Yep, it is almost Mother’s Day! We know you all are always-ahead-of-the-game kind of people, so we are certain you have not waited this long to do, make or buy something for the mothers in your lives! But just in case we were wrong… (or, you know, to plan ahead for next Mother’s Day, because you are just that awesome)… we have compiled a list of 10 things to do, make or buy to honor all the wonderful things the mothers we know do everyday.


1. Time with the family is one of the things mom’s say they most want for Mother’s Day. Get your mother a trip to do something fun that will also allow her to be active. Try a trip to Calloway Gardens to walk or bike around and enjoy nature. Other options include canoeing or kayaking with the family, a picnic and a day at a local state park or a fun-filled day on a zip line tour right here in Georgia.
2. If one activity just isn’t enough, do a twist on this “Date Night Jar” by giving mom a “Mom’s Night Jar.” Stuff the jar full of activities or treats to do with (or for) mom on the weekends – breakfast in bed, free babysitting so she can go out with friends, a trip to a local museum or a scheduled family game night at home.
3. If your mom is a fitness buff (or even just a beginner looking to stay fit and healthy), avoid too many chocolates and load her up with gear that will encourage her fitness goals instead. A pedometer is great to help mom’s who are on-the-go keep track of their steps. An Ipod or an iTunes gift card is great for mom’s who love to listen to music while they workout. A new set of sneakers or a heart rate monitor would be perfect for true running fanatics.
4. For the mom that is always busy and needs to slow down, consider a spa certificate for a facial or a massage. Managing stress is an important part of a healthy life, and nothing says stress-free like an afternoon at the spa. Scarlet’s Retreat Day Spa (off the McDonough square) is the favorite of Jeanie Thomas, a special mom and the co-owner of Innovations Fitness.
5. Bringing Mom breakfast in bed is a classic, but be sure to bring the mom in your life something healthy. For ideas and recipes check out this link (and this one too)!
6. If you have a mom who loves to sip on healthy hot tea in the morning or afternoon, make her a “tea wreath.” Not only is it cute and healthy, it is also handmade. Handmade gifts are one of the other things that research shows mothers most want for Mother’s Day.
7. If your mother likes to garden, consider giving her a set of herbs to put in the garden or window box. They are easy to care for and a great healthy addition to meals! If she is a true gardening pro, give her vegetable plants and gardening gear.
8. Is there something your mom has always wanted to do, but keeps putting off? Maybe it is as radical as skydiving. Maybe she has always dreamed of running a 5K or taking a self-defense class. Whatever it is, get her something that will help her achieve her goal.
9. Don’t forget about the soon-to-be mom’s in your life. This cute idea for a hospital survival kit is a nice gift to help moms-to-be have a healthy and comfortable (well, as comfortable as these things can be) delivery.
10. This last gift has little to do with health, but it is so darn fun that we can’t help but share it! Compile photos and mementos from all the years of great memories you have had with your mom and package them in cute envelopes by year. This blogger compiled 60 years worth of memories for her father’s birthday!  But the idea can be easily adjusted for Mother’s Day. (And did you see those envelopes the blogger put the memories in? They are so perfect that they make us want to jump for joy!)


To the loving mom’s who raise us, to the surrogate mom’s who care for us when our mothers are absent or have passed-away and to the mother’s to be, THANK YOU for all you do! You are strong, intelligent and beautiful, and we love working with you and alongside you everyday!


Combating ZAD (Zumba Anxiety Disorder)

Like most people who have never tried group exercise classes, I must admit that I entered my first Zumba class with a fair amount of fear and trepidation.  Added to that was my complete lack of dance (or even coordinated movement) ability.  But as the spouse of a fitness center owner and one who generally hates more traditional cardio exercise methods, I felt the need to try to support this new venture in our fitness center.

After several weeks of combating Zumba Anxiety Disorder (ZAD), I feel compelled to share my 12-step method of combating ZAD in hopes of helping those of you who also suffer from this common, dreaded disorder.

1.  Give up worrying about what someone else will be thinking about what you look like.  They are likely way too busy worrying about their own steps to worry about yours.

