by Jonathan Baker - 319 Reviews - 185 List
Well, here we go again with the annual list of fitness and financial goals--and the hope that 2011 will be the best year ever. While many of us barely make it out of January without falling behind on our lofty expectations, we want to provide a little inspiration that, yes, you can indeed give your life a boost in the fitness, food, fashion and culture departments, without losing time or (too much) money. There's no time like the present to start.
Updated: January 03, 2011
You want to lose weight for free? Forget the personal trainers and gym memberships--head over to Piedmont Park and start running (or walking). Sure, you can get more specialized workouts elsewhere, but the cheapest, fastest and most efficient way to slim down is to put one foot in front of the other. And what better or more inspiring place than our greatest park chocked with trails, lakes and skyline views?
Sometimes it's a good idea to fool your mind into thinking you're not really working out, even if you are. The easiest way to do this is through a dance class. Hip-hop, ballet, salsa, disco, step aerobics, yoga, belly dancing, pilates? if you can shake it, Dance 411 has a class for it.
It's a gym! It's a spa! It's a studio! One of Atlanta's most popular workout clubs, Urban Body has a gym in Midtown and a studio, spa and salon off Ponce. Hit the treadmill, train with a personal trainer, take yoga classes, relax in the spa, upgrade with a new look at the salon.
Located in Northwest Atlanta, the Midtown Athletic Club is an old-school athletic club with modern amenities. Tennis and squash courts, indoor and outdoor pools, yoga and pilates classes, steam and sauna, cafe and pro shop, all convenient to both ITP and OTP residents off Windy Hill Road.
Sometimes the best exercise can be found outside in the elements. And for mountain climbing, trail running and road biking, look no further than Stone Mountain. With the cost of yearly admission set at $54, this is a great deal for those who live on the north end of the city.
This colorful Latin fruit and veggie market in the O4W offers bang-up fruit cups, healthy panini sandwiches and homemade popsicles? all in a sunny converted house off Auburn Avenue. For workout fiends, all their smoothies are 24 oz. and cost only $4.75.
While we all love Whole Foods, but it's much to easy to spend too much. When you want an interesting selection--Mochi ice cream? Hell yes!--of quality goods at a redonkulously low price (read: Two Buck Chuck), there's no place like Trader Joe's.
The restaurant we recommend to all our vegetarian, vegan and eco-conscious friends, R. Thomas is a 24-hour new age diner that serves everything from gussied-up smoothies to free-range meats and organic vegetables. Don't mind all the tropical birds outside as you walk in--it's all part of the natural experience.
Atlanta's good-for-you champion is Souper Jenny, which serves six soups, two sandwiches and a few salads daily, six days a week. While staples include chicken tortilla soup and turkey chili, many of the items are vegetarian or vegan-friendly, and all are made fresh daily. Expect a line at lunch and bring cash (they don't take credit cards).
Is there anything in this world that will make you feel sexier or cooler than a new pair of shoes? While we send the boys to Aldo for boots or Abbadabba's for hip kicks, gals should head to Sole in the Edgewood shopping center for a great Jeffrey Campbell selection.
You could absolutely love the hell out of your stylist and salon, but sometimes the best way to make a bold change is by switching teams. Our call for an innovative, affordable and hip in-town salon is Lux. There's a good reason why we held a styling event there: you'll surely be happy with your stylish new 'do.
For ITP office hounds, we've got the efficient spa for you. Midtown's Rejuvenate Spa offers office-specific massages and yoga classes--and for those who just need a little beauty rest, there are napping pods for a quick pick-me-up.
Don't have the coin to take in a production at the Fox or Horizon? Never fear, theater lovers, Dad's Garage is a perfect low-brow alternative. Snag a bucket of beer from the concessions and laugh along to the best improvisation in Atlanta. But do note: the chance of being dragged on stage to participate is fairly high.
Because Martin Luther King Jr. is such an international and global icon, sometimes we forget that he called Atlanta his home. And, since we live in such a transient city, it's important to embrace the history we have. See the house where he grew up, the church where he preached and the exhibits in the visitor's center; it's an absolutely amazing experience. And, it's free.
Atlanta's only true gallery and loft district, Castleberry Hill, opens their doors to the public for the Art Stroll on the second Friday every month. Get a chance to take in great art for free (at spots like the Wertz Contemporary) and to explore a different `hood. We like hitting Elliott's for drinks and Wasabi for sushi.
The High brings in outstanding works and exhibits, and you could see the likes of da Vinci and Warhol for free. On the first Saturday of every month, just flash your valid Fulton County residence as listed on your driver's license and you enter free of charge.
Sometimes learning about your city can be inspiring. Take Atlanta's crowning identity, the World of Coca-Cola. This interactive museum dedicated to our global powerhouse of fizzy elixirs is fun for both kids and adults. Enjoy a 4D theatre, old advertising and try Coke products from around the world.