Drop it like a squat: Three trendiest fitness places in North Fulton

We all want to be fit and at the top of our game in any exercise activity, but sometimes we fall short. Whether you're a young, adrenaline-filled fitness fanatic, a business executive too busy to exercise, or a grandparent trying to maintain your overall health and wellness, there's a place that appeals to the workout warrior in you. Living Northside uncovered three trends that might keep you coming back.

This story originally appeared in the June/July 2016 edition of Living Northside Magazine.

UFC Gym Perimeter

UFC Gym workouts offer a healthy does of self-confidence, self-defense techniques and discipline in martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is a combination of takedowns, throws, ground control and chokes proven to work no matter your size or that of your opponent.

Sean “Breeze” Dyer, one of several UFC Gym trainers and a professional mixed martial arts fighter, says Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most effective self-defenses known to man. He has a UFC black belt and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Dyer started training when he was about 8 years old.

“I was real big on the Ninja Turtles and Bruce Lee,” he recalls. “I participated in kickboxing through high school. I found out about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu during my senior year. In 2006, I took my first BJJ class, and I’ve been competing and teaching ever since.”

Dyer says everyone can benefit from martial arts. “It’s just about finding the right one for you,” he says. “It doesn’t take outrageous strength. It’s based on a weaker person defeating a larger person. I firmly believe everybody should learn it to defend themselves. It’s the ultimate confidence builder.”

Members of Dyer’s class are constantly moving, pushing, pulling and dealing with their own body weight and that of their attacker. Before stepping into an octagon to spar, they undergo intense preparation consisting of warm-ups and technical drills.

Members range from age 6 to 70. Younger children tend to take to martial arts classes quickly.

“This is not a fight class,” says owner Eric Williams. “It’s about self-defense and martial arts. We teach them character so when they’re not here they’re better with their parents, better in school and better with discipline. We teach them more about strategy and how to think things through and that it’s not always the strongest person who comes out on top.”

Other disciplines taught at the gym include boxing, kickboxing and daily ultimate training. Ultimate training incorporates the use of kettle bells, battle ropes, medicine balls and UFC Fit — a grueling, non-stop full hour that focuses on strength, stability, endurance and fat-burning cardio.

4745 Ashford Dunwoody, Dunwoody. 404-445-8324. ufcgym.com/perimeter

Insider Tip: Gym owner Eric Williams says you can try a class for 30 days, and if you don’t like it, they will refund your money.

Chill & Body

Inside a bungalow on Roswell’s Canton Street is a place that offers a welcome respite for workout warriors who suffer from inflammation of joints and muscles, and a host of other ailments like arthritis, fibromyalgia or insomnia.

Be forewarned, however, the name Chill & Body only hints at the type of therapy that lies within. Imagine standing in a cold chamber, which resembles a rocket ship without a nose cone, for two to three minutes as nitrogen vapors “chill” the air to minus 170 degrees Celsius.

It’s cryotherapy, developed in Japan in the late 1970s as an advanced treatment that safely applies extremely cold temperatures to relieve pain and soreness. Chill & Body owner Anthony Capodicasa says the therapy has replaced ice baths used by many athletes.

“Ice baths numb the nerves as cold water penetrates the skin,” he says. “But they produce only temporary relief.”

Cryotherapy is said to induce the body’s natural self-healing process to increase energy and cell rejuvenation. “The cold temperature causes endorphins to kick in [and the] metabolism to increase, and that produces a high-energy feeling that lasts for hours or all day,” Capodicasa says.

The treatments are administered and supervised by trained technicians, and can be stopped at any sign of discomfort.

Capodicasa says an active person typically burns 400 to 800 calories daily. “But when you undergo cryotherapy, your body works three to four times harder than it normally does just trying to keep warm,” he says.

Amateur golfers, tennis players, CrossFit trainers, marathon runners and triathletes are among Chill & Body’s clients who come in with a variety of ailments.

Some pain management customers stop in daily, Capodicasa says, recalling one who was seeing a chiropractor multiple times a week.

“She started coming in daily for three weeks then stopped seeing the chiropractor because she was pain free,” he says.

1137 Canton St., Roswell. 678-824-7412. chillandbody.com

The Exercise Coach

Katie Sanders changed direction when she opened multiple locations of The Exercise Coach with her husband, Jason, last year. Her family owned car dealerships for more than 30 years in Gainesville. But Sanders says she wanted to launch something new that could change the quality of people’s lives.

The couple, along with co-owner Adam Stephens, opened small fitness studios that offers a total body workout in only 20 minutes. Two workouts per week is all most people need, Sanders says.

“I was raised to think you have to exercise five days of the week for 45 to 60 minutes, and that is just not true,” Sanders says. “It’s all about muscles and strength, not cardio. It’s the difference between independence and dependence at an elderly age.”

There is no weightlifting at The Exercise Coach. Training employs isokinetic equipment with an electro-magnetic motor that provides biofeedback every second of the workout. “The workouts are intense,” Stephens says. “There is no wasted time. You’re only here for 20 minutes, but you’re working every second.”

Clients get a shoulder-to-calf workout in each session. The typical client is between 45 and 70 years of age, but members can be all ages.

“As we age, our muscles atrophy, and when that happens you lose your independence,” Sanders says. “Our target clients know something has to change. They want to be able to pick up their grandkids and play with them, or garden and get down on their knees and not hear anything crack. They want to get up out of bed and not feel any pain.”

Many clients have what she calls “constant companions” like high blood pressure, diabetes, bad knee, or a bad shoulder — things that keep them from working out.

“With this technology, we’re able to protect the body,” she says. “For example, if you’re on the leg press and you extend all the way out, all the pressure is in the knee and that’s not good. With our equipment, we set the range of motion so you’ll never be able to extend all the way out. The muscles are being affected, not the bones.

“Our clients are commenting that their life is improving.”

1145 Woodstock Road, Roswell. 770-857-3269; 9925 Haynes Bridge Road, Johns Creek. 770-212-9568; 458 E. Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. 404-848-1550. exercisecoach.com