Immune system superfoods

Stay healthy: Build a strong immune system

By Community, Fitness, Nutrition No Comments

A strong immune system can be at least as powerful as hand-washing. That’s why a nutritious diet and consistent exercise – wherever you find yourself these days – are great ways to improve your immune system, prevent infection and feel strong.

Exposure doesn’t have to mean infection.

In fact, for many people, exposure to the novel coronavirus and/or other viruses may not lead to infection or severe illness. That’s why it’s so important to remember that staying well is much more than just avoiding illness. It’s about strengthening what’s already inside you. 

Here’s an immunity-boosting cheat sheet from Forma Gym:

Regular, moderate exercise from home or elsewhere: Increase your circulation a few times a week with exercise to help your body shed toxins. Moderation is key: If you enjoy high-intensity training sessions, do these only once or twice a week to avoid taxing the immune system. If you’re working from home, don’t work all the time; you’ll go crazy. Go outside! Get your heart pumping, whether it’s sunny, windy, rainy or snowy. 

Go with your gut: Immunity starts in the gut. The best superfoods to build the gut’s infection-fighting powers are tasty and easy to find, including:

Probiotics from fermented foods such as:

      • Yogurt
      • Kombucha 
      • Kimchi 
      • Sauerkraut 
      • Tempeh 
      • Kefir

Anti-inflammatory superfoods, including:

      • Turmeric
      • Pineapple
      • Apple cider vinegar

Naturally occurring vitamin C, found in:

      • Leafy, dark green vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, kale and Brussel sprouts. Go fresh (uncooked) for higher nutrient content (Tip: Dice these into small pieces and top with olive oil and vinegar).
      • Fruit: Cantaloupe, pineapple, tomato, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries
      • Citrus: Grapefruit, lime, lemon, orange, etc, which also have anti-inflammatory benefits.

Hydration: A 6-8 oz glass of water every hour is ideal for keeping your metabolism moving. Add 8 oz for every 30 minutes of exercise.

Sleep & Rest: At least seven hours per 24-hour period, plus breaks for personal time daily.

Stress reduction: The stress hormone cortisol is harmful over the long-term. Take time to lower your cortisol naturally. Stop for some fresh air or several times a day, by taking short outdoor walks. Enjoy a peaceful break over herbal tea. Meditation and yoga also work magic.

Extras, extras: Try therapeutic approaches, such as:

Whole body cryotherapy: Controlled exposure to extreme cold has been shown to increase blood circulation, boost cellular function, and decrease cortisol levels.

Massage therapy: Massage is a known detoxifier and there are several different styles of massage address everything from tight spots and tension to deep tissue therapy.

Dry sauna: Studies show that sauna use stimulates the immune system, especially in athletes who train regularly, as compared with people who do not exercise regularly. Training and sauna, therefore, make an excellent one-two combo for your immune system.

Check in with our team at Forma Gym in Walnut Creek or San Jose for a consultation on what immunity-building activities might be best for you.

cryotherapy Walnut Creek

Recover and Re-Energize with Whole-Body Cryotherapy

By Fitness, Stretching & Mobility No Comments

The first thing some people think of when they’re new to the idea of whole-body cryotherapy is, “Brrrr!” In actuality, the intention of a two- to three-minute cryotherapy session is to heal and rejuvenate; to relax and to repair injury; to move blood flow to the areas that need it most; or even to provide a burst of energy before a workout.

In fact, cryotherapy is an elemental part of comprehensive wellness. And Forma Gym in Walnut Creek has a complete, whole-body Cryotherapy Wellness Studio

Let me explain. Exercising as part of a training regimen ultimately increases muscle tone and strength. But the recovery stage after a workout is where most of the muscle-building happens. Someone who doesn’t recover properly, either with rest, stretching, nutrition, massage or other forms of therapy, is more prone to fatigue and injury.

The general idea of localized cryotherapy – or “cold therapy” – came about when the Greeks and Egyptians began using cold as a painkiller and anti-inflammatory. Whole-body cryotherapy dates only to 1978, when a Japanese rheumatologist discovered that, whole-body exposure to cold, via ice bath, could reduce pain and inflammation for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

More effective – and comfortable – than ice baths

Fortunately, that rheumatologist, Dr. Toshiro Yamaguchi, continued his research. By 1980, Yamaguchi and his team realized that brief, rapid exposure to very cold air was more effective than ice baths. 

