Health Stores in Kennesaw

Local Health Store Treats Sickness Naturally

By CRAIG BARRY

KENNESAW, Ga. — Over the years, stores like GNC, Vitamin World, and The Vitamin Shoppe have become increasingly popular. These are health friendly stores where a person can find practically any vitamin, supplement, protein, fitness aid, digestion, or weight control related product.

Luckily, Kennesaw has enjoyed the benefit of having these stores locally, but what store is the best option for each consumer trying to get fit? Well, that can depend the needs and preferences, and each one may meet them to a different standard. If you don’t know what you’re doing, this can be a trial and error process.

You do not have to be a ‘health nut’ to shop at one of these stores either. People of all shapes, sizes, and colors, come here to find out about health and take care of their bodies.

“I have all kinds of customers walk in here for so many different reasons,” said Fassel Abrham, employee at The Vitamin Shoppe. “There is no particular age for people shopping, I get just as many senior citizens in here looking for things to help their skin as I do teenagers with acne problems, and often times I recommend the same product.”

So basically, it really depends on what you’re looking for in a health store: price, quantity, or customer service.

GNC

Stores like GNC, Vitamin World, and The Vitamin Shoppe have any health product you could be searching for. GNC is the biggest chain in Georgia, with over 80 locations statewide, and three in Kennesaw: one on Wade Green Road northwest, one on Cobb Parkway north, and one on Ernest W. Barrett Parkway.

To an experienced health store shopper, or a ‘health nut’, the GNC on Barrett Parkway would be considered the Wal-Mart of health stores. To shop here is to risk being labeled a mainstream-consumer, or brand-name buyer. That being said, it does probably provide the most consistently broad variety of choices in products, and perhaps the most convenient shopping experience for the consumer looking for a ‘one-stop-shop’ type of vitamin store.

Products

GNC carries vitamin, A through Z, multi-vitamins for men and women, minerals, fish oil, antioxidants, and sexual health products, plus protein supplements, weight control pills, personal care lotions and creams, food and drinks. According to employee Thomas Threadgill, the vitamins, various supplements, and protein and fitness products are typically their most popular items.

While this chain does excel in its variety and stock availability, it does have a few minor set-backs native to corporate-owned mega chain stores. This particular GNC located on Barrett Parkway in the Towne Center Mall at Cobb, is rather crowded upon entry. The abundance of products for sale here actually over-crowd the aisles you walk through while you shop.

For someone who is new to this field, the variety can be slightly overwhelming. Vitamins, supplements and weight control pills wait in ambush everywhere you turn, with endless disclaimers and warnings of caution hidden in all the fine print, and side-effects as far as the eye can see. Some of the side effects are actually worse than what the pill was intended for in the first place.

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This GNC is located inside Town Center at Cobb. Photo by Craig Barry

Customer Service

If you do not know what you are doing when it comes to this kind of stuff, you will need to seek advice from one of the employees working there. Unfortunately, GNC does not contain the most knowledgeable ‘professionals’ in the field. Mostly young people and amateur trainers work here.

Even employee Threadgill, admits, “This is kind of the type of place someone goes to be hired if they’re in college and are interested in becoming a nutritionist, or maybe a personal trainer, and sometimes just the stereotypical muscle-head who does this as a side obsession.”

However, he said, “Occasionally you’ll get someone who is recently graduated and is starting out as a trainer, so they will have a little bit of experience, but that’s usually as far as it goes.”

Prices and Website

GNC’s prices are generally fair, compared to other health stores in the area. This is one of the benefits of being a larger corporate-owned chain. If you want to look at its product prices before going to the store, you can check them out here. The website is thorough, simple to use, and contains every product you would find at any locations. If you want to order offline instead, you have that option as well.

Vitamin World

Vitamin World is also a corporate-owned company, with a branch in the Town Center Mall at Cobb on Barrett Parkway also. It carries everything GNC does, as listed above, in addition to pet products.

