How Working with a Personal Trainer Benefits Your Mental Health 

By:  Andrea Poteet-Bell | Sunshine Behavioral Health

Working with a personal trainer combines strong basic support for improving your life with extensive personal health and fitness benefits. Perhaps the most prominent benefit is support in learning how to go step-by-step towards your goals, a challenging concept in a time when only quick solutions are considered by many people. The opportunities for gradual change and achieving goals over time are often forsaken. Whether you’re receiving support by simply showing up for training sessions, or meeting strength and weight goals, having an experienced trainer invested in your personal success makes a big difference. Here are some ways a personal trainer can strengthen your mind along with your body. 

Self Confidence Boosts in More than a Dozen Ways

Long before you’ve got those six-pack abs and impressive arm and leg muscles, there are other results from exercise that help build your confidence, and with it your mental health and desire to continue your progress. In this list of 14 self confidence boosters, personal training fulfills a significant number of the listed strategies in a single activity. Appearance and exercise are clear benefits, but also look for your improving sense of your gifts, talents, and abilities; your focus on personal growth rather than relative progress compared to others; positive thinking and self-image; and your sense of gratitude. Most personal training clients appreciate the ability to make changes in their physical and mental health that they may have struggled with for decades.

Depression Care Begins with Simply Showing Up for Personal Training

Depression can make it hard to get started on self-care, or in fact any activities at all. Lack of motivation even to take a shower is not uncommon with people who are troubled by depression. Having routines that don’t depend on how you feel, just what day and time it is, can help enormously with getting going. Exercise definitely helps with depression for most people, both in improving your state of mind and also helping to reduce the negative thoughts that occur during depressive episodes. As each rep produces feel-good hormones, you’ll see your thoughts improve along with your physique. 

Brain Chemistry Benefits are Substantial

A significant part of well-planned exercise patterns designed by a personal trainer result in boosting brain chemistry including serotonin, dopamine, the GABA system, and other areas studied by physicians to target medications. If exercise can get you some or even much of the way down the road to a more balanced brain, it’s a great opportunity. Take charge of your own physical and mental health, relying on your physician to help you address any personal health conditions. Chances are, your doctor will be enthusiastic about your activity.

Your Body will Lead the Way in Healthy Nutrition

Healthy exercise routines and a more stable lifestyle naturally lead to fewer cravings for unhealthy foods. They no longer satisfy the needs of people with lower stress, better neurochemistry, and less physical pain. It’s a perfect opportunity to learn strategies that go beyond exercise to healthy nutrition, and find a positive way to change based on hunger for healthy food, leaving dieting patterns behind.

Personal Training as a Complement to Recovery and Harm Reduction

The strategies for steady improvement that personal training offers clients, along with the reliable, natural methods for improving their mental health and state of mind, can be powerful resources. They go hand in hand with recovery and harm reduction programs. Personal training clients can begin living a much healthier life, with better relationships and a positive state of mind, and these can help them with issues such as letting go of chemical supports and habits that require professional help.

The Joy in Life is Your Healthy Mind’s Response to Living

A more vibrant life is a natural outcome of personal training related efforts and their effects on mind and body. As you develop confidence, enjoy “brain boosts” from natural neurochemical enhancement, and learn to live in this new state of mind, it helps connect with others and yourself, face challenges, and experience joy. You get more rewarding engagement with your day, whether it’s a tough day at work or a vacation on a tropical island.

You Meet Other Healthy People

Personal training is typically a one-on-one activity, but also a gateway to connect with other like-minded people who are following similar paths. They may be at the same gym or related classes. Their connection with your personal trainer or one of his or her colleagues generally means you have a lot of goals and strategies in common to share.

Increased Productivity

Workers, especially in leadership positions, often engage in exercise as part of their workday, and many companies provide showers and even gym facilities to support their efforts. The reason is clear: exercise and fitness training provide root support for a healthy increase in productivity, allowing workers to use their improved focus, creativity, mood, and other results towards their success at work.

