i first met Sahra Esmonde-White at a big deal dinner for the luxury luggage brand Rimowa. and by “big deal” i mean it was one of those super fancy affairs that might go down in LA. but this was a hangar at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport that stars, socialites and editors had been invited to. i had come to the event on my own, but had that familiar fish-out-of-water feeling. (if David Cronenberg were sitting almost directly across the table from you, you might feel a little out of your league too.) until, thankfully, i was able to strike up a chat with Sahra and actress Sarah Gadon. both lovely and easy to talk to.
but as wonderful as Sarah is, my star-struckness was quickly replaced with a fascination for Sahra’s line of work. she is the CEO of a fitness company, co-created with her mother Miranda, called Essentrics. Montreal-based and rapidly expanding – with over 1000 certified instructors, DVDs, and a new online streaming feature – this revolutionary workout technique is transforming the bodies of millions worldwide.
Essentrics is now celebrating 15 years of success working with celebs and pro athletes alike to put their best bodies forward. i had to ask Sahra a few questions about where she’s been and where she’s going…
q/ where have you taken Essentrics on vacation? what is your absolute favourite spot and why?
Sahra Esmonde-White/ we hold Essentrics holidays in locations that help to promote revitalization! we want to re-energize the body and mind through fitness, fun, friendships, rest and rejuvenation. some people need quiet reflective time in a health context, while others prefer socializing. our most authentic, relaxing and very health focused holiday is at Spa Eastman in Quebec. still a well-kept secret in Canada, both CNN and Travel have put it on their top 10 lists of best spas in North America. for a more active holiday, i enjoy bringing Essentrics to the all-inclusive resorts in Mexico or Jamaica.
q/ how does one become a celebrity go-to fitness trainer? what was your first break into that world?
Sahra/ i believe you have to have something unique to offer and be genuine in what you are doing. i don’t do anything trendy, but what i do is a lot of fun––it’s intelligent and has been proven to work. one of my regular students is a top make-up artist from Montreal who works as the head of make-up on movie sets. i remember receiving a phone call from her; she had two actresses who were looking for a fitness class that they could do while in Montreal, filming for 6 weeks. a day later, British actress/model Lily Cole appeared with Toronto-based actress Sarah Gadon. i’ll never forget this because that day was the beginning of a beautiful and very healthy friendship among the three of us. i’ve travelled through Europe, the US and Canada to be with them on set.
q/ when it comes to training on film sets, where has that work taken you?
Sahra/ i enjoy the on-set life of an actor: each time you travel to a set and are far from home, you become a little insular family supporting each other. i’ve had the privilege of being inside these families and experiencing the joy of giving various actors Essentrics classes to keep their energy up, tone their bodies, and relieve their stresses. i loved my 6-week in Budapest with Sarah Gadon. other Canadian actresses i got to know and work with on that set were Tatiana Maslany and Megan Follows. we would do a workout and then cook healthy meals for the crew. i also enjoyed getting to know Detroit on a movie set with Lily Cole; the city is redeveloping in an exciting way! the MGM Spa in Detroit is one of the best i’ve ever been to. i was in Belfast this past November, where Sarah was filming Dracula, and now Manchester where Lily is preparing for her stage role as Helen of Troy.
q/ summer is fast approaching and, personally, i need to tighten up the triceps. what Essentric move do you recommend that i can do almost anywhere? Sahra/ weight-free arm toning is one of our specialties! we work the arms throughout an entire Essentrics class, but we also have exercises dedicated to toning the arms.
q/ which Essentric workout CD do you recommend for frequent flyers?
frequent flyers can now access all of our workouts by streaming them online direct from our site Essentrics.com
. this way you don’t have to choose just one DVD to travel with. sometimes when you’re travelling you need a good stretch, something that will make you feel more peaceful; other times you need to be energized! with Essentrics
, you can do both. we have workouts that focus on stretching and others that are more dynamic and toning; all of them will give you energy and help you feel rejuvenated, which is often what you need while travelling.
q/ any plans to expand your brand further? a line of workout clothing perhaps?
Sahra/ we are getting into the book business––publishing our first book titled Aging Backwards in October with Random House in Canada and Harper Collins in the US. and we are already working on several more books. also on our list: expanding our studios into other cities, and definitely a line of workout clothing!
get more Essentrics workout videos on YouTube.
click and flashback to that Rimowa event.