Turkey Trot

Get Ready for the Forma Gym Turkey Trot!

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We are gearing up for our favorite Thanksgiving tradition—the Forma Gym Walnut Creek Turkey Trot! Before you settle in for dinner on Turkey Day, enjoy a little exercise with your community!

Options Abound
The Turkey Trot offers several races to choose from, including a 5k, 10k, and a selection of fun runs for the kids. Make sure to stop by the festival area and check out our costume contest so you can have fun and let your creative side shine! Thanksgiving Day will be here before we know it, so here are some tips on how to prepare—even if you have never participated in a race before! All you need to get started is some supportive running shoes and a timer or stopwatch.

Start Slowly
A training program should include a healthy mix of running, walking, and rest days, which reduces the chance of injury, stress, and wearing yourself out before the race. Starting out, you may only run for 10 seconds while walking for the rest of a minute, and that is OK, says former long-distance track Olympian and author Jeff Galloway. Over time, you’ll work your way up to more running and less walking. To help get you started, we have a free Training and Nutrition Plan available that will help keep you focused if you are not sure how to gradually increase your workout intensity.

Day of Rest
Be sure to always have one day of rest per week so your muscles can recuperate. Your body needs rest to allow you to recover and maximize your performance. Each time you run, the body breaks down a bit from tissue damage. Rest and recovery afterward is critical to allowing your body to adapt. “Rest is not a four-letter word to be ignored,” says Kevin Vincent, M.D., Ph.D., director of the University of Florida Running Medicine Clinic. Because we feel so strongly about proper recovery, we recently brought cryotherapy to Forma, and we also offer sports massage. We encourage everyone to try different things and to experience the recovery and health benefits each modality can offer, then decide what works best for their body.

Add Strength Training to the Mix
Strength training can address the muscle imbalances and weaknesses caused by modern sedentary lifestyles, better enabling your body to resist injury. Sports and exercise scientist and author Kenji Doma, Ph.D., at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, says that strength training decreases the energy needed for reaching the pace you want to hit during running. The brain recruits the muscles that are most resistant to tiring out, so your body needs less energy to do the same task.

Buddy Up
Running with a friend is a great way to give yourself a gentle push and help you stay on track with your training regimen. It is also much more fun to run with a friend than by yourself, and the conversation and socializing are just as good for you as the exercise. Having a similar goal and working towards that goal together is excellent for building relationships and adds a built-in support system. Join the Forma Gym Club on Strava to share your progress and cheer each other on!

Register Today
The Turkey Trot is truly a community event, supporting organizations that include the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano, Walnut Creek Education Foundation (WCEF), Partners for Educational Achievement (PEAK), and the Forma Kids Foundation. Forma Gym is proud to host this annual community event that celebrates health, giving, and our local community. Registervolunteer or donate today!


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

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When you’re trying to get back into a regular exercise routine (or trying to start one for the first time), finding time in your day to work out can be challenging. Waking up early might mean sacrificing needed sleep, and waiting until later in the day makes it more likely that competing obligations will get in the way of your plans to hit the gym. When really is the best time to exercise?

While there can be benefits to both, exercising in the morning may be best.
Exercising bright and early provides a natural energy boost—a great benefit if you find yourself relying heavily on caffeine to get your day going. It can also boost your mood as well as your productivity throughout the day.

Waking up early to work out can actually help shift your body clock so you become naturally more alert earlier in the day and go to sleep more easily at night. So, once you establish a routine, waking up early to work out won’t have to mean losing precious sleep time. Exercising early in the morning can also help you stick with your fitness routine, which is necessary in order to see a substantial benefit.

If weight loss is one of your primary fitness goals, beginning your day in a healthy way sets you up to make healthier choices, like what to eat for lunch, as the day continues. Exercising on an empty stomach first thing in the morning is also a fantastic way to burn stored fat as well as speed up your metabolism so you burn more calories throughout the day.

If you really aren’t a morning person, work out whenever it suits you best.
Afternoons can be just as good for your physical and mental health, particularly if you are focusing on improving your performance rather than losing weight or just getting the workout done and out of the way. After having eaten during the day, you’ll have the energy for a more intense workout.

