I sat fireside, enthralled in the conversation between a handful of instructors and one charismatic Sebastien Lagree – the bold visionary behind the Megaformer and the Lagree Fitness method; one of the signature classes at Firebrand Sports in Portland, OR.
Cross-legged, like a child at story time and still in my knee-high toe-socks, my abs were quaking from the workout we all had lovingly suffered through just prior. I sat listening to the adventures of a man who has battled heaps of misinformation, a community of haters and even his own body to become the purveyor of a fitness revolution coveted by celebrities and fitness fanatics across the globe.
The next morning I was given the opportunity fill in the blanks of his tale during a private interview.
Before I tell you this story, though, let’s skip to end for a minute. Imagine, if you will, a machine which has it’s roots from a Pilates reformer but has evolved into so much more. It has been beefed up, spread out, and re-engineered over and over to create a completely new, and ever-evolving fitness method which will get you sweating in the first 30 seconds. The ultimate goal – failure – for your muscles at least. You will work your core, along with the rest of your body simultaneously, gain flexibility and balance, blast through calories, all in one streamlined workout with restorative and rehabilitative properties. At Firebrand sports they call it Pyrolates, and it’s amazing. I speak the truth, friends. I speak only the truth.
Once upon a time a 20-something Sebastien Lagree battled body image issues with such vigor that he became obsessed with working out.1 He recounts that he feels like he missed out on his 20’s, always turning down invitations from friends for ski trips and late nights in favor of early AM runs and hyper-regimented fitness schedules. Eventually, after exhausting his body, he realized there must be a better way. “…and then people would go out… and I was constantly invited to go skiing… but I never went to Mt. Hood, I never went because I was like ‘oh I gotta run tomorrow at 6 o’clock, and then I have to do this…’, and my life was so regimented because I put myself there… because I was misinformed. If I really truly believed… [I’m] doing everything wrong, [I] need to workout a lot less, but what [I] really need to do is ‘that’ kind of workout… It would have been amazing.”
After obtaining his undergraduate degree in Portland, and completing his graduate work in Seattle, Lagree decided it was time to move on to LA where he tossed out everything he knew from text books and developed his own method around what he knew from experience. “…I was trying to implement everything I was learning in the books and it was when I moved to LA I decided to just completely forget about everything I’d read before and just trust my guts and trust my body and that’s when things really started to happen for me.”
Today, the Lagree Fitness method is a refined and continuous metamorphosis – always adjusting and always advancing based on results and only limited by Lagree’s own imagination in his ever-evolving line of Superformer machines. His ultimate goal is to provide an intense yet compact, highly-effective workout which focuses on strength, endurance, and flexibility in each and every move. The 40 minute workout is enough to give you results without hindering your life. In fact, the ultimate goal is to enhance ones life.
I think this is a workout for everybody. On so many levels. This is a workout that I think can truly enhance the human experience. This will add qualities to your life and it will add years to your life span – good years.
Of course, any visionary is not without a few neigh-sayers. Some from the Pilates community berate him for ‘messing with’ the form. But Lagree, justly unapologetic, dismisses these allegations of form-tampering by pointing out that it’s merely a logical evolution. “…maybe because they feel like I’m trying to make them obsolete, but that was never my intent. I’m just trying to give a workout that people want…I think it’s the natural evolution.”
Personally, I think that if Joseph Pilates can smoosh yoga with several other disciplines and name a new method after himself, who’s to say that someone else can’t do the same? Hater’s gonna hate. Lagree’s gonna innovate. Wait, do I sound like I’m drinking the sweaty Kool-aid? Perhaps, but I’ve tried a lot of workouts, and spent a lot of hours at the gym, and nothing makes my body feel the way it does after a session on the Megaformer. Nothing.
Perhaps I’m inspired. This man is bold. I couldn’t help but smile and nod my head as I listened to his thoughts on exercise, his unwavering ideals, and his top-secret plans for the future. Yeah, that’s right, I know something you don’t know! And I can’t tell you! But it’s cool, and it’s coming, and you should be excited too. But, because I’m so amazing, and I wanted to give you an awesome inside scoop, I asked him to share some upcoming tidbits that I can divulge.
The first step will be the addition of a retro-fit ramp which will lift the back end off the ground in controllable increments. “So it’s fantastic, because it’s going to make the workout more intense without changing the exercises.” Lagree also asserts that the inclined angle creates a more therapeutic position for the body, removing much of the stress from the joints. “So, it’s more intense and more therapeutic at the same time.”
Acknowledging his own incessant process he relates, “But you know the problem with me is, I’m very quick in my ideas. So I have this today and tomorrow I’m feeling something else.” He already has ideas moving forward for the next two or three generations of machines, and even the method itself.
Machines that tilt to the left and right will add even more dynamics to this already potent workout. More accessories will widen the range of exercises even greater, all while staying streamlined and efficient.
Lastly, tweaks to the Lagree method will allow it to be condensed to 25 minutes while still producing an efficacious workout. The best part, he presents, is that this allows the sessions to be sold for around $9 in certain markets. “And it’s great because it will literally open up the market to people who can’t afford training.” he proceeds that the clients can then choose between a 25 minute workout, or buy two together for a 50 minute workout. Effectively, you can train to your desired budget and schedule.
The method, the machine, and the man are all in continuous metamorphosis. You won’t find another workout that accomplishes the same strength, conditioning, and restorative effects. And, you won’t find another workout which has a basis of consistent evolution — meaning your body will always be challenged and you will evolve with it.
See Firebrand Sports on KGW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPji7x6HOy0
Just for funzies – see the Harlem Shake – Megaformer Style: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YOOPwg8kcg
Firebrand Sports is the first studio in the Northwest with the Megaformers and the Lagree method. Their class is called Pyrolates. You can also try this work out at MegaBurn Fitness on the west side in Beaverton.
500 NW 14th Avenue, Portland OR 97209
Click here for a Google map & directions
Read my review of Firebrand Sports here.
Also, rumor has it Firebrand Sports is having Plank Off Challenge coming soon this summer! Stay tuned for that!
Fitness guru Sebastien Lagree launches product in Portland, his hometown | OregonLive.com