Journey to Lagree
I am a big fan of the TV show Suits. So much so, my daily ritual included listening to music playlists on YouTube from the first two seasons. Yep, that kind of dedicated fan. This past summer, I watched a Shape Magazine interview with Meghan Markle, who plays Rachel, the paralegal on Suits. If you’ve seen the show, you can’t help but adore Rachel. I’m envious of her stylish wardrobe and all those pencil skirts she looks absolutely stunning in. Naturally, I was wondering what she did to stay fit. She runs, does Tracy Anderson workouts and yoga but when she’s in LA, she goes to Pilates Platinum. When I searched for Pilates Platinum online, I learned that it utilizes the Megaformer, a machine designed by Sebastien Lagree.
When Lagree designed the megaformer he took the reformer from pilates and changed it up so 1000’s of exercises can be performed on it. He wanted to help people make the most out of their time so they could achieve more in 40-50 minutes without having to do separate workouts for cardio, strength training, and body conditioning. There is no need to have any pilates experience and is accommodating for different levels of fitness. It is very low impact so it’s good if you have any joint pains. It sounded good to me!
After reading about the Megaformer and testimonials, I searched for Megaformer classes in Toronto and found Studio Lagree. Woohoo!! I read reviews of the Lagree workout and decided to take the summer to revisit Mat Pilates before I tried out the Megaformer, even though it wasn’t a pre-requisite, I wasn’t ready yet to take the plunge. Prior to this, I had taken Pilates on a drop-in basis for 2 years in my early 20’s. Yep, I’m at the age where I can say that now.
I spent most of the summer doing independent workouts at the gym using free weights and body weight exercises and mixing it up yoga and mat pilates classes. I enjoyed the variety at first but knew I wanted something more challenging and structured.
My First Class at Studio Lagree
In the last week of August, after a Saturday where I did 2 pilates classes back to back (2 hours), I wasn’t feeling satisfied with how I spent that time and I decided I needed to just try Lagree. So, I signed up for a first timer’s special – a one week unlimited class pass and went to four classes that week.
I was nervous about being on a machine. When I’m at the gym, I don’t gravitate towards machines at all (cardio included). I prefer body weight exercises and props AND if possible an instructor. I’m also afraid of heights and one of my fears, was of losing my balance and falling off the machine, or feeling like the machine is really far away from the ground. Luckily, when I got on the machine and got to stand next to one, this fear quickly went away. I’m not THAT high off the ground. *phew* So, if I do fall, it won’t be that far. HA!
I went to my first class on my own. I got to the studio early, purchased some toe socks, which felt weird (it’s the fabric BETWEEN my toes thing) but so did my Five Fingers toe shoes when I first put them on. Once you start exercising though, you don’t notice them at all.
I got to chatting with the gentlemen at the front desk when I was signing into class. He told me about how he use to be a former football player and has lost 65lbs since February. His face lit up as he was talking about the workout and how it achieves long lean muscles. He reminded me that everyone was really friendly there so to not hesitate at all about asking questions. I couldn’t help but smile and nod. I later learned the gentlemen I spoke with, Carm, was also one of the owners of the club.
My first class started off with plank to pike which totally set the stage for the intense workout ahead. The instructor reminded us to go slowly with each move taking four seconds to go out and four seconds to go in and reminding us when to breathe in and out. This was very helpful & important because I often get that mixed up.
I liked that the class had a variety of moves that we would only do for about 30 secs or so. It sounds like a very short amount of time but it feels
painfully longer when you are moving slowly. I was very focused throughout and didn’t take many breaks because I didn’t want to miss out on anything.
When we were working on our inner thigh muscles, my glutes started to shake uncontrollably. I don’t believe this has ever happened to me in any other class, where I can’t actually control the shaking. This was hilarious, I couldn’t help but look at my reflection. In my sister’s first class with me, she noticed my shaking and said “you had stripper butt”. Bahaha!
I was completely drenched after my first class. It felt sort of neat to be as sweaty as in a hot yoga class but without a heated room. I felt sore after my first class and every day that first week but really happy. I could feel muscles in my glutes I hadn’t ever felt before. The class lived up to my expectations and I thought “YESSS, this is it! This was what I was looking for.”
Lagree is my Zen Space
I’ve been going to Studio Lagree about 2-3 times a week (other than a few weeks due to set backs – colds/schedule conflicts/injuries) since that very first class. When I rave to my friends about it, I usually say “It feels like I’m slowly tearing myself a new body from the inside out.. and that’s a good thing”. Basically, I might not see the physical changes on the outside right away but the inside, I can feel that there’s changes happening. 🙂
After my intial weeks at Studio Lagree I found my sleep to be more restful, I’d wake up with more energy and my abdominal muscles, obliques, inner thigh and glute muscles were sore unlike any other exercise I’ve ever done. I’ve lost some pounds, gotten some compliments from others about me leaning out. But like most things, I know I would see more physical changes if I was more consistent about my diet + my fitness regimen. Since starting Lagree, I haven’t been to any mat pilates classes or to the gym to do independent workouts, my schedule’s been more hectic than ever. So, it’s saved me time! I enjoy the variety in classes, that regardless of how often I go during the week, no two classes are the same and I feel challenged throughout class.
Every class is different and the weights can be adjusted based on your preference (more or less resistance) depending on if you are facing the front or the back of the machine (moving with the weight vs pulling the weight). The instructors I’ve had have all been great. They’ve been consistent about reminding us about correct form, keeping us focused and letting us know how to modify an exercise. Most of my classes have been with Leila, who’s encouraging, funny, friendly and always finding ways to keep us feeling challenged.
I’ve been going to Lagree a bit over 6 months now. I get pretty bummed when I can’t make it to class. Lagree is my zen space. When I go there, I feel like I leave everything behind and when I come out, I have more clarity. My mind rarely wanders in class. When you’re executing plank, spider, teasers, bear, newspaper, catfish, mermaid and the like, all you can do is focus on stabilizing your core and trying to maintain good form as you move slowly. I usually leave feeling refreshed and calm, ready to tackle my day. 🙂
Are you interested in trying Lagree? If you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for? What’s your current favourite way to exercise? What do you look for in a exercise class? Let’s chat it up.