I recently attended Sebastien Lagree’s unique Pilates, strength and cardio-conditioning fusion workout launch in Toronto. He’s the man behind the rock-hard bodies of Jennifer Aniston, Elizabeth Hurley, Rebecca Romijn, Nicole Kidman, Ali Larter and Hayden Panettiere.
Lagree’s workout is a heart-pumping, core-crunching, total-body toning experience. It’s a 50-minute group class with the feel of personal training. His method challenges you to keep your muscles under controlled- and constant-tension as you slowly execute more pumped-up versions of lunges, push-ups, planks, rows, bicep curls, flys, hip raises, donkey kicks, and something he calls a “mega crunch.” (mega is right.) The result? You’re able to strengthen, tighten and tone while gaining flexibility. It’s a bodybuilding workout that won’t bulk you up.
The class takes place on a Megaformer, a radical piece of fitness equipment Lagree affectionately refers to as “Pilates on steroids” and “Not your Mama’s Pilates.” Think of it as a bigger, badder, bolder take on the typical sliding reformer. It allows you to sit, stand, kneel and slide along it, as well as pull up and out on a series of weight cables, for a fun and challenging workout.
I was there to test one of the first classes led by Sebastien himself at his gorgeous new studio, Lagree Fitness. I honestly felt muscles I never knew I had and it’s definitely a workout I plan on adding to my hit parade for 2013.
Here are the four most important things I took away from my time with Lagree.
1. Sip. Don’t gulp!
“I can’t stress how important water is – as long as you drink it the right way! If you gulp down cup after cup, you don’t give your body a chance to absorb it and truly hydrate. Instead I sip water throughout the day, drinking no more than four fluid ounces of water [about 120 ml] at a time. It’s amazing. Water regulates everything in your body, but we consistently underestimate it. Steadily drinking water will keep your energy levels up, and it will even promote healthy metabolism.”
2. Find your fitness sweet spot
“The most common mistake I see people making at the gym is working out too hard, too often.”
3. Craft the perfect playlist
“Music is essential to my workouts. It keeps everyone motivated and ready to work hard. At my studio in Los Angeles, we have a DJ booth with different DJs spinning their beats. Last summer, we had a Congo drummer. It was fantastic and you could really feel the energy in the room. We’re going to have great playlists at the Toronto location.”
4. Exercise for more than weight loss
“While I started exercising when I was 14 because I was overweight and wanted to appeal more to girls, I soon found that it did wonders for me mentally and psychologically, too. I consider fitness my religion. And now all I want to do is inspire other people. My training mantra is: educate, motivate, inspire.”
Check out Studio Lagree for schedules and future studio locations.