2.  Don’t look in the mirror at first.  You may psyche yourself out of continuing.

3.  Get a partner to go to class with you and encourage each other.  You can laugh with, not at, each other.

4.   Have some water or a sports drink nearby.  You will probably need it.

5.  Don’t panic if you have to take it slow or stop at first.  That’s better than passing out.

6.  Don’t fret over being able to follow the moves exactly.  Realize that the point is to get you moving – which burns calories and makes you healthier.

7.  Believe the instructor, when she tells you that you need to just jump in and try to follow rather than having her show you every step one at a time.  It will eventually come to you with repetition.  Trust me, I am incredibly slow in catching on, but I find that with each session, I get at least one move down a little better.

8.  Spend a little time at home between classes working with a Zumba DVD or Zumba videos on the internet.  It will increase your confidence level.

9.  Don’t think you are a pervert because you stare at the instructor’s behind.  It actually helps you to learn to move yours.

10.  Don’t listen to anyone else who puts down your efforts.  This is about you, and any critics are likely closet ZAD sufferers.

11.  Sticking with it is the only way to be cured from ZAD!

12.  Loosen up and enjoy yourself!  Take it for what it is – a fun way to get fit.  Nobody is going to be talking about how inept you were at Zumba steps when they do the eulogy at your funeral.

Jeanie Thomas, a licensed social worker by day, owns Innovations Fitness in McDonough, GA, along with her husband, Frank.  Fellow ZAD sufferers can receive encouragement from her via their Facebook page at or come to Innovations Fitness for a Zumba class where you will likely find her in the back looking goofy. ;)

Treading Onward

The most popular cardio piece in any gym is the treadmill.  Treadmills are also top sellers for home gyms.  They allow you to take a walk or run in any weather, at any time of the day or night.

Walking is great for calorie burning and workout for your cardiovascular system.  Leg strength and endurance is increased as well.  For optimal use of the treadmill, consider these recommendations:

1. Wear good shoes.  Walking or running shoes have broader heels and help with pronation control.

2. Familiarize yourself with the safety features of the treadmill first.  Be sure that you know how to stop it in case of an emergency.

3.  Be careful in getting on and off a treadmill.  Don’t step on a treadmill that is already in motion.  Start the treadmill slowly, and pay attention as you build up speed.

4. Be sure that your treadmill workout includes a warm up and a cool down time.

5. Hold onto the hand rails until you get steady, but then swing your arms naturally.

6. Keep your head up, shoulders back, chest slightly out, and hips aligned with the rest of your body.

7. Change the incline to work different muscles and decrease boredom.

8. Never run backwards.  It puts the lower back at risk because of poor alignment and increases your risk of falling.

9. Vary your speed.  If the speed of your walk into the gym is faster than your speed on the treadmill, you are not likely to see any benefit from your treadmill time.  Varying your speed provides a better cardiovascular workout and works different muscle groups.

10. Set the timer to a reasonable goal for you and stick to it until you reach your goal.

If you are new to using a treadmill or any other piece of gym equipment, we have personal trainers who can help you get comfortable and get the most out of your workouts.  Come by or call us at 770-898-9691 to schedule an appointment.

Frank Thomas, Owner, Innovations Fitness


Finding Motivation

People in this country spend billions of dollars each year to lose weight and get fit. Yet statistically, there are 72.5 million clinically obese people in the U.S.

My gym and others should be packed to the bursting stage, but that is not always true. Why, then, when we live in an age when so much is known about getting and staying fit are so many people overweight?

As a gym owner and trainer, I think it is because so many people want to depend on someone else to solve their fitness and nutrition issues. We want a magic pill, a magic diet, someone to hold our hands, a recipe to cook, etc. The truth is that it is ultimately up to us.

Maybe you are missing that passion that is necessary to get fit. To help you gain a passion for exercise I suggest that you start with writing.

1) List the things that get in the way of your getting fit. Beside them list solutions to overcome them.

2) List three bold fitness goals. Working toward them may ignite the “I can!” in you.

3) Before you work out, write down the things that bother you – those things that give you negative energy as you work out. Concentrate on burning off those negatives as you exercise, and afterwards write down the positives.

Work on developing a stronger, more fit body, and watch as your passion increases and transforms your life. Your old negatives will become positives. You can transform your life as well as your body.

- Frank Thomas