Health & Fitness over 6 years ago by Liz Adams

Chicago Workout Review: Studio Lagree

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You know those workouts that you always avoid because you know they are going to be really hard/you probably won’t be very good at them? For me, that’s Pilates. Give me a HIIT or grueling spin class any day of the week, but as soon as I hear the phrase “tiny pulses,” I tap out. But I know Pilates is good for me, and all those muscles groups that Pilates focuses on are the ones that I really want to tone and strengthen (aka my entire core). 

So, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for a class at Studio Lagree in Lincoln Park (thanks to my workout buddy Lauren for coming with!). Though Lauren is a frequent Pilates class-goer, neither of us had ever used a Megaformer before, and I’ll admit we were both a little nervous. I’m happy to say, however, that we survived—and we even had fun! Here’s what the workout was like: 

The workout: M3 Fusion at Studio Lagree in Lincoln Park 

Quick description: 50 minutes of balance, strength, flexibility, cardio and endurance training on the Studio Lagree Megaformer (talk about the total package). According to Studio Lagree, you can burn anywhere from 500-1000 calories in a single class. 

Price: I booked through ClassPass, which cost me 9 credits. Otherwise, an initial class will cost you $15, and then you can purchase different packages after that. They do encourage you to wear grip socks (you can go barefoot for your first class), which you can purchase for $17.50 at any of the studios. 

What it was like: We arrived about 15 minutes early to get all registered in the system and get a walkthrough of how to work the Megaformers. If you’ve never seen a Megaformer before, it can be a little intimidating. Essentially, it’s a kitchen-table sized machine that consists of a sliding carriage, springs for resistance and a series of straps. There are handles on the front and back, and numbers and cutouts on the carriage so you know where to put your feet and knees. Our instructor told us she would move us through the routines pretty quickly, but she would say things like, “face Armitage!” or “face studio!” so we would know which way we should be orienting ourselves. 

As for the actual workout—holy smokes, this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. We started out with a bunch of planks and ab work, which involved keeping your arms on the front of the Megaformer and your feet on sliding carriage. Then, we sat sideways on the front of the machine, hooked our feet under some straps and performed a range of side crunches that worked oblique muscles I didn’t even know existed. After abs, we placed our knees on the sliding carriage and used our feet to kick off the back of the reformer and work those glutes, then we transitioned to the hardest move of all, IMHO, where we kept one knee on the front of the carriage and one knee on the sliding carriage and moved our legs in and out to work the inner thighs. Finally, we used the straps to work our triceps, biceps and chest, and then finished up with a three-minute plank, just for kicks. 

Overall impression: Like I said, this was not an easy class for me. (You can probably tell by how tired I look in the picture above, haha). I was shaking almost the entire time, and definitely had to take a few breaks. But when you can’t walk normally for three days afterward, you know it was a good workout. And believe it or not, I’ve already been back! It’s hard not to appreciate a workout where you hit all the key muscle groups in less than an hour, and you can’t beat that feeling of accomplishment once it’s over. The killer playlist, encouraging instruction and beautiful, brick-walled studio aren’t bad, either. 😉 You don’t need me to tell you this, but you will more than earn a trip to Annette’s after class. 

Have any of you tried a Megaformer workout? (Please tell me I’m not the only one who finds it incredibly challenging.) And, as always, let me know if there are any other Chicago workouts you think I should try. Next on my list are Flywheel, Runner’s High and Zen Yoga Garage!

— Carolyn 

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  1. I love this series! It’s so helpful. Even if I don’t go to the exact same studio, it’s helpful to learn about the types of workouts.

    1. I do really like ClassPass, especially in Chicago! I find the monthly ClassPass rate to be a good deal if you want to try a few different boutique classes throughout the month (ie I got an intro package that gave me three months of five classes for $30 a month, after that I think it’s $60 for five classes a month, which is still cheaper than paying for most classes individually). I still belong to a gym (FFC) and I love their classes too, but it’s fun to mix it up.

  2. Love the workout review posts! I moved from Chicago 2 years ago but when I was there visiting I took a Studio Lagree class and loved it! They are SO hard. I feel like it beats any workout out there for how effective it is in 50 minutes. I am always so sore (in a good way!) after. In Atlanta I do a class that’s 25 minutes on the megaformer and 25 on a curve treadmill and love it called Sculpthouse!
    — Taylor
    The Sarcastic Blonde

  3. I have done Studio Lagree and agree that it’s a tough class. However, I don’t think they are able to call themselves a pilates class. On Lagree’s website they never reference pilates. Traditional Fletcher pilates teachers require 600+ hours of training before being allowed to teach. If you are interrested in a traditional pilates class Pilates+Coffee is the best in Chicago. I can’t wait to hear your review of Zen Yoga Garage. Cheyne Adam’s burn class is supposed to be the best!

  4. I tried Studio Lagree Old Town. for the first time a couple of weeks ago! I’ve taken other Pilates reformer classes and it was a lot more challenging than any other class I’ve taken before – but it a good way!

  5. I love Lagree! I go to Fierce45 in Denver pretty regularly- it’s only 45 minutes. Pilates Evolution is another good Denver studio (for Denver readers). Though it’s just reformer pilates and not Lagree, it’s still a great workout.

  6. I haven’t tried Studio Lagree– but have always wanted to. I highly recommend Solid Core!! It’s kind of similar, but they have their own type of machines. I’m curious how the workouts compare.

  7. I’ve been wanting to try Studio Lagree for a while now, but it sounds like it’s super similar to Solidcore which I’ve been going to recently! I always say their classes are humbling because no matter how “in shape” you are, or even how many classes you’ve been to, you’ll still shake during class and be sore after haha I laughed when you said you couldn’t walk for 3 days, because that has literally been me 😂Thanks for this review!!
    Lauren |

  8. I use ClassPass in Lincoln Park and I am *obsessed* with Pilates ProWorks (Also on a Pilates reformer machine) on Halstead between Armitage and Webster. So much so that I always max out the 3x per month limit on my Class Pass. I’ll have to try this out as a substitute!