Usually, the Paseo Club publishes informative articles about research in health, the latest trends in fitness, and club events. Today we are departing from this model to share with you a personal story about Paseo Club member, mother, and physical therapist Brooke Gauvin-Wilk.
Brooke’s story is about her discovery of a new, safe, and incredibly effective method to better fitness using blood flow restriction training. Brooke’s experience with BFRT has not only changed her personal life, it has also positively impacted her professionally as a pediatric physical therapist.
Brooke’s story is inspiring and educational. We hope you enjoy reading this article about her!
Brooke’s history with fitness
Brooke grew up as a very active kid. She raced BMX bikes at the age of three and played soccer and softball at five. Sports and fitness continued to be an important part of her life, and she went on to play collegiate soccer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Even though she spent hundreds of hours playing sports, the truth was that she never really loved training. “I feel I have always been athletic but never really enjoyed being in the gym until recently,” said Brooke.
Joining the Paseo Club
Brooke became a member of the Paseo Club almost four years ago when her mother, Darlene, began to work at the club as the accounting manager. When Brooke first joined, she was very involved with pickleball.
But after a brief hiatus due to the birth of her baby in July of 2022, she decided to try something different. She had heard about a new type of fitness called blood flow restriction training and decided to try it.
“I was talking with my mom one day, and she said that (Fitness Director) Cezanne and (General Manager) Jen and some of their other trainers went to a conference, and they learned about something called blood flow restriction training. She asked if I wanted to try it with her, and I said, ‘Why not? Sounds interesting.’”
Brooke participated in one 10-minute mini-session. It was love at first sight.
What is Blood Flow Restriction Training?
Blood flow restriction training is a technique that uses cuffs that are applied to a person’s extremities to restrict blood flow while they perform exercises. Restricting circulation causes greater fatigue, muscle activation, and anabolic signaling, which leads to muscular growth.
BFRT allows the user to lift lighter weights and get equal or better results than if they lifted heavy. This system makes weightlifting safer, easier, and more accessible to more people.
Pre-op ortho patients
Post-op ortho patients
People rehabbing injuries
Bedrest and/or immobilized patients
But pro athletes, including Olympians, are using BRFT with great results. Swimmers, martial artists, powerlifters, and others have found that cross-training BFRT with their primary sport improves their athletic performance.
Brooke’s experience with BFRT
When Brooke began attending BFRT classes at the Paseo Club, she did not have a specific goal in mind. She was primarily looking to lose some of the weight she gained during her pregnancy and to become active again. “I just wanted to get back in shape after having my son,” she said.
But what ended up happening for Brooke may be the best busy mom fitness hack yet. By consistently attending BFRT classes, she ended up losing the 50 pounds she put on during her pregnancy. Plus, she gained more muscle and definition than she ever thought possible.
“Blood flow restriction has been a game changer in my workouts. I am able to work out for half the time and get better results than I ever have,” said Brooke.
Sharing the love
Blood flow restriction training has not only made an immense impact on Brooke, but it has also helped her mom and brother.
Darlene has become workout partners with Brooke, and they have been training together daily for the past 13 months.
Darlene and Brooke decided that Brooke’s brother, Gregg, should try BFRT and surprised him with a set of bands as a gift. He has been using the bands daily for the past four months.
Both Darlene and Gregg have lost weight, put on muscle, and they feel healthier than they ever have before.
Forging new paths in physical therapy
While Brooke is not busy being a mom and athlete, she is also a pediatric physical therapist. Since Brooke had such amazing results training with BFRT, she began to wonder how she could use blood flow restriction in her practice.
Brooke decided to get a certification in blood flow restriction. Once she was certified, she chose to try using blood flow restriction on one of her patients.
She implemented a protocol for her patient of interval walking with the goal of improving her gait mechanics and endurance.
Brooke recounts, “She was able to improve in many areas, including walking faster and significantly improving her endurance. I was chosen to present her case at a national pediatric physical therapy conference in October of this year.”
Final thoughts about blood flow restriction training
Blood flow restriction training is an approach to fitness with over 20 years of research behind it. It is safe for a wide range of people of varying ages, abilities, and experience.
BFRT allows people to work with lighter weights than usually prescribed and for shorter amounts of time in comparison to traditional exercise classes. This makes it a perfect choice for people who only have short windows of time to work out. Although, you don’t have to take the Paseo Club’s word for it.
“Blood flow restriction training rocks, and everyone should try it! If you are even a little bit skeptical, just give it a try once, and you’ll be hooked!” exclaimed Brooke.
The Paseo Club is a social club in the Santa Clarita Valley. We have provided health and fitness guidance and support for twenty years. We offer over 60 fitness classes each week, tennis and pickleball, and a junior Olympic pool.
Blood flow restriction training is just one of several small group training programs at the Paseo Club. You can also choose Pilates, HIIT, and much more. These six-week programs are a great way to get personalized attention in a supportive setting.
To learn more about the Paseo Club and all of our resources and facilities, schedule a tour today. Meet members, staff, and instructors to see if the Paseo Club is the right fit for you.
Jen Azevedo is a person of many talents. She is a tennis professional, pickleball professional, personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and the general manager of the Paseo Club. She loves the community at the Paseo Club and that it is also a safe and fun place for her daughter. Jen’s favorite activities are joining her tribe for trail races or her partners for tennis matches. Occasionally Jen slows down to relax with a book — she reads over 100 a year!