Put simply, nitrogen gas cryotherapy is faster and colder. Cold nitrogen gas (-135°to -200°F ) can reduce the skin’s temperature to 32°F very quickly, but an ice bath might take 20 minutes and can only reduce the skin’s temperature to about 40°F.

In addition, liquid penetrates the skin, meaning that an ice bath can cause muscle tissues to stiffen too much, leaving them immobile until several minutes after you emerge from the water and stop shivering. Controlled exposure to nitrogen gas does not cause this lingering chill and stiffness.

Post-workout and pain management from cryotherapy: How it works

For the most part, cryotherapy is used for pain management. Your body’s natural reaction to extreme cold temperatures is the “fight or flight” reaction. Therefore, when exposed to sudden, cold temperatures, the skin signals to the brain that the body’s vital organs need protecting. 

Very quickly, the brain enters “fight-or-flight” mode, triggering blood flow to all the essential organs. When the blood is drawn away from the rest of the body into its core, the inflammation of injured areas also reduces.

After a two- or three- minute session, the blood that returns to the extremities is full of oxygen and nutrients, helping repair and strengthen the body, starting with the areas that are most injured.

The endorphin rush of cryotherapy – either for injury treatment or after a workout – is phenomenal. I’ve seen it do wonders for people with low back or shoulder or knee problems.  I’ve also seen how it reduces muscle fatigue and can even make people feel happier afterwards. 

While taking an ice bath before a workout is never advised, you can use cryotherapy for a pre-workout energy boost. I’ve seen people use it as a safe way to get that “pumped” feeling prior to a workout.

Understanding the experience: Controlled, safe and private

After people understand how whole-body cryotherapy works, their next questions are usually about safety and modesty. Fear not. Although you’ll be nearly naked during your session, we’ve got you covered:

      • Before entering the octagonal cryotherapy chamber, you’ll be escorted to a changing room. There, you’ll remove any jewelry or accessories.
      • You will have the option to remove all of your clothing or to wear a dry bathing suit.
      • You’ll be given socks or boots and gloves to wear (men will also cover the penis).
      • Your dressing room opens directly into the cryotherapy chamber, which you enter wearing a robe, with your head remaining above the top of the chamber at all times. 
      • Your certified cryotherapist at Forma Gym will be waiting outside the chamber and can only see your face and head.
      • You’ll hand your robe to your cryotherapist before starting the session.
      • During your first session, we may start at a higher temperature (-135° to -165°F as opposed to -200°F), just to get you used to the idea of cold therapy. Later, you can try lower temperatures. 
      • Your cryotherapist will remain in the room outside the chamber and will speak to you and to gauge how you’re doing. It’s amazing how quickly two or three minutes pass. Afterwards, you will wrap up in your robe again and return privately to your changing room. 

How often should I go?

The frequency of whole-body cryotherapy sessions depends on the individual and their reason(s) for using cryotherapy. For people who are using cryotherapy to recover from injury or reduce pain, I typically recommend two sessions on two consecutive days followed by weekly sessions as needed or desired. 

The positive effects kick in much more quickly when your body knows what to expect. You can think of the first two consecutive sessions as “warming up” your brain and body to the idea of cold therapy.

A three-minute session can have such healing powers that you actually gain back time and productivity.

Visit Forma Gym Walnut Creek and give it a try! We’re sure the recovery benefits will leave you feeling like new.

 

Forma Gym general managers Reed Snook and Faro Tahery

It’s all about the ‘Forma Family’ for these managers

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When discussing life as a Forma Gym general manager, the first topic Reed Snook and Faro Tahery mention is the Forma Family. 

That’s because, for both of them – Reed at Forma Walnut Creek and Faro at Forma San Jose – the built-in community of family-owned Forma Gym was the greatest draw and remains the greatest inspiration.

From Forma Athlete to GM

“I feel blessed to work in a positive environment where the goal is to help every single person that comes through the door enhance their life in some way,” says Reed. “From ownership, management, staff, and of course our membership base, Forma embraces a family atmosphere. Everyone here has become part of my extended family.”

Reed’s Forma Gym journey began more than seven years ago. At the time, while studying kinesiology and exercise science, Reed also served as captain of the offensive line for the DVC Vikings football team. 

When he joined the Forma Athlete program to improve his athletic performance by training with Forma Fitness Director, David Miller, he couldn’t have anticipated what the future would hold. 

“Pretty soon, I was hired to do club and equipment maintenance,” says Reed. “That led to becoming the front desk lead and eventually becoming a membership consultant.” 

