It should come as no surprise that a city as food-centric as Atlanta is also a city filled with a multitude of fitness options. Life is all about balance, after all, and it seems as though Atlanta has that sentiment under control. In any given neighborhood, you’re bound to find a yoga studio, a barre class or a spin stadium. Sometimes, these workout options are no more than a stone’s throw away from the other, but each one offers something unique to active Atlantans. That variety is one of the reasons studios not only survive, but thrive. Let’s just say community over competition is alive and well in the Atlanta fitness scene. Beyond the peace-love-and-fitness attitude, Atlantans appreciate the diversity, the schedules, the class sizes, the trained professionals, the personalized (sometimes themed) playlists and, yes, even the well-stocked locker rooms. Whether you’re looking to find a new home studio or ready to bounce from class to class, this round-up has something for you. As you make your workout schedules for next week and beyond, consider giving one of these five fabulous Atlanta fitness options a try.
5 Favorite Fitness Options in Atlanta
Barre: FORME, Buckhead
365 Peachtree Hills Ave., #204, Atlanta, GA 30305
With class titles like “bootybarre,” “Barre Fusion” and “Cardio Glow,” FORME is not your average barre studio. Barre Fusion, for example, is a blend of traditional barre paired with hints of pilates and classic Jane Fonda moves. You know the ones. Owned by Donna Burke, what started as one measly class held in rented studio space has turned into a sustainable concept in Buckhead’s Peachtree Hills. FORME aims for a welcoming yet challenging environment that encourages all women to feel accepted and able. Classes begin with an overview of what to expect, a quick survey of anyone’s present injuries and, most importantly, chatter about everyone’s days. Donna says, “We call ourselves the ‘every girl studio’ because we want everyone to feel at home when they walk in our door and leave feeling empowered – and sweaty.”
Besides offering classes at their Buckhead location, FORME is currently partnering with Batter Cookie Dough and Ponce City Market Farmers Market to offer a free class every second Tuesday now through September. And if you still can’t get enough of FORME, you can attend the studio’s annual Barre Retreat (this year it’s in Miami) or sign up for a virtual membership. “We have virtual clients in London, France, India, California, Chicago and more,” Donna proudly explains. “It’s truly amazing that we’re international. We’re very excited to see how far we can take our virtual classes and hope to be able to live stream soon, too!”
Price: Walk-in classes are $18, and packages start at $84.
Interval Training: MADabolic, Old Fourth Ward
Studioplex, 661 Auburn Ave., Atlanta, GA 30312
MADabolic officially hits the Atlanta market in June, but we’re already ramping-up for its late spring arrival. The first of its name in Georgia, the 3,700-square-foot space just off the BeltLine will offer interval training suited for clients at all levels. MADabolic is owned by Abby Closs, a former saleswoman for KIND Snacks, who has since turned into a full-fledged business owner. After realizing her 9 to 5 was depriving her of what she loved most, she knew it was time to explore another option, and MADabolic was it. Classes at MADabolic are created 52 weeks in advance in order to maximize athletic results. Abby says, “Every class features boxing and strength training with cardio mixed in most days. You won’t find barbells or treadmills in our studio, but you will use tools such as kettlebells, dumbbells, rowers and bikes.”
The idea is simple: 50-minute classes centered around MADabolic’s interval system – Momentum, Anaerobic and Durability (MAD). Passionate about inclusivity, Abby explains MADabolic classes are controlled by dividing the group into four levels of intensity. “Clients are carefully guided by the trainer based on their natural ability and where they are on their athletic journey. Our unique system and classes can accommodate the competitive athlete alongside those who are newer to strength and conditioning.” Plus, this is one workout you can bring your beau to; Abby insists there is a “healthy” male to female ratio in each class.
Price: Walk in classes are $25, and memberships start at $179.
Rowing: Total Row, Buckhead
3655 Roswell Road, Ste. 204, Atlanta, GA 30342
Meet Lauren and Elliott Smith – the Chip and Joanna of Atlanta’s fitness world. While these two aren’t exactly tackling demo days together, they are building their own small but mighty empire – fitness style. Elliott, a life-long runner, suffered a ski injury that forced him to stop running for six months. Instead of throwing in the towel, he picked up rowing and before long realized that not only was rowing a no-impact alternative to his favorite pastime, but it also provided strength training for 9 out of 11 muscle groups with every stroke. “Upon discovering this incredible workout, we asked each other the obvious question: why isn’t EVERYONE doing this?” Lauren describes. “Enter Total Row!”
While some fitness classes might seem to be geared towards millennials, Lauren says Total Row is just the opposite. “Our members are more likely to be in their 40s or 50s than in their 20s and have generally written off group fitness as ‘not for them.’ We have an Olympic gold-medalist working out next to a 62-year-old woman with double knee replacements, each getting a phenomenal workout, perfectly scaled to each individual’s abilities,” Lauren shares. Total Row’s 12- to 13-person classes allow for every participant to get some level of personal training all within 45 minutes. Lauren suggests beginners start with Row45, the studio’s all rowing class, but if you want more of a challenge, “try TR45, which is a mix of HIIT with slam balls, TRX, kettlebells and more, with rowing intervals.”
Price: Everyone’s first week is free! After the first week, discounts like $99 for the first month of unlimited membership are available. Total Row also has membership options starting at $59 a month. The drop-in rate is $23.
Spin: Pace23, Decatur
138 New St., Decatur, GA 30030
Decatur’s Pace23 is the spin studio you’ve been looking for. After teaching spin for five years, owner Emily Kinley began noticing her YMCA classes changing. “[They] evolved from a mix of people looking for a workout to a colony of people encouraging each other, building friendships, socializing and learning from each other,” she describes. “I knew it was time to build my perfect version of a fitness community.”
Pace23 prides itself on being different from the typical intimidating spin stadiums often found in major cities. By removing the intimidation factor, Emily says participants feel comfortable moving at their own pace (no pun intended). “On the flip side, we have programs for the elite and have helped athletes recover from injury. It is not uncommon to see all of these people in the same class getting out of it what they need.” Classes range from indoor cycling to TRX strength workouts, so finding a good fit has never been easier. Plus, this studio offers a feel-good factor, too. Besides being passionate about fitness, Pace23 is passionate about giving back. Since opening in 2015, Pace23 has given over $38,000 to charitable causes.
Price: A walk-in class is $24 while 5-, 10- and 20-class packages range from $100 to $340. Pace23 packages don’t expire, so feel free to go ahead and make the commitment.
Yoga: Dancing Dogs, Old Fourth Ward
659 Auburn Ave. N.E., #145, Atlanta, GA 30307
Founded by Shelley Lowther in 2010, Dancing Dogs Yoga was the answer to a search for a yoga community. Now with Georgia locations in Atlanta and Savannah along with licensed studios in North Carolina and South Carolina, it’s safe to say that Shelley’s community is thriving. Since its inception, Shelley has not stopped bringing Dancing Dogs to yoga lovers everywhere. Beyond holding classes at the home studio at Studioplex in Old Fourth Ward, Shelley regularly holds classes at unexpected locations, too. Putting “all you need is a yoga mat” into practice, Dancing Dogs has held classes at the Georgia Aquarium and Piedmont Park. Next on the horizon of unique yoga destinations? Cuba – an unexpected Caribbean home for yogis. Read more about that here: The Yoga Experience You Don’t Want to Miss
Price: Walk-in classes are $25 and packages start at $99.
Now get out there and try something new!
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