A Peaceful Body and Mind Sleep Better

Even if you don’t get tired after exercise, used wisely, exercise can be an important resource for better sleep. It’s important to cool down towards bedtime, preventing the energizing chemicals you produced during exercise from disrupting healthy sleep. If there’s a several hour gap between exercise and winding down for bed, the dissolved stress, healthy, relaxed attitude, and feelings of accomplishment can help with both falling asleep and staying peacefully asleep as well.

Personal Training as a Mentoring Relationship

Personal training can be a powerful way to pass on wisdom as well as healthy life strategies and fitness-building techniques. In contrast to the “cult of experts,” personal training is a path for both the trainer and client to build rapport, work towards goals and success, and work in more of a mentoring relationship where the teacher gains by teaching the student.


Sources Exercise in the Era of Immediacy 14 Methods to Dramatically Increase Your Self Confidence Exercise May Boost Mood for Women with Depression. Having a Coach May Help. How Exercise Boosts the Brain and Improves Mental Health Nutrition & Strategies Georgia Rehab and Addiction Resources Five Surprising Ways Exercise Changes Your Brain Social Support for Exercise Success Movement, Mindfulness, and Motivation: How to Increase Employee Productivity Exercising for Better Sleep A Personal Training Win-Win: Reaching Your Goals, Reaching a Student’s Goals



The long awaited blog post, AT LAST!

Back in the winter months of 2016, my brother Jonathan and his wife Audrey as well as my wife Mandy and myself, made our way over to beautiful Iceland. This was without a doubt, one of the most amazing trips of my life. If you haven’t been, or even if you have and haven’t seen some of the below attractions, I highly recommend you make the trip!

As a crew of personal trainers, we just HAD to make our trek through Iceland a little more adventurous. How? By throwing in some fun workouts all along the way!

So, follow along our journey below and if you end up making the trip yourself or even if you’ve been and had a great experience, I’d love to hear about it!

Day # 1

Workout of the Day = Weight Training at the KoloFit Personal Training Studio before taking off to Hartsfield International

Depart Atlanta (77 degrees F) for Baltimore at 1:40p EST 

Arrive at Baltimore at 3:30pm EST

Flight to Reykjavik departs at 6:10pm EST 

Day # 2

Workout of the Day = Tour Downtown Reykjavik by foot

Pretty much pulled an all-nighter 😴

Arrive in Keflavik – just outside of Reykjavik (24 degrees F) at 5am Local Time (exit plane on runway as we get pelted by the heavy winds and cold temps – board bus)

Rent Jeep Cherokee and take the drive over to Reykjavik

Tour Reykjavik by foot – Keep blood flowing to keep from falling asleep standing up!


Lunch at Snaps (delicious) (trying not to fall asleep on table – another round of coffee please!)

Tour Hallgrimskirkja Church (up to the top for amazing city views and photos)


Check into Air B and B off Laugavegar St., located in the heart of Reykjavik and knock out hard.  I’m not sure that I’ve ever been so exhausted in my life!

Day #3

Workout of the Day = Snorkel + Swim

Wake up at 2am ready to go! (7am EST)

8am – Breakfast at Bergsson Mathus. Brunch platter was delicious! 

Off to snorkel in the ice cold waters of Silfra in Pingvellir National Park. I believe they said the water temp was 34 degrees. Air temp below freezing with wind chill well below.


(Getting suited up before our dive, freezing our butts off – the level of the chills themselves was a workout in itself!)

Took a drive up the Golden Circle to see the Geysir explosions in Blaskogabyggo


We quickly learned that EVERYTHING in the countryside closes by 6:30pm other than one place in Bláskógabyggo called Skjol, which I highly recommend. You might consider jumping off the clean eats for the evening considering the only 2 items on menu are pizza and beer (and a few cocktails) and I must admit, they were wonderfully DELICIOUS. Although salad was not on the menu, they whipped us up one from scratch to compliment our pizza and local beer.  We also enjoyed time with the owner himself, Jön, who provided excellent service. Talk about a food coma rolling out of this joint.


