WC Wellness Guide
Feb 20, 2018 04:17PM
By Deborah Burstyn
WC Wellness Guide
We get it, you're busy. You've got a job to do, kids to raise, errands to run—the list is endless. But you know that taking care of yourself is the best way to stay strong and active in your daily life. For a healthy mind and body, turn to these local gems.
By Deborah Burstyn
Photography by Alexxa Grace
Hardcore workouts at boutique studios and lux fitness clubs thrive in Walnut Creek—from kickboxing to weight training to dance to barre classes, locating an intense fitness class is no sweat. Instructors take students on athletic journeys through imagery choreographed to varied tempos of music. But while a heart-pumping workout can be satisfying, it's also important to slow down and find balance. If you’re up on the latest fitness trends, your day might look a little different this year: hot yoga or a run before work, meditation at lunch, and cryotherapy before dinner.
With so many styles, yoga trends are constantly changing. But the benefits from this ancient exercise remain the same—it relieves stress, strengthens your body, and boosts your mental health. Hot Yoga is hot right now. At Corepower workouts leave you dripping from workouts in rooms of varying degrees. For an extra-challenge, add free weights to your routine. corepoweryoga.com
This hot little studio just opened a second location in Danville. At Jenni Wendell’s Just Be Yoga, classes stretch the mind and body. Students in dynamic Vinyasa classes enjoy a rigorous, sweaty workout set to music in rooms heated up to 88 degrees. If heats not your thing, they also offer an array of other classes.justbeyoga.com
Just Do It
Sometimes you just want to sweat alone. FlyWheel expanded its fitness reach with “Fly Anywhere” an online platform that lets you stream live indoor cycling workouts right into the comfort of your living room. All you have to do is purchase one of their hi-tech bikes, along with a monthly subscription, for real time feedback on performance. The next generation of exercise DVDs is here, only with a much bigger price tag.
Meditation has hit it big again. Working a little mindfulness into your day can go a long way toward improving mental acuity. Fitness instructors of all stripes are incorporating five minutes before and after classes to give you time to unplug quietly during the day. The Valsalva maneuver, used in weightlifting workouts, involves taking a deep breath before lifting, and holding it while you lift. At the release, you exhale. If you’re new to meditating, simply sitting and breathing is the first step.
Once only available to elite athletes and super rich patrons of exclusive European spas, cryotherapy is now popping up all over. After three minutes in the deep freeze room at US Cryotherapy’s new Walnut Creek facility, your cells will be singing, while letting go of toxins, stress, and pain.
Cryotherapy uses low temperatures to flash freeze your body. Health benefits from “freezing” range from decreasing inflammation and healing tissue damage to increasing cell regeneration and improving skin tone. After the shock of an icy three minute blast, blood vessels constricted by the cold open in warm air, a process called vasodilation, leaving you looking and feeling great.
Owner Tim Fitzgerald inadvertently found his new business after spending years looking for alternative remedies to relieve debilitating pain from a herniated disc. “The release of feel good endorphins elevates your mood and can block pain reception signals. You can experience improved range of motion with pain reduction almost immediately,” he says. Unlike others in the market, US Cryotherapy’s cold chambers treat the whole body, head to toe.
The goal is to drop your body’s temperature by 30 degrees for two to three minutes. You’re given a beanie, a face mask, mittens and booties to protect extremities from frostbite. uscryowc.com
The cozy darkness envelopes and invites sleep, but instead you’re wide awake, attuned to your breathing. You are weightlessly suspended in the tranquil warmth of an infinite universe, while getting a boost for your skin, muscles and joints. That’s the beauty of floating in a flotation tank. Also known as isolation tanks and sensory deprivation tanks, they’ve been around since the 1950s. Thanks to superstar athletes like Tom Brady and Steph Curry, they’re making a comeback.
When Rebecca Sgambati, a Walnut Creek mom, engineer, and avid basketball fan, saw an ESPN clip about the Warriors using floatation tanks, she wanted to try it. She got the chance on vacation in Maui, but back home, the nearest tanks were in San Francisco. So she and her husband David opened Peak Performance Float in Shadelands Business Park.
“Throughout our lives, we have to hold up physically and emotionally. It’s amazing how much of our brain capacity is used to interface with the environment,” Rebecca says. “Floating creates a womb-like space of soundless darkness to help the brain and body relax.” It takes about 45 minutes of floating to reach that meditative state. Tanks contain 10 inches of filtered water and over 1,000 pounds of dissolved Epsom Salt heated to 93.5 degrees. peakfloat.com
Popular among people who are on the go and need a daily dose of nutrients, the cold-pressed juice craze continues. Solid food is sacrificed in favor of pricey fruit and veggie-based liquids. A bottle of pure nectar is touted for bright skin, clear mindset, and increased energy.
