Recreation Archives -

Celebrate the Breath During National Yoga Month



Did you know that September is National Yoga Month? 


September was deemed National Yoga Month in 2008 by the Department of Health and Human Services and since then there has been a noticeable uptick of interest in yoga and all the health benefits it offers.

These days, it’s not uncommon to find a yoga studio (or two) on nearly every block. And even in the times that we are living in, yoga studios are finding creative ways to offer classes either in person or online to get you on the mat.

If you’ve never practiced yoga before, you might envision sitting on the floor all tied up like a pretzel. But yoga is so much more than being able to touch your toes with your nose. 

Yoga is a practice…it embodies the idea of uniting your mind, body, and soul through asanas, or a series of postures that, when practiced together, create a flow. 


And at the foundation of all of this is the breath

Naomi Annand, yoga teacher and author of Yoga: A Manual for Life, says it best:


“Bringing your total focus to your breath isn’t part of the practice.

It is the practice.”


The breath is arguably the most important aspect of any yoga practice. Breathing deeply and in sync with your asanas is integral to any yoga practice. By learning to control our breath, we become calmer and more at peace. And this has a tremendous amount of health benefits.

Yoga has been shown to improve certain physical and mental health issues including high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, and depression. In fact, it becoming more common for patients to be prescribed “medicinal yoga” as part of their health and wellness regimen.


Just get on the mat

Whether you’re a newbie to yoga or have been practicing for years, there is always something new to learn. Even very experienced yogis will tell you that every practice brings new challenges and growth. This is why it’s a practice… 

But you have to start somewhere. And that somewhere is the mat. Just. Sit. Down.

Get comfortable with stillness. Learn to love the sound of your breathing. This is a great place to start and if that’s all you do for the entire time of your practice, that’s fine. 


Try a class… or two

Joining a yoga class, whether in person or online, is a great way to experience the benefits of group energy. This is especially true if you are a beginner.

Having a teacher guide you through the poses can be a huge boost to your confidence. Not to mention she will make sure you are moving and holding the poses correctly, because, believe it or not, you can get injured by doing yoga.

Many of the local yoga studios have either reopened or transitioned their practice online. Additionally, there are several holistic wellness centers that offer yoga classes for all skill levels. Robin Cervantes, the owner of Sanctuary Holistic Kitchen in Georgetown, holds various yoga classes weekly and schedules can be found on her website

Be sure to check out our guide and see if one or more of them is a good fit for you. 


Yoga as a way of life

Integrating yoga into your daily life isn’t as time-consuming or hard as it may sound. While some people can spend an hour or more a day on the mat, others practice yoga simply by taking five minutes and focusing on their breath. 

There is no right or wrong way to do yoga. And every moment in the practice is an opportunity to slow down. Pay attention. And just be.


At Wilco Wellness, we believe that health is a state of physical, mental, and social well-being.

It infuses positive energy into the body, mind, and spirit. The best journey is living to support a complete state of harmony. 

Thank you for reading our blog on Breath and September Yoga Month. Take this moment to re-boot and love the wonderful inner you.

If you would like to find a Yoga studio in your neighborhood please see our Directory 

Send us names of your favorite studios, Pics of poses on IG, and/or give a shout out when you leave your favorite studio and thank the instructor

– namaste 

As always, it is essential to discuss any changes in your diet or exercise routine with your primary care doctor.

While our information is necessary, every individual must be responsible for their due diligence concerning their health routine and guidelines.

If you do not have a primary care doctor or are looking for a clinician, please feel free to contact and schedule an appointment with one of the appropriate clinicians on our directory website.

Mind, Body & Sport: Wellness Advice from a Sports Performance Trainer


Whether on the field or off, student-athletes are human. What can parents do to best support their children during their athletic careers in school?


Sports Performance Trainer and local Head Football Coach, TJ Anders has trained student-athletes for the past 13 years and speaks from experience as a

former student-athlete,  a coach, and a parent. 

Coach Anders has trained athletes in football, basketball, rugby, tennis, and lacrosse to only name a few.  Although TJ focuses on speed and agility, he also understands that athletes are human. As a high school football player, TJ experienced great success as he broke records and was recognized for dominating on the field.  However, he had many mental hurdles to clear as he continued to grow and evolve in his football career.  He understood that he was not only an athlete from high school to college and even a semipro-football player, he understood that he was human. Because of his personal experiences, his conversations with athletes go beyond the field or court.  He’s committed to being a positive contributor to their well-being.  TJ preaches the importance of mental health and self-awareness in his sessions.  He speaks from experience. 

As we sat outside of a quaint coffee shop in downtown Round Rock, I picked his brain and asked him to share words of wisdom with parents and student-athletes alike.  I wanted to know if he could share anything, based on his lived experiences, and based on the hundreds of athletes he’s trained throughout the years, what would that be.


How can a parent support an athlete in their sport?

A parent should always know exactly what their athlete’s goal is at heart.  It shouldn’t be about what the parent didn’t accomplish but rather about what their athlete would like to accomplish.  Help them identify and shape their goals. Then find out what the athlete needs to reach their goals.  Do they need extra sports performance training?  Do they need to visit a chiropractor?  Do they need a massage therapist? It would be beneficial to the athlete if the parent is engaged in making sure the athlete is fully aware of where they want to be and to help them get there.

Show up and be present at their games or meets.  Truly be there and pay attention. Let them see that you support them at home and in what they love to do. The joy in an athlete’s heart to see their parents cheering them on is unquestionable.  And when the game is over, have a constructive conversation.  Even if they could have done some things better, don’t break them down.  Build them up.


What do you believe is the best way a parent can support their athlete’s well-being?

