Hi Lex — Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Lex: I grew up in and outside of Barrie, Ontario. When I was 18, I moved to the province of Québec and even though I didn't speak much French at all, riding my bike with groups of cyclists made me feel like I could still be social and a part of the community. I love "playing" outside and being active. Cross-country skiing, hiking, rollerblading, swimming, motorcycling, even throwing around a ball are some of the other activities I enjoy.
Can you tell us about your career as a professional cyclist?
Lex: I've been racing as a professional cyclist since 2012. I always loved riding my bike when I was a kid, and it was when I moved out to the country with my family that I really fell in love with cycling. It was my key to discovery, freedom, and independence. When I was a teen, I saved up my part-time job money for a year and bought my first road bike. I learned to ride in a group, and started doing my first races while I studied medical biology at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, as a weekend activity, and a way to challenge myself physically and mentally. When I completed my degree, it was financially feasible for me to do more and more racing, and with some of my results that were noticed in a few bigger races, I was eventually offered my first professional contract with an American team. Since then, I have raced in Canada, all over the USA, Argentina, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, England, Sweden, Spain, Italy and Czech Republic. This year, I am based in Italy, and compete for an Italian professional team.
How do you incorporate Essentrics into your routine?
Lex: I discovered Essentrics when my massage therapist raved about her experience with it. The concept is similar to techniques that she has used successfully on my body for recovery massages over the past few years, and I was very intrigued. During the off-season while I am in Montréal, I drop into Essentics classes at the flagship studio 2–3 times a week. When I am on the road, I log into Essentrics TV online to follow along with different routines, usually between big races or during training blocks. It's really convenient to be able to do Essentrics wherever I am.
How do you find Essentrics impacts your overall
performance as a competitive cyclist?
Lex: As a professional athlete, I really put my body through the wringer to get it to adapt and improve the way I want it to. But to be able to push my limits when it matters most I have to be as healthy and physically sound as possible. Essentrics is a way for me to avoid injury by increasing and maintaining flexibility (so my body doesn’t have to strain itself compensating for stiff muscles and joints), and by reinforcing important muscular groups that don't get worked much as I ride, but that are crucial for stability and well-rounded strength and health (especially certain adductors and abductors in my hips and legs). PLUS, there's something relaxing and refreshing about Essentrics that I love. I always feel energized and even renewed (pardon the cliché...but it's true!) after a good session.
Have you ever tried any other stretch classes or techniques?
If so – how do you find that Essentrics compares?
Lex: I have done yoga, and I continue to do yoga from time to time. Essentrics is different because it's more dynamic, there is more flow - it's a little more energetic without being strenuous. I feel like Essentrics is a bit more tailored to what I need as an athlete. I can really work on parts of my body to not only improve flexibility, but also strengthen in ways that yoga does not. The feel and the ankle work that Essentrics helps me do is one of the many things that yoga does not offer, and that has made a difference for me so far.