And in 2020,  just a few years after his promotion to Assistant General Manager and Membership Director, Reed was promoted to General Manager. As General Manager, he also still leads member relations and club growth.

“I enjoy creating and maintaining personal relationships with every member that I can,” Reed explains. “Whether I see them in the lobby, at the front desk or while I’m working out myself, it’s great when people approach me to say ‘hi’ or I can ask them about something specific in their lives.” 

“I’m really passionate about creating a great atmosphere for every member and the whole staff,” says Reed. “Physically, mentally and emotionally, we want everyone to know we’re here to support them.”

Reed also appreciates the club’s partnerships with local businesses that share common goals and ideals.

“The culture is strong with Forma; we gravitate towards local companies that support their employees and customers the way we do,” Reed says. “It makes me really happy to work with the Walnut Creek community that I was raised in.”

From Firefighter to Forma GM

Faro Tahery, General Manager of Forma Gym San Jose, joined Forma after a career in people-facing industries, including time as a firefighter, a restaurant owner and an auto service station owner. 

“As a firefighter, you’re servicing the community,” says Faro, who worked for a Southern California fire department before going into banking and, later, forming several successful customer service business. He says that, in all of these roles, the most important character trait is listening and responding to people’s needs. 

“Plus, unlike an auto repair business or firefighting, at the gym, everyone comes in for happy reasons,” says Faro. “They confide in us, we build deeper connections every day and we get to be part of their lives, watching all the positive change they make.”

Faro most enjoys the positive, uplifting environment of Forma Gym. He prides himself on knowing at least 80% of the members on a first-name basis,

“I don’t have a management office,” says Faro. “My mentors instilled in me that the best way to be a good manager is to be out the floor. I make a point of greeting people,  getting to know them and learning about their experience here.”

He even finds himself regularly attending sporting events and community events with members and staff. 

“I love seeing the young kids who have already invested in their own fitness, who see the value in health,” says Faro. “They won’t have to be convinced at age 40 or 50 to start getting fit; they’re already seeing the value of coming to the gym, putting away their phones for at least an hour, hanging out and working out with their buddies.”

With their shared mindsets but different perspectives, the younger crowd and the more mature crowd mix nicely around the gym. 

“This has a lot to do with our staff,” Faro adds. “They get to know everybody and they bring people together for things like our Outdoor Boot Camp. Everyone of all ages has respect for each other and encourages one another.”

Then there’s the Aqua Fit crowd within the Forma Family in San Jose. 

“Our six-lane pool and can fit 50 to 55 people at a time for things like Aqua Zumba. They practically have a party in there!” he says, noting that the group even holds monthly potluck events at the club.

“We do other special events, including the Valentine’s event with decorations, a photo booth and candy,” he adds. The club also sponsors the South Bay Patriots semi-pro football team and participates in fundraisers for schools and sports teams.  

For Faro, the greatest source of joy at Forma Gym is watching how a sense of community has developed organically. 

“You can feel the respect and chemistry between people, which began with what we created in 2015.” he says. “The Forma Family makes everyone feel like brothers and sisters.”

Benefits of massage, Forma Gym, sports massage, therapeutic

Massage Therapy: It works out much more than kinks

By Fitness No Comments

There’s nothing better than the look in someone’s eyes when they discover benefits of massage therapy that they hadn’t expected. After blending massage into their routine, even monthly, they notice increased range of motion and realize how much more they can do with their body.

It might sound like I’m joking when I say I got into massage therapy by accident, but it’s true. More specifically, it was a 2007 snowboarding accident.

As luck would have it, while on bedrest after the accident, I kept seeing the same TV ad for a massage school. I had always been athletic, so I was hooked, especially when I learned that I could have free daily massages when I started taking classes. 

I was still recovering and could barely move. But I started classes anyway and found much more to love than just the free massages.

Massage wakes up the body and the mind.

After becoming certified in 2008, I worked for a mom-and-pop physical therapy office, followed by a major spa chain. Later, I joined a chiropractic office before discovering Forma Gym. Working alongside these professionals, I witnessed how every part of the human body is linked in some way to the others. From muscles, bones and connective tissues to circulatory, endocrine and nervous system, each function affects the others and the whole.  

Think of massage, therefore, as maintenance for the musculoskeletal system. It’s a recharge of all the body’s systems and it augments the good work of your nutrition and fitness plans.