The best thing a parent can do for an athlete is to have open dialogue and transparent communication with them.  Your athlete should be able to come to you and talk about what’s happening on the field or court and in their personal lives.  For some athletes, talking is an outlet.  For others, playing the sport is their outlet.  Being aligned with your athlete will help you know the difference and to be there for them based on what they need.  If your athlete is a talker, stay engaged.  If your athlete is not a talker, make sure they know that you’re there if ever they need to talk. 


What do you think is today’s athletes’ biggest challenge?

I believe social media is their biggest challenge.  The amount of time they spend on devices is just not healthy for their mental or physical health. Athletes need to be balanced.  We didn’t have to deal with social media when we were growing up. Social media brings pressure.  They are exposed to so many different things including body image and bullying. 

As parents, we should encourage our athletes to be kids because it’s the only time they get to be one. Exposure to this overwhelming amount of access to the entire world can bring fear and anxiety.  We should monitor their screen time and their exposure to the world that is right at their fingertips. We must make sure that our athletes are aware that we are a source of truth, comfort, and balance before any friend or follower on their phones. 


What can the entire family do to support their athlete?

The entire family should move together and strive for healthier lifestyles.  Go for a walk together or work out together. Not only is that great for the athlete but also for each member of the family.  It would be beneficial to the athlete if the whole family committed to working together to be better. Family engagement is important because it increases the strength of the family bond.  Your family should be your first team.  And just like with any team, experiencing hard work and dedication together build stronger bonds.


What would be your advice to young athletes today?

If you want to maximize your talent at whatever level you’re trying to get to, you need to be curious about your journey and your sport.  Study the greats that played before you and those who are playing now.  In my years of training, I’ve come across athletes that don’t even watch the sport they play.  Stay curious and keep learning.  But don’t just learn about the sport. Learn and pay attention to your body.  Know how your body responds to training or nutrition.  Know your body and know yourself.  Improve your strengths but never be afraid to know your weaknesses.  Focus on your weaknesses. That’s how you get better. You need to make sleep a priority and give your brain a break.  Spending excessive amounts of time on your phone, a video game or tablet is not going to help you focus the way you desire to.  Also, make your mental health a priority.  Think positively and to do that, you need to remove yourself from negativity.  Make sure you have friends in your life that are doing constructive things.  Friends that have goals and aspirations are always great company.  Be respectful to your parents because that will get you very far.  Respect and integrity are two things that will get you extremely far with other people but also with yourself.  Always respect yourself and let that respect be reflected in your choices.

Working with a professional, experienced trainer will give your athlete an advantage.  Not only will they benefit physically but mentally as well.  It is important that the whole family engages in a healthier lifestyle and participates in what is important to the athlete to fully support them in what they love. 

At Wilco Wellness, we believe that health is a state of physical, mental, and social well-being. It infuses positive energy into the body, mind, and spirit. The best journey is living to support a complete state of harmony. 


Thank you for reading our blog on Mind, Body & Sport: Wellness Advice from a Sports Performance Trainer.

Sports performance and athletic trainers help athletes stay fit, perform at their best, and prevent injury but they also help to make sure student-athletes are healthy and well.  If you’re interested in becoming an athletic trainer or hiring one to help your athlete reach their fullest potential in their sport, do your research.  You can find more information about TJ Anders and the programs he offers by visiting  You can find a list of local athletic trainers by visiting the Sports section in our directory. Find more information about how trainers keep us safe and strong by reading about it in our Recreation Blog


If you’re ready to get your business listed on Wilco Wellness, go ahead and click HERE. After you submit the form below, we’ll contact you to discuss listing options and pricing. Thank you! 


Be safe and always consult your Doctor

As always, it is essential to discuss any changes in your diet or exercise routine with your primary care doctor.

While our information is necessary, every individual must be responsible for their due diligence concerning their health routine and guidelines.

If you do not have a primary care doctor or are looking for a clinician, please feel free to contact and schedule an appointment with one of (the appropriate) clinicians on our directory website.


3 Wild, Western, Williamson County, Texas Towns You MUST Visit

Central-Texas-Road-Trip WilcoWellness

Jarrell, Walburg, and Florence, Texas, made their mark in the late 1800s and continue to bring wild west vibes today


Maybe you’re a cowboy or cowgirl at heart. Perhaps you want to go back in time to ride the rails of the Bartlett & Western Railway. Maybe you dream of roaming the plains bareback, play cards in the saloon and wake up to a new adventure. From fashioned saloons to preserved buildings, read on to learn more about the history of these historic towns and what they look like today.


History of Jarrell, Texas:  


You will want to move to Jarrell, Texas. Jarrell can be found on the map smack dab on Donahoe Creek at Interstate Highway 35 and Farm Road 487. Locals like to say it’s “North Central” Williamson county or “just up the road from the Bell county line.”

Two gentlemen found this town in 1909 at the intersection of stagecoach road and the proposed right-of-way of the Bartlett and Western Railway. You can find their names, Jarrel of Temple and E. Haeber of Bartlett, frequently marking their excellence around the town. Soon after the railroad reached the town, businesses began to open their doors, including a saloon, and two stores, followed by a bank. The Jarrel View began printing news shortly thereafter in 1911, and the town post office opened in 1912. Jarrel peaked at 500 folks in 1914,  establishing a swanky hotel, movie theater, electric lights, and waterworks. Jarrell made national news on May 27th, 1997, after a deadly tornado struck and killed 27 people and injured many others.

The population reached 1,000 people in the year 2,000. And as of 2019, the town’s population is up to 1,209 people.

You can find more local news in the My Jarrell Monthly issue online. Stay up to date on business spotlights and town events, including the Practitioner Highlight.


Things to Do in Jarrell, TX:  

 Cheer for the Jarrell Cougars:

Rah! Rah! Ree! Kick ’em in the Knee!

