atlanta rocks! workout review // climb on

Last summer I lured my brothers to Atlanta with promises of warmer, humid winters. 

I think they're mostly wondering what I was talking about, because this winter Georgia has been anything but warm.

To  make it up to them, I asked them to join me for an introductory class at Atlanta Rocks! indoor climbing gym. I can safely say that none of us knew just how awesome this class was going to be - and it was the perfect opportunity to get away from the cold. We took the class on Monday and, as I write this, I am still sore. Still! Such a good workout. 

We did the Intro to Climbing class, which is offered daily and teaches you tie knots, belay and use a harness. The class certified us to belay (plus one belay check we will take next time we go back), which allows us to climb without a belay assist anytime.  

After the class, we climbed on our own, which was so much fun. They have more than 50 top-rope stations with hundreds of climbs. They also have a gym onsite, so you could go lift prior to climbing - although I don't know who in the world has that kind of forearm strength. 

My favorite part of the gym (besides the double-purified water at the drinking fountain) is that they have automatic belay stations, so you don't need someone there to belay you. This was perfect for me while Duke and Sam climbed in another part of the gym. I'm also thinking about getting a pass so I can go some mornings before work and love that I won't need to coordinate with anyone else's schedule. 

Although you can climb without getting certified (by either passing the belay check, or at the discretion of a staff member and with someone else belaying you), I strongly recommend taking the class. Duke, Sam and I all went to camp where we rock climbed daily when we were younger and did a bit of climbing in middle and high school. While the techniques weren't completely new to us, it was so helpful to have the refresher course - and would also be beneficial to beginners. Those knots don't tie themselves!

I've driven by Atlanta Rocks off of I-75 hundreds of times and have always wondered what it takes to get to climb there. So, in case you're like me and are a little intimidated by the thought of walking into a climbing gym completely clueless, here's what you need to know:

- Yes! You can go on your own :) You don't need to be a climbing pro.
- Wear flexible clothing. I suggest yoga pants or capris so the harness doesn't make them ride up. On top, a tank or tee is ideal. 
- You can rent shoes for $4 - or they're included in the class fee if you take it. 
- If you're not in climbing shape (ahem, this girl), I suggest not working out prior to the class. You can burn ~570-700 calories an hour and you're going to want all the arm and leg strength you have the first time you go. 
- For your first class, arrive 10-15 minutes early to get settled. The class lasts about two hours and then you can climb for as long as you want. AKA until your arms and legs give out :) 

My brothers and I raced up the wall at one point and they absolutely dominated me. I think I was about a third of the way up when they got to the top. It reminded me of climbing trees with them in our backyard when we were younger and I couldn't have been happier. It was the perfect way to blend exercise and play and I can't wait to go back. 

And I'm so glad I checked it off my Atlanta workout bucket list, and 2014 to do list. Now, just give me just a few more practice runs before we head outdoors. :)

Happy climbing!

Atlanta Rocks allowed us to try this class for free, but all of the opinions are my own and this is my honest review.