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Wholistic fitness trend: Integrated Therapy and Training

Karen Hawthorne is a health and lifestyle writer and producer in Toronto, Canada. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications including Glow, Homemakers, BestHealthMag.ca and the National Post.

Mind-body wellness

Reaching your health goals takes more than cardio and weight-training, fitness experts say. Here's why an "integrated approach" to training will deliver the best results. To learn more about this comprehensive wellness trend, we talked to Sender Deutsch, founder of Shape Health and Wellness Centres in Toronto, Canada.

Wholistic Fitness

Q&A with clinic director of Shape Health and Wellness Centres

Sender Deutsch, a chiropractic doctor and fitness instructor based in Toronto, Canada, founded a wellness centre six years ago to take one-on-one personal training to the next level. His clients get schooled in the gym, receive body treatments and nutrition counselling, all on location, for an effective continuity of care.

Integrated Therapy and Training (ITT) 

SheKnows: The one-on-one aspect of personal training has been proven to help people see results from their training. What does an integrated therapeutic approach involve?

Deutsch: At Shape, we have developed Integrated Therapy and Training (ITT), a personalized approach to your overall health, fitness and performance. The idea is to treat you like a celebrity or pro athlete to help you train safely, stay motivated and see the results.

All clients have a conditioning specialist and physiotherapist or chiropractor working with them to oversee their fitness program, combining it with massage therapy, acupuncture, stretching and nutritional counselling, if required. Our trainers integrate a variety of training techniques, such as boxing, kettlebells, plyometrics – jumping, bounding and hopping exercises for strength and speed – stretching and yoga into each workout to create a wholistic mind and body experience.

There are no shortcuts to overall health and fitness

SheKnows: Isn't this a huge time commitment for people who are struggling to find 10 minutes at intervals throughout the day to fit in some fitness activity? People really want a quick fix.

Deutsch: Like anything in life, success does not come without hard work, dedication and patience. This is the same approach you have to have with your body. There are no shortcuts to achieving good health and becoming physiologically younger each year. Quick fixes have been proven to be ineffective and short-lasting.

Our integrated approach consists of participating in high performance training sessions twice a week with a conditioning specialist and performing your cardiovascular, core stabilization and stretching exercises three times a week at home.

SheKnows: Are you a shining example of ITT? How do you stay in shape?

Deutsch: The most incredible aspect of this profession is that it is constantly evolving and changing. I believe I am a lifelong learner. Being on top of the most current research allows me to provide cutting-edge treatments and advice to my clients while motivating myself to maintain and optimize my own body. At 33, I truly believe I am in the best shape of my life. Each and every year, I am constantly making new gains in fitness, as seen and tested during my annual medical physical (stress tests, blood work, etc.) and 60-mile-plus bike rides, and I set new goals to test how I can use my knowledge and challenge my own physical limitations. I definitely practice what I preach and exercise a minimum of five days per week, eat extremely healthy, sleep seven to eight hours a night, get bodywork treatments weekly and take time to meditate.

A team approach to wellness

SheKnows: Why do you offer chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and other services to complement personal training at your clinic?

Deutsch: We believe that you should surround yourself with a team of healthcare professionals that can work together to develop and monitor a treatment plan that is personalized for you, based on your physical form, goals and objectives. At Shape, we work as a team right on site and consult with each other on client performance and training enhancements. The therapies that are incorporated will depend on whether or not you are experiencing pain, have a chronic issue that has yet to be resolved, or you simply want to improve your health or physical performance.

ITT helps our clients to take their health and performance goals to the next level while reducing the risk of injury. And there is no better feeling than doing exercise and finishing your session with bodywork treatments for recovery and regeneration.

SheKnows: Why is this approach so effective?

Deutsch: Each individual client has a customized program that is constantly monitored and changed to ensure the body never adapts to a single treatment or workout. Our integrated approach addresses movement, muscle and joint function, and stability of the musculoskeletal system from head to toe. Dysfunctional movement patterns and subtle instability can develop without warning, and may lead to pain, decreased mobility or weakness. By identifying and rehabilitating faulty muscle and joint function, ITT will keep you functioning in your top physical form.

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