Friday, November 15, 2019
Fitness

Everything to know about Meghan Markle’s go-to exercise, Lagree

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The Duchess of Sussex is a fan of this LA-founded workout, but so is Jennifer Aniston, Chrissy Tiegan, Michelle Obama and Kim Kardashian West. 

Give a big, sweaty high five to our new editorial series, Class in Review. This is where the body+soul editorial team put their bodies on the line (literally) to honestly review the latest, greatest, weirdest and most creative workouts in Australia.

Maybe it’s an occupational hazard, but I get wary when I hear news of the latest celebrity-endorsed fitness trend.

Gigi Hadid’s boxing obsession? That’s nice, but hardly new. Chris Hemsworth and his endurance weight sessions? Impressive, but not for me. So when news of Meghan Markle’s go-to workout, called the Lagree Method, landed in my inbox I was dubious. What did pique my interest however was the follow up – claiming that this Pilates-esque workout gave a more intense burn than a F45 class. Now that’s no small claim.

The premise? A high-intensity but low impact, non-stop workout which revolves around movements on a Megaformer machine – which is in essence a frighteningly large, amped-up version of a Pilates reformer. An average Lagree class goes for 50 minutes and the choreography gives a mix of cardio bursts, core strengthening, muscle endurance and stretching.

Sebastien Lagree founded the Lagree Method in Los Angeles in 1999, inventing the Megaformer machine but also the style of class that he is keen to point out is not the same as Pilates. Speaking to Lagree from LA about the difference, he explains “It’s not a form of Pilates. Lagree is a muscular endurance training program which originated from the reformer (the equipment; not the Pilates method). We use bodybuilding techniques and principles. Pilates was never designed to change the body composition; but Lagree is different… They are two very different method with different results.”

And after experiencing a class for myself at Sydney’s Double Bay Lagree studio, I know what he means by ‘muscular endurance programme’. I workout semi-regularly, and consider myself relatively fit, but I struggled to complete most of the exercises, and I left feeling like I a big Lagree failure.

While other class-goers seemingly sailed through the endless reps of lunges, squats, crunches and micro-pulls and twists, all whilst gracefully balancing atop a big movable massage table. But looking around, I can see the results – toned arms, tight abs and long, lean limbs peek out from the designer activewear. So it’s no surprise this workout is favoured by Hollywood’s A-list.

Lagree concurs, explaining the appeal, “I engineered and continue to engineer the method to be super-effective…. The method is designed to strengthen, tighten, harden the muscles. Unlike bodybuilding which I love, Lagree is designed to strengthen without bulking the muscles.”

The music during the class is an unexpected highlight, with a high-energy playlist that helps distract but also propel you through the most challenging of moves. Relaxing wind chimes and pan pipes, this is not. Thank god.

Now, I have done other so-called ‘intense’ Pilates workouts in my time, but nothing compares to the burn you feel during a Lagree session. Both during the class, and for days afterwards. I discovered muscles I didn’t know I had, and felt that satisfying muscle soreness in my abs, thighs and butt – even four days after my first class.

I leave the cave-like studio covered in sweat and feeling suitable challenged – unlike regular Pilates mat classes, which often leave me feeling bored and unsatisfied. Despite the pain, and considerable public humiliation (I nearly fell off the machine at least twice), I’m determined to return and master this strangely addictive form of torture.

Lagree says that the average class can “burn anywhere between 450 to 800 calories in a 45 minutes class”, however I track my calorie burn and heart rate (geek alert!) on my Apple watch and only register 178 calories in 50 minutes, and a max heart rate of 89 beats per minute. However, as the instructor Danica warns that I’ll continue burning calories for hours afterwards, and I have to say I collapse into bed much earlier than usual, and fall asleep instantly. Maybe Lagree is how Adele dropped a dress size?

THE b+s BREAKDOWN:

Come for the… An all-over body burn, tight abs, toned limbs, without risking the injury often associated with high-intensity exercise.

Leave with… Shaking legs and a sense of accomplishment.

Be sure to bring with you... Mental focus, a sweat towel and your snazziest crop top/legging combo.

The little things: The soundtrack is really uplifting and helps distract from the physical pain. The instructors are also upbeat but helpful when you lose your way (for me, that was often!).

Perfect for: A pre-work workout to maintain strength, tighten and tone.

Difficulty factor: 10/10.

Max heart rate*: 89 beats per minute

Total calorie burn*: 178 calories

Where: Shop 1, 409-411 New South Head Rd, Double Bay, NSW

Opening Hours: 5.10am – 8.20pm, Monday – Wednesday, 5.10am – 8.20pm. Thursday and Friday, 7am – 5.20pm Saturday and Sunday.

Cost: Casual classes are $40, tiered memberships start from $52 a week.

Contact: Lagree Fitness Australia

Please note body+soul writers may be gifted classes or workout experiences, but reviews are always the unbiased opinion of the author, and free from commercial influence.





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