With bottled juices and cleanse programs, Pressed Juicery packs five pounds of produce into every cold-pressed bottle. Appetizing blends focus on greens and roots with extras like almond milk, dates, vanilla, and sea salt, pressedjuicery.com. Urban Remedy blends organic, non-GMO ingredients into its cold-pressed juices, elixirs, nut milks, and shakes. Formulated to “transform your life,” ready-to-eat meals and snacks also line the shelves of their boutique locations. urbanremedy.com
A pioneering force in the farm-to-table movement, what you see is what you eat at Tender Greens. Favoring transparency and locally sourced ingredients, this fast-casual chain dishes up big leafy salads and inspiring comfort foods. From the open-air kitchen, grains, greens and proteins are assembled and turned into healthy plates of Backyard Marinated Steak and Herb Brushed Albacore. tendergreens.com
Innovative dishes at True Food Kitchen feature simple ingredients based on the anti-inflammatory principles of wellness superstar Dr. Andrew Weil. While the mini-chain puts nutrition first, flavor is not neglected in Edamame Dumplings, Butternut Squash Flatbread Pizza, and Beet Bruschetta. An “Ancient Grain” bowl comes filled with miso glazed sweet potato, turmeric, snow pea, grilled Portobello, avocado and hemp seed. truefoodkitchen.com.
Grab Some Goodness
Heather McNeil makes healthy food convenient for carpooling parents and commuting workers. The savvy entrepreneur opened a place to pop in for tasty nourishment on your daily journey. At her carefully crafted Enroute Market off Treat Boulevard, pick up grab-n-go meals for breakfast or lunch. Affordably-priced selections include the Kale-Ifornia Nutrition made with scrambled egg whites, roasted veggies, crispy bacon and chimichurri sauce, and the Longevity Salad made with arugula, grilled tri-tip, red bell pepper and Vietnamese dressing. Plus they have kambucha on tap. enroutemarket.com
Muffin top. Back fat. Pot belly. Do these words make you cringe? If you’re ready to take off some extra pounds, Anne Gartner MD and her team at 360 Medical Weight Specialists take a medically supervised approach to comprehensive weight loss. “I will work with anyone who wants to lose five to 100 pounds,” says Dr. Gartner. “Weight loss should be viewed as a priority to optimize health, improve quality of life, and adjust insulin sensitivity.”
A trained bariatric specialist, Dr. Gartner grew weary of performing gastric bypass procedures and treating the end result of obesity, and decided instead to help people shed pounds before reaching crisis proportions. Her private practice focuses on wellness and weight loss based on a whole foods diet designed to reset the metabolism. Protein shakes, small portions, and alcohol only once or twice a week are key components. And for those bulges that won’t budge? Dr. Gartner can freeze your fat off with an in-office aesthetic procedure called CoolSculpting. 360.mws.com
Putting your best face forward just got easier. New technology continues to advance the results of non-invasive procedures as medical professionals customize treatments. Dr. Valerie Schneider is piloting micro-needling at her Lucent Aesthetic med spa. The treatment gently perforates your face with tiny needles to generate new collagen and repair aged or scarred skin. Micro-needling reportedly achieves the same results as lasers, but requires less time and money.
Dr. Schneider adds skin growth factor serum to her technique. “It’s like aerating your lawn and adding fertilizer at the same time,” she explains. Because the serum is sourced from cells of discarded neonatal foreskins, it’s rich in highly active human growth factors. “It’s the same principle as vampire facials which use spun blood cells, except it costs a few hundred instead of a few thousand dollars.”
Recently stepping away from her role as a pulmonary physician to move into the world of aesthetics, Dr. Schneider discovered micro-needling triggers the body's natural healing process. The subsequent cell turnover, and collagen and elastin production, can reduce lines, wrinkles, scars, age spots, and shrink pores. And it’s eliminates severe acne. lucentaesthetics.com
Do A Spa Day
Clients at award-winning Changes Salon & Day Spa are treated to time for reflection before each treatment, either soaking feet in herb-scented water or lounging to the soothing sounds of a water wall in the Aqua Terra room. Once relaxed, a wellness team member takes you to a private room for a face or body treatment.
Change’s “mini-getaway” package begins with a full body massage and exfoliating spa glow followed by a pampering spa pedicure and triple dip warm paraffin wax treatment. After this amazing two and half hour ritual, you emerge refreshed and rejuvenated. changessalon.com