Took it back to our Air B and B for some Zzz’s.  

Day #4

Workout of the Day = Tabata Workout + Waterfall Hike

Our Air B and B


Woke up to a beautiful morning and made the trip up to Gulfass. On our way, we came upon some Icelandic Horses. We parked, walked up, and they came to say hello. Amazing animals!


Arrived at Gullfoss – SO cold and so windy!


Back on the road in route to the Secret Lagoon, a natural hot spring in a town called Flúoir.  In route, we came across a large herd of sheep hanging out in a field along the side of the road. We tried to pet them like we did the horses but they weren’t buying it.

The sheep hauling rear as we came to say hello:


Arrived at the Secret Lagoon. Although we didn’t jump in, the water temp felt perfect.


Arrived at Seljalansfass 


Seljalansfass Tabata Workout (20 seconds of effort followed by 10 seconds of rest x 8 times through. Alternating the Push-Up with the Tuck Jump. 4 sets per exercise):

We then took about a 500 meter hike over to Gljufrabui. Surprisingly, many folks don’t know about this hidden gem. Without a doubt, one of our favorites. It’s tucked back between these rocks:


Take a peek inside (plan to get a little wet from the 6 inch hike through the water as well as from the mist coming off the falls. I have to say, it’s incredibly worth every bit of wetness!):


Off we go to Skógafoss to try to beat the sunset.

Arrive at Skógafoss to this view:


But…in order to see the top view, well, this is where Workout # 2 of the day comes in:


It’s about a 6 and 1/2 minute brisk hike up to the top to enjoy this:


Made the drive down to Vik for the evening. 

Day # 5

Workout of the Day = Tabatas + Hike

After breakfast, we walked over and spent a short time on the Black Sand Beach just across from our hotel. 


Shortly after, we drove down the road to The Black Sand Beach Restaurant to see the Basalt Rocks on Black Sand Beach. Truly amazing.


Black Sand Beach Workout: Tabata, 20 seconds of effort followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 Total sets. Alternate the Incline Push-up with the Alternating Step-ups. 4 sets each.

Drove over for a hike to Seljavallalaug, Iceland’s oldest geothermal pool. Plan for about a 15 minute hike. 


Drove back towards Vik to see Dyrholaey as the snow began to really fall.


Back to spend another evening in Vik while enjoying another nice dinner at Restaurant Sudur Vik. 

Day # 6

Workout of the Day = Multiple Hikes

First stop: Fjaorárgljúfur (10-15 min brisk hike to the top)


Back on the road towards Skaftafellsstofa to see Svartifoss. It’s seems like just about everywhere you look on this stretch, you see a waterfall


Arrived at Skaftafellsstofa. The workout begins:

1.8 km uphill hike to the beautiful waterfall, Svartifoss. 

Along the way to Svartifoss, we stumbled upon this fall:


We continued the uphill climb:


until at last we saw Svartifoss:




Back on the road again, in route for Jökulsárlón


Arrived at Jokulsarlon. Mind blown. By far, one of the, if not the, most beautiful place on earth that I’ve ever seen.  Our photos don’t do Jokulsarlon any justice. If this is the only attraction you see in Iceland, I believe you would say it was worth the trip. Stunning. The snow on the ground really made this extra spectacular.


And on and on…

Off to spend the evening at the Hali Country Hotel. We enjoyed dinner at the restaurant at the Inn which was tasty.

Day # 7

Workout of the Day = Tabatas

Early rise and breakfast before heading over to catch sunrise at Jökulsárlón.  A look at our stay at the Hali Country Hotel. Service was wonderful and the food was good.  Ask for the Little Yellow House on the water:


Off to the Lagoon. The weather was overcast although I don’t think you can take a bad photo at Jökulsárlón 


Across the street from Jökulsárlón, you’ll find Diamond Beach. 


