Every year, I try to challenge myself to learn something new. As someone who's obsessed with trying to stay healthy and active, I was intrigued when I heard of the Lagree workout. The Lagree Method was founded by Sebastien Lagree and can be described as a mix of movements focusing on balance, flexibility (something I don't have), cardio, strength, and endurance. According to the website, some of the movements in Lagree can target up to 600 muscles all at once. Sounds painful, right?
I've passed by the studio in L.A. a few times, but I was shocked to find out that they also have an at-home machine called Microformer, which you can use while streaming classes. As someone who's never done Pilates in their life, I figured it couldn't be that hard. Boy, was I wrong about that…
Given my recent love for at-home workouts and finding out that this is Meghan Markle's favorite workout, I figured it would be fun to retire my running shoes for a bit and hop on The Micro for a month. To get started, I subscribed to the Lagree website for about $10 a month which gave me access to over 150 on-demand classes. No matter what fitness level you're on with this high-intensity, low-impact workout, there are classes for all levels including beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Subscribers have tons of classes to choose from with several different instructors.
For the first weeks, I opted in for beginner classes only and then gradually moved my way up to Intermediate. Fair warning: beginner classes were hard AF.
The Microformer is quite the machine. You can transport it just about anywhere (if you're strong, I couldn't do it myself since it's heavy) and it's extremely versatile in the ways you can utilize it. I stored it under my desk in my apartment and rolled it out every time I wanted to get a workout in.
While some moves can be fun, I found the workouts extremely difficult. To get an inside look at my journey with Lagree in one month (four classes a week), I documented the process in my journal:
Classes: Upper Body #24 by Lori (11 minutes), Legs #19 by Lori (40 minutes), Abs and Arms #41 by Siobhan (11 minutes); Beginner level
What happened: For the first day, I decided to start with a wide range of short-form videos that were about 10 minutes long to get a feel for the machine. Let me just say, this is by far the hardest workout I've ever done in my life. My initial response to the moves on the machine was how bad my hands were killing as I held my body weight. I started off by taking beginner courses, and they were so hard. Hopefully, it gets easier.
Class: Legs #19 by Lori (40 minutes); Beginner level
What happened: Today's workout had my legs shaking like never before. I've never been this challenged in my life. Hopefully, I will get stronger over time.
Class: Full Body #5 by Lori (25 minutes); Intermediate level
What happened: We incorporated micro cables into the workout but I can honestly say, I liked this one a little more than the others because it was more versatile. The workouts aren't getting easier, but using the machine is.
Class: Full Body #14 by Maggie (44 minutes); Beginner level
What happened: This workout went by so fast and I'm no longer afraid to make mistakes anymore. I think I'm pretty decent for a beginner.
Class: Full Body #14 by Lori (41 minutes); Beginner level
What happened: We had to do pushups today and I nearly died.
Class: Full Body #1 by Siobhan (42 minutes); Intermediate level
What happened: This workout wasn't hard and it actually feels like a beginner class. I think I'm getting stronger.
Class: Full Body #3 by Haylee (42 minutes); Beginner level
What happened: Haylee was a great instructor. This workout flew by!
Class: Full Body #2 by Lori (46 minutes); Beginner level
What happened: "Soul Train" sounds like a fun move that was way harder than the title lets on. Whew, I'm tired but I'm starting to get more confident in my balance. I finished the day off with a 30-minute cycle.
Class: Full Body #2 by Allie (41 minutes): Intermediate level
What happened: I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm starting to like this machine. Every time the instructor says "pulse" it, I lose my mind because my glutes are on fire and pulsing is the most challenging part. Trying to keep control of the carriage is harder than it looks.
Class: Core #9 by Siobhan (26 minutes); Beginner level
What happened: This workout wasn't as bad as the others because it was only 25 minutes, but my core was on fire.
Class: Full Body #25 by Maggie (41 minutes); Intermediate level
What happened: This was the hardest workout because the crawling bear almost took me out. On the bright side, I sweated the most today.
Class: Full Body #23 by Siobhan (42 minutes); Intermediate level
What happened: This workout wasn't bad at all. The odd thing is that it says Intermediate under the intensity level but as she speaks, she keeps referring to it as a beginner.
Class: Full body #18 by Maggie (41 minutes); Intermediate level
What happened: This one felt like I was being punished. It was unbelievably hard and I'm starting to think I'm not exactly an intermediate Lagree girl. The model made the move look so easy but the only thing that kept me from not quitting was to just modify the move to make it easier but the planks on the opposite side of my micro are deadly. Who has that kind of strength? Not me.
Class: Full Body #27 by Lori (41 minutes); Intermediate level
What happened: I like Lori's workouts the best, but "Escalator Warrior" almost took me out and the twisted saw was damn near impossible,
Class: Full Body #28 by Maggie (41 minutes); Intermediate level
What happened: Fun fact: This workout does get easier, but the French twist move doesn't.
Class: Upper Body #19 by Siobhan (43 minutes); Intermediate level
What happened: Two words: So hard. Also, who invented the Cobra move? I never want to hear the word "cobra" again. Cruel and unusual punishment of a workout.
My Overall Review
Overall, I would highly recommend this machine to anyone who is looking to not only challenge themselves but also push themselves beyond their limits. I have never been pushed to my limits like this. During my first week of using it, I cried twice just from not being able to do the move correctly. I also beat myself up for not being flexible.
Personally, I think anyone who does Pilates will thrive with this workout but as someone who truly enjoys running (10 miles at once), this was extremely hard. The most challenging aspect of this workout was supporting my own body weight, especially my upper body. What I loved about this workout is how quickly it goes by. Even though the time can seem to go super slowly with some of the moves or when it's time to plank, before I knew it, the 40- to 50-minute workout was over.
The instructors are also amazing. One rule of thumb that anyone will take away with this workout is to, "Modify, don't quit!. "A lot of these moves will bring you to your knees (literally), but it's important to just modify the move if it's challenging instead of quitting. My machine came fully loaded which provided me with two black springs and two red springs. The red springs are going to be harder because the springs create resistance when doing each workout move on the machine. If you're looking for a challenge or torture, using a red spring would be your best bet.
Anyone who tries this workout should also be prepared to shake, and I mean, a lot. During the workouts, the moves will go from hard to downright impossible when the instructor asks you to pulse each move. To see the best results, instructors will advise students to do each move at a slow pace. Beyond the harder aspects of The Microformer, form is extremely important. Having a mirror handy is a major key to seeing results.
One of the things that I appreciate the most about The Microformer is not only how it made me stronger but also how it made me realize the importance of mindfulness. I've never done a workout that required so much focus. A lot of the moves are centered around balance and flexibility which are two things that I struggle with the most. To help me balance myself, I used a broom but they have a weighted pole that you can purchase on the website.
Doing these workouts four times a week made me realize how beneficial it is to stay in the moment and focus. If anyone is looking to get snatched for the summer and to lift that booty, The Microformer will be your best friend.
Workout Essentials I Recommend
Before using this machine, I really wish I would've leaned out my body a bit. That can be a challenge when you're addicted to bread with tons of carbs like I am, but I've found a bread with no carbs. Yep—you read that right. Hero Bread is a new bread that tastes so good but is also healthy for you with protein and no carbs. This is a great option if you still want to enjoy bread and you're trying to cut back on excess carbs.