Introducing The Megaformer
By K. Aleisha Fetters
“The class is really difficult, so don’t get frustrated. After a few sessions you will start to get the hang of it and it will get easier and you’ll feel so hardcore,” I told an intimidated-looking woman who was about to attempt her first class at SLT (Strengthen Lengthen Tone).
A recent addition to the New York fitness scene, the SLT studio finds its inspiration in celebrity trainer Sebastien Lagree’s Megaformer, which I like to call a Pilates reformer on steroids.
The Megaformer is an exercise machine with a sliding carriage connecting two stable platforms. You perform exercises by sliding the carriage in slow, controlled movements with resistance from connecting springs and—most importantly—your own body weight. Adjustable handlebars along with cables with handles and foot straps allow for a ridiculous number of exercises. I’ve been to about 10 classes now, as part of my #SpringShapeUp, and I’m learning new gravity-defying moves in every single session.
Megaformer workouts are largely based on the principles of Pilates, but they have a serious emphasis on strength training and cardio, too. During each workout, you move quickly from one exercise to the next for maximum muscle-sculpting, heart-pounding benefits. So just forget about “breaks.”
“You are stronger than you think you are,” the instructor (who looks like her abs were painted on) shouts above the pounding music. I repeat the words in my head, over and over, until I honestly believe them.
I am stronger than I think I am. And with four SLT workouts a week, I’m getting even stronger than that. I can feel it in my workouts, see it in the mirror, and sense it in my determination. My body’s transforming, and I think my mind is, too.
Want to try a Megaformer class? Check out the list of Megaformer locations to find a class near you.
More from WH:
The Biggest Workout Mistakes Women Make
Morning Workouts: You Can Do It
Get Rock Solid Abs
3 moves to sculpt your shoulders! Tank tops are coming, people.
The Better Sex Workout
Turn good sex into great sex—and tone your body—with these four Pilates moves
If the promise of a long, lean, dancer-like physique hasn’t made you a Pilates devotee already, this just might: Pilates can rev your sex life. Many of the practice’s poses target the muscles women rely on between the sheets—hip flexors, glutes, inner and outer thighs, and core. Pilates strengthens these key spots, enhancing your endurance, stability, and flexibility, all of which help to control your body so you can find and maintain the positions that feel best, says Marie Monahan, creator of the DVD On Beyond Kegels and founder of The Pilates Studio in Ventnor City, New Jersey.
Like Kegels, these moves engage and strengthen your pelvic floor, which can improve the frequency and intensity of your big finale as well as your partner’s satisfaction. Perform this workout, created by Monahan, up to three times a week: Do 10 reps of each move, going from one exercise to the next without resting. Work up to repeating the routine three times.
WH WEEKEND CHALLENGE: Donkey Kick/Bird Dog!
These moves might not look difficult, but trust us, they are. In the modified version, simply hold your abs tight for 10 seconds (breathing throughout). That’s one rep. Same idea in the regular and advanced versions, but you’re lifting your leg or your leg and opposite arm.
This weekend, before each meal, complete 3 sets of 10 reps.
So, ARE YOU IN?
Can you say #motivation? It’s March and we’re looking at swimsuits. (Bright, pretty ones!) (Taken with instagram)
Need a kick in the butt? Go get some workouts over on our fitness page
WH WEEKEND CHALLENGE: Squats!
This Saturday and Sunday, do 3 sets of 10 squats (any version) before each meal. While squats target your quads, they also activate your core and just about every other muscle in your lower body, including your glutes, hamstrings, and calves. This makes the squat one of the best all-around exercises you can do! So, ARE YOU IN?
As soon as you slip off your sneakers after a workout, your body starts repairing the “damage” you did to your muscles. In fact, it’s actually this recovery process—not exercise itself—that makes you stronger and leaner, says Stacy Sims, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist at the Stanford School of Medicine’s Prevention-Research Center in Palo Alto, California.
"To speed your results, research shows that what you do when you’re not exercising is nearly as important as the workout itself," she says. Get on the fast track with these minimum-effort moves.
1. Log More Z’s
2. Get Going A Little (Active Recovery)
3. Upgrade Your Post-Workout Snack
4. Massage It Out
5. Boost Your Water Intake
Clever combo: Eco-conscious shoebox and reusable bag from @pumarunning (Taken with instagram)