Episode 47 - Jo Formosa

May 08, 2019 18 min read

Episode 47 - Jo Formosa

   

  

Jo Formosa, the founder of Back2Health and co-founder of Health Dynamics globally, joins me today to talk about the benefits of detoxifying your body to renew and regain your performance and health. She found her way to Ayurveda through the experience that she has personally gone through in her athletic journey.

Jo is an Ayurvedic Health Expert, an Executive Health coach, and a Practitioner and International Speaker in Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Remedial Therapy and Neuro-Strategies with 25 years of experience and training at her back. Her vision is to help people achieve perfect health so they can lead happy and healthy lives free from pain, illness, and mediocrity. Living at optimal health will be the driving force to live your optimal life.

In this episode we cover: 

  • Jo’s journey through the years, her sports, her experience getting an injury and the highs and lows that came with it.
  • The benefits that cycling has brought to her life.
  • How a good digestive system can help athletes perform better in their sport.
  • Tips for detoxing.
  • A tried and tested way to rid our bodies of unwanted waste and toxins for better health.
  • An example of an athlete who went through a detoxification program run by Jo and how it helped regain his overall health and performance in sport.
  • The availability of online and face-to-face consultations with Jo.
  • The meaning of Ayurveda.
  • Understanding your body type in Ayurveda.
  • Ways of correcting imbalances before they manifest.
  • The most interesting thing Jo has seen with regard to the positive effects of detox.
  • Jo shares her funniest experience in cycling.

Links

Transcript:

FELICITY:

Welcome to the All Torque Podcast, where each episode we interview an inspiring person to share their story with you. I'm your host, Felicity Dales, managing director of Body Torque.

This is Episode 47. I have here today Jo Formosa, the founder of Back2Health and co-founder of Health Dynamics globally. Jo is an Ayurvedic Health Expert, Practitioner and International Speaker in Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Remedial Therapy and Neuro-Strategies Entrepreneur, Executive Health Coach, Business Owner, and Investor. Jo was an elite athlete and knows what it's like first hand to be in ill health, having seriously rupturing a disc in her back on her way to compete in the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a hammer thrower. Jo's vision is to help people, just like you, achieve perfect health so you can lead a happy and healthy life free from pain, illness, and mediocrity. Living at optimal health will be the driving force to live your optimal life.

Welcome, Jo.

JO:

Hi. Thank you. It's so nice to be here with you.

FELICITY:

It's lovely to have you. Health has always been your passion Jo, and through 25 years of experience training and treating thousands of people, you've learned how to balance modern life with the ancient ways of Ayurveda. You've set up one of the first Ayurveda clinics in Australia and have a strong record in guiding patients back to health through your multi-pronged and practical approach to healing. Specializing in serious health conditions – from cancer and digestive disorders to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and autoimmune problems – you have a knack for intuitively understanding the body and reversing even the most complex problems. With 70 to 80% of our immunity located in the digestive system and food intolerances, complaints such as irritable bowel syndrome is on the rise in Australia and throughout the Western World, and you're a strong advocate for gut health.

A serious back injury shattered Jo's Olympic dreams and changed the plot of her life entirely. Jo quickly realized that acupuncture brought her faster relief and recovery times than more traditional physical rehab. While the results were not enough to reopen the road to an Olympic medal, they did become the reason that Jo began to study natural medicine.

In the past, Jo always knew first hand that good athletes became great by training both their bodies and their minds. If an athlete got stuck in their physical program, medals were lost. Likewise, if an athlete got stuck in the mental program they were running, they also fell short. After discovering Ayurveda, Jo learned how to mix and match a variety of programs to help anyone seeking better overall health.

Coming around full circle, it was, in fact, Jo's extensive training in these various modalities that eventually brought her to the Olympics, that just in a different capacity than it originally intended. Jo was contracted to treat Olympic team members, and so took a crucial role in helping Australia win medals, perhaps more than if her back was never injured.

Tell us about your story, Jo; the highs and the lows, and your athletic days to where you are today.

