Now I’ve tried my share of the city’s latest exercise trends for this activity column, but never have I experienced such a heart-pumping, sweat-dripping, muscle-aching, couldn’t-walk-for-three-days-after workout in a Toronto fitness studio.
The workout and studio was founded by celebrity trainer Sebastian Lagree; the man behind the rock-hard bodies of Courtney Cox, Elizabeth Hurley and a slew of NFL and NHL athletes. This is the first Canadian studio offering the Lagree Fitness Method designed to target your slow twitch muscle fibres, then intermediate muscle fibres and finally your fast twitch muscle fibres to create the greatest potential for fat burn with every move. The intense workout is described as a fusion of Pilates, strength, core, cardio and circuit training that’s meant to be done in 2 to 3 classes per week to complement activities such as running or spinning.
Walking into Studio Lagree I felt I was entering an exotic car dealership, with all the sparkling chrome and racecar red accents. The workout room holds about 12 “Megaformers,” which are the machines used in the workout, and are basically super enhanced Pilates machines.
The class is small, and it quickly becomes clear the rest of the all-female attendees have done this before. I’m intimidated and confused by all the levers and pulleys, and struggle to keep my hand and foot balance on the sliding bench to do the planks and lunges. 15 minutes in and I’m a sweaty, heavily breathing mess compared to all the other ladies who are twice my age and able to keep up and perform the moves perfectly on the reformers.
My legs are shaking so bad I’m about to wonder if I should just call it quits when another instructor comes in to assist me with the rest of the class (a little embarrassing, but I wouldn’t have made it through otherwise!). He makes sure I complete all the moves with control, which I find extremely challenging as I’m using muscles that I don’t think I’ve used in my everyday exercises, and motivates me to make it to the end of the class.
I make it through, and just a few hours later I can already feel the effects on my glutes and inner thighs. Laughing proves painful for the rest of the week, and I forget about even attempting to walk in heels until the weekend. It’s probably the most challenging workout I’ve ever done.
You can try it for yourself with the first class free, but after that it gets rather pricey at $35 per class and packages starting at $200. Given the intensity of the workout though if you can justify the price and getting to the Forest Hill location I think it’s a highly effective way to get fit and challenge your body.
Studio Lagree Forest Hill
435 Spadina Rd
Daniela DiStefano is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @ddeestefano or check out her blog, Making it to the Masthead