Post-Thanksgiving workout: It's all about the Megaformer

Jena Green, center, leads an exercise class on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, during a preview class at The Body Lab in Leawood, Kan. The studio, which opens in December 2014, offers an intense Pilates workout using machines. Green is the studio's director and head trainer.

KANSAS CITY ó Thanksgiving is full of gratitude and second plates, but it also launches that time of year when fitness takes a backseat to end-of-year bucket lists, calorie-pushing parties and epic moments in shopping.

Black Friday might make you sweat, but I know I will quickly backslide on my health goals if I donít start finding new ways to engage myself now. The Body Lab in Leawood, Kan., is my latest fit adventure.

the studio specializes in Lagree Fitness, a Herculean approach to full-body conditioning created by fitness guru Sebastien Lagree. Popular in Los Angeles and New York City for more than 10 years, the workout is new to Kansas City.

Itís all about the Megaformer, a machine with straps and handles that slides and glides and really should come with a safe word. To all my "Fifty Shades of Grey" fans, the Body Lab could easily be the exercise edition of the Red Room of Pain.

Itís a workout designed to make you shake. Sometimes you stand on the machine, sometimes you lie down or hang off of it. But everything you do is slow and controlled and in front of a mirror. Selfie time? No.

Working the muscles to failure is the point. Itís at those moments when you think you are beaten down, when life has handed your swag to you in a brown paper bag, that greatness can be born.

This is where you get stronger and push harder. I cling to that sentiment as Piper Yi, Lagree Fitness master trainer and former "Survivor" contestant, adjusts my hips to sit a little lower so that my legs quiver. She is in town to train the trainers and I luck out and get a session with her during events related to the recent opening of the studio. Sheís hard-core, and only Taylor Swiftís "Shake It Off" can soothe me. Yes, I admit it. Taylor Swift motivated me through the motions.

When youíre doing the "Catfish," on your tippy toes, bent over in a pseudo plank-squat, using your core and legs to move the machine back and forth, Taylor Swift sounds like an angel sent from the heavens to help you achieve all things.

Piper convinces me that shaking is a good thing.

"Donít be nervous," she says. "Be excited. Everything we do on the machine, although itís intense, it is low impact on your joints. It looks like a crazy torture device with straps, curves and pulls, but if youíre going to work out for 50 minutes, there should be cardio, endurance and strength in every single move. It should work all of your muscles, even the little ones you donít normally work. It should make the weakest links stronger."

Basically, itís like Crossfit and Pilates had a one-night stand and Lagree fitness is their lovechild. But trust me: When youíre sitting on top of the machine, hanging halfway off doing a "mermaid crunch" and you reach one hand up for the sky, you might call for your mommy.



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