This article originally appeared on InStyle.com.
We can sit around and count the ways we’re obsessed with Meghan Markle (her hair, her clothes, her fiancé…..’nuf said) but now she’s also got the world obsessing over her workout. The newly-engaged star has revealed she is a fan of a Pilates-based workout done on the Megaformer machine.
She told Women’s Health UK she’s a fan of her longtime trainer and friend Heather Dorak’s studio, Pilates Platinum, where she takes classes on a machine called the Megaformer. “You keep coming back for several reasons: first off, your body changes immediately…give it two classes and you will see a difference; second, Heather is amazing — as an instructor, as a friend, she is inspiring in every way; lastly, the people in class are cool, unpretentious, and motivating…and that is a testament to Heather’s energy,” she says.
So we went straight to the inventor of the machine and founder of Lagree Fitness Studio, Sebastien Lagree, to learn all about the workout that Markle says “changes your body immediately.”
What is the Megaformer?
First of all, to clear up any confusion between the Lagree Fitness Method and Pilates; you do NOT do any standing exercises on a reformer, ever. The reformer was inspired by a hospital bed when Joseph Pilates was a nurse and rehabbing people in their bed. The reformer is all for laying on the back and rehabilitating and reconditioning your muscles without any pressure on your body. The moment you stand up, you’re no longer doing Pilates.
The Lagree Fitness Method is a patented workout method (as of June 2016 it was officially patented as its own workout method) and innovative full-body High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout performed on the patented Megaformer® or Supra tilting-axes resistance machines, both designed by founder, Sebastien Lagree specifically for the Lagree Fitness Method. The high intensity, low impact workout combines mind and body through a series of very slowly performed multi-targeting exercises like planks, lunges, pushups, abdominal crunches and squats that promote strength, endurance, core, cardio, flexibility, and balance in every move
How often does Meghan practice Lagree?
My guess, with her busy schedule, she might only do it a couple times a week. She did say that after only 2 sessions, you notice a difference in your body composition; which is the inspiration behind why I continually upgrade the Megaformer. After working with celebrities for decades, I know that they have minimal time – sometimes they can only pop in for a 10-20 minute workout. With the Megaformer’s resistance-based platform + moveable carriage, the system of springs and pulleys — and your own body weight – gives you a full-body, cardio, strength-training, flexibility-enhancing workout with quick results.
Which version of the Megaformer does Meghan use?
When Meghan works out in L.A. she’s training on the M1 – that’s the first version of the Megaformer that I ever invented and it was released in 2009; when she’s in London, she works out on a newer, upgraded version of the Megaformer, the M3, which I released in 2014.
The difference between the two is that the M1 has a recommended workout time of 50 minutes – 1 hour; and the M3 is anywhere from 35-45 minutes. Every time I release an upgraded version of the Megaformer I think about ways to make transition time minimal (since the Lagree Fitness Method is all about constant tension on the muscles) and your workout more effective in a shorter amount of time. Each version of the Megaformer that I release are designed with the user in mind – how to lend more exercise options and variations to the user, for example by adding multi-level handlebars, more placements for feet and hands, adding quick-release springs to save on transition times between exercises.
Depending on which studio you go to, will determine the equipment used there, and although the workout is universal in its method, certain studios with older machinery may have longer class times to make up for the transition time lost in between exercises.
How does the Lagree Fitness Method create that long, lean look like Meghan’s?
It’s the only method which effectively combines strength, endurance, core, cardio, flexibility, and balance. It’s a high intensity, but low impact workout that strengthens, tightens, and tones the muscle very quickly by keeping constant tension on the muscles. The base of the Lagree Fitness Method is keeping muscles contracted from anywhere for 60-120 seconds at a time; when you do that – and perform each movement SLOWLY (we’re talking a 4-count in, 4-count out), it forces your slow-twitch muscle fibers to activate, which burn fat and sculpt long, lean muscles. We’re all about AVOIDING fast, explosive movements, as those are the type to bulk up muscles. Also, by keeping muscles contracted for over 60 seconds, you start shaking and sweating and it increases your heart rate, and that’s the magic because now you’re toning, sculpting, burning fat and getting your cardio in.