We Tried It: Lagree West

Slip on your grip socks and hold on to your Megaformer, this 40-minute workout will definitely earn you a large protein shake.

 Like so many professional women these days, my fitness goals include Michelle Obama arms. After 40 minutes on Sebastien Lagree’s patented Megaformer, I can confidently say I am one step closer to achieving said goal. Apparently, the former First Lady attributes her famous figure to Monsieur Legree’s method, and she’s not the only celebrity subscriber.The Lagree Method—a combination of Pilates, strength, core, and circuit training, as well as some stretching and cardio—is an intense workout that takes place on a complex piece of machinery known as a Megaformer. All of the weighted springs and cords can be a bit intimidating at first (especially on the Megaformer’s moving platform!) but the workout itself really adheres to a slow and steady rhythm, which allows you time to look over at your neighbour and make sure you’ve grabbed the correct strap or shifted the right foot into place. Sebastien Lagree himself leading a trial class at Lagree West.On the day I was invited to the Gastown location of Lagree West (one of over 300 studios worldwide), founder Sebastien Lagree was leading an invite-only session to a select few. We were being trained by the studio’s namesake, a sweaty privilege ordinarily reserved for the likes of Sofia Vergara and Kim Kardashian.Arriving 10 minutes ahead of time is a must for first-timers, as there are a few things to learn about the device you’ll be perched on for the duration of the class. The sophisticated system of coils offer varying degrees of intensity, and are colour coded for ease of use during an intense workout session: you might not actually understand how the machine actually works, but you’ll be ready to comply when an instructor yells ““two yellow, one red!”Unlike many group fitness classes, this studio only hosts 10 Megaformers, making it easy to get one-on-one attention from the instructor if you’re unclear on the current exercise, or you happen to have grasped the wrong resistance strap. You’re also never in danger of any uncomfortable contact between you and your classmates, unlike during an overcrowded Sunday morning yoga class.A workout that targets all the major muscle groups and leads to a longer, leaner body in under an hour is certainly something I can get behind. I loved how it complimented the other weight training and cardio I’ve been doing of late, but if this was your sole form of exercise, you’d have a rockin’ bod in no time. My one word of caution though: don’t spend too much time staring at the position of your feet or you might end up with a crick in your neck.Lagree Method classes at Lagree West, $35 for drop-in, $350 for monthly unlimited. Schedules at lagreewest.com