I can’t say enough good things about the fitness benefits of group Pilates Reformer classes. If you live near one of the 4 WundaBar LA locations, you can experience the amazing and unique workout that only WundaBar can provide.
However, if you don’t live in the LA area and you want the benefits of a Pilates-like Reformer workout, you need to find a studio that has the WundaFormer alternative (which was one of the inspirations for the now patented machine) called the Megaformer and the Lagree Fitness Method.
What is the Megaformer?
Similar to the WundaFormer Reformer carriage (minus the WundaChair and Jumpboard/Ballet Bar sections), the Megaformer has been called a Pilates Reformer on steroids. The description is fitting since it was developed by the French former bodybuilder, Sebastien Lagree. The LA-based Lagree Fitness has been developing pumped up Reformers since 2005 and is currently at work on the 4th generation Megaformer.
To see the machine in action, you can watch a Megafomer promotional video from Lagree Fitness.
Why was the Megaformer developed?
While many would consider the Lagree Fitness Method (LFM) to be a group reformer Pilates delivery method, the website is clear to state that the LFM is NOT Pilates. The LFM is positioned as an effectively unique combination of strength training, cardio, balance, core and flexibility delivered not only during every session on a Megaformer but through every move performed. Both the Megaformer and the LFM were designed to minimize stress on the joints, connective tissues and spine while allowing for maximum muscular effort.
What’s my take on the Megaformer workout?
It’s hard! Much like my WundaBar classes, the Megaformer is a full body adjustable level workout that pushes you to your edge and gets you acquainted with muscles you might not know that you have. If I didn’t have a committed relationship with the WundaFormer, I’d be best friends with a Megaformer.
Pilates or not, these reformer type machines are all you need for muscle strength, length, endurance and core conditioning. If you crave a heart rate rise and sweat, you’ll get that with a Megaformer (and WundaFormer) workout as well.
8 Need-To-Know Tips Before Going To Any Group Reformer Class
- Wear a tank top, form fitting bottoms (no flared pants) and bring a towel/wear a headband
- Pre-hydrate and bring a large bottle of water to ensure hydration during and after class
- Decide if you need no-toe non-slip/grip socks for standing on the machine/floor (I don’t)
- Go to your 1st class early, to have time to watch a class in action and examine the machine
- Remember that the resistance level is adjustable by number of springs and color
- Get ready for some awkward positions that may be held for long periods of time
- Be smart, inform the instructor if you are injured/recovering for exercise modifications.
- Have fun and prepare for future muscle soreness in your normal manner (I occasionally take anti-inflammatory meds and/or use ice if my back dictates)
If you can’t go to WundaBar in LA, you can find a Megaformer Studio near you
According to the Lagree Fitness website, there are over 60 countries with Megaformer studios available but to locate one near you click here. I’ve been lucky to try the following 3 fantastic studios (in order of visit history):
Since WundaBar isn’t everywhere – These are 3 amazing Megaformer Studios:
Firebrand Sports – Portland, OR
I was not only blown away by the gorgeousness of the studio, the friendliness of the staff and the unique classes offered (they also offer RealRyder Leaning Indoor Cycling classes) but the fact that Sara Stimac the owner left a career as an entertainment lawyer in LA to open this studio in Portland with her mother.
50 minutes with Sara gave a group of fitness enthusiasts a very challenging Pyrolates class – the link gives features photos and an in-depth description of what one can expect in a Megaformer class. Portlandia, you are some lucky ducks to have a studio like this in your ‘hood. A true gem!
Brooklyn Body Burn – Brooklyn, NY (Williamsburg)
Brooklyn Body Burn is an oasis of modern chic in the middle of hipster heaven that is Williamsburg. The owner of BBB, Tracy Karlinsky, discovered the Megaformer while living in LA and brought her favorite workout back to Brooklyn.
Tracy looks like the epitome of a ballet dancer – pretty, sweet and lithe but don’t be fooled my friends, because this NYC native will kick your ass. I was sweaty and shaky and loved every minute of it (although my sweaty selfie above was taken while I was still wiped out and not looking too happy).
Make the trek to this swanky boutique studio (that reminds me a bit of WundaBar) on the edge of the East River for an ABSolutlely amazing workout! I look forward to visiting again sometime.
SLT NYC – 3 locations: Hamptons, SoHo & Midtown; NJ & Westchester coming soon.
SLT NYC wins the award for giving the highlights the benefits of the Megaformer workout in it’s name: Strengthen – Lengthen – Tone and tagline: “if cardio, strength training and Pilates had a baby it would be SLT”.
I believe that SLT was the first NYC studio to give the Megaformer exposure in NYC (I could be wrong but I had heard about SLT long before I ever visited). I took a class at the Midtown location (near Carnegie Hall) and while the studio was small and and not as visually appealing as other boutique studios, the workout was still fabulous.
I wound up taking a semi-private class with Lenae who had boundless energy, did adjustments as necessary and was extremely personable. I love that SLT knows the potential of what Megaformer classes can do and it looks like they are trying to spread the love to other areas of the tri-state area. BTW, SLT also offers yoga classes (which I have yet to try but will do so at my next opportunity).
And we’re done!
It was a long post but I’m really passionate about the power of these Pilates-like machines. Let me be clear and let you all know that none of this content was sponsored. I paid out of my own pocket to go to all of the above studios (including WundaBar now that my 60 Day Challenge is over).
Have you been to a Megaformer/WundaBar Pilates/Group Reformer class before? If so, what did you think of it? If not, do you want to try?