Photo: c/o Chi50 / Alisha Siegel
Whether you want to lengthen and strengthen or tighten and tone, it’s time to meet the Megaformer, which allows for more variety of moves compared to the traditional reformer. The slightly torturous-looking machine is the key component of the Lagree Fitness method, a unique, full-body workout that’s more popular than ever. Case in point: There are over 300 locations worldwide, including studios in nearly every major U.S. city, and celebs like Kim K., Sofia Vergara, and Chrissy Teigen are reportedly big fans. So, what makes this workout different from any other current fitness craze? Ahead, eight reasons why you should consider getting in on the muscle-quaking Megaformer action.
It’s a one-stop-shop workout.
Strength training—check. Cardio—check. “The Lagree method is a full-body, high-intensity workout that’s completely resistance based,” explains Cheri Byrd, owner of CHI50 in Chicago. “You burn out different muscle groups one at a time, but you also get cardio benefits through the quick transitions you make as you work between the different moves.” As if that weren’t enough to make you sweat, there’s also flexibility and balance involved.
The pace makes it completely different.
Unlike many other types of exercise where the faster the better, a Lagree workout is all about going as slooooww as possible. “The slower you go, the more you activate the slow twitch muscle fibers, which is what builds long, lean muscle,” notes Byrd. And yes, in case you haven’t guessed, moving slow is also a huge part of what makes it so challenging.
Still, this is low impact exercise.
“It’s a high intensity, low impact workout, that’s especially great for people who have beaten down their bodies,” points out Byrd. There’s no pounding on your knees or hips, and even people with injuries or conditions such as scoliosis can do it, she adds.
Photo: c/o Chi50 / Will Byington
You burn crazy calories.
While the total amount of calories burned varies based on the class and the individual, Byrd says you can expect to torch anywhere between 500 to 1000 calories in one class (usually anywhere between 40 to 50 minutes, depending on the studio). Those are some pretty impressive numbers, especially if your goal is to drop a few pounds. Combine that major calorie burn with constant muscle resistance, and regular class-goers quickly start to lean out, she says.
It’s the ultimate core workout.
Classes traditionally start and end with a section of exercises devoted to working your core, leaving your abs screaming. But because your core has to be engaged in order to perform all of the other moves as well—even those geared towards your arms or legs—your abs will be working the entire time, making it the end-all be-all workout for strengthening your stomach.
It’s a great option if you’re pregnant.
To our previous point, this is a choice workout for mommas-to-be. “There are lots of easy ways to modify the moves, and regular clients have sworn that having such strong abdominal muscles helped with labor and delivery,” says Byrd.
Plateauing is not an option.
With so many different moves and sequences in which to do them, each and every class is different. That means whether it’s your first time on a Megaformer or your 100th, you’re guaranteed to be challenged. And while that’s obviously the best way to avoid a physical plateau, there’s a mental benefit, too, since you’ll never get bored, Byrd adds.
Small studios make for personalized attention.
While the number of Megaformer machines in any Lagree studio can vary, the average is usually 10 to 12, says Byrd. You’ll always be a part of a small group where the instructor can keep a close eye on you, helping you learn the ropes if it’s your first time, or suggesting challenging new modifications if you’re a pro.
Check out a few of the Lagree studios around the country where you can try this challenging workout:
New York City: SLT
Los Angeles: The Studio (MDR)
San Francisco: Core40
St. Louis: PLNK
Nashville: Studio Novo