The biggest difference between these two stores would be the experience for the shopper. While this is a big company like GNC, the employees at this location offer a much personable environment for the newer, less experienced, vitamin store consumer. For the shyer shopper, who is seeking guidance to become more health conscious, this would be the preferred choice.

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Vitamin Word located inside Town Center at Cobb shopping mall. Photo by Craig Barry

Customer Services

“Customer service is my number one priority,” said Vitamin World employee Jordan Brown.

Customers may need help with a health concern that is a sensitive issue for them, and it can be hard to talk about. So when customers walk in to Vitamin World, Brown wants them to look at this as “a friendly environment where people want to help people, not as a place where we just want to sell you something for money.”

“It’s not uncommon that GNC will send a customer over to me, just because they know we are a little bit more knowledgeable when it comes to this stuff,” Brown said.

Prices and Website

Vitamin World also has a website, at Vitaminworld.com. Here you can find out more about their products and prices without driving to their location. Generally, its prices are equal or similar to GNC’s, and they are almost just as well equipped. Although, you can only view the general price on its website; the store offers a customer rewards card discount that works similar to a Kroger or CVS card, and is free of charge. This card will get you a discount on many products, and access to some great sales, but you can only see the member’s price inside the stores.

The Vitamin Shoppe

Last, and quite possibly the least, would be the Vitamin Shoppe, located on Ernest W. Barrett Parkway. This vitamin store, also corporate-owned, is almost a combination of Vitamin World and GNC.

Customer Service

While this store does give off a mom and pop vibe, unfortunately this is not the case. It too has a fully stocked arsenal of health products just like its competitors, but it seems like it is guarded by a hungry salesman more than it is accompanied by a helpful nutritionist. The sales staff are fairly knowledgeable in their respective field of health fitness, but not overly friendly.

Prices and Website

The prices remain consistent with its competitors, and its website, is easy to use. Here you also can research the products and prices at home, if you do not want to rely on the customer service, which would not be advised.

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How to find the best exercise for your body

CrossFit is catching people’s eyes as it becomes a new fitness trend

By NATASHA MCCRARY

MARIETTA, Ga. – Yoga may be one of the top exercise options in fitness, but there are still other options like weight training and Pilates that can still give similar results and options. BeYoga, X3 Sports, and the Center offer a variation of exercises and options to meet different fitness needs.

“It’s all about the results you are looking for,” Lia Jordan said. “You can try all of these workouts and see what best works for you.”

Yoga is a fitness exercise that not only helps the body, but the mind and soul as well. According to the Harvard Medical School, women who did yoga for a consecutive three-month term showed signs of improvement in stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue and over all well being.

Yoga can be defined in many different ways. The word yoga means union or connection. Yoga is a way to connect to your mind, body and soul by releasing the self to be able to understand and heal in a nurturing and peaceful way.

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Leanna Livingston demonstrating a Yin yoga stretch. Photo by Natasha McCrary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Some people think yoga is just a religion, and that’s not true,” BeYoga instructor Reanna Livingston said. “It’s a way of life.”

Livingston never knew she would become a yoga instructor, but some detours in her life such as addiction and depression led her to yoga.

She was able to utilize yoga as a means of reflection and release. After time helped her heal, Livingston now said she has found her new purpose through yoga,

“I’m meant to empower my classes and guide them.”

Literature in Yoga

There are many different types of literature that can be read to understand and connect with yoga; however, it is up to each individual person to find what best piece speaks to them.

Livingston has written a book called, “The Words I Read to You” which is available for purchase in the BeYoga studio.

This book covers many different things from yoga being a sacred journey, to yoga removing fears. The book is written in a poetry style with each page displaying sayings, words to live by, and inspirations.

Livingston uses the book during her yoga sessions to make the experience more intimate and empowering for the individuals that come.

