Don’t we all wish we were stronger, more toned, lean and fit? Belle Zhang, a Shanghai-based entrepreneur and certified Lagree instructor, has opened The Megaformer Lab, the first Lagree Megaformer workout in the cosmopolitan city. If you’re not familiar with the Lagree Method, it’s a high-intensity, low-impact workout loved by Hollywood celebs and created by Sebastien Lagree in the early 2000s. Zhang tells us, “Once you try it you’ll be hooked; it’s different from anything else you’ve experienced.”
What is the concept behind The Megaformer Lab?
We’re Shanghai’s first and only Megaformer Lagree workout. The workout is a high-intensity, full-body endurance workout, working all major muscle groups in a 45-minute session. If you must compare the Megaformer to a Pilates Reformer, the Megaformer is like a Reformer on steroids, with the ability to combine cardio and endurance strength training elements. You’re in constant tension, working slow-twitch muscle fibers during this endurance training.
What sparked your initial interest in the Lagree Method?
I grew up splitting my time between Shanghai and California. I lived in LA for five years and really loved the work-life balance there, as people work hard but also take care of themselves mentally and physically. That was a really stark contrast to living in China, as WeChat never shuts off. It’s kind of a ‘make money or die trying’ attitude.
Zhang at the opening party. Image via TML
When I was looking at starting a business, I was checking out all different types of fitness methods and communities, and Lagree drew me in for its intensity and efficiency. I also saw that there was a need in China for this in the health and wellness space. Fitness businesses in China are littered with people selling private classes, looking to sell dodgy year-long memberships. I was also looking for places to workout and found that people were fixated on numbers on a scale. I found that to be very toxic, especially for younger girls. I thought, “There needs to be some type of exercise or fitness community that encourages you to pursue a healthy lifestyle in a healthy way.” And so, I’m hoping to create that community.
Grand opening party. Image via TML
Another reason I thought the Megaformer was a good fit for the Chinese landscape is the use of springs and carriage in the machine results in a low-impact workout. Traditional high-intensity workouts like boxing or CrossFit can cause additional stress to knees and joints. Chinese people tend to prioritize longevity and health, favoring exercises that reduce unnecessary impact on joints.
Image via TML
How would you describe Megaformer workout in three words?
Hardcore, gentle and efficient. The workout itself is intense and challenges your core because most of the moves are performed standing up. However, it’s gentle on your joints and also efficient as the whole session is 45 minutes.
What’s the class size and pricing like?
Class size is capped at 10 people; you get that community environment with the individualized attention you would receive in a private session. Classes are available in packages and average around RMB200 depending on the package purchased.
[Cover image via The Megaformer Lab]