As a 4A Division II school, spend crisp fall evenings watching the Jarrell Cougars. They often play Salado Eagles, Waco Connally Cadets, China Spring Cougars, and the Gatesville Hornets.


 The Granary:

Live music. Cold drinks. Food trucks. Must I say more?

The Granary is a local hub that “brings all of our favorite things to one location.” You’ll find “Good drinks, Good Food, and Good People,” but most importantly, they’re home to The Bar and BQ, offering a medley of drinks and some of the best BBQ around.


 The Social Grounds:

Sip and socialize at this quaint coffee shop located in Jarrell, TX. Known as a “cup of heaven,” enjoy delicious hot or cold beverages like a caramel macchiato or Chai Tea.


 Daylight Donuts:

Pick up a sweet treat! Daylight Donuts offers a plethora of round delights that can make any morning worth getting up early for.


 John Mueller’s Joint BBQ:

Brisket Mac & Cheese and Creamy Jalapeno Slaw? Yes, please! Take a trip down to Johns for some of the best BBQ this side of Wilco.


Visit Historical Churches:

Established in 1889, Holy Trinity Catholic Church of Corn Hill will leave you breathless. Attend a church service Saturdays or Sundays. Be sure to get your tickets for the bazaar coming up in September!



History of Walburg, Texas  


While you’re checking out Jarrell, be sure to drive about 15 minutes south to explore German town, Walburg, TX.

In the 1880s, two Lutheran churches opened for service and, interesting enough, are still very active,  one is operating as a schoolhouse. In 1881, Henry Doering moved into the area, opening up a post office and general store. After settling, Doering decided to rename the town, once known as Concordia, after his hometown of Walburg, Germany.

By the 1890s, Walburg’s population was around 16, but quickly became a shipping point and a judicial seat. At this time, you could find a local blacksmith, shoemaker, drug store, banking facilities, and a cotton gin. Near 1904 the population rose to 102 and in 1925 to 200. It seems Walburgians keep to themselves. Given the recent growth in Central Texas, this might not be a bad idea. In 2009 the census estimated 207  for the population. However, Walburgs Facebook page is sporting 629 members.

You can find many different ethnic backgrounds in Walburg, including Czech, German, Wendish, Austrian and Swiss. As a town with a strong German history, it’s no wonder locals flock to the Walburg German Restaurant & Biergarten for dishes that delight. We highly recommend the Hausgemachte Bratwurst and Hunter Chicken.


Walburg is a tiny town. Don’t blink as you go through it!


 History of Florence, Texas 


Located on State Highway 195 in Northwestern Williamson County, it brings you a small town known as Florence, TX. Settlers came to this small town in the 1850s and called it “Brooksville” for a short time. After a post office opened in 1857, the name “Florence” became its official town name. Unfortunately, the history of the name change is unknown at this. However, it might derive from a small town in Florence, Alabama, which was the hometown of the post office owner.

After the Civil War, Florence quickly became a booming cattle town, especially when wheat and cotton were popular. Then, in the 1890s, Florence became home to doctors, photographers, a stone quarry, a bank, lodges, mills, churches, retail stores, and even a cheese factory.

Under the direction of W.S. Holden, Florence College began educating youth in 1895. Like Walburg and Jarrell, the town hosted the Bartlett and Western Railway until 1935 until it became abandoned. It’s estimated the town population grew steadily over the years, with recent years of 1,054 people in the year 2000.

Today, you’ll find D. Boones Country Store & Cafe and excellent Mexican-inspired food at Mano’s Mexican Food. Looking for some great shopping with the girls, The Main Street Co-OP in Florence is amazing. Wonderful shops and shop keepers we promise you will not walk away empty-handed!

 We encourage you to visit these small Texas towns by bike or horse buggy. You’ll want to take a camera and capture the beauty born by the western tales of time. Thank you for reading this blog! For more like it, please stay up to date on our newsletter and social media posts. You can find “Town News” in our blog section. Additionally, if you have anything you’d like to add to this brief town spotlight, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!


Wilco Wellness














Five Unique Exercises That Make a Great Workout

Unique Summer Sports Wilco Wellness


In the same way that your body eventually needs a water-cooler break, your mind needs stimulation to stay motivated


Let’s face it! Running on the treadmill, squatting, and doing the plank can become awfully monotonous, especially if you are exercising at home or using YouTube as your guide.  Some of us might benefit from a regular change of pace. But there are also those of us who choose a routine and stick with it, often until we become burnt out. Whether you’re looking to flip your current routine on its head or simply spice up your current routine, we’ve got you covered. These five unique exercises can add flavor to your workout routine and help you enjoy keeping fit:


Pole Dancing:

As a full-body workout, pole dancers perform acrobatic tricks by either suspending their weight in different positions or propelling around the pole. It takes a great amount of strength to even climb the pole, and each pose targets different muscle groups. That makes this resistance training and cardio duo an epic exercise option for anyone ready to swing into a new routine. Sound fun? Learn about a popular pole dancing studio in Round Rock: ATX Pole Fitness.

Sweat with Infra-Red:

You will undoubtedly earn the burn with the first-ever fusion of heat, infra-Red energy, and exercise center: Hotworx. With locations in Austin, Cedar Park, and Georgetown, Hotworx is a wonderful community that is accessible throughout our county. Crawl into a hot sauna to “namaslay it” any day of the week, and any time, too; Hotworx has 24/7 access for members. Scorch calories in Pilates or Yoga, and when you feel like trying something new, check out barre, rowing, cycling, and more.

Trampoline Park:

Did you know a 150 lb adult can lose 42 calories in around 10 minutes while jumping on a trampoline? As a whole-body exercise, the g-force that bouncing produces helps burn fat and builds up muscles. You’ll start to firm up the body, especially the legs, arms, and stomach, and most likely you’ll get a great ab workout from laughing, too. Do we need to say anymore? Jump on that! Check out Altitude Trampoline Park in Round Rock for a workout the whole family will enjoy.