A great spot for a quick workout. For this one, make sure you have some thick, water proof, insulated gloves. Then, grab a big ice chunk and let’s get after it.

Workout: Tabatas with the deadlift, bicep curl, and shoulder press.

Off to do some Ice Caving. We met at Jökulsárlón, took a short bus ride about 5 minutes down the road and then jumped on this beast:


We took another 10 minute or so drive through some tough terrain to the entrance of the ice cave. A short hike puts you right here:


The glacier water is delicious!


How about the color of that ice!


Back to the hotel to change for dinner in which we made the trek up to a village called Höfn. Highly recommend a restaurant there called Z-Bistro.  

As we made our way out of the restaurant and back to Hali Country, our minds were blown when we saw these light up the sky:

(The below images captured with an iPhone 7)


Day # 8

Workout of the Day = Hikes

Breakfast at Hali Country Hotel. They do complimentary breakfast as well which was nice. 

Off to make one more stop by Jökulsárlón on our way back up the coast:


And of course one more stop by Diamond Beach:


Jumped back in the Jeep to take the trek up the coast when we stumbled upon this hidden gem right next to Foss Hotel:


Approaching the waterfall itself is a short hike. The terrain is steep and tricky along the river and around the falls so be careful!


Mandy and Audrey




Back to the Jeep to make our way to our Workout of the Day at Vatnajokulspjodgardur National Park. The hike is about 3 miles round trip to and from the glacier. Along the way, you’ll see various waterfalls on your left:


Certain spots will make you feel like you’re walking on the moon:


Arrived at Skaftafellsjökull 


Back on the road heading towards Reykjavik for the evening.

Day # 9

Workout of the Day = Rest, Rejuvenate, Fly

Off to The Blue Lagoon! After a busy week of activity, today is all about recovery and relaxation.


After a few relaxing hours in the Lagoon, off we go back to Atlanta. Truly, a trip of a lifetime and one that I highly recommend to all!

Lastly, a HUGE thank you to my brother Jonathan and his wonderful wife Audrey for planning this amazing vacation of a lifetime.  Mandy and I had the time of our lives with you guys. Without Jon and Audrey’s planning of our journey, this trip would not have been possible.  Love you guys!  Until our next adventure…

Trainer Spotlight: Mandy Malool

Mandy’s favorite exercise:  Deadlift

Why Mandy loves the deadlift:

  • Minimal equipment required
  • Works more muscles simultaneously than any other movement
  • Builds core stability
  • Helps increase cardiovascular fitness
  • Has real life application
  • The main muscle group focus is on the hamstrings, glutes and lower back. Who doesn’t want to ensure they are looking good from the back as well as the front?!?!

Pictured Below: Mandy performing the deadlift.





top personal trainers in atlanta
Jeff Johnson
November 2015

We’d like to introduce you to our November 2015 client of the month, Jeff Johnson. Jeff started training with us one year ago. He is the owner of Above Atlanta, and despite his hectic schedule, he always finds time to get in here and hit his workouts with Jonathan 4 days per week.

Jeff started training with us because he was dealing with off and on lower back pain, and had gotten into a rut doing the same workout routines. He felt as if he was not making progress towards his goals. Since starting with us, he never skips a workout, and also hits fasted cardio on his own before coming in. Over the last five months, not only has Jeff lost 30 lbs, but he has stacked on some serious lean muscle mass, and most importantly his back pains have diminished! His positive outlook on life and tremendous sense of humor are such a joy to work with. Congrats Jeff on all of your hard work and fitness accomplishments. You are a huge inspiration and we can’t wait to see you continue to chase and achieve your goals!

-Jonathan Kolowich

Jessica Spencer

October 2015

We’d like to introduce to you our October 2015 client of the month, Jessica Spencer. Jessica began her journey to better her health and fitness a little over a year ago.  She commutes from Covington three times a week for her hour workouts while also juggling a husband, four year old son, and is the owner of Tire South with locations in McDonough and Atlanta.

