Medieval torture device might be the first thing you think when your eyes spy a Megaformer. But this workout wonder from the Pilates world delivers an efficient 1-2 upper- and lower-body sculpting punch, thanks to springs and pulleys that provide resistance. To help newbies get over the fear factor that can come with this machine, we’ve asked experts from SculptHouse (first class $15, @sculpthouse) and Stellar Bodies (first class $10, @stellarbodiesatl) to give you the 411 on slaying your next Megaformer sweat sesh.
1. Arrive early.
Get to class 10 minutes before it starts, says Amy Selig, co-owner of the Stellar Bodies studios in Midtown and Buckhead. “That way, you can meet the instructor, get comfortable with the machine and hear the game plan for the workout, which is 50 minutes at our studio.”
2. Don’t reinvent the wheel—or wheelbarrow.
Many of the exercises on the Megaformer are modified versions of moves you’re already familiar with (think lunges and planks). “So, although the machine makes things more challenging, everything you do won’t be totally foreign,” says Megan Armstrong, creative director and lead trainer at SculptHouse (where classes are also 50 minutes). “Two moves all beginners should master are the wheelbarrow and the plank-to-pike, which work your core,” she says. “Once you’ve got these under your belt, you know the basis for several other moves we teach.”
3. Go slow.
The No. 1 mistake Selig and Armstrong see clients make is speeding through the exercises. “The movements are best when you move 4 seconds in each direction,” says Selig. “New clients tend to move fast to get through the discomfort when their body starts working hard. But, you’ll get the most amazing results when you use your muscles—and lose the momentum.”
4. Watch your neighbor.
Ask to be on a machine next to someone experienced, suggests Armstrong. “In this type of class, the instructor does less demonstrating and is more focused on coaching people through the exercises and correcting form,” she says. “So, if you’re a visual learner, it’s really helpful to be able to look at someone who knows what they’re doing.”
5. Be positive.
A positive attitude is a must because this class is going to work your body in a different way than most people are used to enduring, and you’re going to be pushed past your comfort zone, says Selig. “Regardless of how fit you are, there might be moments when you’re confused about the movements or when your muscles just want to stop,” says Armstrong. “Just remember, don’t get discouraged!”