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‘Mega-What?’: A fitness method taking mainland by storm arrives on Kauaʻi

As we’ve come to realize that the coronavirus is like a bad houseguest (not leaving as soon as we’d hoped) we are all trying to adapt to the new “normal.”

Many are re-establishing lapsed routines, opening new businesses, and resuming or beginning their fitness habits. We may have let COVID-19 knock us off our rocker for a while (almost two years to be exact) but the new year has brought with it new projects and opportunities in our community. It’s time to re-focus.

From spark to flame

Kaua‘i resident Melissa Springer is doing exactly that.

A former professional contemporary dancer, physical fitness has always held a high rank in her life. She often bounced around to different high-intensity exercise programs, in search of something challenging that would also leave her “feeling good in her body.”

In 2018, just after having her son, she came upon an up-and-coming exercise format called the Lagree Method, named after its creator Sebastien Lagree, and fell head over heels.

She was attracted to the methodology and accessibility, but especially loved the community, noting that the “positive high vibe energy” of the studio she visited made a big impression. Her mother, Carolyn, now in her 60s, began attending, too. Melissa frequently notes her mom’s experience as a shining success story in praise of Lagree’s progressive approach. Inspired by both of their own experiences, and impressed by how quickly the Lagree method was spreading like wildfire across the states, Melissa’s spark of an idea turned into a flame: she would bring Lagree to Kaua‘i.

The Mega-What?!

Now one year since conception, the finishing touches are complete at Megaformer Kaua‘i, located at Kukui Grove Center in Lihu‘e.

If you’ve walked by the new storefront adjacent to the Keiki Korner, you probably wondered “WHAT are those?” Peering in you’d see eight large machines that may have appeared foreign and even intimidating. So what are those machines? Don’t worry, they aren’t so scary once you get to know them.

While Sebastien has put a variety of machines for use with the Lagree method on the market, the one you’ll find at our Kaua‘i studio is the newest and most functional to date: the Megaformer. You can think of them as “mega transformers” of the body, because they help transform fat into muscle, poor balance into stability, and weak joints into healthy ones.

You might notice a resemblance to the pilates reformer, so let’s clear up any misconception about that now: Lagree is not pilates. In fact, the Megaformer workout is a completely different experience, with completely different objectives and benefits than pilates. pilates is a low-intensity, restorative method in which the focus is often on postural alignment, control, and breath.

In pilates, the heart rate typically remains low. In Lagree fitness, however, you can expect an elevated heart rate and a cardiovascular workout, but without any explosive or high-impact movements. That’s right, Lagree is a low-impact workout!

The intensity in Lagree fitness is from doing exercises against challenging resistance at a very slow tempo, for a longer duration, with little to no transition time between exercises. These elements set it apart from other methods. Unlike pilates, Lagree is based on body-building principles and builds muscular strength and endurance. On the Megaformer, you can expect to work within a safe range of motion for your body, focus intently on your form, work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, sculpt your physique, and build deep core strength. Oh, and sweat like a pua‘a!

Embrace the shake

There’s one thing that all studio-goers should expect and understand. Simply put, it’s the shake. You are going to shake. Participants everywhere have a love/hate relationship with Lagree’s universal marker of a job well done.

The trembling that occurs during a workout on the Megaformer is not a sign of weakness. In fact, the stronger and better aligned you are, the more you will shake! This is your nervous system responding to the controlled overload on your muscles.

In the beginning, you may be able to work through the trembling a little, and over time, you will find that you can stay in your most uncomfortable zone for much longer, achieving greater and greater results!

Lagree is all about progress.

The method is designed to effectively stimulate the muscles to adapt and change, which means rather than tax them to failure, they are pushed to the “just before failure” point to build muscular endurance. Using so many muscles almost continuously for 45 minutes means that even just three times a week is enough to create big results. You can expect some natural muscle soreness, which studio goers consider a badge of honor!

Stephanie Seiko Gailey, one of the new elite trainers at Megaformer Kaua‘i and a ITSA Pro tandem surfer, gives this advice to any who feel nervous about beginning a new exercise program: “The best way to start, is to start.”

The vibe in the tribe

Rather than compete with other outstanding fitness studios in our community, the new studio is here to contribute to its health and wellness. They feel that by offering something new, they are joining an island-wide team of small businesses that care about the health and wellness of our community. The vibe of the tribe is important, as Melissa relays: “My hope for this studio is that it will be a space where we can all feel uplifted, supported, loved, and connected. A space where we can all inspire each other to grow and expand. A space where we can focus on good health and physical well-being. A space that promotes mindfulness, kindness and camaraderie. A space that makes us stronger — emotionally and physically. And lastly, a space where we can all have a kick-ass time listening to good music and having fun!”

She invites everyone, from athletes to first-time exercisers, those with previous injuries and those older in years, to come join a tribe that loves to laugh and shake together.

Countdown to open

Megaformer Kaua‘i will open with a full class schedule on Feb. 7.

They are coming in hot, with 25-30 classes weekly and eight high-caliber trainers. Class sizes are limited to eight people which allows for the trainers to effectively monitor and support you in a small group setting!

Classes are already filling up due to the grand opening special of $99 for a month of unlimited classes. That pricing is rarely seen and is being offered as a special gift to our community, so it’s only being offered through February 6.

You can see the schedule, purchase packages, and preview the beautiful studio space at megaformerkauai.com. You can also check out lagreefitness.com to learn more about the method and machines. Melissa and the team will be hosting a grand opening party in March to celebrate, and they hope you can make it!

More details will be released via social media (@megaformerkauai) and on the website. It’s wonderful to see our community focusing on mental and physical strength at a time when it’s of utmost importance.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Megaformer Kaua‘i!

•••

Cynthia Fowler is a certified personal trainer (NASM), corrective exercise specialist (NASM), registered vinyasa yoga teacher (RYT 200), certified Enhance fitness teacher, group exercise instructor (TRX, Indoor cycling, HIIT, SMR, etc), owner of FoundationUp Fitness, blogger, and health coach. Cynthia can be contacted through her website at foundationupfitness.com or directly at Cynthia@fullyfreely.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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