Each week, Leyla explores a different class in Toronto and gives you a breakdown of what’s awesome and what’s not.
Studio: Studio Lagree, 425 Spadina Rd.
Instructor: L.A. Russell
Description: This class involves you, a Megaformer, and every single effing muscle in your body. No warm-up. No break between sets. You’re planking from the starting pistol. Various contortions come into play, targeting/annihilating core. Lunges: Thank God there’s a bar that you use for balance because at this point the once padded, fun, and swingy Megaformer is a hot bed of instability and menacing edges. Squats: The once beloved bar now functions as weight, working your shoulders. You’ll never be so happy to do a sit-up: safe and sound and horizontal. Arms: I don’t know, it’s a blur. An assistant is on hand to help with form. Don’t be embarrassed if you sweat on him. I did (cringe). Stretch: But not like Child’s Pose stretch. Like lunging again, except at least this time you have one foot on the dreaded Megaformer and one foot on lovely, solid ground.
Reason I signed up: “Pilates on crack.” Yes. Yes, it is. That’s the unofficial name for Sebastien Lagree’s hybrid Pilates, strength, and cardio class. With roots in West Hollywood, this class is a celebrity favorite. If it’s good enough for Courtney Cox, Nicole Kidman, and Britney Spears, it’s good enough for me.
Price: $35/class. First class free. Package savings available.
Level of difficulty from 1 (newbie) to 5 (hardcore): FIVE. This 50-minute class is very challenging, mostly because there’s no real recovery time between sets. Each set feels like two minutes and is intended to work your muscles beyond the point of exhaustion. The words “form” and “control” are drilled into your brain. The slower you move the more your body seems to vibrate. Apparently, “that means it’s working.”
Why you should (or shouldn’t) try it: If balance is an issue, don’t’ try it. Slow and steady might win the race, but in this case, it can also lead to lightheadedness. The pay-off? The next morning your body will be in some kind of pain, but in the best kind of way.
Overall assessment: If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to be made of JELL-O, you’ll know at the end of this class.