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I’m a Lagree Instructor! And My Fitness Journey

August 15, 2017

As evidenced by the headline, my big news this month is that I am officially teaching Lagree megaformer classes at my studio in San Mateo. Teaching classes has been a dream of mine for quite awhile now and I am so excited I finally made it a reality. This post will outline my general fitness journey and how I gained the confidence to start teaching. I will be talking a LOT more about Lagree in future posts. It truly is (in my slightly biased opinion 😉 ) the best work out on the planet!

Let’s start at the beginning:

My first introduction to “group fitness” came when I joined Equinox about six years ago. Before Equinox, I was the girl who went to the gym and just messed around on the elliptical machine. I didn’t know anything about weights, machines, or how to incorporate my own body weight into exercises that would target specific body parts. The first group fitness class I tried was a 6 AM Tuesday class called “Metcon3”. The format consisted of 3 circuits, with 10 exercises each done for 1 minute. I loved that you could raise your heart rate doing things besides pedaling on a stationary bike or jogging on a flat road treadmill. I liked having an instructor there “pushing” me and I realized I liked working out with other people. I started coming religiously to that 6 AM Metcon class as well as the other variations offered at the club until I was basically an Equinox groupie.

Enter Barry’s Bootcamp…Bootcamp on steroids:

Once I was comfortable with the Equinox classes, I started to branch out and try classes at other studios. When I saw Barry’s Bootcamp was opening a San Francisco location, I immediately signed up for opening weekend. Barry’s was a whole new ballgame, I had never completed such a difficult work out and the energy was totally different from any class I had tried. The trainers were extremely upbeat, knowledgeable, and motivating throughout the whole class- I had NO idea my body was capable of running on an incline at 9 Mph. The music and atmosphere made it seem more like a night out at the club then a challenging, heart pounding work out.

I started going to Barry’s pretty regularly along with continuing to go to Equinox. Teaching a class still wasn’t a real thought- I have a full time career in tech and I didn’t really see fitness fitting into my professional life at all. However, I loved the work outs and liked to think of myself as a group fitness expert. I knew all the best trainers to go to, which classes were most difficult, and which studios had the best locker room products and validated parking. I was happy to be part of the fitness community and was content with fitness being a fun distraction and escape from work.

My first half marathon:

I am someone who strives to continue to challenge myself physically. Last summer, I decided to sign up for a half marathon. I spent about three months training by myself and ran the race in November of 2016. Completing the half marathon was kind of a tipping point for me. I really enjoyed the process of creating the training plan for myself and seeing my own improvement each week. I started getting messages from friends asking how I got myself ready for the race. I liked giving them advice and seeing their excitement preparing for their own races. I started thinking about how fun it would be to help people find a love for exercise as more than just a hobby.

Post running the Big Sur Half Marathon in November 2016

I still really didn’t see how it could happen though. Living in the Silicon Valley, people live and die by tech. Once you commit to a career in this industry, it is pretty rare to completely change and do something else. One of these reasons is obviously financial. Tech jobs do pay well and there is so much opportunity for upward mobility. If you get in with a company with a lot of buzz and investor backing, the possibilities are endless. Becoming any kind of personal trainer would mean transforming into my own brand and starting everything from scratch. I decided a logical first step would be learning to teach the classes I loved so much. I started researching different certification types and what I would be able to do with each one. It was honestly overwhelming. Each of the certifications were so specific, I wasn’t sure if I would be happy teaching the same kind of class long term. Many of the studios looking for instructors required previous experience or lengthy audition processes (seriously like American Idol style).

Introduction to Lagree… i.e. The Best Work Out of All Time:

Several months had passed since I made the commitment to myself to start teaching classes and I wasn’t really getting anywhere. I had gotten out of a seven year relationship at the end of 2016, so for a few months I was just focused on finding my footing again after such a big change. I started this blog during that time as a sort of creative outlet since I wasn’t super happy at work either. Finally one day I was looking around on Groupon of all places for a new fitness studio to check out. CoreStudioSPX in San Mateo caught my eye- I thought it was just machine based pilates which I had been wanting to try. I purchased a 10 class introductory Groupon and signed up for my first class one day after work.

Upon entering the class, I knew immediately that it would be like nothing I had ever tried. The instructor explained that we would be doing the Lagree method- a distant cousin of pilates, that uses adjustable spring tension on a megaformer machine to effectively work ALL parts of the body in every exercise. The movements are done very slowly to activate the slow twitch muscle fibers (your endurance muscles). Your heart rate is up for most of the class, but since you aren’t moving fast or jumping around like you do for a lot of cardio exercises, it’s low impact for your joints. Most importantly, the class was HARD. Literally my body was shaking the entire time and I kept sneaking glances at the clock wondering how much longer the torture could possibly last. 50 minutes later, I walked out, dripping in sweat and smiling- I had found my dream work out!

I called my mom after the class and said I found what I wanted to teach finally. She was skeptical… how could I know after trying something once?? However, I could tell the work out was special and that it was something I really wanted to master and share with other people. I blew through that first Groupon in about two and a half weeks and immediately purchased more classes. I started researching online how to get certified- the Lagree headquarters in Los Angeles holds a certification course once a month. However, the cost of the course plus the travel expenses were too much for me at the time. Also I was afraid that even if I completed the course, no one would hire me since I didn’t have any experience teaching.

I decided to keep taking the classes since I was enjoying the work out so much and start saving up for the cert. I figured that maybe by the time I had saved enough money the studio would agree to hire me on a trial basis at least. One day I walked into class and noticed an announcement on the studio whiteboard – it said they were looking for new instructors and holding a cert course in San Mateo in two weeks! I was so excited to see they were hiring, but didn’t work up the nerve to ask about it for another week. I still didn’t think I had the work out mastered enough to be considered for a training position – I didn’t even have all the names of the moves memorized (In my defense…there are over 100 variations).

And finally… getting to teach!

Finally I knew I HAD to inquire , otherwise I would seriously regret not doing so. The worst they could say was no right? Asking turned out to be the best decision! The manager called me right away and told me all the certification would entail, how the on boarding process would work etc. They asked me to come in and do a short audition just to hear how I would sound on a microphone/if I could give clear instructions. I spent probably an hour putting together a 10 minute routine trying to remember the names and corresponding spring loads I’d heard in class. Strangely, I wasn’t nervous, just excited to see IF I could actually instruct someone even for a short amount of time. The audition ended up going great (even though I mixed up several names of moves/reversed the front and back of the machine :/). The studio offered me a reduced fee to take the course in exchange for a certain amount of time spent teaching at their locations. I could not wait to get started, cleared all my plans for the upcoming weekend and started reading everything I could find about Lagree.

This is such a long post at this point so I won’t keep going but, I completed the certification course in July and I am SO extremely happy that I did. I checked a major goal off my bucket list and and finally doing something I feel passionate about in addition to my regular work. The moral of my story here- if something is nagging at you to try it, don’t ignore your impulses. If you want to turn a passion into more than just a hobby, start small and immerse yourself in the community as much as you can. Try out different things until you find something that fits in with your life. If something is truly your calling, you can and will always find a way to make it happen. You just might have to be patient and go through a few rounds of trial and error until something feels right.

I will go over the whole certification process in another post. I did not find much information out there about it when I was researching, so I think others may find it useful. Thanks for making it to the end of this novel, I am happy to answer all questions regarding group certifications, instructor training, anything, don’t be afraid to ask. 🙂

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