Yoga with Goats

Baaaahhh! We’re seeing the latest craze in doing yoga with odd animals, especially goats, and we are loving it. In fact, this trendy exercise has captured the imaginations and Instagram feeds of thousands. Along with boosting strength with each set of poses and stretches, your mental health will benefit, too. Time spent with animals is never wasted. Nearby Lake Travis, Yoga & Goga offers Goat yoga multiple days each month.

Flow with Aerial Yoga

Imagine yourself suspended in the air, soft fabric twisting your body into traditional yoga poses and stretches. Two great benefits which come with performing aerial yoga are relief of back pain and improved flexibility. Some poses you may not be able to do on the ground are more accessible using the Aerial silks. The body is allowed to lengthen, and the spine becomes decompressed while hanging freely, allowing for improved joint Range of Motion. Ying Yoga in Cedar Park and Warrior Wellness in Liberty Hill can help get you addicted to this fun and challenging workout.


The more you enjoy your workouts, the more efficient they will be


Switching up your workout routine often helps you to stay motivated and keep your head in the game. In addition, it gives you more chances to meet like-minded individuals and build a strong community around you.
We encourage you to check out our directory page to find local places to get a sweat in and learn about unique workout experiences nearby in Williamson County. Head on over to our Recreation blogs and get an insider track on different sports, gyms, and unique styles available in your town. Knowing a little before you go often makes the new experience better! The main thing is to have fun, get a little or a lot physical and stir up those endorphins with something a little new in your routine.

Fun Ways Kids Can Learn about Ecology In the Garden

KIds Discover Ecology in the Garden Wilcowellness

Why is it important to have a relationship with the Earth?

Encouraging the younger generations to form a relationship with the Earth is a mission that has been passed down for thousands of years in cultures around the world. The difference is that now it is more important than ever because of the changing climate and the danger humans have created in our ecosystems. We must serve as examples for our children to continue our work in the future. Building and nurturing a  relationship with the Earth is just like having a relationship with a person, based on mutual respect, empathy, sacrifice, and the desire to understand one another. The Earth provides us everything we need to not only survive but to live happy and fruitful lives. In return, we are responsible for taking care of it.

Practice and play to build a better relationship:

The most effective way to build your kids’ relationship with the Earth is to get them engaged and involved. Here are some activities you can try together.



Geocaching is an activity in which people use an app and a GPS to hide and search for containers called geocaches. These containers are hidden all over the world. Going on an adventure with your children is like hunting for buried treasure and encourages them to get outside and enjoy nature. Try the Geocaching app by Groundspeak Inc. on your phone for your first treasure hunt together.

Get crafty:

At the next family craft night, plan a nature-themed activity. You can paint flower pots with plastic-free paint, press flowers, or even build a birdhouse. A team of moms have created the perfect game Wildcraft board game.  This game will teach your kiddos and you all about plants and herbs, which ones are not safe, which ones you can eat, and feed the animals.   The possibilities are endless, and it’s an excellent opportunity to grow closer.


Plant flowers or veggies:

One of the easiest ways to give back to the Earth is to grow something in your backyard. Consider creating a small space for your kids to have their little garden. Fill it with their favorite flowers, and put them in charge of watering it every week. This not only builds their relationship with the Earth but teaches them the responsibility of caring for something.


Make seed bombs:

Have you ever heard of a seed bomb? They are made with just three ingredients: clay, soil, and seeds. The clay protects the seeds from animals, and the soil provides the necessary nutrients for the plant to grow. Wildflower seeds are among the hardiest and are therefore the go-to for seed bombs. Once they have been made, simply drop them on the soil surface and leave them to grow. No planting is needed.



Pollinator garden:

Pollinators are the backbone of our ecosystem, yet they are dying at alarming rates. It is up to us to provide havens for them to work. Try growing a pollinator garden in your year, or even a small one on your balcony. All you need are some perennial milkweeds and wildflowers native to your area.

 Host a “green” birthday party:

Encourage more kids to have a relationship with the Earth by hosting an eco-friendly birthday party for your child. Use biodegradable decorations, go to the park, have a scavenger hunt for local flora, or watch a movie with environmental themes.


Getting kids involved with the world around them from a young age encourages mindfulness, which they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Be an example for your children, and they will grow into empathetic adults that treat our Earth with the utmost respect. 

learn a little more at:

Warrior Wellness: What it Means to Be A Warrior Princess

Warrior Wellness Holly Johnson WilcoWellness


“Warrior Princess.” That’s what her father called her after witnessing her battle against a chronic illness for years.

Holly Johnson struggled with severe scoliosis and fibromyalgia, which causes pain and fatigue. And so be it that the name of her business bloomed from a spark in her father’s love. 

Holly did not choose to have a chronic illness but quickly realized “health” was not an option. She had to stay healthy to remain alive. Additionally, she decided something even more important to help her through her journey, and that’s a positive mindset. She made an effort to be positive and grow through her experience, which has made her into the strong individual she is today. 

She understands the word “health” may leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth. Holly would like people to know that the journey to wellness can be a battle and encourages the “warrior” to come out of her clients. “It is a blessing to help a person find their warrior and change one step at a time,” says Holly. Amongst her bravery, “Warrior Wellness” was given its name as a way to inspire clients to “remember the strength they possess and the power they have to change. 

As a Corrective Exercise Specialist

Holly has used her education and experience in nutrition, strength training, behavior change, yoga, aerial yoga, and aqua aerobics to overcome her health challenges. Her past experiences have fueled her devotion to helping many others get the same positive results at Warrior Wellness, which has been open for six years. 

She offers classes on personal training or small group classes, yoga, and geriatric yoga, aerial yoga, corrective exercises, postnatal exercises, and meal prep services. 