JO:

Wow. That's a big intro, Felicity. Sometimes it's great to realize what we have done and how things have moulded your life. When I actually ruptured my disc, for my story, originally I was, quite as a young girl, I loved the sport. So I was always athletic in the sense of softball, netball, water polo and volleyball. Whatever I did, I tend to rep in because I just loved it. So I was just really sporty all the time. And so then, I wanted to, the reason I got into hammer throwing is because I wanted to get an A in HPE. And I was more shorter, I was more stronger, I wasn't a sprinter, I wasn't a high jumper, and I know these were the things to get you A in HPE in athletics. So we had the shot put and javelin and hammer throwing, and I actually happen to have a state teacher who was a hammer thrower. And so she taught me how to do hammer throwing, and before we know it, I was in the state team within 5 weeks. So that's sort of how I accidentally fell into it, and then I realized that, before you knew it, I was doing all the training, and I was with all the throwers, and it was more like a power sport, right?

Now that I've done my DNA, I actually realized that when I did a power sport or do heavy duty weight, my body puts on fat naturally. So I actually put on a lot of weight when I became hammer thrower, I went up to 95 kilos. And so between that and all of the training that we did, then I ruptured my disc, right? Though, you know, that was like a dream that was shattered. And I was like, "Oh my God. That's really where I wanted to be." And like, I know some of your, people that you work with, is that they ride, they want to be maybe in some sort of event and some injury happens; and then, it's like everything that you were planning for just disappeared, right?

And so I learnt a lot through that whole process; so I learnt how athletes got recovery. And I was actually working with the Australian physios; top physios in Brisbane at the time. So I was actually a practitioner in the clinic during all the remedial therapy where I was in like a really good ability to be with those people. So I learned a lot of how to work with Olympians and lots of stuff. So when we got the contract, I'd already gone through mock recovery, gone through healing, and then actually they took me into cycling.

So as I was recovering, I went, "Okay, what can I do to keep everything moving? Keep my back moving?" like that as well. And so I said, this is the funniest story; I bought a bike from one of my clients who was a triathlete. And that's actually how I met my husband, because he realized and remembered the bike, and went, "Oh, where did you get that bike from?" And that's how I actually met him. And he's actually a cycling coach, an Olympic cycling coach; so it's quite interesting how your life moulds out from a challenge.

FELICITY:

That's right.

JO:

That was my stuff with my back; but my back, particularly, I remember my surgeon saying to me, "Jo, don't worry. You're going to recover really well. Because number one, you're a business owner, you're an athlete, and you had goals." And he says, "There's no way that you're not going to have very good rehab." He said that once I have trouble with rehab, the people in workers compensation, who have to stay, who have to be bad to get nicest to compensated and be in the system. You don't want to be in the system. So it's really interesting that recovery is really very much on a mental level. So I learned a lot through that process.

FELICITY:

Fantastic. And so when you cycled, how did you find that? Did you continue doing that?

JO:

Well, what was interesting, because I put on weight being hammer throwing and within a short period of time, I lost 30 kilos. So I went from a power sport to an endurance sport. Endurance sport for my body type, particularly because what I do in Ayurveda, is I look at teaching people what their body types are and what sports suits your body type. And like even in cycling, like I was a track sprinter and that suited me, but I also did endurance and that suited me as well. Because sprinting is more of a long distance type of power sprinting; and where endurance is, it was interesting to see that I changed sports completely but it actually suited my body type as well.

FELICITY:

Well, that's amazing that you can adapt as well. It just shows you how adaptive our bodies are, doesn't it?

JO:

Yes, definitely. Definitely.

FELICITY:

Well, let's talk about why the digestive system improves your health since you have a passion around that?

JO:

So the basic thing I feel, and I'll put it into the context of athletes; people think that athletes are the healthiest people around because they exercise, they're moving. And actually, they have the worst digestive system.

FELICITY:

Right.

JO:

Because when you are exercising at a very high level, what happens is that your body will source for food and source for protein. Let's say if you are training for an event or let's say you're doing a triathlon, I did lots of triathlons; I've done cycling, long distance 100k and also short distance or whatever; but your body needs that protein source to grab it to either heal or to use it as energy. Once it's used, sugar is in the blood, it starts to look rather thin; so your gut lining, your stomach lining is move muscle. And your body will go searching for that and use that quickly. So then, if you're doing that repeatedly, what tends to happen is you can get inflammation of that gut quickly. So you can have problems with like your microbiome, which is like your good bacteria. And we'll have athletes that have digestive problems like a lot of bloating, a lot of flatulence, irritable bowel syndrome, or diarrhea, especially before an event, if they're getting nervous, right? Because the serotonin system; serotonin, it's in the gut, and then that's reflected to the brain, and when you get stressed, then you'll have all these digestive issues. So the fact is, having a good, healthy digestive system, by repairing that properly, so we prep an athletes' stomach and gut and digestive system and getting everything really balanced by cleansing them, detoxifying them, making sure that everything is working properly. And their body can absorb good nutrients instead of actually just flushing things through their system.

