Sylwia Wiesenberg doesn’t just love to move her body and get all sweaty. She lives for it.
“My day always includes fitness. I’m so addicted. It’s like a drug,” the Polish-born exercise guru tells Sun Media in a phone interview from New York City. “I need it. I go crazy if I don’t exercise or I don’t move.”
Wiesenberg has poured that passion for perpetual movement into Tonique, her unique fitness brand that “draws on the toning and strengthening powers of dance, gymnastics and running” to empower women. And some men, too. The Tonique “method,” as the 35-year-old married mother of two likes to refer to it, involves combinations of various moves designed to “develop strong and lean muscle, strengthen your cardiovascular system and improve your overall fitness level.”
“One hour is just to maintain your body,” explains Wiesenberg, a seriously toned 118 pounds at five-foot-six. “Two hours really takes you to the next level.”
Beginners, however, are advised to gradually progress to two hours. And time-strapped Tonique followers are permitted to split their workouts into equal parts, such as two one-hour sessions. But Wiesenberg’s classes go for two hours. Non-stop. She doesn’t encourage water breaks in her classes or on her DVDs. Much like when a runner gulps liquids in mid-stride, Wiesenberg suggests taking a sip while stationary at the bottom of a squat or while doing a plank.
Yup, she’s tough. But she gets results.
Just ask her old boyfriends, who have stayed friends with her because they couldn’t bear to go without her workout expertise.
“I put all my boyfriends into great shape,” she laughs. “Even after breaking up, we decided to stay friends because they said, ‘I can’t believe what you’ve done to my body.’”
The key to the Tonique method is repetition and gradual progression, says Wiesenberg.
“It’s constant repetition of the same move. Then that move leads to a very similar move, but in another angle. So it’s multi-directional, multi-angular,” she explains. “It’s repetitive — 30 to 40 repetitions of each move before you enter another move. So you have time to really adjust your posture, focus on your body and focus on doing the move properly.”
Two of Wiesenberg’s favourite moves are squats and lunges — exercises critical to shaping a beautiful butt, she says.
“Tonique is all about butt,” she adds. “You can become a faster runner, a better bike rider, you can lift more, you can be quicker and your agility is better when you have strong glutes.”
But there’s more to Tonique than just developing a derriere to die for. Wiesenberg says it’s a lifestyle.
“I want people to feel healthy inside and confident, especially women,” she explains. “We lack confidence a lot of times. I want them to go for their goals. And they will only go for their goals if they feel great about themselves.”
In addition to doing Tonique most days, Wiesenberg runs three to four times a week for up to 90 minutes each outing.
She also enjoys water sports, soccer and tennis in the summer.
“That’s a few of the sports that I mix in during summer to escape the regimen I have in winter. From September to June, I do Tonique solely two hours a day with running.”
It’s a grind. But she’s powered by her passion for fitness.
“Passion is the No. 1 ingredient to success,” she says. “I wake up every morning, and I never ever — even if I’m sick and have a temperature of 102 degrees — I never stop. I say, ‘I’m doing this because I love it.’ I never have regrets. I never question myself. When people try to criticize me, I just don’t listen to them. There are lots of people who try to criticize you, to put you down and make you feel bad. I’m all reversed. I make people feel good.”
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