Overuse of muscles leads to fatigue, causing muscles to shorten and putting them at risk for injury. When muscles are tired or injured, they’re afraid. When they’re afraid, they hide. Without sufficient blood flow to those muscles, you lose range of motion.

Although stretching is one way to keep muscles lean and flexible, stretching alone can’t drive sufficient blood flow. That’s where massage comes in. During massage, we find those dormant, scared muscles and we wake them up, bringing back blood into them. Before long, they’re not only useful again, but you’ve decreased your risk of injury.

There’s no arguing that massage is also relaxing. Admittedly, I sometimes feel as if massage has the same effect on me mentally and physically as drinking a glass of wine after a long day. And the benefits of massage last a lot longer.  

Massage detoxifies.

Stimulation from any of the various kinds of massage not only invigorates muscles, but allows them to release built-up toxins. Before, during and after your massages, your therapist will have you drink plenty of water to flushes out those toxins.

By squeezing lactic acid out of your muscles, introducing new hydrogen from the water you’re drinking and incorporating stretches, massage releases scar tissue, increases blood flow and cleans out your muscles. The result is an increase in total range of motion and the body’s ability to build strength. 

How it works: The first steps to massage.

Starting is as simple as making an appointment, showing up and telling your massage therapist what areas give you trouble. We’ll complete an intake form and measure your range of motion in different areas.

Next, depending on where you are with strength and flexibility (and whether you’re recovering from an injury or simply wanting to improve performance), we might begin progression therapy, starting with a target area. 

We’ll test all your range of motion in that area and evaluate how your muscles are counteracting each other. It’s similar to what a physical therapist does in an initial assessment.

After we discover areas of opportunity to improve range of motion, we look for any muscles that you’re underutilizing (by no fault of your own). We focus on “waking up” those muscles using any of a variety of techniques.

The necessary frequency of massage treatments varies from person to person. When someone is recovering from a serious injury, I see them every other day at first so that we get their muscles back into place.

For people who are supplementing their exercise with sports massage, I might recommend they come in every two weeks after that initial intake for the first month or two,  just to get the body accustomed to massage. After that, once every 3-4 weeks is usually enough for touch-ups to increase blood flow, detoxify and monitor your progress. 

We know what’s stopping you.

The three most common reasons someone resists beginning a massage program are ego, time and money.

EGO: You know your body better than anyone else does. You’re so tuned-in to your body that you know exactly which stretches or foam roller techniques make you feel better. But no matter how well you know your body, you can’t find every dormant, tired, stressed or tight muscle without help.  

A certified massage therapist works deep down into problematic areas to release tension and to increase blood flow to areas you cannot reach on your own. You might even find that, by allowing yourself to try massage, you’ll learn even more about your body. 

TIME: We get it. We’re all busy with lives, families, jobs and routines to follow. A 20-60 minute massage may seem like a huge time commitment. But how much time do you spend trying to work out kinks and minor aches and pains on your own, whether you’re commuting to work, sitting at your desk, trying to relax in front of the TV or even exercising?

Think about how much more comfortable each of these activities might be if you didn’t frequently have to stop to adjust yourself. With better range of motion, you’ll gain strength, remove pain and perform better in all aspects of life.

Good performance is more efficient, meaning that massage gives you back some time.

MONEY:  If you bring your car in for regular tune-ups along with lubricant, oil and filter changes, why shouldn’t you do the same for your body? You don’t even have to buy tires or gasoline for your body or plug it in to charge. 

I know that spending $45 to $120 – for what initially seems more like a luxury than a necessity – can turn you away from the idea of massage. 

But it’s all about rearranging priorities, embracing a new mindset and remembering that your body is your temple. 

At Forma Gym, we embrace the fact that each part of a health, fitness and wellness plan supports the other, just as each part of the body affects the other. Come in for a complimentary first massage at Forma San Jose or Forma Walnut Creek and we’ll discuss how you can fit the detoxifying, liberating benefits of massage therapy into your life. 

Happy healthy habits in 2020, Forma Gym, Tracy Beckham

Here’s to happy, healthy habits in 2020

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I love the positivity of January, when people are open-minded to the idea of happy, healthy habits that can transform their lives. Whether a person wants to lose fat, build muscle or maintain the levels of fitness and health they’ve already achieved, the new year is an ideal time for a new mindset and a new or improved plan. 

Put food first – and keep it positive.

It might be hard to believe, but 80% of improving health, fitness and strength revolves around food and nutrition choices. The 80% nutrition + 20% fitness rule states the importance of nutrition in the equation. What you put in your body, as well as when, how much and how often, creates the foundation for what you can get out of your body. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet!