FELICITY:

Okay. Are there any tips then that you could give us about detoxing; you mention that, in relation to that?

JO:

Yes, one of the biggest things we do is just say, "How could you detox on a daily basis?" Because you know, your body is constantly taking what we call endotoxins, which is environmental toxins, as well as if you're stressed; your body can be toxic because you're not digesting your food properly.

FELICITY:

That's right.

JO:

And all these different things. But people say, "I eat an amazing diet," especially cyclists or athletes or whatever, tend to eat some of those Cadbury shots and different things or drinks and whatever and it's also putting your system under minimal stress of toxins and pressure. So we say, "Okay, what can you do in a way like…" Number one, coffee is a problem for the digestive system. It's very drying. So maybe looking at changing to more of sort of herbal teas; now that's a shock always for cyclists because that's what they do when they catch up after a ride.

FELICITY:

That's right.

JO:

It's like, "What? Why are you telling me I can't take coffee?" There might be some other simple ways where we put some things in a way we teach people to have medicated water, which is having herbs within a tea, which is your body's cleansing up. And it sounds simple, but it's like, "What time do you eat your dinner?" Making sure you eat your dinner so you got three hours in between your dinner and sleep. I'm making sure you're going to bed at a good time like 10 o'clock because your body is naturally detoxifying its liver between 10 and 2. So without getting, when we know someone's specifics and what's actually really going on, we prepare like a detox; the little things that you can do is just: Don't eat when you're not hungry; make sure your body is digesting; make sure you have the three hours before bed; and make sure you have a good time and maybe change to have more herbal teas to get that fluid in, for the body is naturally cleansing.

Athletes tend really nicely to sweat. They definitely detoxify better than most, because they're using like the sweat to cleanse out the body, but there are also other elements they forget about.

FELICITY:

Okay. What is the tried and tested way to rid our bodies of unwanted waste and toxins to detox for better health?

JO:

Yes, we run a detoxification program which are like 28-day programs, and they're definitely tried and tested. I had a patient recently; he's a business owner, he's a triathlete, and he was burnt out. So he was totally exhausted. He wasn't able to enjoy riding. He's getting sore, achy, the joints were in pain. He thought he ate really well, right?

FELICITY:

Yes.

JO:

He lost, inside the detoxification program, like 7 kilos, and he super lean now. "Oh my God. I climbed like a maniac," and also enjoying riding, right? He got more energy.

FELICITY:

That's right.

JO:

So we actually put him through a particular detoxification program which went through by cleaning up the gut using herbs, using medicated water, using specific food that they eat. And we give the body a real rest, right? Because the body needs rest to reset.

FELICITY:

That's right.

JO:

And it's like when you're training for an event, some of your rest time is actually your more crucial time than your training time. So this is where it starts to actually make a big difference.

FELICITY:

Absolutely. And do people do that, consult, like in a consultation with you? Or do you have an online program?

JO:

We have an online program, definitely; because we have clients all around the world. But we're also in Brisbane, so if they're in Brisbane we do consults in the clinic. But we have people all around the world that needs some support.

FELICITY:

Great. With Ayurveda, there are different body types. How do we go about understanding our body type, Jo?

JO:

Yes. So in Ayurveda, like if anyone knows Deepak Chopra; Deepak Chopra is an Ayurveda doctor, but he was first an endocrinologist, and his father was a cardiologist.

FELICITY:

Okay.

JO:

So he went to study Ayurveda because he got sick of giving people medicine. So he went, "There's got to be a better way, right?" So when you look at Ayurveda; Ayurveda is Ayur-Veda is the science of life, right? So it goes back to 5000 years where it gives you all the answers. It doesn't change. It is what it is. So it leads into what is your imbalance, but what is your body type and in the sense what should you be operating out of? So it is quite a lot of information to know, but just in a nutshell, there are three different major body types.