If you choose to work out later in the day, notice how an afternoon or evening workout affects your sleeping patterns. Since exercise is a natural stimulant, this could make it harder to fall asleep as early as you might like or delay the deeper phases of sleep. If you notice difficulty falling asleep or feeling drowsy in the morning, you might consider shifting your workout to earlier in the day.

The most important thing about working out is to do it; there is no bad time to exercise. Prioritize being as consistent as possible. Consistency is easiest when you choose activities that you enjoy and set up a routine that fits your body and fitness goals.


Fitness Coaching

The Benefits of Working with A Fitness Coach

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Sometimes flying solo at the gym can only get you so far. You’re putting in the work and making a solid effort but still not getting the results you want. Or, maybe you just started working out and need a little help to kickstart your fitness training.

A fitness coach might be just the boost you need to reach your goals. They are educated in exercise science and nutrition and have many roles. They are coaches, cheerleaders, friends, motivators, and teachers, all in one!


The Benefits of Training with a Fitness Coach
There are many benefits to working with a fitness coach. Here are some of the top benefits:

Effective workouts: They can look at your current workout and make tweaks to make it more efficient and effective, and make sure not spending your time and effort doing the wrong routine for your goals.

Proper form: There’s no point in doing 100 lunges if you’re doing them incorrectly. Proper form is critical to preventing injury and building muscle. Fitness coaches can help you achieve the proper form in a variety of movements, from planks to squats and everything in between.

Add variety: People often stick to the same workouts at the gym, whether that’s the same cardio regimen, or doing the same strength-building exercises with the same resistance. A personal trainer can help you switch it up and help you progress your movements. Adding variety also helps you avoid hitting plateaus and keeps you coming back for more.

Motivation: You’re much less likely to bail on an appointment with your coach than you would if you were hitting the gym alone. They’ll help keep you motivated to show up for your workouts and put in 100% during your workout.


Why Hire A Fitness Coach?
There are several reasons hiring a fitness coach could help you. The most common reasons people begin working with our coaches at Forma Gym are:

New to fitness: Perhaps you are new to exercise or adding exercise back into your routine after a break. We offer several types of equipment at Forma Gym, including cardio, free weights, weight machines, and more. It can be overwhelming to start an exercise routine with so many choices. A fitness coach will help you put together a program for your specific goals with the right tools for you at this stage in your fitness journey.

Interested in training for competitive events: Running your first marathon? Training for a mud run? A fitness coach can help get you connected to new events and give you the tools to help you prepare for them in the most safe and effective way.

Returning from an injury: If you’ve been out of training due to an injury and re-entering the fitness world, it can be helpful to have a fitness coach in your corner. They can show you new exercises to help strengthen muscles and avoid certain movements so you don’t get re-injured.

Setting and achieving goals: If you’re having a hard time reaching your fitness goals on your own, a fitness coach can give you the push you need. Whether you need to change your nutrition plan, or try new exercises, they’ll help you set goals and then hold you accountable to reach them.

Personal Training at Forma Gym
Our team of fitness coaches is made up of professionals with a diverse background and a variety of skills. Together, we have dozens of years of experience in the industry and share a great passion for health and wellness.

We offer one-on-one personal training and small group fitness training. We also offer specialized Forma Athlete training at our Walnut Creek location, which is designed to develop athletes ages 13 and up to achieve the top level of their athletic performance.

Schedule a free fitness or nutrition consultation with one of our expert fitness coaches today.


Benefits of Yoga

The Many Benefits of Yoga

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Practicing yoga is about more than deep breaths and extreme flexibility. In a world where we are constantly on the go, starting a yoga practice can help you pause for a moment, connect your mind to your body, and give you a stress-relieving workout no matter what your fitness level.

Here are some of our favorite benefits of doing yoga.
Benefit #1 – Decreases anxiety, tension, and stress
Taking a yoga class requires your complete focus and concentration. For the duration of the class, you get to tune out the world of your kids’ schedules, meal planning, and all of the tasks on your to-do list. Breathe in deeply and breathe out all of your stress and tension.

Benefit #2 – Improved mood and health
Stress can show up in your body in various ways—sleeping problems, back and neck pain, difficulty focusing, etc. Yoga is a mood booster and helps people cope better with stress, thus improving your overall mental outlook and physical health.

