When the newest Studio Lagree opened in Chicago’s River North, I met a couple of aSweatLife’s writers there for a weekly tradition that we like to call #CarpeMonday. We get up early, take on a workout before anything else on a Monday and then go take on the week. In theory, it’s amazing, but that morning I was dragging.
I tip-toed into class, located the instructor and made quick eye contact with her as I put on my grippy socks.
“Sorry,” I mouthed to Gretchen.
The megaformer is truly a miracle when it comes to cueing classes for instructors. The carriage – the part that moves – is sectioned off and labeled with numbers and the springs which are used to add resistance to movements are color-coded.
“Both knees on the four and one yellow spring,” Gretchen smiled and on command, I pulled one yellow spring on the Megaformer into place.
As we worked our way from plank variations on our knees on the carriage’s four line to toes on the four – pulsing, piking and holding – I quickly woke up. This wasn’t due to the half-drunk and lidless ceramic mug of coffee sitting precariously on the floor next to my machine. It was because the feeling in my abs triggered something in me that’s akin to fight or flight.
“My abs are going to explode and this is how I’ll die,” I thought just before we lowered down to carriage for some sweet relief.
I love something special and torturous about everything in fitness and I pepper a little bit of everything into my week when I can. When I want to completely obliterate my abs, though, there’s nothing like Lagree.
Just as I was having that moment of congratulations with myself, laying face-down on the Megaformer, I realized we still had 42 minutes of class to go. And so it went, from one muscle group on one side of the body to the other, slowly and meticulously, we made the body plead for mercy.
In Lagree there isn’t a shortage of lunge variations. That day, we placed our right foot back on the line marked with a four and our left foot on the platform – the piece of the Megaformer that doesn’t move – and settled in for work felt mostly on the stable leg. We pushed the carriage out and back with our right foot, moving from large to small movements and from elevator lunges to carriage kicks to lateral lunges.
The minutes flew as we worked from the hips down. The leg sequence took up the bulk of class – I’d estimate about 25 minutes. Let that sink in. Twenty. Five. Minutes.
With that, we worked on both of our arms at the same time, finished with a few more minutes of abs – just to be sure that the first 10 minutes really sunk in – and stretched.
I walked away with the knowledge of the impending state of my muscles – what Cass calls “weird sore.”
“Weird-sore: adjective, used to describe one’s body after working muscles that are often disregarded, usually as an effect of doing awkward-looking workout moves*). *See: “hip thrusts” or “fire hydrant” as an example.”
But the most marked thing about this class when compared to a lot of my fitness routine was although it was savagely tearing my muscles apart, it was doing it gently. That morning, a violently gentle workout, although I took it on begrudgingly and three minutes late, was the perfect thing to start my week. #CarpeMonday success.
Find your way to Studio Lagree’s newest location in River North at 24 E. Erie.