Have you heard of the Megaformer? Before last week I thought it was a superhero or Transformer character, so I understand if you’re confused.
Over spring break I became well-aquainted with this little contraption and took three classes at a local studio in Tampa called Mantra. We have a family friend who raves about it so my mom and I wanted to try it for ourselves.
From Mantra’s website: “The state of the art Megaformer™ provides constant resistance and infinitely more exercise options than a traditional reformer; it allows the body to shift smoothly and quickly from one exercise to another to get the blood pumping and maintain increased heart rate. All muscle groups, from big to small, are strengthened in a non-aggressive, no-impact manner making this workout as good for your muscles as it is for your joints. Your spine stays protected, your mind engaged, and your body pushed to its limits.”
Going into the class I expected to have a similar experience as I did when I tried a barre class. I didn’t find barre to be a workout and I felt silly during the class (just my opinion). However, the Megaformer surprised me. Big time.
Yes, I guess it is a “girly” workout and you’ll probably see mostly women at the studios, but it’s effective.
The Megaformer incorporates elements of Pilates with cardio segments for a full-body workout. The focus is on slow and controlled movements with fast transitions in between exercises. The names of the exercises are kind of confusing (ex: Mermaid Twist, Elevator Lunge, Spoon) but the instructor explains them well and corrects form.
What adds resistance to every exercise are the springs at the front of the Megaformer. There are two blue springs and four yellow springs. The blue springs provide the most resistance but for most exercises we used two yellow springs. The instructor will cue when to change them and you can always adjust if needed.
Every class is different. We did some of the same moves each time but there are endless variations. Plus, the instructor switches the order of the exercises and spring resistance so it’s not the same workout every time.
Both ends of the Megaformer have straps that can be used for upper body moves and core. You stand, sit, kneel and lie on the Megaformer depending on the exercise. That part feels silly. The middle platform is what moves (slides back and forth with effort).
The class is 50 minutes and is broken up into four segments: core, obliques, legs and upper body. Each movement in the segment is done for 30 seconds to 1 minute before switching. The time FLEW by. Both my mom and I commented that it was the fastest 50 minute workout we’ve ever done.
Here is an example of a core movement:
Keeping a straight spine I used my core to move the platform forward and backward.
It’s a small movement but I was sore the next day. I said to my mom (who was sore too), “I’ve never had my stomach hurt and it not be a stomach ache but instead sore abs.” That’s a feeling I’d much rather have! My abs NEVER get sore.
Overall, my inner thighs and hamstrings were probably the most sore. The upper body movements didn’t do much for me.
Other things to note:
-It’s expensive. There’s no getting around that. My mom and I each bought a Living Social for 3 classes for $39, but otherwise it’s $30 a class. They have membership options but it’s still pricey.
-You have to buy grip socks. They were $20 at the studio but you can probably find them cheaper elsewhere. I’m going to try to use them for yoga to get my money’s worth.
-The website claims you burn 500 calories per class, but I have a hard time believing that as I barely sweat and I didn’t really get my heart rate up. My mom is going to wear a heart rate monitor next time to test out that theory.
I won’t be going to a studio near me unless I can find another Groupon/Living Social package because, like Soul Cycle, it’s way out of my college student budget. But I really enjoyed the class and the results. Give it a try at a studio near you!