Dubbed the hottest workout in Hollywood, the Lagree Fitness craze that has swept America is now taking hold in cities worldwide. A world away from the realms of HIIT, the method’s slow and leisurely moves may appear to the casual observer to be a pain-free way to shed the pounds. But don’t be fooled. Promises of almost immediate results come at a price, as always, and there is good reason why this new fitness phenomenon has been called ‘Pilates on crack’.
Founded by Sebastien Lagree, this high-intensity, low impact workout came about almost by accident. The LA-based fitness trainer noticed that some of his clients were hitting the treadmill for a cardio workout after their Pilates sessions. “I told them ‘If you want cardio, I can give you a Pilates workout that gets your heart rate up,'" he revealed to Women’s Health, so he set about devising a programme that has since garnered a global fan base.
Centered around a specially engineered machine called the Megaformer, a souped-up version of the traditional Pilates reformer, the Lagree Fitness method works muscles to the point of exhaustion. During a typical 50-minute class, in which Lagree estimates an average-sized woman can burn more than 700 calories, muscle groups are worked one at a time to the point of fatigue using the Megaformer’s straps and pulleys for resistance. The full-body workout focuses not on reps, but on a steady and continuous ‘go slow’ approach which keeps the heart rate up. "It's the only workout that effectively combines strength, endurance, cardio, balance, core, and flexibility training, not only in one session but in each and every move," says Amanda Freeman, the CEO and founder of New York’s SLT studios.
It’s easy to understand the widespread popularity of this latest regime. It doesn’t require a given level of fitness, simply a little patience to master the Megaformer and its associated moves, and each exercise can be modified to be easier or more challenging depending on one’s own ability. And in this era of immediacy, the fact that its transformative effects don’t, according to its founder, require spending hours in the gym has an obvious appeal. However, the success of Lagree Fitness probably lies in the fact that despite the visible benefits, the workouts don’t get any easier. "My body never fully adapts to the ever-changing routine," The Studio (MDR) founder and CEO Lisa Hirsch told Glamour. And that’s exactly why it works.
Read more about Lagree Fitness and find a local studio here.