Friday morning I had the pleasure (although my inner thighs and obliques will tell you differently) of attending an M3 Fusion class at Studio Lagree. Located at 435 Spadina Rd Toronto, Studio Lagree offers Pilates reformer style classes which are conducted on a custom designed “Megaformer” and as their website states is “the most innovative, aggressive and time efficient approach to full body conditioning”.
I arrived to the studio which is more North on Spadina than I usually travel – up in Forest Hill – and found plenty of parking, both on the street and there is a “Green P” very close as well. The studio is well marked from street level and you enter by walking up some narrow stairs to the second floor. The stairwell (which has a sign at the top that states “Your legs may be more worn-out than you think…Please use handrail & watch your step” – eek!) opens into a very modern space of chrome and metallic red. There are two change stalls available as well as washrooms and self locking lockers. I was told one washroom had a shower, but I didn’t check it out. The facility also offers a large lounge space to wait prior to class and a giant TV which shows a real of news clips featuring the “megaformer” and Lagree Fitness. I suggest not arriving to early on your first class, because with a giant window into the gym you can see the fitness “torture” (the good kind) that you will soon be enduring. Although if you do, there is plenty of reading material from Hollywood celebs who in various magazines (displayed on the walls) confess their obsession with Lagree Fitness – check out my favourite by Courtney Cox circa 2005.
The 50 minute class went by very quickly and as I eluded to above, I was very sore the next day (and dreading my 35km run – which I still did). Now I’m not sure if I’m getting lazy with my strength training, but I’m really loving these “reformer” “gravity” or “megaformer” style Pilates class. Being able to get a great “ouch inducing” workout while lying down is certainly lots of fun.
Now, what is a “megaformer” you ask? As I tried to explain to my husband, it’s like a single bed. Where the ends of the bed are fixed and the middle part slides back and forth and is attached with springs to change the tension. Depending on the body parts to be worked, you place your feet on different parts of the fixed end and use your various muscles to slide back and forth. E.g., for a lunge, your front planted leg is on the fixed part of the “megaformer” and with selected tension your back leg slides out as you lower into the lunge and slides back in as you return to the starting position.
The class was a lot of fun and was definitely challenging. You work your muscles to the point of fatigue (lots of variations for different levels) then roll over and give another muscle group a go. As the website states, “Lagree Fitness is the unique fusion of strength, core, cardio/circuit training and stretching into an intense, shirt-drenching, 50-minute exercise experience” and it was. They provide towels around the room and during a quick change I hopped off to grab one. The pace is fairly quick between moves which doesn’t provide much time to stall and rest by grabbing a drink – so be sure to hydrate before you arrive.
A great thing about your first class, is that it’s free! You can register online and they have MANY class options all day long from 6am to 10pm. The cost for the classes after your first is in the range of other Pilates reformer/gravity style classes but is certainly the most expensive when compared to other TO studios such as Misfit, Union, and Movemeant (single classes at Lagree are $35).
So, while it certainly is “North” of my typical workout jurisdiction, I have found myself a few times now trying to figure out the shortest route from my work to the studio and vice versa. I definitely suggest trying it out – especially with a couple of friends, so when your glutes are screaming and your face is so twisted from the (good) torture, you can look at someone you know and have a good laugh together. Also, by going with a friend, you’ll have someone to whine with the next day when your inner thighs are killing – and then together you can head back for more! Because like “they” say, “Summer bodies are built in the spring!” (and by “they” I mean one of my torture partners seen here in the back, Ky)