She explains her favorite thing about teaching is, “seeing my clients realize how capable they are. Whether it is the ability to move better, make healthier food choices, manage stress, relate in new ways. It is always a great experience to see someone realize they can make their goals reality.” 

We asked Holly what she hoped her students would get out of the course. “I hope my students feel better-physically, mentally, behaviorally, spiritually. I hope they learn that we are integrated beings and need to look at our lives as a whole to be able to find what true wellness looks like for each of us.” 

In her practice, she focuses on the whole “mind, body, and spirit,” which is something that Wilco Wellness truly connects with as an organization. 

In the future, she hopes to provide Liberty Hill with an integrative wellness experience. She regularly teams up with other local practitioners to give her clients well-rounded and comprehensive expertise. Some of the local practitioners include functional medicine practitioners, massage therapists, nutrition coaches, and chiropractors. She says, “I look forward to making more of those connections to bolster the wellness of my community.” 


Individuals like Holly make us feel less alone in this world


You don’t have to go through struggles by yourself, and we’re so happy to have individuals like Holly to help guide us. This is precisely what our mission at Williamson County is all about. Every person has their lows, but we’re a family that has one common goal. We can help support each other by thinking big and having a positive mindset. 

We want to encourage you to visit Warrior Wellness, especially if you’ve put on your brave face, like Holly, and are overcoming challenges that life throws you. You can find Holly’s information in our directory right here. Thank you so much for reading this town spotlight.

Check into this fun video by Holly on a really wonderful Figure 4 stretch 


Ballet Barre Exercises Are Worth A Try?

Barre-lieve it WilcoWellness

If you’re wondering, is barre enough of a workout? You better barre-lieve it!

Barre is a unique exercise that combines yoga, pilates, and ballet to improve strength and posture, flexibility and balance, stability and endurance, muscle definition, and weight loss, all in one. Oh, and one of the best parts? You can easily do your barre workout at home and many barre studios in Williamson County offer live stream classes and on-demand classes too.

 If you have been scanning the internet for a barre workout near me, we have you covered. And if you’re wondering, is barre enough of a workout? You better barre-lieve it; this total-body workout is verifiably worth it (and no, you don’t have to wear spandex).


A Brief History of Barre

If you’re worried that your body isn’t cut out for barre—don’t be. This workout is for everyone. In fact, it was first developed in 1959 by the ballerina, Lotte Berk, after injuring her back. Determined not to let herself get out of shape, she combined her ballet exercises with her rehabilitative therapy and pioneered a fitness program that anyone of any fitness level can benefit from.

After discovering this unique method, Berk opened her first barre studio in her West End basement. Fun fact? The marvelous Barbra Streisand was one of her first students. Barre slowly but surely grew in popularity over the following decades, but it wasn’t until the release of the film Black Swan that barre hit the big time. And we’re glad it did!


What is Barre Exercise Good For?

Barre isn’t considered a high-impact workout, although it will get your heart pumping. This unique regimen combines yoga, pilates, ballet, stretching, and sometimes dance along with what are called isometric holds. What that means is, throughout the workout your muscles stay constantly contracted and engaged.

Rather than flitting (and panting) about the studio like you might for another aerobics class like jazzercise, barre brings your heartbeat up then allows you to cool down while focusing on strength and posture-building hold. This is one heck of a total-body workout we are talking about. The health benefits are vast:


  • Strengthens muscles: Your muscles are always engaged during a barre workout session. If you’re expecting to bulk up, barre may not be for you; think long, strong, and lean.
  • Full-body workout: Rather than working your legs one day and your abs the next, barre takes care of multiple muscle groups all at once.
  • Raises heart rate: As far as cardio goes, barre isn’t as intense as running, cycling, or rowing, but it does boost your heart rate as you move one from beat to the next and make smaller, pulsing movements with each pose.
  • Connects mind and body: Barre can improve your spatial and bodily awareness and help you be more balanced and less prone to falls.
  • Burns fat: Barre targets muscle groups throughout the body and raises the metabolic heart rate, helping you burn fat and feel more energized.
  • Improves flexibility: Ballerinas are notoriously flexible, and ballet stretches are a big part of barre that can help protect your body from injuries.


What to Expect at Your First Barre Class:

 While the barre method is generally consistent from studio to studio, keep in mind that each studio does things a bit differently and teachers bring different methods and paces to their classes. To brief you on the basics of barre, let’s focus on the four different components you are most likely to encounter at class: ballet, pilates, yoga, and stretching. You can expect to be challenged with moves like these:


  • Cat/Cow: Warm up your abs and your spine with this yoga-inspired move. Begin by standing with your feet slightly wider than your hips and angle your feet outwards slightly to protect your knees. Bend at the waist and seat yourself at an imaginary chair with your hands resting on your up thighs. Take a deep breath and draw your belly button in, bring your chin to your chest, and round your back like an angry cat. As you exhale, lift your chin straight forward, push your chest out and stretch that back. Just five reps are needed here!
  • Arabesque lunges: Your glutes and legs will thank you for this one. Start by standing with your hands resting on a chair with your left foot slightly angled outwards. Squeeze and tighten your lower body muscles. Then, lift onto your toes, snap your right leg behind you into an arabesque, bring your legs back together, and draw that right leg behind you into a lunge before returning to your starting position. To feel the burn, start by doing 10 reps on each side.
  • Horse pose: Here’s an example of an isolated hold that pulses, keeping lower body muscle groups engaged throughout. Begin by standing with one hand on the chair and your legs nice and wide so that you can squat at a 90-degree angle. Stack your shoulders over your hips and squat. Instead of coming back up, stay low and pulse up and down slightly, keeping your glutes and leg muscles contracted. Challenge yourself to do this for one minute to begin.
  • Triangle poses with a modifier: Yoginis know the triangle pose well. Start by standing with your legs wide enough that you can bend forward and place one hand on the ground or your ankle. Twist your chest out and up towards the ceiling and extend your free arms towards the ceiling. Slowly bring your gaze upwards to focus on your hand. You should feel this one in your obliques.


