of class. Yogis drift into the classroom, each crossing the gleaming wood floors to take a place at a hammock. This is Aerial Yoga, a practice that allows students to suspend traditional Hatha poses several inches above the ground. The freedom that comes from being suspended in the hammock helps guests not only sink deeper into stretches, but also takes weight off of the spine during inversions, allowing it to decompress and give each vertebra time alone from its annoying roommates.
In addition to aerial yoga, the instructors lead a variety of classes in traditional yoga, including Hatha and Vinyasa styles that use breath to link movements and deep postures to strengthen muscles.
At Dahn Yoga - Body & Brain Marietta, seasoned instructors impart ancient yoga poses and relaxation exercises designed to balance the body’s energy flow. Founded in chi-focused health principles and the Korean sun do tradition, classes and workshops tether the brain to the physique with meditation, meridian stretching, and the gentle movements of tai chi and chi gong. Abdominal exercises aim to expel toxins from the intestines, and energy-center tapping promotes wellness inside and out by liberating trapped chi and inadvertently swallowed lightning. Students also learn to manage their emotions using the Brain Operating System, a mind-body practice developed by the studio’s founder, Ilchi Lee.
As a Bikram yoga instructor and studio owner, Naedra Fox's job is to make a 105-degree room with 40% humidity a welcoming space. To do this, she and her fellow teachers made a pilgrimage to Los Angeles to attend the once-yearly instructor certification course taught by Bikram Choudhury. The intensive nine-week apprenticeship focuses on more than merely mastering the 26 poses. Certified Bikram instructors learn how to make their classes a beginner-friendly, nonjudgmental space that still pushes students to expand their limits. Additionally, Naedra strives for an inclusive, family atmosphere. Newcomers nervous about the notoriously sweaty, 90-minute Bikram sessions are free to stretch postures only as far as is comfortable for them.
Sacred Garden Yoga founder Cindy Olah discovered a love for nature growing up in Peru. She’s fused that passion with yoga instruction by leading retreats in the mountains of North Georgia, North Carolina, and back home in Peru. Whether outdoors or within her pastel-green workout studio, Cindy and fellow instructors lead non-competitive sessions that foster lifelong friendships. Their group, private, and prenatal sessions emphasize proper body alignment and breath work. Students can also discover healing with reiki and reflexology treatments and workshops on subjects such as meditation and painless band-aid removal.
Kettlebells—iron-shaped balls of varying weights that, with their affixed handles, resemble carry-on cannonballs—provide a low-impact total body workout that simultaneously increases strength and stamina. A recent study found kettlebells to be highly effective, resulting in subjects burning "at least 20.2 calories per minute, which is off the charts. That’s equivalent to running a 6-minute mile pace." You'll learn all this and more during your intro to kettlebells class (which you can apply this Groupon toward). Upon completion, you're free to take more kettlebell classes (drop-in classes are $16) and Pilates mat ($12.50–$16) and apparatus sessions (private session are $54–$60, duet sessions are $37–$44, and semi-private sessions are $30–$38). Feel free to combine these classes at your whimsy to transform yourself into a formidable fat-burning, cardiovascular-boosting, muscle-building monster without the assistance of a full moon.