From Barre to Barbells 1

Four Gyms to Try This Spring

You know that feeling after a good workout, where you feel invincible and don’t even care how much you sweat? These gyms give you those feel-good endorphins, along with top-notch classes that kick your butt, and perks like themed classes, free snacks and more. Here’s the scoop on four of Alpharetta’s favorite gyms.

Elevate Barre Studio

Since its opening two years ago, Elevate has formed an intimate community at the barre studio. Regardless of fitness level, the classes deliver a unique blend of cardio, strength training, and stretching in a low-impact, high-reward workout.

Perks: An on-staff physical therapist helps design the barre and TRX programs, so members can modify their workouts based on injuries. A changing room features lockers and a lighted mirror. In the studio, a spinning disco ball makes class feel more like a party.

Picks: The team of instructors, known as “barre addicts” follow a class structure of warm-up, upper body work, thigh work, seat work, and abdominals, focusing on small, isometric movements to fatigue the body’s smaller muscles. The addition of TRX Suspension Training classes is ideal for low-impact strength work.

Pops:  Elevate Barre Studio really connects with its members: the studio hosts themed class days and special night gatherings, and beyond the barre, members get access to healthy recipes and contests to boost motivation.

Particulars: 3719 Old Alabama Road, 404.521.8007

U First Fitness

Owner Rene’ Serate watched friends around her battle chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, and that motivated her to take action in her own life. She competed in Figure Competitions for several years before she was stricken with rheumatoid arthritis, but that didn’t stop her from carrying out her goals to teach fitness to others at U First Fitness. With a focus on weight-loss, U First Fitness caters to a range of members, with some as active as Serate herself, and others who are new to a fitness regime.

Perks: The focus here is on fitness, and the warehouse-style gym features a playground of equipment that many of the classes utilize, such as barbells, Bosu balls, monster truck tires, pull-up bars, and battle ropes.

Picks: The personal trainers at U First Fitness are hand-picked by Serate and all hold national certifications. Classes range from lower and upper body-specific workouts to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), and total body workouts. Members train in small group sessions and focus on innovative, high intensity workouts with metabolic conditioning such as combo movements.

Pops: The “Fit Beyond 50” program was developed by Serate herself to train those members that are 50 years or older. Through a structured exercise regime, the program has helped its members reverse chronic pain, renew energy, and shed pounds. Much like U First Fitness’ other classes, the small-group format encourages and motivates members with personal attention and goal-setting.

Particulars: 11164 State Bridge Road,,  404.202.4640


Body-N-Balance is a one-of-a-kind wellness facility that offers physical therapy, massage therapy, facials, Pilates, GYROTONIC®, and Redcord exercise. Whether fitness or rehabilitation, an individualized program is designed to meet the specific needs of each client.

Perks: Three licensed physical therapists are on-hand for one-on-one treatment sessions tailored to treat sports injuries or orthopedic conditions. Therapists use cutting edge treatments such as dry needling and red cord therapy, a suspension method that uses slings and bungees to facilitate body weight-bearing exercises.

Picks: Certified Pilates and GYROTONIC® instructors provide private, duet and small group sessions using the latest equipment and techniques. Golfers will want to take advantage of the Golf Performance Program to improve their swing with a personalized plan incorporating strength, flexibility and balance as related to golf. Larry Nelson, World Golf Hall of Fame inductee and winner of numerous tournaments on the PGA and Champions Tour, touts how Body-N-Balance improved his performance.

Pops: Sandi Ecclestone, owner of Body-N-Balance, is a GYROTONIC® Master Trainer and opened the first fully equipped GYROTONIC® studio in Georgia over 16 years ago. The GYROTONIC® EXPANSION SYSTEM® works from the core out to the body’s extremities, so users perform three dimensional, circular, twisting, and bending motions that allow for total freedom of movement in every conceivable range.

Particulars:  3005 Old Alabama Road, Building E, 770.552.8852

Atlas Fitness & Tactical Training Center

Atlas Fitness challenges its members to conquer life’s obstacles, providing practical training that’s constantly changing: one day members are completing an “obstacle warriors” class, the next day they are learning “tactical self defense.”

Perks: The warehouse-style gym is home to an eight-foot vertical climbing wall with ropes, a cargo net, a moving suspended bridge, a tunnel filled with hanging sandbags, modified monkey bars and several stairs for climbing. All of these obstacles are utilized in the Obstacle Fit class.

Picks: Many of the trainers are former combat veterans, educators and athletes, like co-owner Armando Bermuda who is a 22-year Navy SEAL veteran, and he draws upon his experience to teach people tactics that are easy to remember in dangerous situations. The Obstacle Fit class incorporates body weight into obstacle course challenges similar to Tough Mudder or Spartan races. The Realistic Self Defense program is useful to males and females, as it combines the skills of military tactics with martial arts. Members will learn to defend themselves verbally, through hand gestures and body language, and using both conventional and urban weapons.

Pops: Atlas Fitness has the only lead-free, virtual shooting range with moving targets and reality based simulated scenarios, designed to prepare civilians to protect themselves in home invasion or active shooter scenarios as well as improve marksmanship.

Particulars: 1815 Hembree Road, Suite 417, 678.744.6198