Got 55 minutes? Why not get fit Plana Forma style?
If Plana Forma sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the newest fitness trend these days, and celebrities and plainfolks alike are very much into it. Plana Forma has all the right ideas strewn together in a harmonious mash-up of Pilates, Yoga, dance and a New York-born fitness system called Physique 57, which in itself draws heavy inspiration from the awe-inspiring technicalities of ballet, sans the skill requirement.
Created by dance and fitness authority Julie Algalde in 2010, Plana Forma is an intense workout that focuses on muscle overload through isometric (static) motions, light weights, with emphasis on the core by repetitive motion to near failure or exhaustion, and then breaking to stretch before another motion is in order.
This may sound a little daunting to you but let us break down the terminology to fitness novices. In the case of muscle overload, the term relates to your body’s ability to level up and challenge itself by adapting to progressive workouts. With all the talk of “core” focused exercises, the core actually refers to our abdominals, back, pelvic floor and hips. Just think of an apple core. This area is of great focus for athletes in any sports activity because a strong core lays the foundation for practically everything. It is all about strength and stability, and for enthusiasts, a great core makes for a tight midsection.
With Plana Forma, a 55-minute session consists of all these elements, and guarantees to fire up your heart rate, becoming both an intense cardiovascular and strength intensifying session. The instructors boast that 600 calories can be burned in one session; however, one must not fixate on the numbers alone. Exercise physiologist Tom R. Thomas, Ph.D., director of the exercise physiology program at the University of Missouri in Columbia asserts that after an intense cardiovascular workout (80% of our Maximum Heart Rate), our bodies turn into metabolic machines up to two hours after. It’s integral to monitor our heart rate (check out exercise.about.com to find your levels and limits) - too low and you’re better off marinating in the couch, and too high may upset your natural rhythms and may even result to heart failure.