Perhaps his degree in physics from Georgia Tech or his longtime stint as a partner in an engineering firm prepped Jeff Sousa to understand the improbable poses that yoga demands. Before starting Ember Yoga, he knew that he wanted to take possession of his own physical health, and so he left his engineering days behind and became a full-time yoga teacher. He opened Ember Yoga as a venue for others to discover their own passion for yoga.
Now, 16 other passionate yoga teachers—including former basketball players and professional cyclists—aid Jeff in teaching 16 unique yoga classes. Along with the hot-yoga courses, including Vinyasa, the team leads diverse groups through sessions intended for pregnant mothers, children, and practitioners intent on mediation. This panoply of offerings recently won the Woodstock-Towne Lake Patch Readers' Choice Award for Best Gym. The 4,400-square-foot studio features four distinct areas, including a hardwood hot-yoga studio, locker rooms with onsite showers, and a boutique full of yoga equipment and apparel.
Amber Klippel, a licensed massage therapist, neuromuscular therapist, and certified yoga-alignment therapist, believes relaxation is the key to a healthy life. She is a proponent of the idea that by controlling one's stress levels, eating healthy foods, and not keeping piranhas in your bathtub, you can support self-healing. To this end, Amber does everything she can to help point her clients down this path to better well-being, including offering massage services, private yoga classes, and Thai-bodywork sessions.
At North Atlanta Fencing Center, students learn to lunge and parry in the Olympic style under a coaching staff that includes USFA-certified instructors, internationally ranked competitors, and former collegiate champions. The center’s programs divide pupils into classes based on age and ability, allowing everyone the opportunity to improve footwork, test strategy, and receive an excellent cardio workout. When not practicing through focused games and drills, swordsmen and women are welcome to challenge each other during an Open Strip session, when they’ll be able to fence until one side emerges victorious or foils are abandoned for a tiebreaking bout of one-on-one tag.
Though it's based in Atlanta, BodyPlex has expanded its calorie-burning classes all the way to Puerto Rico, making the business a fast-growing and far-reaching fitness center. At any location, members can attend body-sculpting classes that incorporate weights, stationary bicycles, steps, or yoga poses. These interactive group sessions help participants tone limbs, shed unwanted pounds, and boost cardiovascular health.
Drawing inspiration by old-school boxing gyms, Striker Fight Center’s training facility comes decked out with heavy bags and speed bags for teaching a various forms of martial arts. The instructors here, such as Steven Broughman—a former MMA fighter, ranked muay thai Instructor, and a black belt in jiu-jitsu—have taught Western boxing for decades. The classes offered here reflect their experience, ranging from wrestling and boxing to judo.
Glowing neon-red-and-blue wall accents complement the staff members' bright attitudes at American Bodyworks gyms. They strive to make connections with each member, remembering their names and favorite prime numbers, as they guide them through rows of cardio equipment—each with an attached LCD TV screen—and strength-training machines affixed with illustrations on their use. Guests can work out in the daytime hours or swipe their membership key for nighttime access, pushing through free-weight reps while personal trainers sleep inside their resistance-band cocoons.