The Heart is a Muscle

heart health artworkBy: Nick Lape BS, HFS, FMS, IYCA, CRBC

The media and grocery store are not shy about telling you what to eat for heart health. But, what about what you should physically do to improve your heart? If you think about it in one way it can be very easy to understand. The biggest trick is realizing that the heart is a muscle. In order to make it stronger you must use it. Because, everybody all together now, if “You Don’t Use It You Lose It!”

What does this mean? I guess one example would be to say that in order to make any muscle stronger the tissue must be able to expand and then contract in on to itself. Adding speed and/or overload is where these muscle fibers begin to get stronger.

No, technically, you can’t hand your heart a dumbbell and say go, but what you can do is make it beat faster or add speed. The electronic impulses of the heart can be sped up through cardiovascular exercise (cardio = heart). Many people achieve this by running long distances and while that may work, one of the best ways that I have personally found to strengthen the heart is through short bursts of speed followed by a little rest. This allows the muscles of the heart to pump hard and then rest as if you were asking it to do one set of reps. And again, just like any other muscles, we do multiple sets of exercises. When it comes to the heart you can’t treat it any different.

We look constantly to media sources in order to see what we think our body should look like on the outside, but what about the inside? If we don’t allow the muscles of our heart to work as hard as the muscles in our arms or legs then we are missing a HUGE part of our overall health. The next time you exercise, add a little speed to kettlebell swings/snatches, sprints or any of your exercises — any of these can increase your heart rate. A simple change in your workout can increase your heart health. Let us know if you need our help!

Celebrate Moving Forward

Cheers to a new beginning, to moving forward. We can’t tell you how excited we were to celebrate our grand opening. We want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement! We were blown away by the number of people who came to the celebration.

 Grand Opening Cheers

Ecstatic can only begin to describe our feelings about being Maplewood’s newest fitness facility. We offer group training, personal training, and kettlebell classes. Before you stop reading because you have already grown tired from thinking about lifting a weight know this: we are not your average training studio.

  • We pride ourselves in making health fun. Very few people will continue to work out if they dread it. You will never leave our studio without a smile or chuckle.
  • We watch how you move, learn how you move, and keep watching. This may sound creepy, but it’s not. We screen you using the Functional Movement System (FMS) before we create a training program for you. Think about this in terms of an eye doctor. When you go to your eye exam, you don’t want to be given a random pair of glasses. You want the eye doctor to exam in your eyes to determine what prescription to give you. We aren’t going to give you a random work out. We want to see how you move to write a workout that is right for you! Once you have that workout we keep watching to make sure you stay in good form. We don’t want any injuries.
  • One size DOESN’T fit all. One size usually fits no one. By screening you we can create a workout program that fits YOU!
  • We have a registered dietitian on staff. Nutrition plays a HUGE roll in results. If you fuel your body with foods that promote health, you will see great results.
  • We don’t judge you. We welcome EVERYONE regardless of his/her fitness level. Whether you have never set foot in a gym or make it part of your normal routine, we have something for you.
  • We focus on the future. It can be easy to focus on the past and why things didn’t work out. At forward fitness we focus on moving forward and creating the future you want!

If you have been thinking about becoming active or looking for a better fit, we would love to move forward with you! Please email Suzanne at Suzanne@ForwardFitnessSTL.com to get started.

Don’t Train Before You Do This

By: Mike Klaus ISSA, FMS, RKC and Suzanne Doerries RD, LD, FMS

What is the FMS?

ffjune-205The FMS or Functional Movement System is the screening tool used to identify limitations and/or asymmetries in seven fundamental movement patterns crucial to everyday living. These are movements that not only allow you to train to your full potential, but ones that you do every day. Whether you are walking, carrying your child, moving equipment, gardening, getting up and down off the ground, or going up stairs, you are using at least one of the seven fundamental movements. The FMS shows us if there are any weak links in those movement patterns. It allows us to see how well your body is able to perform basic motor and stabilizing movements. It does this by placing you in positions where weaknesses and imbalances become noticeable if appropriate mobility and motor control is not utilized.

Can you fail the FMS?

No, the FMS is simply a screening tool that allows us to see how your body moves. It helps us to give you the best training possible. We re-screen our members every two to three months to see how their movements have changed. This allows us to make sure your training is current and relevant.

Why screen our clients?

Would you go to an eye doctor that didn’t test your vision before handing you a pair of glasses? Probably not. When you decide you want to start an exercise program, get over a plateau, or set personal records, it is crucial that you are doing movements/exercises that are helping your body, not hurting it. If you don’t have a solid movement foundation you will not be able to reach your full potential. Just like a crack in the foundation of a house, a crack in your movement foundation can cause problems. After we screen you we will know if there are any “cracks,” or exercises that will cause you more harm than good. We will also be able to give you exercises to help improve those movements. When we re-screen you we will hopefully find that those cracks have been repaired and you no longer have issues with that movement. It doesn’t matter if you choose semi-private or group training, every person who walks through our doors will be screened and get an exercise program that is fitted for them.