Barre Workout Classes in Williamson County 

 Okay, so maybe you would prefer having a teacher lead the way. We have some excellent options for barre workout classes nearby in Williamson County, both in the studio and outdoors. Not sure where to try barre? A community awaits you!


  • Barre3 in Cedar Park: If you’re new to barre, this studio is a great place to start. They offer one free class for new students and offer what they call a “science-backed approach” and emphasize that teachers have plenty of modifiers to suggest so that everyone will feel comfortable participating regardless of their individual fitness level.
  • Todd Pilates & Barre in Austin: With three locations in Austin and another opening soon, Todd Pilates offers their first class for $5 and your first 10 classes for 50% off. If it’s difficult for you to head to the studio, you can also jump in on their virtual classes or stream on-demand classes anywhere in the world you are.
  • Pure Barre in Round Rock: Comparatively, Pure Barre maybe a little on the expensive side but what you get is a proven method taught by highly-trained instructors as well as the experience of training with one of the original barre studios. First-timers get to enjoy their first class for free and live stream classes are available as well.


So, is barre good for losing weight?

You betcha. By some estimates, if you work as hard as you can, you can lose 500 calories in one 45-minute class, and this isn’t too far off from 45-minutes of running. More importantly, we ask: is barre fun? If you ask us, that’s a no-brainer. Barre has attracted thousands of enthusiasts who swear by the method. First, because it works. And second, because it’s a great time, and a wonderful way to meet others in the Wilco community.


Want to supplement your barre workout? Visit our Sports directory page to learn about the variety of exercise classes and coaches available to you nearby.

While you’re at it, learn about heart-healthy foods that you can pick up from farmers markets in Wilco

The Benefits of Pilates for a Your Mind-Body Connection

Pilates-and-Benefits WilcoWellness

Something tells us you are on the hunt for a pilates workout nearby

We’ve got you covered! But first, let’s go over the basics.

The 1980s was a spunky, colorful, and cardio-crazed decade for exercise enthusiasts. This quirky period in time was marked by several notable fitness fads that have since lost popularity or have entirely disappeared. That might have to do with the fact that the vast majority of these fads weren’t nearly effective enough to make up for the fashion faux pas that came with them (unitards, anyone?).

When finally the inevitable burnout took hold towards the end of the decade, several slightly more relaxed workouts hit the mainstream, including spinning and pilates. Pilates had actually been around since the sixties when Joseph Pilates introduced what was then called “Contrology” to ballerinas in New York City.

Joseph Pilates had a difficult childhood, plagued with rickets and asthma. To overcome his ailments, he became a student of yoga, martial arts, and zen meditation- all of which would come to play a part in pilates (the method). On the rebound from the eighties aerobics mania, people were drawn to pilates because it was less aggressive yet every bit as transformative in its own way.


What kind of workout is Pilates, exactly?

Walking into a pilates studio can be intimidating, given all the fancy-looking machinery involved. But it’s not as complex as it looks, and anyone of any body type can benefit from pilates immensely. In fact, it’s in part thanks to the machinery that makes pilates such a flexible option for people no matter where they are on their fitness journey. In essence, your workout is perfectly adjustable, and there’s no getting yelled at by Gene Simmons to step it up if you want to “party off the pounds.”

Pilates is a low-impact workout that focuses on improving strength, flexibility, and posture, and balance all in one. It can easily be adapted to amp up the challenge and is used for both rehabilitation purposes and as a challenging workout for professional athletes. Like Yoga, there are a limited number of exercises utilized- around 50 different exercises, to be precise. Each focuses on a different muscle group to improve strength, endurance, posture, and balance.

As for those intimidating machines? That machine is known as the Reformer, and it’s essentially a sliding platform within a box-like frame that provides resistance to movement using a simple pulley system. For the most part, the Reformer isn’t necessary, though it can amplify the challenge and increase strength-building. Still, most Pilates exercises can be done on a mat or from the comfort of your home, and the exercises can always be modified to increase (or decrease) resistance, with or without a Reformer.


How is Pilates different from Yoga?

The spiritual component emphasized in some Yoga classes can be a turnoff for some people who simply wish to work out. While pilates and Yoga have their similarities, meditation isn’t one of them. Both foster a mind-body connection, but pilates tends to be much less “woo woo” and much more kinesthetic. In other words, it will teach you to become more aware of how your mind connects with your surroundings using your body as a vehicle. That connection is purely driven by concentration and control, though, not meditation.


Other key differences to note include:

  • Whereas Yoga utilizes some aggressive breathing techniques that often have a spiritual emphasis, pilates uses breathing techniques for a more simple purpose of maintaining a consistent flow of oxygen to keep muscles relaxed.
  • Don’t get us wrong, Yoga is a fantastic workout, and you can achieve great results with consistent practice. But you’re more likely to see those results faster by practicing pilates consistently as the exercises are more intense and employ more resistance.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Yoga isn’t as easy on the body as it’s commonly made out to be. Without solid form, you can easily stretch yourself a little too far and injure your tendons or make pre-existing injuries worse.
  • If you’re hoping to improve your overall flexibility or the flexibility of particular joints, Yoga is ideal. But if you’re more interested in building strength, look to Pilates.


Is Pilates Good for Weight loss?

A consistent Pilates practice can help you tone your body, build lean muscle mass, and improve your posture, thereby lengthening your figure. Pilates certainly has a lot going for it, but it’s not exactly cardio-heavy. So while it is a great workout to help you stave off excess weight, you will probably have more success dropping pounds by swimming, cycling, running, boxing, or another aerobic activity. For some people, that’s a plus! But do keep in mind that 20-40 minutes of cardio each day is the optimal amount to lose weight safely.