Your attitude about physical fitness, food and bodyweight has everything to do with how easily you’ll be able to make small, positive changes. So, why not set yourself up for success by making some vocabulary changes?

Don’t diet. “Eat!”

What sounds more fun, eating or dieting? The word “diet” gives food a negative connotation and implies deprivation just for the sake of weight loss. But an improved nutrition plan is the opposite of deprivation; it’s a gift to yourself. In some cases, it can include more calories than your current eating habits do!

To create your plan, the first thing I want to know during our nutrition consultation is what your current nutrition plan looks like. Don’t worry; it’s not uncommon for someone’s current nutrition plan to seem completely unstructured, and that’s okay.

By looking at the way someone already eats on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis, I can discover patterns and make little suggestions that you can live with – and enjoy!

Take small steps toward realistic goals.

In the early stages, I don’t want anyone to think of a nutrition plan as permanent or as a full-year outline; it’s going to change over time, as it should. All I want anyone to do is view it in little, measurable chunks. What minor changes can they make tomorrow or the next day? Or what items can be added or removed over the next four weeks?  

I create a nutrition plan that we can look at in daily, weekly, and four-week blocks.  And I always ask people to think about what motivates them. That way, we can incorporate a reward for each goal they achieve.

Pretty soon, one small, positive change happens at a time. Maybe it’s replacing orange juice with an actual orange; replacing a packaged fruit-and-nut bar with a hearty handful of unsalted nuts and unsweetened, dried fruit; or replacing packed and processed foods with whole foods, natural from the ground.

Your new plan will fit your life.

As we create a nutrition plan, I look at what’s going on in every aspect of a person’s life. Are they happy; stressed; single; married; divorced; traveling a lot? Do they have kids and, if so, how old are they? Are they in a new job or are they about to retire? What are their hobbies? How often do they eat out and order in? What kinds of things get in the way of their progress? 

Knowing all about someone’s life helps me put together a plan for their lifestyle that includes goals they can actually achieve. It also helps me make realistic suggestions. My job is to take the obstacles out of your day and life to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Don’t work out. “Train!”

We already know that 80% of planning and habit-forming efforts should go toward the nutrition aspects. But simultaneous, achievable fitness training goals feed the success of the overall plan.

Once again, it’s important to stay positive. Think of physical fitness, movement and strength not as work but as training that nudges you towards your goals. That’s because nutrition and fitness training feed on each other.

It’s not a myth. It’s true: When you start to exercise you eat better. And when you eat better you have more energy and motivation for training. Pretty soon, you start seeing and feeling results and you discover that your happy, healthy habits are transforming your body, your mind and your life.

Come see the experienced team at Forma Gym in Walnut Creek or in San Jose. We’d love to hear all about your goals and help you make positive changes in 2020. 


Healthy Food, happy healthy habits, Forma Gym, Tracy BeckhamLearn how to build the best diet for you at Forma Gym’s  Build your Perfect Diet seminars on Saturday, February 22nd in Walnut Creek and on Wednesday, February 26th in San Jose. They’re free and open to members, guests and the community. Use the links above to reserve your spot.

Realistic goals, youth athlete, elite athlete, David Miller

Ditch the resolutions – set Goals!

By Export, Fitness, Nutrition No Comments

What’s easier, setting goals for a few things to accomplish this month, or resolving that you’re going to do one or two amazing things all year? 

I’m asking rhetorically. A career working with elite athletes has taught me that thinking of a goal as a single, major accomplishment you hope to achieve isn’t nearly as effective as thinking of each goal as a series of dozens, or even hundreds, of micro goals.

You can still indulge in the fun of daydreaming about the end result. But let’s first break down the steps for how to set goals that are so realistic that your daydream becomes reality.

Purpose and intent

Over the years, I’ve listened to a lot of people’s goals. Consistently, the best ones are those that not only make life better for the goal-setter, but that improve the lives of people around them.

Because of that, I encourage people to form goals that extend beyond themselves. 

It’s not too different of a mindset than the “hero’s journey,” where the hero faces risks and difficulties in order to help the village back home. Sure, your fitness or health journeys may not save entire villages, but you certainly can frame your goals the same way.

Consider the greater purpose of any goal. If you want to lose weight or increase your endurance, who will benefit besides yourself? There’s always someone. 

