‘Pilates on steroids’ is how LaFit Studio owner Claire Chidgzey describes the Lagree workout and spoiler alert: she aint’ wrong.
Having heard lots of great things about this Perth workout (and always up for an exercise challenge!), I signed up to see what the fuss was all about. Can you really burn up to 800 calories in one 45-minute class? Turns out the answer is a big fat YES.
Walking into LaFit on Hay Street in Subiaco, I was really impressed with the gorgeous studio. It’s light and airy, with beautiful chairs and a rack full of all the latest and greatest activewear. Owners Claire and Jaye have done an awesome job at making both the Subiaco and the second Highgate studio a place their clients love walking into, even when those same clients know they're gonna get their butt kicked!
But back to the workout! Started in 2001 by Sebastien Lagree, Lagree combines Pilates, strength training, cardio, endurance, balance, core and flexibility into one 45-minute class. All the exercises are done on a machine called a Megaformer, which is basically a pimped up version of the Pilates reformer machine.
For the whole class, you are on the Megaformer moving from pose to pose non-stop which ensures you activate every part of your body. Lagree emphasises doing each exercise as slowly as possible, using varying levels of resistance and props (like straps and pulleys), which stimulate slow twitch muscle fibres and thus, help develop lean muscle definition! There are over 1,000 exercises that can be done on the Megaformer, so the number of 45-minute routines are endless (which also means you’ll never get bored!)
This is a low impact workout and easy on the joints, but don’t be fooled—it’s INTENSE. During my first class (and let’s be honest, every class since), every muscle (obliques, bum, legs and arms, etc) shakes and burns like crazy and when the class ends, I am stuffed! It is an unforgiving workout but it’s also super satisfying.
It definitely took a few classes to get totally comfortable with the Megaformer. The instructor will explain all of the exercises, but I think for any newbies, it’s helpful to pick a machine in the middle of the room for your first class so you can easily look around at the other students if you’re not sure which strap/handle bar/foot position you’re supposed to be using.
What I love most about Lagree is that it feels like a complete workout. My heart rate is firing the whole class, it works every muscle and it really gives me the long, lean results I want. There also hasn’t been a single class I’ve walked out of where I haven’t felt like I’ve worked really, really hard.
I also love that there’s only 10 people in any one class so each instructor can keep an eye on your technique and is there to keep encouraging you when you feel like you can’t stay in the pose for one second longer!
Having now signed up for a membership at LaFit Studio, it’s fair to say I’m converted. And yep, I have kind of turned into one of those talk-about-lagree-all-the-time people. Well played, Lagree, well played.
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Image credit: Nancy Hanna