Adventures in Exercise Class- Megaformer

Wow, this has been a busy week! Thanks to Class Pass I have been trying out different exercise classes around town which has been fun, but also surprisingly challenging (read my review of Barre Class here). This week, my friend Natalie suggested that we try a Megaformer class at a swanky fitness studio in the posh part of town. Admittedly, I should have done a little more research into what I was getting into with this one. I knew it was a strength/ toning class, but I thought it was a floor class, with lots of squats and push-ups and stuff. I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

The Megaformer class basically a reformer pilates class on steroids. Not knowing what a reformer class was, I was at a disadvantage from the start. For anyone else who doesn’t know, the reformer pilates is the pilates that is done on a machine, with parts of it that slide back and forth and resistance that can be adjusted depending on the exercise being performed. It is the kind of machine I imagine Gwyneth Paltrow using, while she sips green juice and thinks about topics for her next GOOP article, not something I ever imagined I would be using.

I arrived at the studio the recommended 15 minutes prior to the start of class and met up with Natalie. A very trendy-looking man checked me in and told me my class was on the second floor. “Your classroom is the one with the black machines,” he explained, “there is a class still in there now, but you are welcome to head in once they finish up.” The mention of machines didn’t really register to me as he was giving instructions, so without any further questions I thanked him and trotted off to find the restroom before class began. I realized as I entered the restroom that I was certainly not in my usually mid-level gym anymore, as this restroom was fancier than pretty much any spa I’d ever been to. Monogrammed towels, bowls of breath mints, free samples of body products that I definitely couldn’t afford normally, complimentary hair ties, etc. I immediately felt slightly self conscious in my Wal-mart off-brand leggings and my “No Pain, No Champagne” tank top. I should have at least thrown on some Lululemon to blend in.

Natalie and I made our way upstairs to wait for our class. We chit-chatted with a couple other ladies outside the room, explaining we were new, and making small talk. Soon enough, it was time to start, and I eagerly entered the room, excited to take on this new, fun class. When I walked into the room, however, I was taken aback when I saw rows of black, flat machines that looking eerily like the medieval torture machines used to stretch people. It basically consisted of a large flat surface, with four posts at each end with a little bench between each pair of posts (not dissimilar to a bed frame). Then there were pulleys with handles, which I assumed would be used for arm movements and knobs that were used to control various aspects of resistance.

I warily put my water bottle down at the machine next to Natalie’s and listened to the instructor giving directions. It seemed we were supposed to begin of all fours (ok, I can do that), get a good grip onto the handles (ok, done), and then do some cat-cow movements as a warm up (ok, easy enough, here I go- HOLY SHIT IT’S MOVING!). I would very rapidly come to discover that the “moving” carriage aspect of this table-like surface was what every exercise was based around, and, in summary, it sucked!

Within two minutes I determined that this contraption was indeed a descendant from the medieval torture devices it resembled, and I was cursing its very existence. I persevered, however. I dug deep, I gritted my teeth, and even though my legs were shaking and my thighs were on fire, I kept going. I glanced at my watch, thinking surely this class must be almost over, but alas, I was only 7 minutes in; 43 long, painful minutes left.

I can’t really tell you what happened for the rest of class, as I’m fairly sure I blacked out (ok, not really, but it was so horrible I don’t want to remember). I know at one point I couldn’t hold a move any longer and just starting sliding backwards on the moveable carriage, to the point where Natalie had to grab my arm to stop me rolling all the way wrong end of the machine. There were a few occasions where my legs just stopped moving and I’d be stuck in some twisty position I couldn’t get out of, and there were multiple times when the carriage got away from me and I ended up splayed out, hands and feet in four different directions like those cartoons of newborn giraffes.

By the end of class I was beaten. As we departed the torture chamber classroom one of the ladies said to us, “Wasn’t it great!? The first time is always really hard, but then you get addicted to it.” False, I thought to myself as I filled my water bottle with complimentary lemon-mint-infused-alkaline-Antarctic dessert-oasis water from the dispenser, I’ll never be back! Well… maybe next week. But only because this free water is so damn tasty!

To Recap:

Good: One hell of a workout! Hits so many muscles that I don’t hit in my normal routines, and I felt it for days afterwards. A very well-balanced workout, easy to perform (once you get the hang of it), and able to be modified if need be.

Bad: I was sore for days!! This would be an expensive class to do regularly, but a good one to add in to a class pass rotation.

Bottom Line: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I would go back. The workout was too good to not try it at least one more time. I probably would skip it during the height of triathlon training, though.