If you’re happier because you’re more fit, then the people closest to you will be happier. If you’re healthier because you’re making better decisions about food, then people around you might join you and adapt their eating habits. Positivity is contagious.

Map out monthly “micro” goals.

Once you’ve thought of your end goal and who will benefit from it, evaluate where you are today. Sometimes, we overreach, which distorts our perspective of how far we have to go.

For example, if I have a weight-loss goal but I don’t even eat fresh vegetables, then my first micro goal isn’t to lose weight; it’s to replace some of my junk food with fresh produce, even once a day.

If my goal is to run a marathon, but I don’t yet jog more than two miles twice a month, then my first micro goal might be to jog two miles twice a week.

Taking a realistic look at where you are now and where you want to be helps you to realistically see the steps in between.

“How can I mess this up?” Be honest.

You know yourself better than anyone else does. Just as important as figuring out how to make something work is acknowledging what’s going to get in your way.

Remember your vices from the outset. You know what they are. They’re the things that get in the way of the good things you planned to do. One person’s might be Netflix binges and chocolate; another’s might be social media; someone else’s might be work-related. 

Whatever your vices are, by being aware of them, you’ll not only notice when they distract you (and they will, I promise!), but you’ll learn new habits to help you avoid them. 

Hold yourself accountable – and share.

I tend to work in four-week blocks of micro goals. I try to figure out how long it will take me to reach each micro goal and I make corrections along the way. By mapping out what went right, what went wrong and what got in the way, I can better plan out the next four-week block. 

For some people, sharing goals with someone they trust helps keep them accountable. There are plenty of members and staff at Forma Gym who would be happy to cheer you on.

Finally, always write down and track your goals, using whatever device, app or other method you’re most likely to follow. Take note of your successes, your challenges, the corrections, adaptations and surprises you encounter. Being able to look back on your progress (and your holdups) is just as important as being able to envision your future success. 

Reward yourself.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to acknowledge your own achievements. Give yourself credit every time you hit a goal, micro or major. 

Keeping track of the produce you substituted for candy or the miles you jogged all month is worth celebrating. Take credit for your hard work in preparation for your next miniature milestone.  

Make a plan, stay optimistic, celebrate your successes and enjoy every win.

 

Celebrate the small stuff

By Export, Fitness, Mind Body, Nutrition No Comments

You have permission to be proud of yourself.

I am fortunate to have worked in the fitness industry my entire career, and to have witnessed some amazing accomplishments, from small but important to massive and life-changing. I have seen members achieve things they could have never imagined when they first joined Forma; it’s one of the great joys of working in this industry. 

Along the way, I’ve learned quite a bit.

Among the most important things I’ve learned is that the key to  staying on track is a positive mindset with willingness to celebrate all the “mini” accomplishments of a fitness and health journey. 

Give yourself a pat on the back after a great workout or after just making it to the gym. Likewise, congratulate yourself for choosing an apple instead of potato chips. 

By focusing on what you’re doing well, you’ll create positive momentum in moving from one step to the next.

During my 30 years in the health and wellness industry, I’ve learned that people who focus more on what they have actually achieved go farther – and  feel better about themselves – than those who scan the horizon, focusing for too long on what they have yet to accomplish. 

Forma Gym Fitness Director David Miller will get into more detail on goal-setting in an upcoming blog. We know that goal-setting looks very different from person-to-person; we want to help each individual develop a formula that works with their personality, habits, motivations and known distractions.

In the meantime, it’s time to celebrate what each of us has accomplished already.

As 2019 winds to a close, let’s look back on the forward motion we each made this year, in every aspect of life.

Maybe you made some positive changes to your diet this year, such as reducing sugar, adding vegetables, or drinking more water. Give yourself a pat on the back. Tell someone how it feels.

You might have started a regular walking schedule this year. Even 2-3 times per week for 20 minutes is beneficial and worth celebrating. Put your walking shoes back on and give yourself an extra mile as reward.

Did you try a new Mind/Body class or a Pilates Reformer class this year? Maybe you’d never thought yoga, barre, or even water exercise would be your thing, but you discovered that not only can you do it, but that you enjoyed it. Tell the person you met in class how you feel about it. They might celebrate you, too.

Or maybe you lost a few pounds or got a little stronger in 2019? Wow! Allow yourself to focus on how that accomplishment feels.

Even if you want or need to lose another 10 pounds, you’re moving in the right direction. Reflect on the mindset that allowed you to get where you are today and congratulate yourself.

