Thinking of trying out a megaformer class? Read this first! These tips and tricks will get you ready to tackle the megaformer!
If you have been a reader for awhile, you know I’m a huge fan of Pilates but I’m drifting away from classical Pilates in favor of more athletic and modernized versions of the workout. I was really excited to learn about megaformer classes, a relatively new workout that takes Pilates and amps it up. I’ve been to several classes and let me tell you, it is NOT easy! But, understandably, the big machines may scare some people off. I’ve created a guide full of tips for your first megaformer class to help ease your fears.
What is a Megaformer?
The megaformer machine was created by Sebastien Lagree who wanted to combine the rigors of body building with the sculpting of Pilates. The idea was to create a workout that gave you the same results as higher impact workouts but on a low-impact Pilates machine. Lagree’s fitness method promises the five basic elements of fitness: cardio, strength, endurance, body composition and flexibility.
The megaformer machine looks a lot like a Pilates reformer machine but with extra bells and whistles. It uses adjustable spring-loaded resistance to allow for a customizable resistance load. The resistance forces deliberate movement to activate slow-twitch muscle fibers. The idea is that this will increase your muscle stamina and oxygen capacity allowing your body to burn energy for longer periods of time.
The machine also has handles, a moving carriage, straps, a bungee and two platforms, all of which allow you to do innovative movement that will really make an impact in sculpting and toning your body.
Do I Need to Have a Pilates Background?
No! While a megaformer class is based on Pilates reformer machines, you absolutely do not need to have a background in Pilates to take this class. The structure and moves and the machine itself is different so you are learning an entirely new workout modality. That being said, having a background in a Pilates reformer machine is helpful because you will have a basic understanding of how to work on a moving carriage. Either way, the key is to approach the class with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
What to Expect
The class is 40 to 50 minutes long and will keep you moving the entire time! The class starts with a warm-up and then moves into lower body and then upper body followed by some ab exercises. The class is done in times intervals with about a minute per exercise and then a quick transition to the next exercise. You will never stop in the workout making it extremely effective.
Although the names of the moves are specific to megaformer class, the instructor will usually preview a move so you know what you are doing.
Even as you do the moves slowly and with control, you’ll feel the muscles fatiguing and working hard and you will definitely work up a sweat!
What to Wear
Think tight and form fitting clothes for this class. You don’t want anything too flowy or baggy that can get in the way of the machine. Also, definitely leggings rather than shorts! You can go barefoot to this class or wear grip socks. If you do wear grip socks, make sure they are really grippy so you don’t slip when you are standing on the moving carriage.
How to Survive
If the studio where you are considering doing the megaformer class offers a beginner or introductory class, give that a try. You will feel a lot more comfortable with the class if you do this first since there is really no stopping once the class starts.
If there is no introductory class, arrive early to your class. Try to choose a class that has no other class scheduled beforehand so you can get some time on the megaformer with the instructor. The instructor should explain the way the machine works to you, but make sure he or she goes into the details of changing the springs, which end is the front/back, where the handles and straps are located and what the foot placement numbers mean. This will make class so much easier for you!
During class, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are confused. It’s better to understand the correct way to do the movement than risk the potential of getting hurt. Also, don’t be afraid to take breaks and get water if you need to. And finally, even though the class moves quickly through the transitions, take the time you need to safely get yourself set up. As you improve you will be able to transition faster. The most important thing is to have fun!
Readers, have you tried megaformer?