“Powered by Science…Driven by Results!”
That is the motto of Catalyst Fitness in Buckhead and they really know their stuff. Valerie Ness and Bill Sonnemaker, the dream team (and newly married couple – congrats!) behind Catalyst, are both beyond credentialed when it comes to exercise and physical fitness. Founders of the Catalyst Fitness Personal Training and Performance Enhancement facility, they are incredibly focused on helping their clients achieve results no matter if you’re a beginner (hi, that’s me!) or a professional athlete.
Let’s talk location. Catalyst Fitness has been around for 10 years and recently relocated from the Midtown area to the Astoria at the Aramore near the intersection of Peachtree Battle and Peachtree Roads (very convenient for the Buckhead-ites and right by our fave H&F). The studio is definitely state-of-the-art, and has all sorts of gadgets that were totally new to us like the Viper and Myofascial Release exercises/techniques using Trigger Point Therapy equipment. (Myo-trigger-what?!) Sounds pretty high-tech, right? Well everything is because Catalyst’s programs are guided by the latest and greatest in exercise science, so they are ahead of the curve when it comes to new equipment and techniques.
Bill spent more than two hours with us on a cold, rainy weekday morning** (this was the earliest we had worked out on a weekday, and we were not so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, let me tell you) taking us through as many of the myofascial release exercises to start (which really helped us out with our bum knees), then took us through a round of the small group personal training.
Catalyst specializes in one-on-one personal training and small group training. Meg and I formed our own “group” that morning and went through the routine. There are four boards scattered around the gym with about 3-4 specific exercises each, and you should “strive” to do the full circuit 3-4 times. We happened to be there on Tabata Tuesday – a fancy name for high-intensity interval training – and the hardest part was Board #2 for sure – the discs are just evil…think plank times 100. (Thankfully we ran out of time and only went through the circuit one time – not sure I could have done it the suggested 3-4 times!)
What we liked best – flexibility (this is two-fold):
- Unlike other gyms/classes we’ve tried, where the classes begin at a set time, if you sign up for the Small Group Personal Training on Demand, your session begins when you arrive and ends when you complete the workout. Which means, you can arrive at say 8:37, and start right away and leave when you need to. We saw this in action while we were there with people arriving at all different times and the trainers are really great at getting people going at their own pace.
- The myofascial release was an AMAZING way to stretch out and really get the muscles going before diving into the workout. It hurt like whoa at first, but afterwards you could really feel the difference even when walking across the mat.
Location: 10 (Can’t get more convenient for us and plenty of parking.)
Instructor: 9 (Bill was a gem and is SO knowledgeable and certified in about everything exercise science. He sent us a ton of follow-up information as well, and now we’re probably spoiled by him forever. Sigh.)
Workout: 7 (TOUGH (We only made it through one round of the circuit, remember?!) but, not sure if the personal group training is the be-all-end-all for us. We may prefer classes where you can
“cheat” hide in the back…but if you like the personal trainer feel, this place is definitely for you! )
Ambiance: 8 (The space is definitely state of the art and they have two really nice and clean showers you can use (A+). There is also a very friendly, congenial vibe throughout the place, where everyone seems to know each other and some people come at the same time to be in the same group. You can tell that everyone is happy to be there!)
Will we be back? I would like to give it another go, but the hours are a little constraining for my personal schedule. They are open M-F from 6am-12 noon and then again from 5-7pm, and Saturdays from 9-12 noon. If they were open even one hour later in the evening, this could become a regular spot for me.
Pricing for Small Group Training:
$299.99/Month for a month-to-month agreement.
$274.99/Month for a 6 month agreement.
$249.99/Month for a 12 month agreement.
**Our thoughts on early morning workouts: NOT #PeachtreeRoadieApproved…