Did you average two additional hours’ sleep per week? Excellent. Share your accomplishments and ask other people to tell you about theirs. Then listen, wholeheartedly, and support people when they share their accomplishments, especially the little ones.

The “small stuff” is the big stuff.

While you’re celebrating, be sure to remember to be grateful for the ability to do everything you can do. There are few actions or mindsets that are more liberating or joy-filling than those involving gratitude.

Remember to thank yourself! Then thank anyone who motivated you, knowingly or not, to achieve some of the steps towards what you hope to achieve.  

Having trouble noticing your accomplishments or figuring out which are worth celebrating? Come talk to one of us at the gym. I guarantee that any member of our team can help you discover an accomplishment you might not even realize you made. 

Go on. Be BOLD. Stop by the front desk or ask any one of us around the gym how to get started celebrating yourself and looking forward to what’s next for you. 

person-holding-black-dumbbell

Isotonic or Isometric Exercise:
Which Will Help You Most?

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Generally speaking, exercising is moving your body in order to improve your physical health. You can do this in various ways, and different kinds of exercises require different types of muscle contraction. The two main ways muscles contract are isotonically and isometrically. In your pursuit of continuous growth, you should look to incorporate both types of exercise into your workout regimen.

Isotonic Exercise
Isotonic exercise is movement that requires muscles to resist weight over a range of motion, causing a change to the length of the muscle. We usually think of muscles shortening in isotonic exercise, as when you lift a dumbbell for a bicep curl or rise into a sit-up. This is called concentric muscle contraction. Eccentric muscle contractions, however, such as steadily extending your arm or lowering to the ground while resisting the pull of gravity are also an important part of isotonic exercise. Including a combination of these types of movements will help to increase muscle mass and strength and get the best results from your isotonic exercise.

What are some forms of isotonic exercise?
Aerobic exercises like walking, running, hiking, swimming, skiing, and dancing are all considered isotonic exercise. So are resistance training exercises that involve movement, such as squats, pushups, pull ups, bench presses, deadlifts, and bicep curls. Even everyday activities like house cleaning, lawn mowing, and gardening also provide isotonic exercise. Isotonic exercise does not have to be boring! It can be an adventure and a way to play every day while getting essential exercise.

What are the benefits of isotonic exercise?
Isotonic exercise helps to strengthen your cardiovascular system, as it results in increased oxygen consumption, heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac output, and muscular endurance while reducing the risk of heart disease. Isotonic exercise also improves bone density thanks to the consistent stress, which causes new bone to form. Stronger bones means you will be less likely to suffer a broken bone. Isotonic exercise also burns calories and improves important health numbers, such as cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Of course, it also helps to build bigger, stronger muscles, helping you to resist injury from strains, sprains, fractures, and falls. The more you participate in isotonic exercise, the easier it will get.


Related Article: Is it Better to Work Out in the Morning or at Night?

 

Isometric Exercise
Isometric exercise involves remaining in a static position while engaging the muscles. The joint doesn’t move, and the muscle neither lengthens or shortens, but the muscle’s tendon is activated. Isometric exercise is less effective for than isotonic exercise at increasing strength, speed, or overall athletic performance, but it can help to stabilize injured or weak joints to pave the way for more advanced training over time. Isometric exercise can be made more efficient by engaging both the upper and lower body simultaneously to work the major muscle groups.

What are some forms of isometric exercise?
Physical therapists often recommend isometric exercise for injury recovery, but many common exercises also fit into this category. Stationary exercises such as wall sits, planks, bridges, hollow-body holds, are isometric. While a yoga class involves isotonic elements as you move through the poses, each held pose is, in itself, an isometric exercise. Including a variety of isometric exercises in your workout routine not only makes it more interesting, but it also helps to work muscles in ways you may not be used to, making your exercise more effective.

What are the benefits of isometric exercise?
Isometric exercise is gentle on joints while still building and maintaining strength, making it ideal for those who need low impact exercise as a result of injury or arthritis. Also, if you have limited space in your home, isometric exercise is a good choice for getting a workout without having to head outdoors or to the gym. Isometric exercises build muscle, strength, and bone density while improving cholesterol levels and digestive function. Like all forms of exercise, isometric exercise helps to lower blood pressure. Individuals with high blood pressure, however, should approach isometric exercise with caution and consult their physicians before beginning any new exercise routine.