There's the skinny minis; the ones that are moving around all the time, the ones who are super lean, the ones that need to eat smaller meals regularly, the ones that can't stop moving, the ones that are thinking all the time; mind is going, thinking fast. They have more ability to see their veins and all these types of things. So that's what we call the Vata body type.

FELICITY:

Right.

JO:

The elements are made up of more air and ether.

FELICITY:

Okay.

JO:

Then we have the Pitta body type. Pitta body types, you tend to see a lot in sport because they're highly competitive. They like to drive; they like to take some sort of goal and some sort of thing to take on. You'll see them in sport and business. They have a medium body type, more athletic. For the girls, it's more like the narrow hips but they're pretty straight athletic with their hips; where Vata is really quite thin and quite fine. And the Vatas don't tend to put on muscles so the boys get really frustrated because they can't go to the gym to put on muscles, right?

FELICITY:

Yes.

JO:

But the medium do. And they're more of the hot body types; so they get more overheated so you need to cool them down. So they go great when you put them in the pool and different things as well. But they are so highly competitive. So you'll see them on a bunch ride where they're always trying to take charge, right? Or trying to win the race or whatever. And so that they will have a strong digestive system and they need to eat when they need to eat, as in 3 meals a day. But don't not feed them because they'll get angry – like hangry. And then we call them Pitta body type; so they're made up of fire and water element mainly.

And then you have the Kapha body type; and the Kapha body type is more heavy built, more solid built. They have a lot more endurance. So once they go in, they can keep going and going and going, right? With the Vata body type, they can't go for long periods of time. Pitta is the medium. They don't need to eat so much; they can even do a bunch ride with no food. But a Vata has to eat before, eat during and eat after. A Pitta must have them eat straight after because they'll get hungry. The Kapha body type have more density in their muscles. They don't even have to do much to build muscle but they can also build fat easily if they eat the wrong food. For a woman, they have more hips; for a man, they can have more stockiness. But there's balance and imbalance of all of them. Making sure that that balance and then what we do. And that's called Kapha body type. And that person is made up of more water and earth. So it's more heavy and dense type of person. They can jump on the scales and they can be, the scales will make them be heavier than they look because they're denser. So you'll go to a doctor, and they'll say, "You're overweight." But a Kapha could be in good weight but they're just denser. Their bone density is stronger, right?

FELICITY:

Yes.

JO:

So when we look at the different body types then they get broken down into 10 because you can actually have what we call a combination. So knowing who you are and knowing that you are not going to change, but it's about balancing that. So for example, Oprah Winfrey is a Kapha-Pitta body type; she has beautiful skin, the lushness, the heaviness. And she's also struggled with her weight most of her life. But now she understands it. She's much better but she's in her later years in life and she's gorgeous. And she looks very young because she has the oiliness in the tissue because of the Kapha element.

Now the beauty of that is finding out who you are and then trying not to be, don't try to be someone else. Know yourself. Know that you are unique, know that you have your own strengths, and then there are challenges that you need to take care of as well.

FELICITY:

Yes, so how do we correct the imbalances than before they manifest?

JO:

Yes. So it's really the awareness and knowing what they are and then knowing what to do with them. So for example, imbalances for Vata can be anxiety, worry and fear, and losing weight and having problems with sleep. So we balance more the nervous system on that. The person with Pitta is more frustrated, angry and irritable and overheating and can sometimes have loose stools because their digestive system is not working. So we cool them down. We get rid of the acidity. We balance them and get them to not think of so much perfection all the time. They always want to be perfect, right? And then the Kapha body type, they have more problems with withdrawal, procrastination, this feeling like foggy head, "I don't want to move. I want to sit on the couch." So for them, it's about getting them moving, getting them feeling lighter, getting their diet lighter, making them eat less sweet foods and those carbohydrate foods and then they get better.

So it's awareness of knowing number one: What is your body type? And number two: What is putting that imbalance or what is the imbalance? So we have tests that do that, though people can find out from doing these different tests.

FELICITY:

Does portion size come into it as well?

JO:

Yes, definitely. Because Vatas can't eat very much at all; Pittas can eat medium, and Kaphas shouldn't eat much for Kaphas like to eat lots.

FELICITY:

Yes. They love their food.

JO:

Definitely.

FELICITY:

Yes. What is the most interesting thing you've seen, Jo?