Benefit #3 – Lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome
The poses and postures of yoga are centered around your core, building up the muscles around your spine. With a strong core, your posture is improved and neck, back, and shoulder pain can be alleviated. Many yoga poses also focus on opening, stretching, and strengthening the joints of your body, which can help decrease pain.

Benefit of yoga #4 – Improved mobility and flexibility
Many people notice their bodies moving with new fluidity after just one yoga class. Over time, Yoga helps you improve the ease of your movement and mobility throughout your entire body. Doing 15 to 30 minutes of the elongated poses can also increase flexibility and balance.


Who is yoga for?
Beginners and Yoga Gurus
One of the best things about Yoga is that all fitness levels and ages can experience the mental and physical benefits from it. Don’t be intimidated by fancy yoga pose names. Most poses have advanced and beginner options so you can do what works for your body.

From beginner to yogis, you can benefit from yoga if you want to:
• Increase Mobility
• Gain strength
• Increase flexibility
• Strengthen your core
• Improve your balance
• Relieve stress
• Improve your breathing
• Try something new

Our Mind-Body program at Forma Gym is designed to facilitate wellness and healing by making movement and conscious attention a lifestyle practice. So no matter what your goal or fitness level, we offer multiple yoga class options that can help. Try a class with us and experience the benefits. Namaste.

mud run

What to Wear for Your First Mud Run

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So, you decided to sign up for your first mud run? Mud runs and obstacle course races (OCR) are a great way to challenge yourself physically, while trekking (and playing) in the mud. Getting dirty has never been so much fun!

Putting in the hard work at Forma Gym with high-intensity classes and workouts have helped prep your mind and body for your mud run, but prepping your wardrobe will be a little different than hitting the gym.

Here’s how to dress from head-to-toe.

Avoid wearing anything extra on your head like a hat or sunglasses. Some runs may have obstacles where you jump off a platform or swim through muddy waters. Once something falls in the mud, it’s pretty difficult to recover. Headbands that stay put are a good choice for women and men who want to keep hair out of their face.

Wear a shirt or tank that is form-fitting and has wicking fabric. This helps keep you dry and is less likely to snag on wire or other elements in the course. Whatever you do, avoid cotton. Cotton holds water and loses its form when wet. Your once-comfortable cotton tee will quickly become loose and soggy, and interfere with your race-day performance.

Compression shorts or pants will help wick away moisture, keep everything in place on race day, and keep mud to a minimum in sensitive body areas. Again, avoid cotton, even in your underwear.

Shoes and Socks
Your feet will probably be the first thing to get wet and muddy. They’ll also be the main thing giving you comfort during and after the course so dress them well.

Socks: Choose socks that are wool or wicking material. Follow the no-cotton rule again. Good socks will also help pad your feet from mud and other debris that could creep its way into shoes.

Shoes: Most mud runs will have extremely muddy sections where your regular running shoes won’t cut it. Trail running shoes are a better bet to give you some grip. Choose a shoe that has good tread, drainage, and support.

Remember that soon after you start the race you’ll be a muddy mess. No one else is paying attention to what you’re wearing, so dress for comfort and performance. Just remember you don’t want your clothes to become another obstacle.

Ready to hit the mud? Find a mud run near you.

Fitness Wearables

Top Fitness Wearables for Tracking Workouts

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Take the guesswork out of your workouts with a fitness wearable! Fitness wearables monitor your activity and health throughout the day, so you don’t have to. They can track your movement, including workouts and steps, and other health markers like sleep, pulse rate, and calories.

Take your fitness to the next level with some of these top fitness wearables.

Garmin Vivosport

The Garmin Vivosport has similar features of the Vivosmart, and adds a color display and built-in GPS so you can track your indoor and outdoor workouts with ease. Track distance, time, speed, pace, calories burned, and heart rate. The slim profile and stylish, comfortable design mean you can wear it from work to workout. Hop in the shower or go for a swim with it too because it’s also water-resistant.

Why we love it: The built-in GPS is the big selling feature here. You can use it for your next outdoor run or ride, mapping out your route while collecting data without lugging your phone around.

Buy it: $169.99. The higher price tag is worth it because of the built-in GPS and you might be able to snag a deal on Amazon or Best Buy.