“To the ones who read between the lines. To the ones who crave words for their soul. To all the wild ones,” said Livingston.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

 Yoga can be broken down into the eight limbs:

  • The Yama is the first limb and deals with the restraint.
  • The second limb is called the Niyama and deals with inward observation like self-discipline and awareness.
  • The third limb is the Asana and deals with the physical practice of yoga, which involves meditation and concentration.
  • The fourth limb is the Pranayama and this is the practice of breathing exercises and strength control.
  • The fifth limb is the Pratyahara and it means to somewhat rid you of the outside world and senses and connect with yourself internally.
  • The sixth limb is the Dharana is the practice of concentration but on a higher spectrum.
  • The seventh limb is the Dhyana and it means to be aware without focus.
  • And lastly the eighth limb is the all of the limbs as one and experiencing the self-altogether.

Exercises and body types when it comes to yoga

Vinyasa and Yin are two of the main yoga exercises when it comes to beginning yoga and understanding yoga. Yin means to stretch and the exercises include stretching for one to five minutes. Vinyasa incorporates breathing exercises and helps you strengthen your lungs.

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Leanna Livingston shown above in the BeYoga Studio. Photo by Natasha McCrary

 

“Yoga is not specific to anybody,” Livingston said. “It is for every single body.”

Yoga can be tailored to any body type, or fitness goal from intermediate to more advanced classes.

Many classes not only help with the mind and soul, but also can help improve injuries like broken feet, or strained limbs. Yoga instructors will offer ways to modify some moves in efforts to offer more options in order for everyone in their classes do well and grow without hurting themselves more.

In research studies, Dr. Herbert Benson explains that the mind can help in healing the body. His studies show how yoga helps in the relaxation processes allowing the body to respond by reducing blood pressure, improving digestion and reducing stress over the body.

Yoga Classes

The BeYoga studio not only offers a chance to participate in beginner and intermediate classes, but its website also breaks down all of the classes currently being offered from hot yoga to basic and intermediate forms of yoga.

BeYoga also offers teacher training for those who want to instruct yoga for only about $500 for the entire course. Workshops are also offered at the studio including assistant teacher trainings and meditation classes/trainings. One class even includes tactics on how to hold good posture.

The studio offers a clean, airy feel to it as it shares a space with a smoothie bowl shop called TopDog that offers great, healthy alternatives before and after class starts.

Fitness is for everyone, but yoga may not be what most people want to try or do; therefore, that is where personal training and Pilates come into the picture.

Personal Training

Alicia Brown is a personal trainer at X3 sports where she focuses on strength training and agility. She decided to become a personal trainer after working out herself and finding the joy she gained from seeing herself grow in this fitness category.

X3 Sports studio offers many different types of workouts from kickboxing to traditional boxing, weightlifting, strength training and CrossFit.

The gym can be used to take personal training classes, or to just do independent workouts. It is a small studio that allows for a closer relationship with trainers and staff instead of a bigger gym that offers little to no opportunity to build lasting relationships and connections.

“Personal training is much more than just personal training,” Brown said. “It deals a lot with the mind, body and soul just like yoga does.”

The gym also offers a free first class session to get an introductory feel of what a weekly or daily workout would consist of.

“I wouldn’t say that personal training is for a specific body type of person,” Brown said. “I think personal training is more about setting goals and conquering them.”

Pilates

Pilates is another exercise that is about maintaining inner and outer strength. It encompasses some of the same types of training as yoga, but focus on different goals for the body.

Pilates puts more of a focus on relaxing tense muscles in the body and increasing strength in the muscles, whereas yoga looks to improve the flexibility of the muscles.

pilates
Lia Jordan seen demonstrating for her class, a Pilates stretch. Photo by Natasha McCrary

The Center, A Pilates Studio located in East Cobb, specializes in Pilates for all ages. It offers different types of workouts such as Golf Fitness, Back Care and Self Myofascial Release.

Lia Jordan is a Stott Pilates fully certified instructor. Jordan was a long distance runner and endured hip and knee pain, but once she started to do Pilates her pain in both the hip and knee went away. She no longer has those health issues.