JO:

There are so many. Well, one really interesting thing, and he's done testimony on this as well. So when I was working with the set of origin teams and Lions, and the Olympic teams and things like that, we were looking after Lions. So we were looking after a lot of their injuries and Clark Keating particularly was really the top of his game. So they were putting him back on the field, but they're pumping him with a lot of steroids for his shoulder. He was having surgery. He was having different things. And he was degenerating at a really, really rapid rate. I remember Clark having a totally different thought process than any of the other athletes. And he came to see me for acupuncture and some different things. And then he said, he did actually a detox; and it was really interesting watching him go through that process of like the elimination of the inflammation. And how much more mobile and everything he came in his body. But it was more; the interesting part of it was more that he was driven right from the fact that they put him on the field. But then when he had a calmness of his mind and his digestive system, he became more, "Okay, I need to have this for my life."

FELICITY:

Yes.

JO:

Because once I'm done in this profession, they wouldn't care that my tissue is destroyed.

FELICITY:

Yes.

JO:

But the fact is we have an amazing body that can rejuvenate as long as we give it the pathway to help it rejuvenate. And so, that's on a sporting level, but there are so many things on a clinical level where we've treated cancer, autoimmune conditions, all sorts of different things where every day we get interesting things because people come to us after they've been to all their physicians.

FELICITY:

So it's like the end of the road.

JO:

We‘re the end of the road. So it's like we have to know everything. It's really difficult sometimes because they come with a massive laundry list of problems.

FELICITY:

Yes. That's right.

JO:

So if any came with us with constipation, it would be easy. It was like, "Oh, this is really easy." But they never come with that.

FELICITY:

No. By the time it's got to you, there's an accumulation as well, isn't there?

JO:

Massively. Massively.

FELICITY:

What is the funniest story you can share with us, Jo?

JO:

Well, okay, the funniest part is for me, I'm talking about my days of cycling; I remember when, because I came from an athletic sort of mindset. So my mind is that "I can do anything and I can feel anything or whatever."

FELICITY:

Good mindset.

JO:

I just came out of being into hammer throwing and just having back surgery, I had the mind of, "Yeah, I do lots of sport. This is going to be easy." So I thought, that when I started riding, that I could walk up to an A-Grade bunch ride.

FELICITY:

Yes.

JO:

With my little bike, I was 95 kilos, and I remember Nick, who sold me the bike, he was on the bunch ride. And yeah, you're mocking up, and he's like, "Holy cow. Why is she here?" This is going to keep up, right? This is the sunset riding person. And I thought, "Yeah, yeah. This is really going to be easy." Oh my God. Then the pace started and the hills paved and I was dropping off the bike, and said, "What the hell?" Nick had actually, at that point, put his hand on my back and actually gave me a little bit of a nudge. And I was like, "Oh, this is awesome." But it was really the funniest story that I thought I could still compete at that level, but I didn't realize the intensity of the level. But it made me want to be able to do that bunch ride.

FELICITY:

Yes.

JO:

So I just kept on going anyway.

FELICITY:

Was a carrot dangler for you?

JO:

Yes. But I mean the problem is that you end up start mixing with that and then that's where it gets…

FELICITY:

Yes. It pushes you more and more. That's right. Yes. Well, well done for giving it a try. And not being fazed by it.

JO:

Exactly. Exactly.

FELICITY:

I'd like to thank you for joining me today, Jo. It's been really insightful and helpful I'm sure to many of our listeners that can implement some of the tips that you shared with us today. Our listeners can find you on your website, which is back2health.net.au, and Facebook - Back2health, and also Twitter is @back2healthteam. We'll have all those details on our website which isbodytorque.cc and in our show notes. So anyone can find you there in reference and also perhaps come visit you for a consultation.

JO:

Lovely. Thanks, Felicity. It's so nice and I really wish all your listeners a way that they can understand a little bit more about their body and that you are all unique and you all have your own body type and everyone is perfect and individual how they are.

FELICITY:

Absolutely. Couldn't agree with you more. Thanks, Jo.

JO:

My pleasure.

FELICITY:

Thanks for listening to the All Torque podcast. We'd love it if you would leave us a rating and review on iTunes. This helps us to deliver the content you want to hear about. Please take a moment to share it with your friends and family on Instagram and Facebook. I'm Felicity Dales, see you next episode for another story of inspiration and motivation on the All Torque podcast.


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