October 2, 2019 Atlanta - Fitness expert Lana Ector outside of Kale Me Crazy in Buckhead, one of her favorite spots to visit during her busy day. Ector is the subject of a new episode of ATL Closeup. Ryon Horne / RHORNE@AJC.COM
Photo: Ryon Horne
Photo: Ryon Horne

Gymnetics co-founder Lana Ector names the Atlanta spots that make her feel most welcome

Love perusing through social media to find out what your favorite influencers are up to? Get a closer glimpse into how they spend their time in Atlanta with “ATL Closeup,” an AJC feature that explores the leisure lives of some of the city’s most notable personalities as they go from work to play mode over the course of a typical weekend — from their favorite places to dine to the little-known spots where they find retreat. 

It’s nearly 7 p.m. on an unusually warm evening in October, and Lana Ector is still scratching items off her to-do list. The personal trainer has been awake since 5 a.m., traveling back and forth between her fitness studio Gymnetics and the homes of clients to lead workout sessions. But before she can rest, she needs to check on gym memberships and other online sales. 

» RELATED: 5 Atlanta gyms where you might just spot a celebrity

“I’m pretty busy, and I love it,” the 29-year-old said with a smile. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s what it takes to be successful.”

The entrepreneur has maintained a jampacked schedule for years. Since co-founding Gymnetics in 2010 with her mom Ellen Ector, she has been in high-demand. 

Dec. 16, 2013 - Atlanta - Ellen (left) and Lana Ector lead a morning exercise class at Gymnetics. Mother-Daughter duo, Ellen, 61 and Lana Ector, 24 have made a personal commitment to help change the health statistics plaguing the African-American community through a movement they call "Black Girls Workout Too. Both personal trainers and co-owners of Gymnetics, a private Atlanta based fitness studio, they have a popular workout DVD by the same name and just released a second one. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

People have flocked to her southwest Atlanta gym to take spin, yoga, Zumba and weight lifting classes, and the fitness expert has also trained with groups at the Essence Festival in New Orleans and in Paris.

And with her three workout videos, she even caters to those who prefer to break a sweat in the comfort of their own dens.

Her “Black Girls Workout Too” brand, which aims to dispel the myth that black women don’t exercise, has also garnered lots of attention. From gloves to waist trainers to T-shirts, it’s not hard to spot someone wearing apparel that displays the viral phrase.

“That’s what I love so much about Atlanta. You can start at point zero and find success, because the support is so overwhelming and amazing,” she said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to build my business anywhere else but Atlanta.”

When the Mableton resident isn’t pumping iron and helping people reach their health goals, she is carving out time to hit up her favorite places. Here’s where you’ll likely find her on any given weekend in Atlanta. 

Finger-licking good meal

There’s no place that kicks off the businesswoman’s day like Kale Me Crazy. The healthy food cafe, which serves smoothies, salads, wraps and other snacks, always gives her the boost she needs to make it through a hectic week.

“After I get my daughter ready for school, I come here for breakfast. It replenishes me, and everything here is so good,” she raved. 

There are 15 locations throughout the metro area, but Ector frequents the Buckhead one the most. You can probably catch her there munching on the eatery’s signature avocado toast and the recovery smoothie, made with banana, cherries, cashews, coconut yogurt, almond milk and vegan protein.

“I love this place,” she said. “It always gets me right.”

October 2, 2019 Atlanta - Fitness expert Lana Ector also likes the Avocado Toast at Kale Me Crazy in Buckhead, one of her favorite spots to visit during her busy day. Ector is the subject of a new episode of ATL Closeup. Ryon Horne / RHORNE@AJC.COM
Photo: Ryon Horne

Her top dining pick:

Kale Me Crazy, 3167 Peachtree Road NE F, Atlanta. 404-975-3487, buckhead.kalemecrazy.net.

» RELATED: 5 of metro Atlanta's best juice bars and smoothie cafes

Shop-til-you drop spot

The gym rat has a wardrobe full of workout clothes. From sneakers to leggings to crossovers, she has plenty of options to choose from when prepping for one of her classes.

When she needs to refresh her closet, she heads to the Nike Store in Lenox Square to look for cute and fun prints. 

“They have the best selections and the newest stuff. I’m always in there. That’s definitely my go-to,” she said. 

She also loves a bargain, so stores like TJ MaxxMarshall’s and Ross Dress for Less are also on her list.

“I’m one of those shoppers that likes to look through everything. You might find something that’s name brand, and you might find something that’s fast fashion. And it all looks amazing,” she said. “You can save your coin and still look good.”

Her top shopping pick:

Nike Lenox Square, 3393 Peachtree Road NE, Suite #3070, Atlanta. 404-846-5549, nike.com/us/retail/s/nike-lenox-square.

Social Hour

Ector likes going to places where everybody knows her name, and Divan Restaurant and Bar in Buckhead is one of them. 

“They already know what I’m eating and drinking. I like being spoiled, because throughout the day, I’m always catering to other people,” she explained. “When I go to Divan, the staff is always like, ‘Lana, what do you need?’”

It’s one of her favorite spots to grab an apple martini or a salad and to catch up with friends. 

“I normally go after work, and we like it when not many people are in there,” she said. “The vibe is quiet. We come for the good food and just chill.”

Her top party pick:

Divan Restaurant and Bar, 3125 Piedmont Road, Atlanta. 404-467-4297, divanatlanta.com.

The wind down

The personal trainer is always moving her body, so visits to the spa are necessary. The one at the Four Seasons in Midtown is her favorite. 

“I’m very big on self-care, so I normally go at least every other week,” she said. “It feels like all that hard work I do throughout the week just washes away.”

During each trip, she gets a 60-minute deep tissue massage and spends some time in the sauna to meditate. 

“That’s my treat. If I’ve got my clients up and I’m doing good with my sales online, I go,” she said. “I only go when I deserve it.”

5 relaxing spas near Atlanta

Her top relax destination:

The Spa at Four Seasons, 75 14th St. NE, Atlanta. 404-881-9898, fourseasons.com/atlanta/spa.

Hidden gem

If you need a fresh manicure or pedicure, Ector recommends Polished Beauty Lounge in Smyrna. 

“It’s really cute and chic. I love the way they do my nails, and it’s another place where I feel important,” she joked.

She has known about the spot, which also offers waxing and threading services, for more than a decade. In fact, she hosted her baby shower there back in 2009.

“I’ve always supported them. They’ve been around for a really long time, but it’s still kind of under-the-radar. They deserve more shine.”

If you go: 

Polished Beauty Lounge, 4500 W Village Place, #2005, Smyrna. 678-213-2999, polishedbeautylounge.com.

» RELATED: Atlanta, just chill out with these 10 most relaxing spas around town

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