FitBit Charge 3

A more lightweight and improved fitness tracker for the company’s third-generation device. The FitBit Charge 3 has a large black and white display and is waterproof. Its slimmer and sleeker design means you can wear it for all occasions.

Why we love it: The screen is 40% larger than the Charge 2, making it a cinch to track and see stats like heart rate, calories, and sleep. The battery life lasts up to 7 days and the touchscreen makes it easy to navigate. It’s also completely waterproof so you can track swims as well.

Buy it: $149 for sale at Wal-Mart, or Amazon.

Fitness Wearables

Xiaomi Mi Band 3

The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 packs a lot of features into a smaller price tag. The daily pedometer, heart rate monitor, sleep quality monitor, and sedentary reminder are just a few of the things you can track with this fitness wearable.

Why we love it: It’s budget price tag makes it an easy no-nonsense buy for those who want a fitness tracker without spending a ton. It’s also waterproof up to 50 meters and has a long battery life (up to 20 days).

Buy it: $32.99 on Amazon

Apple Watch Series 4

True to the Apple brand, this watch and fitness wearable is packed with features. A phone, watch, and fitness tracker all in one, the Apple Watch Series 4 offers compatibility from all major fitness apps, GPS tracking, and an onboard heart rate monitor.

Why we love it: The electrocardiogram (ECG) app, goes beyond recording your heart rate, showing heart rhythm and certified by the Food & Drug Administration, making it the first over-the-counter ECG alternative for consumers.

Buy it: Starting at $399 from Apple, Best Buy and Amazon.

Having the right fitness wearable can help you set and achieve your fitness goals. Tracking things like heart rate, calories, and sleep quality can give you an insight to your current health and help you set new goals to up your health and fitness levels.

Maximize your Gym Routine

Maximize your Gym Time with these Workout Routines and Tips

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We can think of so many things you’d rather do than spend all day at the gym. You don’t have to clock in hours on a treadmill to get the results you want. After all, no one has time for that! Choosing the right workouts and self-care can help you boost results so you can achieve health, even with your busy lifestyle.

How To Maximize Your Gym Workout Routines

Get It Done

High-intensity workouts maximize your efficiency by boosting your energy and helping you build muscle. Work your hardest for a set amount of time and leave your energy out on the gym floor. Your time and body will see the difference. Tabata training is great for this, giving you all-out bursts of intensity followed by short recovery periods.

Take A Stand

Most of us already sit for a large portion of our day. We sit on the way to work, at our desks, while we’re eating lunch, and then again as we relax in the evening. Avoid sitting while you’re exercising too. You can do the same exercises while standing for a more efficient workout. Standing engages your core and improves your posture, maximizing your workout just by being on two feet. Try standing while doing your sets of bicep curls or lateral raises.

Try Something New

Switch up your regular gym workout routine once in awhile so your muscles get to try new movements. Taking a new class such as TRX or Cycle keeps you from getting bored and helps you strengthen muscles more effectively.

Maximize Your Time Outside of The Gym

You’ll see the best results when you focus on your body even when you aren’t working out. Set yourself up for success by making the most of your time before and after your workout as well.


Eating Well

Eating well

Your body needs fuel to get through its workout. Eating proper nutrients before going to the gym will help keep you energized during your workout. Eating the right nutrients after your workout helps your body recover better.

Drink Up

Without proper hydration, your body can’t perform at its highest level. Water gives you energy, regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. Staying hydrated before, during, and after a workout helps you avoid cramps, dizziness, and fatigue.

Stretch It Out

Stretching protects your mobility and allows you to perform movements better, in and outside of the gym. It can be tempting to shave ten minutes off your workout time by avoiding stretching, but you’ll miss all the benefits. Stretching helps improve your flexibility and your overall performance.

You can maximize your time at the gym and maximize your results with these few simple tricks. Subscribe to our blog for even more tips on fitness and nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle inside and out of the gym. And to see upcoming events at Forma Gym, please visit our Event Calendar.

Why You Need a Fitness Community

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How Your Gym Family Helps Extend Your Life

Trying new things is hard! Most of us are set in our ways and don’t venture outside our routine very often. And while trying out a new gym can be a challenge, it also has a lot of benefits.

