I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but I turned into one of those anomalies that enjoys working out. Trust me, it surprises me too. Prior to moving to Vancouver 5ish years ago I had almost no fitness routine. I had a gym membership and worked out fairly often (ish), but I had no idea what I was doing and only went because I told myself it was good for me. My workouts back then were not well balanced and I would show up at the gym to do whatever I felt like doing that day. Elliptical for an hour? Sure, why not? Free weights when I have no idea what I'm doing and don't know anything about form? Yeah, okay.
Then I moved to Vancouver and was a broke post secondary student so I stopped working out all together. "Das esspensive," I told myself and I also lack the motivation needed to work out on my own. It has only been within the last two years that I decided to make fitness a priority for me again and found that studio classes were the most motivational way for me to work out because; a) group workouts are always more motivating, b) it fosters a community and c) I am cheap AF and will refuse to miss a class because I am not paying a cancellation fee.
Lagree West is one of those fitness studios associated with a high price tag, a monstrosity of a contraption you use to work out, wireless headphones and giving your muscles that uncontrollable shake. Lagree West does offer "promo" pricing for their first timers (I use the term "promo" loosely because $20 a class is still a hefty price) so me being the frugal fitness fanatic that I am decided to try it out.
"How hard can a 40 minute workout class be?" I told myself. Famous last words, trust me.
WHAT IS LAGREE?
Lagree is (in its' simplest form) a specific type of training. It's like the opposite of CrossFit; Lagree instead focuses on slow and controlled movements to achieve maximum muscle stimulation. It focuses on fat-burning moves in your hips and thighs and tightening your core. Classes at Lagree West are 40 minutes - which is more than enough time to feel it. Everywhere. Due to it's intensive nature and the fact that you're really trying to exhaust the muscles you're working on you would have to be superhuman to be able to power through anything more than 40 minutes. The concept is that the intensity powers your workout, not the duration.
"Full body. High intensity. Low impact."
Those are the three selling points the instructor shared with me before my first class. The Megaformer is the machine you use during your work out and it looks like a modern day torture device. It uses balance and resistance to push your body to it's maximum exertion while weighted springs and a moving platform create tension - because of this there is no slacking. If you lose engagement for even a moment the carriage will slide out of position.
The first portion (warm up) was focused on engaging your core and was different plank variations (see here). We then progressed to lunge variations (here), a balance exercise, some ab/core work (here), then back to booty gains with hamstring extensions (here).
I will say that the numbered line indicators on the Megaformer made it easy to ensure that my form was optimal and the small class size made the attention from the instructor very personal. Kirsten was great about helping anyone who needed minor adjustments and the transitions between moves seemed seamless. While 40 minutes go by quickly, your movements are slow and controlled. And when I say slow I mean SLOOOOWW - think of going through something as rudimentary as a lunge but with a slow 10 second count. The kind of count where it's like, "one Mississippi, two Mississippi..."
This is the part y'all really want the rundown of, yeah? Yeah, it's hella expensive. The drop-in fee is $35, the monthly unlimited is $350. That means you really get your moneys' worth if you can attend more than 10 classes a month and with classes booking up quickly you really have to be on top of your scheduling A-game to book that many in a month (or be willing to hop around different locations).
If you're on ClassPass you can find the occasional class (usually in North Vancouver) for 6 credits which works out to be the equivalent of $14 per class which is definitely more along the lines of what I am normally willing to pay for a workout class. (By the way, your first month on ClassPass is free with 30 credits to spend. So if you wanted to try it out for free go with that route, just don't forget to cancel or put your membership on hold afterwards.)
I am no Serena Wiliiams (I fucking wish) but I do consider myself average if not slightly above average when it comes to my fitness level. I work out 4-5 times a week and I usually get a good sweat in, but nothing has ever made me feel more out of shape than Lagree did. Muscles in my inner thigh that I didn't know existed were twitching as if to say "hi, hello. I exist," and they continued to twitch hours after the class to remind me that I apparently don't pay enough attention to them. Because the machine used is so versatile each class and instructor varies. The first class I tried was cable heavy, the second was lunge heavy. (Seriously though, what deranged person came up with a curtsy lunge? That shit was impossible.)
I can only imagine the booty gains to be had if you attended Lagree regularly.
The class goes by quickly since it's only 40 minutes but honestly I don't think my body could have suffered through an entire hour of that torture. I did feel very accomplished for surviving that 40 minutes even though I woke up the next morning sore AF. Would I do it again? As much as the cheap bitch in me wants to say "no" I know that in all honesty I know that I would do a Lagree class again. While it might be a lot of money to shell out on a single class I did find it to be one of the most challenging fitness classes I've ever tried so on the rare occasion that I'm feeling extra masochistic I would occasionally splurge and get my fitness on via Lagree; like once a month, I'm not looking to go broke here. If you can afford the costs (and also if your body can survive going to multiple classes a week) I would highly recommend Lagree. The machine and the tension it provides helps like no other when it comes to core strength plus it keeps you engaged your entire workout.
It's also one of Meghan Markle's favourite workouts. If it's good enough for the Duchess of Sussex than you know the wannabe princess in me had to agree.
The fine print: Not much to disclose here. I paid for both the classes I attended via their 2 for $40 promo. Nothing sponsored here. Maybe I just splurge and buy one of those fancy Lagree sweatshirts so I can pretend I live that bougie life that includes me attending Lagree West on the regular.
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