Last Sunday I was lucky enough to get to join my very first Essentrics class, courtesy of Lululemon and taught by master trainer Danielle de Wildt.
I’d caught onto the buzz surrounding the class but as I like my workouts high intensity and highly sweaty I had never thought to try it out. More fool me, eh? The technique takes theories from ballet and tai chi to fulfill the Essentrics mission, to create ‘a balanced body whereby the strength in your muscles doesn’t inhibit your movement, and your mobility is enhanced by your strength‘. Yep, sounds like exactly what I need.
Before we began, and after a complimentary smoothie from Lululemon, Danielle gave a little intro and explained the origins of the exercise and how it’s been designed to both lengthen and strengthen the whole body using the large muscle groups in unison. She also mentioned that the technique is used by all the super buff Canadian male athletes, which I like a whole lot.
Danielle is an absolute babe. She’s health and fitness personified and everything you could want in a trainer, and her body is testament to the effectiveness of the workout. If regular Essentrics will get me a body like Danielle’s you can bet your bulging bicep I’ll be signing up. Yet despite her incredible success – she was featured in Dutch Vogue for crying out loud – she has maintained an endearing charm that makes her both relatable and approachable.
The best way I have to describe Essentrics is as dynamic pilates. It’s comprised of fluid movements to chart music and you’re encouraged to both stretch your limbs and simultaneously use the air and your own body to create resistance, which is where the strength element comes in. I found it all very mesmerizing.
Essentrics wont make you sweat, it doesn’t get your heart racing; it doesn’t torch a heck load of calories; and that’s exactly why it’s great, because it offers an essential compliment to workouts which do do those things. During the class I could feel the stiffness in my hips from all the heavy squats and box jumps that make up my regular routines, and I could feel the movements releasing that tension and increasing my mobility. It kind of feels like a massage but is energising at the same time. And having bare feet is also a liberating novelty.
What I really enjoyed about the class though was that it is as much of a mental release as a physical one, you don’t need to focus on any equipment or worry over being coordinated, it’s totally stripped back meaning you can just enjoy the freedom of moving in a way which you otherwise rarely do and getting to reacquaint your mind and body.
I recommend everybody giving Essentrics a try, particularly anyone just getting started with exercise, people coming back from injury, and those who otherwise do workouts that put a lot of stress on the body.
Thank-you Lululemon and Danielle for broadening my low-impact group fitness horizons!