The past week’s downpour indicates that summer season is officially over in the Philippines, but most fitness enthusiasts would say that that is no reason to stop going to the gym.
It is, however, understandable to want to condense two hours worth of exercising, especially as traffic in Manila gets even worse because of the rain. For that, the new workout studio Ultra Lagree in Pasig City is a worthy choice. Offering Lagree Fitness classes that run for only 45 minutes, it’s fit for those working or living in the Ortigas area who are looking to tone their bodies.
While Lagree Fitness has been popular among Hollywood celebrities like Sofia Vergara, Kim Kardashian, and Meghan Markle for at least five years now, there’s less than a handful of places in Manila that offer it. Ultra Lagree is the latest to do so, having only opened in May. The studio says that participants can lose up to 800 calories per class.
We at Coconuts Manila love to try new things and were curious to see what getting rid of 800 calories entails, so we booked a class, put our grip socks on, and tried it out for ourselves.
Ultra Lagree’s space is similar to others in the metro in that it opted for exposed concrete walls and light wooden panels for its interiors.
The waiting area is small (only one bench) but it’s enough to hold people waiting for the next class as each session only has seven slots. The staff is very welcoming, ready to answer all our first-timer questions, and free brewed coffee is available for everyone.
The studio itself is quite spacious, with only seven Megaformer machines inside. The Megaformer is the only machine used in Lagree exercises and it was created to develop strength, endurance, and flexibility without damaging the joints.
Lagree Fitness is described as a high-intensity low impact exercise. We were not exactly sure what this meant at first but just a few minutes into the class and we understood. We were encouraged to go on our own pace, with the reminder that the slower we do the moves, the better.
And they mean slow.
Our first move was “the saw,” which had us moving our bodies front to back while in a plank position. I was apparently going too fast, so our trainer told me to count from 1 to 4 while moving forward, and again while moving backward.
Slower, in this case, did not mean easier. In fact, it made the workout a lot more challenging, especially for those of us who were more used to rep-based workouts. Before I knew it, I was already dripping in sweat just 15 minutes in.
All the moves were done on the Megaformer but it takes time to learn how to move with the machine. We stumbled more than a few times during the class while trying to figure out where parts of our body should go, but the trainer was nice enough to guide us through the whole thing.
That’s one positive side of such a small class. Because there were only six of us at that time, the trainer could see what every person was doing and was able to correct our form. Of course, this also meant that there was zero chance for us to rest or cheat our way through it.
Unlike more standard exercises like running on a treadmill, Lagree requires a lot of coordination and concentration. It’s difficult to “get lost in it” and go on autopilot because you’re made to do a different move every few minutes, sometimes even seconds.
The workout is a better fit for those who are at least mildly active or have tried other fitness routines like yoga and pilates because much of the moves are similar. We did bicep curls, “thread-the-needle,” and burpees, all on the Megaformer. Our trainer had us change the resistance of the machine by adding or removing certain springs, which made the moves more difficult compared to when they’re done on a mat.
The varying moves worked our core, arms, and legs. I was shaking as I did some of the moves, which is supposedly a sign that muscles are fatigued. This, apparently, is what gets you that long, lean body a la Duchess Meghan.
It’s helpful to remind yourself this during the workout as it can get very challenging. Unlike circuit training, participants are given virtually zero time to rest within the 45-minute exercise, which works for those who want to get the most of the class, but could be a shock for others who are just starting with their fitness journey.
Participants could also benefit from dividing classes into beginner and advanced sessions, just so those trying it for the first time can familiarize themselves more with the machine while still getting a full workout.
Ultra Lagree has a credit system for payments. Guests can buy credits and book classes through their website.
The drop-in rate (aka walk-ins) is PHP1,400 (US$27.43) but Ultra Lagree currently has a trial package, which is the same price for two sessions valid for 18 days.
They also have the Club 100 promo, PHP28,000 (US$548.59) for 30 sessions valid for a year, which can only be availed by 100 people. Club 100 members will also get a free session on their birth month, a 5 percent discount on sessions, free one-time body assessment, free one-time consultation, and PHP5,000 (US$97.96) worth of merchandise.
- Arrive early — especially if you’re a first-timer (suggested to be in the studio 15 minutes before a class).
- Bring your own grip socks. These are required for hygienic purposes. Those who don’t have grip socks or forgot theirs at home can also purchase a pair from the studio.
- Do some light stretching and warm up before the class. While there is a warm-up during the class itself, it could still be difficult to jump into for total beginners.
Ultra Lagree is at 2/F Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Ortigas, Pasig City