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Your Megaformer workout is about to get shorter, cheaper, and (yes) mind-controlled


Photos: Lagree Fitness
Photos: Lagree Fitness

So you thought it couldn’t get any tougher than lunging and piking on the Megaformer (AKA the Pilates reformer on steriods)? Spend 25 minutes with the new Supraformer, and those hour-long workouts of the past will feel more like rest days.

With this crazy innovative piece of equipment—now operational at the new Lagree Fitness studio in Los Angeles, and debuting worldwide next year—Megaformer creator and fitness guru Sebastien Lagree has made his signature Pilates-inspired workout shorter yet more intense, with mind-blowingly cool technology that feels straight out of a sci-fi film.

“I’ve been working on the Supraformer for the last three years,” says Lagree, whose method is taught at over 300 studios globally, including SLT and Brooklyn Bodyburn in New York City and The Studio MDR and Pilates Platinum in LA. “For most of my licensees, the Megaformer is the ultimate. But I said, ‘Soon we’ll get copied by people’—it’s just the nature of the fitness industry. We have to evolve.”

Photo: @monika_ell
Photo: Instagram/@monika_ell

Pilates with a twist… literally

What sets the Supraformer apart from its predecessors are its automated movements—it contains a patent-pending computerized system that allows it to incline like a treadmill and tilt from side to side. As a result, you’re forced to engage nearly 600 muscles just to remain stable, yet “your body stays in a safe neutral position,” he says. Still, beginners might crave a seatbelt.

“In the past, when you were doing a workout on the Megaformer, you had to twist and rotate your spine in order to engage your obliques,” explains Lagree. “But when you’re on the Supraformer, the tilt will automatically engage all those muscles for you. So you get a better workout—you feel parts of your body you cannot target unless you have those angles—and almost zero stress on the spine and the joints.” (I can vouch for this—not only are the Supraformer’s movements ultra-fluid, but I felt none of the lower back tension I often feel on other reformers, even though it seemed as if I was working twice as hard.)

At the moment, the instructor choreographs all of the Supraformer’s movements via tablet. But Lagree is already working on the machine’s next iteration, which will be—get this—controlled by the mind. Eventually, each station will come with its own biofeedback headband that will synch with a brain wave-reading computer program inside the Supraformer. “It’s really cool—you start thinking and as your attention goes up, so does the machine,” explains Lagree, who has built a working prototype at his Burbank warehouse. He hasn’t made that feature active on the existing Supraformers—“people are barely able to handle just the tilt,” he says—but says to look for it in the coming years.

Lagree Fitness_Supraformer2

Rise of the 25-minute, $15 class

The intensity of a Supraformer session doesn’t just make for tighter muscles; it also allows for a tighter workout time frame. Every 12-person class at the month-old Lagree Fitness studio is just 25 minutes—and with 20 classes on the schedule each day at the unheard-of price of $15, Lagree is set on disrupting the standard studio model.

“A shorter, but more intense workout is the way of the future,” he proclaims. “By the end of this year, I think you’ll start seeing people questioning why a workout is an hour. That’s where the market is going… I want to dominate the 25-minute workout.”

Some of the city’s top Lagree Method instructors seem to agree—local faves Ky Evans, Samantha Rabon, and Shane Collard are all on the schedule along with Lagree himself—and judging by the studio’s warm reception, including a sold-out first day of classes, LA’s fitness junkies do, too.

Lagree Fitness_Supraformer6

The Supraformer goes global

By the end of the year, Lagree hopes to open another Supraformer studio in LA—he’s currently scouting locations in Hancock Park, Century City, Beverly Hills, and Westwood—and he’s already received orders for the machine from studios in the US (San Francisco, Washington, DC, Chicago, and New York—SLT, specifically) and abroad (think Dubai, London, Toronto).

But if you aren’t in LA, don’t start shaving minutes off your workout schedule yet. “I want to take the next year to work out all the kinks [before sending it to licensees], because I want it to be perfect,” says Lagree, who adds that we can expect a mid-2017 debut in the aforementioned cities. Until then, I suggest you work on mastering your Megaformer technique—trust me, you’ll need it for what’s coming next.

Lagree Fitness, 375 N. La Cienega Blvd. #1, Los Angeles, CA, 90048, 310-801-1838, www.lagreefitnessstudio.com 

Lagree’s Pilates-inspired machines aren’t the only ones winning fans on both coasts—meet WundaFormer, dubbed the “Swiss Army Knife” of Pilates equipment. And in case you were wondering, mat Pilates is still kicking—here’s why you shouldn’t forget about it.