Despite Jessica’s already demanding schedule, she is one of the hardest working clients we’ve seen!  She always brings to the gym a fantastic attitude, a willingness to do whatever needs to be done, and a great sense of humor!  Jessica is always a pleasure to work with!  Jessica set a goal to achieve six pack abs before her 30th birthday.  On September 29th Jessica not only entered a new decade of her life in the best shape she’s ever been in, she carried with her a six pack!

Congrats Jessica on all your hard work and fitness accomplishments! Thanks for showing us that all dreams and goals are achievable!  You’re an inspiration to so many!

Kristie Wilson


September 2015

We’re ecstatic to introduce you to our September Client of the Month, Kristie Wilson! Kristie has been on a quest to improve her body composition since her first visit to our studio in April 2015. In just five short months, she has accomplished her original goal of 30 pounds lost, and has no plans of stopping there! Kristie and her fiancé Ryan (who is giving Kristie a run for her money with his impressive transformation as well) will be walking down the aisle in March 2016! Between now and then, Kristie plans on continuing to lose body fat, build muscle, and put an even greater focus on developing her metabolism.

We love seeing people learn how to live a healthy, sustainable lifestyle at such a young age, and are even more thrilled to see it work its magic on such a kind, hard-working, and all-around wonderful client! Kristie, your transformation is inspiring beyond words – you truly are an exemplary model of how to LiveLifeFit!

Marc Hodulich

August 2015

We’d like to introduce you to the August client of the month, Marc Hodulich. Marc, or “shredder”, came to us as a client almost 2 years ago with the desire to maintain a good physique and to put on some muscle. Over time he has worked hard and added some good size. Marc was a collegiate athlete at Auburn University, so he knows the meaning of hard work, dedication and having what it takes to achieve his goals. He has recently set a goal of getting in the best shape of his life and leaning out. He has shredded up all the while running a few businesses and spending time with his two boys, Chase and Dillon, and his wife Stacey. His commitment to the program, both diet and exercise, is incredible. He recently took the family out for pizza and he packed a protein shake because he knew pizza, although delicious, wasn’t part of the diet that day. We’re proud of you big guy. Keep up the hard work and keep grinding.

Josh Berman

July 2015 Client of the Month

Josh Berman, former Kona Iron Man Triathlete, has been a client of Brad’s since January of 2012. Brad and Josh have worked through a variety of different fitness goals throughout the course of their training including muscle gain, prep for various endurance events, and most recently body fat loss.  Months ago, Josh set a goal of a consistent 1 lb of weight loss per week.  Since then, Josh has not missed a beat as his body fat continues to drop consistently on a weekly basis.  In addition, Josh continues to give it his all in his one-on-one sessions and with that is seeing excellent muscular symmetry and development.  In addition to he and Brad’s one-on-one training sessions, Josh follows a consistent running schedule in prep for various events throughout the year.  Congrats Josh, our July 2015 Client of the Month!

Belly Bloat: What You Should and Shouldn’t Eat and Drink

Top Atlanta Personal Trainers

Every year as swimsuit season approaches, one of the most common questions we’re asked as personal trainers and fitness nutritionist is what can be done to avoid feeling and looking bloated. Everyone wants to know which foods to eat to flush out the excess fluid in the abdomen that makes us feel like leaving the t-shirt or cover-up on rather than freely sporting the bathing suit. And while there are a few key bloat-reducing foods worth sharing, it’s equally as important to remember that some foods can have the opposite effect. Here are four foods that can help you to look and feel light and svelte, and four foods to watch out for that can make you feel water-logged and get you into “bloat” trouble.

