Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of meeting Miranda Esmonde-White at a lecture held in the Pointe Claire Library. Miranda is founder of Essentrics and author of Aging Backwards and Forever Painless. For those of you who don’t know, Essentrics is a ‘dynamic stretch workout for all fitness levels that tones, shapes and rebalances the entire body.”

I have to say that I’m very excited about this relatively new trend in the industry because of the focus on stretching. I have been teaching fitness for almost twenty years now, and about half way through my career I realized that we were doing a disservice to our clientele by only giving them five minutes of stretching at the end of our classes. So I started to dedicate a minimum of fifteen minutes at the end of each workout to stretching. There was a little bit of grumbling at first mainly because people do not like change but now all of my students look forward to that time!

The truth is we cannot expect our muscles to perform optimally if they are tight. Muscle conditioning in particular is meant to build muscle which can result in tightness if you do not spend enough time stretching after your workouts. We need to be able to move through the full range of motion of each joint or we are at risk for injury. As Miranda said in her lecture, “no one has a free ride.” We all need to put in the work so that we can enjoy life to the fullest.

How many of you right now are able to bend forward and touch your toes? How many of you have pain in your knees; back; shoulders and neck? I meet people every single day who are living a limited life because of joint pain. Perhaps the Essentrics Technique can help you get back on track.

I do agree with Miranda that if ‘you do not use it, you will lose it.’ Miranda’s workout claims to use all 620 muscles in the body “with exercises that mimic daily life.” In doing this you are telling your body , “hey, I still need that,” and don’t let that part of me wither away just yet.

In her lecture Miranda stressed that her technique does not give instant results. The movements are done slowly and it is over time that you will begin to see amazing results. I would argue that the same is true for fitness in general. You cannot neglect your body for 20, 30 or 40 years and expect a trainer to fix all of your issues in one week or month!

To be honest, I walked away from that lecture feeling like I am on the right track as a teacher. While Miranda suggests that we stop lifting weights and doing aerobics and even yoga, I believe that moderation and variety is the key. Miranda seems to be concerned about the fitness extremes in the industry. The classes who push people to their limit and beyond. Again I decided about five years ago that I would no longer be ‘that crazy’ teacher. My goal is always to enable and empower, not to punish.

I have always told my clients to vary their exercise routines during the week to incorporate as many different types of exercise as possible to prevent overuse injuries. So I do not believe that we should give up all of the other forms of exercise to only do Essentrics. Instead I recommend that we continue to do the sports that we love safely, and add Essentrics training to our repertoire.

Miranda strongly suggests that you seek out properly certified Essentrics instructors. They are listed on her website: www.essentrics.com. You can purchase instructional DVD’s from this site if you would like to try it in the privacy of your own home but Miranda does recommend that you attend a class once in a while to make sure that you are performing the exercises properly.

Get moving! See you soon,

Beth