Three Places to Try Pilates in Williamson County

  •    First up, Truecore in Georgetown offers reformer pilates, so it’s a great place to try those reformer machines if you’ve never had the chance or wish to up the resistance level of your workout.
  • Located in Cedar Park is a special studio called Pilates Island. Instructors at this studio bring over 15 years of knowledge and experience teaching pilates around the world. Besides offering reformer pilates, they also have a number of other equipment options available to vary your routine, including TRX.
  • Last but certainly not least, we also recommend Pilates 512 in Round Rock. Here, you can benefit from either group classes or one-on-one instruction in a studio that is clean and beautiful. With smaller class sizes, you are guaranteed to receive individual attention as well.

How lucky we are here in WilcoWellness to have so many workout options, from indoor classes in studio settings to the many outdoor trails that contribute to the sheer beauty of our community. We enthusiastically vouch for the effectiveness of pilates both in the general sense and at studios in Williamson county. Just keep in mind that while pilates is fun and uber-addicting, you still have to get some cardio in to maintain a healthy heart.





Fun Cardiovascular Exercises for a Healthy Heart and a Happy Life

Cardio Exercise Ideas WilcoWellness

The best cardio workout is one that improves heart health,

builds stamina, and is enjoyable


Believe it or not, cardio workouts are where the fun’s at, especially in Williamson County, Tx. We’ll prove it!



What is cardiovascular exercise, exactly?

Commonly referred to as aerobic exercise, cardio is any type of cardiovascular conditioning that increases heart rate, oxygen flow, and breathing. Aerobic exercises that boost heart health keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels low while toning muscles and burning fat. Did you know that cardio is also one of the best ways to strengthen the immune system and ward off viral illnesses? Well, now you do!

Cardiovascular exercise means a whole lot more than running, too. Some of the most common cardio workouts include walking, running, swimming, and cycling. Seeing as Williamson County is a nature-lover’s paradise, there are many walking and cycling paths nearby where you can catch some fresh air while getting that heart rate up. But for those of you looking to jump outside the box and explore cardio with a creative flair, you’re in luck!


The Best (and Most Fun) Exercises to Improve Cardiovascular Fitness

Sometimes, getting out of the house is easier said than done. If you often find yourself cooped up at home or you’re working remotely, it’s important to make time for cardiovascular exercise regularly. The American Heart Association recommends that everyone catches at least 30 minutes of cardio 5 to 7 days per week. Just don’t overdo it, even if you’re trying to lose weight; pushing yourself too hard also comes with its risks.


Stuck at home? Give these 3 at-home aerobic exercises a try:

#1 – Weighted Hula Hooping – Hula hoops have been popular among children and adults alike for more than sixty years. Even though they were originally intended for children, weighted hula hoops are seriously gaining in popularity, so much so that they have inspired a TikTok challenge answered by thousands of enthusiastic hoopers. You don’t have to be a circus artist to get the most out of this exercise, either. Anyone with any body shape or experience level can do it. What’s important is good technique: moving the chest back and forth rather than circling your hips.

#2 – Dancing – No matter your age or body type, dancing is something everyone can enjoy whether they are dancing in their living room, at the club, or in the studio. All styles of dancing are beneficial to cardio health. Studies show that 150-300 minutes of dancing a week can improve strength and balance and break a sweat without being too harsh on the body. Furthermore, dancing is impactful for mental and emotional health as well. Scientists have discovered that memory and organization skills improve through dancing all while reducing stress, decreasing symptoms of anxiety and depression, and boosting self-esteem.

# 3 – Throwback Workout Videos – Just because it’s throwback doesn’t mean it’s any less challenging. Modern-day workout videos can be awfully monotonous, and it’s all too easy to become bored and lose motivation. Fortunately, we still have access to the ridiculously cheerful fitness gurus of yorn. Richard Simmons, anyone? One of the best things about throwback fitness videos like Simmons is that it’s easy to lose track of time while having fun. His sparkling attitude is addicting, and the inclusivity showcased in many body-types is something rarely seen today. When you’re hungry for more, check out Jane Fonda’s Step Aerobic Workout or Cher’s Hot Dance Workout Video. There’s nothing like the classics to make you feel good!


Need some fresh air? Take your cardio outdoors with these 3 exercises:

#1 – Kayaking – In search of a low-impact aerobic exercise on the water that increases strength and reduces stress? Look no further than kayaking. For a 175-pound person, kayaking can burn 396 calories per hour, compared to the 317 calories/hour burned by low-intensity cycling. This exercise is especially good for those with bad hips or knees, as the muscles targeted by kayaking are in the back and chest, the core, the arms, and the shoulders. Kayaking opportunities abound in Wilco. Grab a friend and keep cool at Lakewood Park in Leander where you’ll find two-person kayak rentals amid some of the most beautiful scenery Wilco has to offer.

#2 – Fitness Scavenger Hunt – For this cardiovascular fitness challenge, grab a friend or partner up in teams. Map out a route together, then list 10-20 landmarks that one might find along each route. These could be anything from a dog on a leash or a park bench, to a Wilco-based bakery (talk about motivation!). Beside each landmark, write out an aerobic exercise, such as 100 jumping jacks, 20 burpees, or 50 butt kicks. Whichever team completes the scavenger hunt first, wins! Even better, the losing team owes the winners a treat from town.

