If there’s one person who will leave you feeling inspired to hit the gym, it’s Meghan Markle.
During her wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday, the Duchess of Sussex showed off her toned physique while walking down the aisle. So what’s the secret behind the workout method that she’s sworn by for years? A die-hard fan of Pilates, Markle has spoken about her love for the Megaformer, a machine invented by Sebastien Lagree that she’s called “the best thing you could do for your body.” And she’s not alone! Other celebrity fans include Jennifer Aniston, Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian West, just to name a few.
LIVESTRONG.COM spoke exclusively with the world-renowned fitness guru behind Markle’s favorite high-intensity, low-impact workout who revealed why you should be giving the Megaformer a try. “It’s a constant and continuous movement that strengthens, tightens and tones the body,” Lagree says. “You’ll feel results after the first class, but after the third class you will definitely start seeing the results.” Yes, please!
What Is a Megaformer?
So what is the Megaformer, exactly? It may look a tad intimidating at first glance, but once you get the hang of it, Lagree claims you'll be hooked just like Markle. The resistance-based platform uses a system of springs and pulleys — and your own body weight — with a movable carriage, providing a full-body HIIT-alternative workout that will leave you feeling tight, toned and increase your overall flexibility. "Users are planking, squatting, crunching, and more on the platform, utilizing all 600 muscles of the body to maintain balance and fight resistance," Lagree reveals. "You can burn up to 400 calories in a single session."
And the good news? The Megaformer is licensed to over 300+ studios worldwide, making it easily accessible no matter where you live! (To find as studio in the United States, click here.) Lagree adds, "When Meghan works out in L.A., she is training on the M1, the first version of the Megaformer that was ever created. When she’s in London, she works out on a newer, upgraded version of the Megaformer, the M3, which I released in 2014."
While classical Pilates is an excellent fitness regimen that has proven effective for millions, the Megaformer takes things up a notch — or 20! “It’s one of the only methods that combines endurance, cardio, strength, balance and flexibility at once,” Lagree says of his famous method. During a class, users like Markle can expect to do a series of slow but effective exercises, with the goal being to keep the muscles contracted for 60 to 120 seconds at a time. “A lot of the exercises are compounded, so you’re working every muscle together.”
Planks, crunches, squats and pulls are all incorporated in a class, but by moving slowly during the workout, Lagree says the method avoids bulking up. “The goal here is to build long, lean muscle. We have isometric exercises that will stimulate your butt, abs and the arms — the main three areas that people want to work on. You can get a full-body exercise in a short amount of time, and it’s remarkable how fast people like Meghan start to see a difference.”
Fast and Effective
Fitness is certainly one of the keys to living a healthy lifestyle, though lack of time is a common obstacle that can keep you from achieving your goals. The answer for Markle? Quick and effective workouts! “In the 20 years that I’ve been teaching fitness, people always segregate their workouts,” Lagree says. “They’ll do the cardio one day, they’ll stretch another, they’ll do the abs a different day and they’ll do the upper body the day after that. It becomes a really complicated workout regimen.”
To avoid having to separate your workouts by days of the week, Lagree explains that the Megaformer works every part of the body at once, giving you a well-rounded routine. “To me, a good body is a body that is strong, that has endurance, that has flexibility and good balance. So one of the reasons that Meghan likes the workout is because you get everything at once. You get strength, you get endurance, you get core, you get balance — and people love that.”
But how long will it take to look and feel like a royal? Not as long as you might think! “You’re going to get great results when doing at least a 40-minute workout on the Megaformer, and people see a change within the first three sessions,” says Lagree. “You will definitely feel tighter after the first session — it’s impossible not to feel it.”
Why Women Like Markle Love It
With so many different fitness fads hitting social media nowadays, it’s difficult to figure out which workouts actually garner results for women. Lagree, whose background is in bodybuilding, reveals that clients including former CSI: Miami actress Emily Procter think the Megaformer is a perfect method for the female body.
“Emily told me one time, she said, ‘Lagree Fitness is a very graceful way to weight train,’ and I loved that because strong is sexy,” Lagree says. “You can have a toned body — not a bodybuilder’s body — but a defined and sculpted body and still be sexy.”
And while defined abs and strong legs are all the rage, this hasn’t always been the case. “The attitude around fitness and women has really changed in the past 20 years,” Lagree says. “Two decades ago, women didn’t want to gain a single pound, even if it meant getting toned. Today, women are training way harder, just as hard as the guys, and they don’t care about gaining the muscle weight. The workout on the Megaformer is perfect because you’re working out your core, your arms, your abs and you’re getting your cardio in all at the same time. It’s the whole package.”
What Do YOU Think?
Would you try Meghan Markle’s favorite workout routine on the Megaformer? Have you tried it before and want to share your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section!