Beyond the Weight Room: Gyrotonic, Zumba and the Tracy Anderson Method

I became a personal trainer because I wanted to share with others what fitness had done for me. I was relatively active in high school; I played basketball, did track and field, and was on the cross-country running team. But when I started university I became very inactive and started eating a lot of junk food. My gorgeous, svelte and very fit roommate suggested I come to the gym with her (with a nearly-imperceptible raised eyebrow directed at my expanding girth) but after a rather embarrassing incident where I fell off the treadmill, she suggested I get a personal trainer.

I did get a personal trainer and a few years later, after graduating with a neuroscience degree, I decided to pursue a career in fitness rather than the original plan of heading to medical school. Fast forward eight years and I was so tired of the weight room that I couldn’t bear to do another set of biceps curls or one more stinking push up. I needed a break. I love learning new things so it’s been a fun adventure trying different types of physical activity. Following are a few of my current faves. And, I'd like to add, now that I've had a little break I don't mind doing the odd biceps curl or push up.


I learned about Gyrotonic from Marta Hernandez, the owner of a beautiful fitness studio in Yaletown called The Space Vancouver, while doing research for a story. Gyrotonic is like nothing I’ve ever done before. The equipment, a cable tower and bench which somewhat resemble Pilates equipment, facilitates the circular, undulating movements that develop spine flexibility, strength and grace.  Drawing from ballet, swimming, yoga and Qi Gong, a Gyrotonic session will leave you feeling invigorated yet centred, and a little taller. Click here for the full story on


Something about Latin music makes me feel so alive and there is a very big place in my heart for dancing, so Zumba – an “exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party” – is a great workout for me. I’ve been dancing along to Zumba videos on YouTube (and working on my shimmying and shaking at salsa classes) and am planning to attend my first class soon, but have been doing the ground work so as not to embarrass myself too much when I get there.

The Tracy Anderson Method

I first heard about Tracy Anderson a few years ago through Gwyneth Paltrow’s newsletter, GOOP. Say what you will about GP but that girl (who’s 38 and the mother of two young children) has a hot body and she credits it to her personal trainer, Tracy Anderson. The Tracy Anderson Method is a combination of dance-cardio moves and what Anderson calls “muscular structure work”, and other celebrity enthusiasts (and fabulous figures) include Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Richie, Stella McCartney and Madonna. Months after putting it on hold, it was my turn to check out Anderson’s new book, Tracy Anderson's 30-day Method, care of the Vancouver Public Library. I really like the unique moves and do my best to get through the challenging workouts (although some of them just make me laugh). And I'm expecting my very own copy, which comes with an exercise DVD, in the mail any day now.