I have been asked this question by some of my students recently because I will be teaching Essentrics in January in Pointe Claire and many of my long time students are wondering if they should give this workout a try? The answer is, yes! I always recommend trying different forms of fitness because you might find that the new approach suits you better than the classes that you have been attending for years.

For example, I know of two students who were very upset because they had to give up my Step class years ago because of arthritis. They tried water aerobics and discovered that it was far less painful on their hips and knees. They were pleasantly surprised by the experience and never felt the need to return to their old training ground. Trying new classes challenges our minds as well as our muscles which is good for the body as a whole.

An Essentrics workout is very different from my standard cardio/muscle classes. Though the music will be motivating, it is not the same type of environment because the tempo is slower. We usually perform the class in bare feet which is recommended. Our feet are so restricted in our shoes that we have inadvertently caused imbalances that travel right up through the legs into our backs. Being bare foot allows us to correct these imbalances. If you insist on wearing your shoes just pay special attention to movements that might affect your knee such as side to side lunges.

We are moving slower than in my standard classes which gives you time to focus on your posture The movements are designed to simultaneously stretch and strengthen the muscles and re-balance the whole body. Though we are not lifting weights, we work just as hard because the body is working against gravity, eccentrically. You will leave the class feeling energized, taller and refreshed instead of ‘beat up.’

If you sit tall right now you will see how much harder it is to maintain proper posture. . Roll the shoulders back and down. Open the chest, and pull up through your abdominal wall. Most people can hold this position for a short time but before long, the majority of us will start to slouch down again because it is easier. In Essentrics we maintain this errect posture throughout the class and then add movements that target hard to reach muscles in our back, abdominals, legs and arms. The focus is on being ‘pulled up’ at all times, reaching and extending our body toward the ceiling. We then move slowly all directions and end up exercising muscles that have not been used in a long time. You are familiar with the old adage, “if you don’t use it, you will lose it.” An Essentrics workout exercises every muscle in the body which promotes cell regeneration and rejuvenation.

Remember that it is still a workout. The first time that you try the class you will feel muscles that you have not felt in awhile. You may experience some mild discomfort the next day or during the class but I can tell you that it feels so good afterward, you will want to return. I have been doing this workout since the end of September and I already see a difference in my body. My midsection has slimmed down and the stretching has helped to re-balance my body which has alleviated pain in my neck, shoulders and back.

So yes, you should give Essentrics a try if you can. If you cannot find a class in your area you can go to essentrics.com and order DVD’s to do at home.

See you soon..and sit tall!