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Mega-Pilates

Posted by Alexa Pozniak  May 20, 2013 05:00 AM

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Regular workouts keep me in decent shape. But I’m always looking for ways to get faster, stronger, and more flexible. There are a myriad of options out there, which can be overwhelming for beginners and seasoned athletes alike. I’ll play the role of guinea pig and review some of the new and unusual exercise classes being offered around the region, with the hope you’ll find one that appeals to you and gets you moving. If you would like to suggest a workout for me to try, tweet me @apoztv.

Leading lady Jennifer Aniston credits her sculpted physique to it. So, too, do actress Nicole Kidman and "Dancing with the Stars" host Brooke Burke. I’m talking about the Lagree Fitness Method, which was created by celebrity trainer Sebastien Lagree. It is billed as a unique combo of Pilates, strength training, and cardio, and results in a high-intensity, low-impact workout.

The class centers around the Megaformer. The Studio Empower in Newton is the first Lagree fitness facility in the world to offer the newest, most advanced version of this machine. At first glance, it looks like a torture device. And in some respects, it is -- but in a “good” way.

During the 45-minute class, an instructor put us through an array of different exercises, providing specific directions along with a hearty dose of encouragement as we targeted our core, upper-body, and lower-body using a system of springs, pulleys, and body weight resistance.

The name of the game here is muscle failure. Small groups of muscles are isolated and worked for 1- to 2-minute increments until they are exhausted. Then, it’s on to the next group. After the class, my entire body felt like it was in muscle failure. These are muscles that aren’t typically targeted during an average workout. So in a sense, they are being woken up -- by a very loud alarm clock. The goal is to strengthen, tone, and elongate.

Over the course of the class, my heart rate was definitely high, but it didn’t feel like an authentic cardio workout. One participant told me she actually jogs to the studio from her home to work her heart extra hard. But the Lagree Method will definitely tighten up some of those trouble spots and strengthen your body in a way most workouts cannot. And the Megaformer machine adds an element of fun to the class. Because it contains so many bells and whistles, it keeps you engaged and focused on form.

The Lagree Fitness Method can be used as a supplementary workout or as your primary means of exercise. Whatever the case may be, you will no doubt feel the burn and wake up the next morning with sore muscles -- a sure sign of a good workout.

The Studio Empower, Newton, www.thestudioempower.com; single class $35, new clients $10; see website for more pricing options.

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.

CONTRIBUTORS

Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at Boston.com. She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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