#3 – Rock Climbing – Climbing, otherwise known as Bouldering, is a total-body workout that builds strength and increases cardiorespiratory fitness. Whether you choose to climb indoor or outdoor, there are opportunities in Williamson County for every experience level. With each move up the wall, different parts of the body are challenged, and no two climbs are ever the same. A study conducted in 2004 found that rock climbing significantly raises heart rate and increases oxygen flow in the body, making it a tremendous aerobic exercise that burns no less than 8-10 calories per minute. Researchers in this study also found that the element of fear that is part and parcel of rock climbing boosts the exercise’s aerobic capacity as well.

Where to Exercise to Improve Cardiovascular Fitness in Wilco

#1 – Infrared sauna workouts at Hotworx in Round Rock

#2 – Community fitness for women at Burn Boot Camp in Round Rock

#3 – Barre, Boxing, and Cycling at Truecore in Georgetown

#4 – The floating obstacle course at Waterloo Adventures on Lake Travis

#5 – Chase your dog around at Cedar Park Bark

#6 – Cardio classes at the YMCA of Greater Williamson County

#7 – Martial Arts at a school, club, or dojo nearby

#8 – Yoga classes and workshops from Liberty Hill to Hutto

#9 – Explore each of Wilco’s beautiful nature trails

#10 – Join the Fit Foodie Interval Training Meetup in Leander

When it comes to cardiovascular exercise, one of the best ways to stay motivated is to change up your fitness routine with new and exciting activities. A little variety goes a long way. And for those of us in Williamson County, the opportunities are endless to improve heart health with aerobic exercises, all the while having fun.





Melt Away Stress at Hotworx in Cedar Park, TX

Hot Worx Cedar Park

Spring has sprung and summer plans are beginning

Hiking and trekking, beach outings, and returning to family and friend’s events are all in the works.  Hibernating through last year has left some of us a little sluggish.

Luckily, Susan Sandoval at HOTWORX in Cedar Park, TX understands, and we’ve provided the 411 after interviewing her below. Please continue reading for the scoop on HOTWORX and how it offered lessons more valuable than any workout routine ever could!


What is Hotworx?

It’s a virtually instructed exercise program created for consumers to experience the many infrared heat absorption benefits. Goers choose between 30-minute Isometric workouts or 15-minute High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions. Classes you can choose from are Hot Iso, Hot Yoga, Hot Pilates. Step it up just a bit and attend a Hot Warrior, Hot Core or Hot Bands session. The great thing is you can mix and match the classes that best suit your needs. Virtual instructors change up the flow of exercises and scheduling on your phone helps to slide in a workout session on the fly. No guilt and no excuses, freedom to set a schedule that works best for each individual.


According to HOTWORX, “As the infrared heat penetrates your body causing you to sweat, the isometric postures further accelerate detoxification by physically removing the toxins from your organs through muscle contraction.” Even after you leave the session, your body will continue to burn off calories and detox. Infrared heats you internally, so thirty minutes after your workout, you’re still burning calories. That’s the beauty of the heat!


Inside HOTWORX, you will find eight infrared saunas and four isometric stations

An isometric workout is one that involves little movement with high muscle engagement. You choose a position and hold it. For example, Susan’s favorite yoga pose is the Lord of the Dance. As a balancing pose dedicated to Shiva’s dance, you stretch muscles in your chest, abdomen, and thighs. This famous backbend yoga pose stimulates your heart chakra known as Anahata, associated with love and compassion.


More workout, less time!

High-intensity interval training, known as HITT, is a form of interval training and gets the heart going! This cardiovascular exercise strategy encourages short bursts of exercise with brief (30 to 45 second) intervals of breaks in between. You should be out of breath by the end of your workout. No fear! The sessions are much shorter due to the intensity level.


Go when you want, for as long as you please

Being open 24-hours, our members love that there is no set class schedule. They can come and go as they please. Whereas in other gyms, if you miss your scheduled class, you will most likely not get your work out on that day.

Susan says it’s popular for goers to do a quick 15-minute HIIT and then move to something else to keep up their momentum. Many love the belly burning benefits of core compressors. It creates instant slimming results, enhances calorie burning, and flushes out toxins.


Susan reminds us: “All things in moderation, as the saying goes” – including stress

With the bustling, busy times, we tend to rush to wake up, rush to work, rush to pick up kids, and rush to get our work out done so that we can run to make dinner and do it all over the next day.

Advised by her nutritionist, “it’s not good for you to be on the go, go, go!” At HOTWORX, her stress melts away. She says that it’s really hot in there, and she barely moves her feet while her heart rate elevates and lowers stress upon the body. She can pop on a good podcast, watch a show or meditate while getting in a good workout.


Thank you, Covid-19, for a new perspective

As silly as that may sound, Susan thanks the pandemic for her newly found awareness of things she didn’t correctly appreciate before the outbreak. She has started to learn new reverence for breathing easier since life was disrupted before opening her business in 2019.

She knows that health applies both physically and mentally. It tends to affect relationships and may even cause psychological issues and raise the risk of disease. Stress can also reduce our capacity to take care of one another. There are many benefits of reducing stress within your everyday life.


 It’s so important to take care of your mental health

With a heart full of a new perspective, she realized that she was spending money on things that were unimportant and spending time where it did not matter. She no longer values being caught up in worldly things and plans to go forward to make memories with her family. She plans to create less stress in her life, including during her workouts. And luckily, with HOTWORX, she’s able to do just that!

HOTWORX offers patrons a mental break when stress and anxiety come to be too overwhelming. However, Susan wants our readers to know, “There’s no right or wrong answer as to going to a gym during pandemic times. If you’re not comfortable going, just go for a walk, and everything else will fall into place.” She continues, “It’s so easy when you’re going through stressful times to watch Netflix, but getting out of the house – even for a walk – is so important. You need to get out of the house.”


Thank you, Susan, for taking the time out of your schedule to share with our Wilco Family.

We appreciate it very much and encourage our readers to check out HOTWORX when they can.

It might just change your life!