While I’ve always been a huge fan of boxing for fitness (or really anything that involves burning calories while punching and/or kicking), I knew I needed to offset all of that anaerobic goodness with something to improve my balance and flexibility. It’s great if you can hit hard, but if you can get knocked over like a domino and your joints are killing you, you won’t get very far in a fight. And since I was training for one (more on that later), I set about looking for fitness solutions. And I found a very convenient one in Studio Lagree.
The Studio Lagree Difference
When you walk into a Studio Lagree studio, there are a few things you immediately notice: the sleek décor (very King West Loft chic), the ridiculously good-looking and super fit staff (who are also all awesome) and a room full of strange black machines with various bars and straps coming out of them. That black machine is a reformer.
Now, reformer Pilates is not a new thing, but the Lagree difference lies in the machine and the method. The Megaformer™ machine, affectionately referred to as a reformer on steroids, was invented by the founder himself, Sebastien Lagree. Using the machine’s spring weight function as well as its various bars and bands for balance and resistance, the Studio Lagree instructors can create a variety of workouts designed to work the body to muscle failure. The idea is to keep the muscles in a state of constant tension, combining slow, deliberate movements and various workout forms to trigger those slow twitch muscle fibers. You hear the term “long lean physique” in Pilates a lot, and those are the results that these methods are designed to achieve.
The Studio Lagree Experience
So what is it actually like to partake in a Studio Lagree class? Well, to the untrained eye it kind of looks like you’re playing a game of twister while strapped to a medieval torture device. But Lagree Pilates is anything but torture. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s hard as hell, mentally and physically, but in a fun, challenging way. You’re contorting your body into strange positions, and moving while in those positions, all while trying to maintain your balance AND work towards that “muscle failure”, all at the same time. Once you’ve triggered that good old “Lagree Shake” (ie your muscles are shaking so hard you could mix a martini without trying) you know you’re in the zone.
Lagree is a style of exercise that is somehow as challenging to seasoned athletes as it is accessible to fitness newbies. You can take a class when you’re dragging yourself through a long day and still make it through to the end, or you can take one at the start of your day and get a great workout using all that energy. You feel like you’re barely moving, but you’re sweating like you’re running a marathon. In every Lagree class, and I’ve gone to several, I’ve experienced a sense of accomplishment about something new. Whether it was the first time I was able to balance without using a bar, or when I added a 10lb spring weight more than my last workout, or even just making it to class despite having had too many whiskeys the night before, it’s been rewarding on some level.
The Studio Lagree Satisfaction
My favorite part of a Lagree workout is not the actual workout at all, but the stretching session after you’re done. My hips have been super tight for years now, and it’s always hard to stretch them out to the point of relief. Then I met the M3 Megaformer. It’s the top of the line machine that all the Lagree studios are outfitted with, and it’s your best friend when it comes to getting a good stretch. Using the spring weighted carriage, you can push yourself deeper into a variety of stretches, giving your sore muscles a break and spoiling your body with the stretches it’s been craving. I’ll usually spend an extra few minutes stretching after class is done, as a way to wind down after a good workout.
So if you’re looking for a new and different way to work out, no matter what your fitness level, I highly recommend Studio Lagree. Add it to your current workout routine, or use it alone for your muscle toning needs. Either way, you’ll get addicted.
*photos by Amy Buck (www.amybuckphotography.com)
*Nadia’s clothing provided by Gaim Canada
This post is a paid partnership with Studio Lagree and Addicted Media Inc.