This Is the Workout Ivanka Trump (and Hollywood) Is Obsessed With
From Washington, D.C., to Eagle Rock, the Lagree Method's Megaformer machine is the latest fitness craze.
"Pilates on crack." That's how the workout conceived by Sebastian Lagree on his proprietary Megaformer machine is often described. In other words, it’s intense — punishing, some say — and it produces results almost immediately.
It’s so effective that recent Washington, D.C., transplant Ivanka Trump couldn't wait to get her fix, causing drama when she signed up for a class at D.C.’s Solidcore (also former first lady Michelle Obama’s go-to) last week using an alias. The displeased owner called her out on social media, adding that she’s not a fan of Donald Trump's policies and would like to chat with the first daughter about them.
The workout, which involves an apparatus loaded with spring tension, is increasingly trendy with names as wide-ranging as Sofia Vergara, Ronda Rousey, Jennifer Aniston, Karlie Kloss, Calvin Harris and David Duchovny. The list continues to grow.
Lagree invented the Megaformer machine in L.A., naturally, and opened his first studio in September 2001. Studios can get a license through him to teach the method and there are now hundreds across the U.S. and around the world. The studio Trump went to is not affiliated and uses a slightly different machine and method.
“The Megaformer is a popular piece of fitness equipment among celebrities because results happen very quickly,” says Studio Metamorphosis founder and trainer to the stars Jennifer Yates. Her brand-new location in Eagle Rock joins the one in Pasadena as a draw for L.A. Dodgers team members, Alessandra Ambrosio and Vergara, whom Yates has trained through several awards seasons with not just Megaformer sessions but also kettlebells, weight lifting and a cable machine dedicated to derriere exercises. “Another benefit is the spring tension on the machine, which engages slow-twitch muscle fibers and creates a long, lean muscular build, which is a common type models, actresses and actors are attracted to.”
Obviously people like Vergara can’t risk adding bulk to their frames. The Modern Family star is so into it, she actually has her very own customized purple Megaformer and works out with Lagree himself. His latest creation is the Supraformer (the equipment of choice at his West Hollywood Lagree Fitness Studio, where Ali Larter and Nicole Kidman have taken group classes). It acts like a space simulator, inclining like a treadmill and tilting left to right, adding a further muscle-shaking stability challenge to the workout. “I tell students you will notice a difference in muscle definition and the way you feel within your first three classes,” says Lagree. “Everybody knows time is of the essence for actors, models and professional athletes preparing for an upcoming role, show or game.”
The craze continues to challenge everyone, even longtime devotees: Says Lagree, “You’ll see people in the best shape still shaking and sweating. It definitely increases the heart rate, and that’s the magic. Sofia hates working out, but like everyone in Hollywood it’s part of her job. That’s why she loves the Megaformer and Lagree Fitness so much — she works out for 45 minutes and doesn’t have to think about working out the rest of the day, she knows she’s covered all body parts.”
Meanwhile, The Studio (MDR) — which has locations in Marina del Rey, Culver City and Playa Vista — is where Scott Eastwood, Nina Dobrev, America Ferrera and Lea Michele train in the HIIT-style method with trainers including Mary Miller. “It’s high-intensity, low-impact and targets the core while lengthening and strengthening the entire body. We work the slow-twitch muscle fibers to the point of failure,” she says, adding that “when our clients need to be ‘camera ready’ (as Lea Michele did for a Shape cover shoot) this is the best way to tighten, tone and create lean definition quickly.
As for Lagree, he credits constant innovation in both the workout and machines for the continuing growth of his method. As people continue to discover Lagree’s Megaformer, he is focusing on development of quick and dirty 25-minute Supraformer workouts. “I truly believe these are the future of fitness, and we will see more and more people adopt this philosophy.”
For what it's worth, Lagree does not support the way Ivanka was treated by Solidcore, he says, and has reached out to offer her a Megaformer "for in-home use."