One of those benefits is the chance to develop new social connections. The right gym will not only help you reach your fitness goals, but it will also help you build a sense of community. Read More

Improve your mood

Improve your Mood with Exercise

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How Working Out Affects Your Mood

Getting regular exercise doesn’t just help you look better. It helps you feel better too. Working out is great for your body and physical health, but even more importantly, it improves your mental health, energy, and overall mood.

For those prone to depression, anxiety, or just general feelings of blah-ness (and isn’t that all of us at times?), regular exercise brings out the mood-boosting endorphins you need to get through your slump.

5 Ways Exercise Improves Your Mental Health

1. Instant Mood Boost

While it might take weeks or even months to notice the physical benefits from exercising, you will notice the mood-boosting advantages within minutes. Exercise really can be a quick fix. After just five minutes of moderate exercise, you can feel your mood lifting. It’s the most natural way to get a mood boost.

2. A Clear Mind

Anxiety and stress can take over your thoughts, leaving you paralyzed to make decisions or fearful of “what-if” statements. Exercises like Yoga, Kickboxing and Zumba take complete concentration. Concentrating only on your movement takes you away from your stress and helps leave it behind. You’ll come out of your workout with a more clear and focused mind.

3. Better Sleep

Start your day groggy and the whole thing gets thrown off. No one can think clearly or feel great on a night of restless sleep. Research has indicated that regular exercise can boost sleep duration and sleep quality. Expending energy through exercise can help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

4. Reduce Anxiety

According to an ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) survey, 7 out of 10 adults in the U.S. experience stress or anxiety daily. Constant stress can take a toll on your mental health and overall well-being. Luckily, exercise reduces anxiety by releasing feel-good chemicals that affect neurotransmitters. Exercise also increases body temperature, which helps induce a sense of calm. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.

5. Fight Depression

There’s no doubt that exercise has an impact on depression. One study showed that people who exercised regularly reported having fewer poor mental health days. It makes perfect sense because when you exercise, your body produces endorphins. These natural mood boosters increase optimistic feelings while reducing anxiety and stress hormones.

If there ever was a key to happiness, it has to be exercise. A short stint of physical activity can help you sleep better, clear your mind, reduce your stress, and help you feel better overall. Next time you’ve got the blues, go for a short run or take a new class, and feel the positive effects of exercise.

3 Group Fitness Classes You Haven’t Tried—But Definitely Should

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We know you don’t always have time to stay up on the latest fitness trends or try the hottest new workout routine. But you still deserve to have fun and get a killer workout!

Group fitness classes are particularly amazing for those with a busy schedule because they do most of the work for you! While you make so many decisions and have multiple thoughts throughout your day, these classes will let you turn off your mind and just be in the moment. Just show up to the class, follow the instructor and you’ll get a kick butt workout and have fun while relieving stress.

These group fitness classes provide just the right amount of fun and fitness that you need to stay sane in your busy world! Here are three group fitness classes that if you haven’t tried yet, you definitely should!

Group Fitness Classes

1. Dance Class (Groov3 / U-Jam / Zumba / Hip Hop)

Ever feel like you’ve lost your groove? Our dance classes will get you sweating as you learn a choreographed routine to some awesome beats. Don’t sweat it if it’s been a while since you’ve hit the dance floor. These classes are for all levels and will make you feel like your 21 at the dance club all over again!

2. Interval Training (HIIT / Tabata / Extreme Interval Training / Power Kickbox)

Bring your fiercest self and get ready to burn mega calories doing these high-intensity interval workouts. You’ll sweat out your stress in the cardio portion and then have a chance to catch a breather and reset during recovery. Don’t hold anything back!

3. Mindful Flow Yoga

Breathe in today’s worries. Breathe out relief as you tell them goodbye. This class allows your body, mind, and spirit to move more freely by focusing on breathwork postures, alignment, and meditation in a flow-inspired class. Experience a constant meditative state as you expand your awareness and your body’s ability to feel light, strong, and grounded. This class is for all levels, so don’t feel like you need to be a Yogi to join in.

Come try one of these group fitness classes with us. You’ll find that making yourself a priority and getting in some exercise will give you more stamina to handle all your tasks, not to mention enough energy to keep up with your hectic life!