 

Any form of exercise will provide important health benefits. The best kind of exercise is an activity that you enjoy and are able to do regularly, and the biggest benefits are enjoyed by those who incorporate a variety of activities. Choose the best types of exercise for you based on your current state of health, your goals, and your personal preferences. For more tips on workouts that may fit your lifestyle, subscribe to our blog!

Man swimming in pool

Why Should You Work Out in the Pool?

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Exercising in the water, whether you prefer swimming, water aerobics, or another activity, is an aerobic form of exercise that has a low impact on the body. As the fourth most popular sports activity in the U.S., swimming appeals to a wide range of people.

 

Why Aquatic Exercise?
Water-based exercise is a healthy and accessible choice for people of all ages and fitness levels. It allows individuals to set their own pace and is a highly effective way to burn calories. The Aquatic Exercise Association claims that a person can expect to burn 400 to 500 calories per hour of water-based exercise.

 

Natural Buoyancy
Exercising in the water offers a natural resistance—12 times more than air. When you’re submerged in water up to the neck, your weight can be reduced to just 10% of what it is on land. That resistance assists with building muscle because the muscles must exert more effort. Improved flexibility is another benefit of aquatic exercise because the joints have a larger range of motion when the body is in the water. Swimming works all of the major muscle groups, making it an excellent choice for exercising the entire body.

 

Improved Heart Health
Regular water-based exercise has been shown to improve heart health and cardiovascular strength because water lessens the strain and pressure on the body, allowing it to circulate blood more efficiently.

 

Respiratory System Boost
Swimming can increase your lung capacity and breathing control.

 

Fun Ways to Move
One of the reasons that many people avoid exercise is its repetitiveness. Incorporating water-based exercise can help keep exercise interesting and fun! You can experiment with different swimming strokes, racing, diving, water aerobics, polo, and swim aids like hand-held paddles, foam noodles, rings, or kickboards.

 

Improved Mood
Like all types of exercise, water-based exercise helps improve mental health and mood, thanks to the body’s release of endorphins. A 2014 study of people with dementia found that regular swimmers showed improved mood.

 

Aquatic exercise is a fun, healthy way to burn calories and build your cardiovascular and respiratory systems while also having a positive impact on your mental health. Exercising in the water is a great way to add variety to your workouts. For more tips on ways to stay healthy and incorporate new types of workouts into your routine, subscribe to our blog!

 

woman-exercising-with-box

Is Anaerobic or Aerobic Exercise Better for You?

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If you want to improve your health, exercise is a great place to start. There are two main types of exercise—aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise means that your body uses oxygen to create energy, while in anaerobic exercise, the body relies on energy sources within the muscles. While both types of exercise are important, they have different effects.

Inactivity can be hazardous to your health. According to a study published in the World Journal of Cardiology, 30% of ischemic heart disease is caused by a lack of physical activity. The World Health Organization recommends that adults ages 18–64 should participate in at least 2.5 hours of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.

 
Anaerobic Exercises
Anaerobic exercise is done in short bursts of intense activity, which require more energy than what your body is able to produce with oxygen alone. This forces your body to turn glucose in your muscles into energy. Effective anaerobic exercise can only be sustained for 90 to 120 seconds before the body begins using oxygen to continue converting energy. The popular high-intensity interval training (HIIT), plyometrics, sprinting and weight lifting are all examples of anaerobic exercise.

 
Benefits of Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic exercise can burn more calories in a short amount of time while also building muscle mass and burning fat. The impact on your body also helps to strengthen joints and bones. Anaerobic exercise can benefit both cardiovascular and psychological health.

 
Aerobic Exercises
Aerobic exercise allows you to keep your heart rate up for an extended period of time because it can be sustained by your oxygen intake. Your body continuously fuels the muscles with oxygenated blood to support the exercise.

Any type of low- or moderate-intensity exercise is considered aerobic, including walking, running, cycling, dancing, water aerobics, spinning, elliptical exercise, swimming, cross-country skiing, skating, basketball, soccer, hiking, and racquet sports.

 
Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise burns fat using the oxygen that you inhale. Aerobic exercise is good for your cardiovascular system because it strengthens the heart and increases the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize, which increases your endurance. Research has shown that aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of developing many health issues, such as cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, and can also help to alleviate anxiety and depression.

 

Any type of physical activity will benefit your body and mind, but the most effective exercise programs include a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic exercise and incorporate appropriate rest periods. The ways in which you can get aerobic and anaerobic exercise are nearly limitless, so pick some of your favorite activities, and have fun building a stronger, healthier body.

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