“Pilates is a benefit because it strengthens your core, while improving your balance and assisting with coming across fewer injuries,” Jordan said.

The Center offers more than 15 classes per week in rotation of different classes. The matt Pilates are the tougher classes while the basic Pilates classes are for beginners. The Center offers both one-on-one training and large class sizes. Many people come to the studio to do preventative surgery exercises as well as build muscle and strength.

“Decide on the kind of workout you are looking to accomplish and then go from there when choosing between yoga, personal training, and Pilates,” Brown said. “There are so many more avenues of fitness then just those three so do your research and believe in yourself.”

CrossFit is catching people’s eyes as it becomes a new fitness trend

By: JOSEPH PIEPER

crossfit
Shane Bonilla and fellow trainer Adrienne St. Claire. Photo by Joseph Pieper

 

KENNESAW, Ga. — CrossFit has taken the world of fitness by storm in recent years with its specialized strength and conditioning programs. Local CrossFit gym owner, Shane Bonilla, credits his gym’s success to the growing group atmosphere.

“They’re calling it like the new church,” Bonilla said. “People get to know each other so well after they sweat together, endure pain together, and bleed together.

“You’ve got a lot of other group training stuff out there, but the thing with CrossFit is they just become so close, so tight-knit. I’ve done training for a long time and the key is sustainability.”

CrossFit has many participants who are very excited about it, like Nick Perez, a member of Bonilla’s CrossFit III gym. Perez has been doing CrossFit since 2013, after Bonilla asked him to join his gym, and he has improved not only his physical fitness, but as well as his confidence levels.

“When I started CrossFit, I was 300 pounds and completely out of shape,” Perez said. “But the lowest I’ve weighed was in February of 2015, I was at 248.”

“This was a month after we had done a gym weight loss challenge called ‘Whole-Thirty,’ which is a very strict diet plan for 30 days. Through doing this challenge, Perez was able to lose 16 pounds of body fat, and gain a few pounds of muscle.

Not only has Perez lost a lot of weight, but his strength has also greatly increased. He currently has the highest maximum dead lift weight at his gym. Perez finds it incredibly rewarding to set a goal and watch it be achieved over time with hard work and persistence. In the end, fitness goals are about becoming our best self, and being better than we were yesterday.

“My dead lift max used to be somewhere in the 200 range,” Perez said. “But my max after doing CrossFit for a while went up to 500 pounds.”

In addition to lifting weights, CrossFit workouts include a dynamic warm up, plyometric exercises and cardio.

“CrossFit’s mantra is constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement,” Bonilla said. “So constantly varied means your body never gets used to it, high intensity is kind of the key and that’s relative — so when you come your intensity now is going to be different than even your intensity from three months from now.”

Bonilla explained that functional movements mean doing movements that one naturally does in the real world: push, pull, press, climb, and run. There might not always be machines in a CrossFit gym because their training methods and philosophies are designed to enhance each individual’s body structure while also enhancing response time, power and diet strategies.

Perez’s dedication and perseverance has impressed Bonilla over time. He has seen him come in consistently even when he is not feeling at his best.

“He is an awesome guy that has found his place with what we do,” Bonilla said. “He is strong as hell and he continues to work hard despite it not being the easiest thing for him naturally.” Bonilla admires his determination and stick-to-it-ness.

lifting
Perez lifting. Photo by Joseph Pieper

Like Bonilla, Perez enjoys the community aspect of CrossFit and how everyone cheers each other on in order to reach their ultimate capacity and individual goals.

“That was how I became friends with them,” Perez said. “We were all in it together, so that kind of bonded us.”

Perez finds it easier to do his personal best when he has people around him rooting and cheering him on.

This team atmosphere is what keeps many people coming back to CrossFit, but it still demands a high level of commitment.

“I would say anybody could do CrossFit but it’s not for everybody,” Bonilla said. “If you miss a day when you’re usually there, you’re going to get calls, you’re going to get texts, or we even video call people in the middle of class asking where they are sometimes.”