4 Foods to Avoid

1. Watch your coffee. You may grab yours before heading out for a day at the beach, but beware. Certain dairy items, even coffee creamer, can bloat the stomach, particularly in those who are lactose intolerant. And soy milk, which many people add to lighten their coffee, causes bloat for some, so take note and see how you react on days when you aren’t heading to the beach.

2. Nix carbonated drinks. All of those bubbles create gas in your stomach, which causes bloat. Our clients have confessed to us that they used to skip meals and fill up on a diet soda—thinking it would fill their stomachs and make them look lean. Instead, it actually left them ravenous later in the day and bloated at the beach. Instead of carbonated drinks, choose a beverage that actually helps to beat the bloat (see some choices below).

3. Avoid snacks that feel light and airy. Although you may be drawn toward snacks that feel light like chips, salt is a top enemy when it comes to bloat. When you consume too much salt, your body holds on to water to dilute it. This creates extra water in your tissues that feels heavy and makes you look puffy.

4. Give sweet frozen temptations the cold shoulder. Sugary flavor ices can be tempting for cooling off, but it’s easy to have a few ice pops and swallow a lot of sugar. The body responds to sugar much like it does to salt by holding on to water to dilute the concentration. Again, this will make you feel water-logged.

5 Bloat-Reducing Foods

1. Water—with a twist of lemon

Beach days are the perfect time to opt for water. Although it seems counterintuitive to drink water when you’re worried about feeling bloated, retaining water is actually your body’s way of holding on to fluid to prevent dehydration. Drinking water will allow your body to let go of any extra fluid it might be retaining. Flavor it with a twist of lemon, which is a natural diuretic. You’ll get the benefits of hydration without excess calories or sodium. Plus, lemon provides a boost of potassium, which helps to counteract sodium. Potassium helps to restore normal fluid balance so you’ll rinse out any excess fluid that your body may be storing.

2. Watermelon

Hold a cup of watermelon and a cup of potato chips in your hands. Watermelon feels heavy, but that’s just because it’s made up of 92 percent water, so it will help your body to release any water it’s retaining. Plus, watermelon is a great source of potassium to balance out any salt your body may be storing that’s causing bloat. You can even add some watermelon to your lemon water.  The best time to indulge in the watermelon is post workout with the addition of your protein shake.

3. Blueberries

First, blueberries are packed with fiber. Often when you’re bloated, it’s because you’re constipated. Consume some fluid along with fiber and push out the waste from your colon. Blueberries are a great source of fiber, fluid and potassium (to counteract any possible bloat you may be experiencing from salt). Blueberries also contain the phytochemical C3G, which research shows may help in weight loss by enhancing the production of both adiponectin, which enhances fat metabolism, and leptin, which suppresses appetite.

Try adding blueberries to your morning smoothie or Greek Yogurt.  For weight loss the best timing to consume fruit is first thing in the morning or after your workout.

4. Iced Green Tea With Mint and Lemon

Tea is hydrating and will help flush any excess sodium that’s contributing to bloat. Mint aids digestion and will ease stomach discomfort that contributes to belly expansion. Furthermore, both mint and lemon contain potassium, which helps to restore normal fluid balance and flush out bloat. Make your iced tea at home, keep it in a large water bottle, and sip away on the sand. An added bonus? The tea contains the amino acid theanine, which brings on a potent combination of mental calmness and alertness that helps to thwart stress and the stomach upset and distention that comes with it. Plus, feeling calm and alert will help you to be in your groove and to feel confident on the beach.

5.  Dandelion Root Tea

Many people use dandelion root to detoxify, relieve constipation, soothe an upset stomach, and help shed water weight, among many other health remedies. In fact, tea made from the dandelion’s root or leaves has been used in traditional Chinese and Native American medicine for centuries; now, even Dr. Oz has jumped on board, recommending dandelion tea as part of his 48-hour cleanse to help your liver release toxins while you sleep.  Find a reputable brand (try Yogi Detox or Traditional Medicial’s Roasted Dandelion Root) and get a great detox as well as eliminate your bloat.


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