New workout system lengthens, strengthens body

LOS ANGELES "I've done a lot of body-building and impact sports that's made me a little 'bindey,'" said L.A. resident Elia Mount Joy.

"I used to box, I ran a lot," said L.A. resident Cath Duncan. "Fifteen years of running. So I had all kinds of chronic hip, I.T., all kinds of running issues."

Two obvious fitness buffs, both sustaining injuries from overuse. So they turned to GST Body LA. According to owner and concept creator Anna Rahe, it's like nothing you've ever taken before.

"We teach that the core runs the entire length of the spine," said Rahe. "Second is that we're not positional: We don't hold a position like in Pilates, yoga and weight training. We use active opposition to create dynamic length and strength."

The motto here is, "It's not what you do but HOW you do it." What is so special is that these bodies are rehabilitated and re-educated by manipulating the fascia, or connective tissue.

"There's the spine, which is central nervous system, the muscular system, skeletal system, respiratory system and fascial system," said Rahe.

A former dancer, Rahe researched many different practices, from eastern Chi Gong to myofascial techniques to rehabilitate her own injured body. She uses the five bodily systems to lengthen and strengthen on equipment stemming from Leonardo da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man." For those unfamiliar with the concept, it's a person of balance.

"This is all about proportions and being able to manipulate the way force enters the body to change size and functionality," said Rahe.

Classes average $25, offered in 60- and 90-minute workouts. Beginners might choose equipment-free classes first, as the workout with springs, straps and bands is hard -- or at least challenging -- but well worth the effort for a well-tweaked, reshaped body.

"It helps me sculpt muscles, which is kind of what I want, and it gives me the flexibility so that I walk out of here on clouds," said Mount Joy.

"It took about one week to a month of GST for me to be pain-free," said Duncan.

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