Wednesday, March 18, 2015

SpotlightOn - Pilates on the Megaformer!

Too try or not to try the Megaformer?
(image credited to SLT NYC via Pinterest)
Due to events out of my control I was forced to move on from my Stott Reformer Pilates classes at my gym, Healthworks, and found myself in need of a replacement. I really liked the reformer classes, but, in choosing a substitute, cost and time were a big factor; given that in order to make it a consistent practice it needed to be accessible. After tons of searching I decided on giving BTone a try. Not only did they have tons of options that would work with my extended work schedule (most importantly late classes as I am not a morning person), but, I could get 15 classes for less than what I paid for the package of 10 at Healthworks

Per usual, I did research on what the megaformer was but what I found was inconclusive and I had no idea what to expect. All I could find was general information on the workout tool "the megaformer" and learned it is often referred to as The Lagree Method, after creator Sebastian Lagree. So I looked for reviews and found the common themes: it works, it is often called "Pilates on Crack", Sofia Vergara swears by it (check out her interview with Megaformer creator Sebastian Lagree), Kim Kardashian turned to it post-baby and Alessandra Ambrosio is a regular! All very important points (great press!), but, gave me no clue as to what to expect?! 




So last Wednesday I headed down to Btone after work (taking advantage of their 3/$30 intro offer) with the assumption it would be a sort of cardio reformer class. I was convinced I would be fine given the many intermediate traditional reformer classes I took over the previous five months coupled with years of barre, yoga and sprinkles of running. THIS WAS NOT THE CASE. 

I have never struggled so much in a class, that, the instructor kept coming over to help me adjust! However, I must note this was my first workout after being out of commission for three and a half weeks due to reconstructive eye surgery. Given the surgery was eye realignment, my balance had been off since, as my eyes are constantly shifting to readjust and focus as they get used to their new range and abilities. The megaformer strongly relies on balance for a number of the exercises and this was a major setback for me in terms of being able to execute a lot of the poses. (Point #1 good balance is a strong positive for taking this class).

Furthermore, the traditional reformer is nothing compared to the megaformer in terms of resistance. Similar to Stott (traditional) reformers the megaformer relies on the spring system. However, the weights of each spring are not comparable to the Stott springs. This added factor gets you working fast! In my traditional reformer classes I would break into small sweats but I was drenched after this class. (Point #2 expect to work against tons of resistance).

None of my experience with traditional reformers gave me an advantage in this class. I took the class with my sister who never took more than an intro into the Stott reformer classes and she was way better than I was at executing each pose. I will not excuse my time off due to surgery recovery as the reason for this. Instead I think strong beats pilates experience when it comes to the megaformer. In fact even the names for poses differ to traditional reformer names. (Point #3 no Stott reformer pilates experience is required).

Even if you are strength and balance challenged, as I was, you will work and get something out of it. When plie-ing or lunging, moving the carriage against resistance, I could barely make the carriage twitch but still felt my legs shaking and experienced soreness in my butt and inner thighs. The same was true for the ab work where I was unable to have much range in moving the carriage whilst planking yet my obliques burned during and especially in the days after! (Point #4 you will get something out of it even though you feel like you cant do anything!).

I was extremely humbled throughout the class as to what my abilities actually were. Essentially I got my butt kicked and I loved it. I was sore for three days until I took a barre class and then the soreness continued but I cannot say it was solely due to the megaformer. I am taking my second class tonight and hope to build up and get better one class at a time. It is recommended to take two or more classes per week but for the time being I plan to add megaformer classes once a week to my fitness routine.

Final Verdict: There is absolutely no way a person can take megaformer classes and not see results. 

P.S. - Check out this post I wish I had read before taking my first class on "What to Expect from your First Lagree Fitness Class" written by BTone instructor Nicole Perry of Pumps&Iron.

P.P.S. - Michelle Obama, FLOTUS herself, has allegedly been spotted working out on a megaformer!

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