There’s something deceptively inviting about the Megaformer — the bed-like piece of equipment that’s at the center of the killer workout you get at Corefire Studio, a bright, inviting fitness studio looking over Bellevue Ave in Upper Montclair that’s one of only a handful of places in New Jersey where you can find the Lagree Fitness Method — a sweat-inducing combination of Pilates, cardio and resistance training. Sebastian Lagree developed the method and devotees include celebrities and athletes alike (think Sofia Vergara and pro hockey player Andy Sutton).
Once you get up close and see the springs, pulleys and platforms, you start to get a sense of what can be done on the Megaformer — basically it allows you to workout muscles you never knew you had in a high intensity, low impact workout that burns upwards of 500 calories in 45 minutes.
Simply put “The Megaformer™ workout strengthens the body, tones and elongates the muscles, improves endurance, jump-starts the metabolism, burns fat, increases flexibility and postural alignment, and restores the body’s natural balance.”
Corefire’s small group workout sessions (you can also opt for a few private sessions to get familiar with the Megaformer) attract both men and women of all fitness levels (my first few weeks at the studio I ran into a gal friend who is incredibly fit as well as a guy friend who was just starting to get back into exercise).
What makes the workout fun, challenging and ultimately addictive is the constant changing of movements and positions paired with the intensity. Moving through the series of exercises (with memorable names like bear, teaser catfish, spider, newspaper, mermaid) you focus on working different muscles and burning them out. If you think you’ve worked your core before, you’ll think differently after your first Corefire class. Referred to as Pilates on crack or Pilates on steroids, the way the sequence of exercises target your muscles in different ways (anyone say obliques!) will surprise you — as will the burn you feel for days after. Stick with the classes and you’ll see your posture and your performance in other activities improve significantly. Strength, stability and sleek, toned muscles follow.
Doing the workouts twice a week, I’ve seen a big difference in strength, balance and stability after only a few weeks. Balancing on one leg while doing a lunge on a sliding platform, holding elevated planks longer, and best of all, feeling stronger and having much more endurance when I run are some of the changes I’ve enjoyed so far. What surprised me most is how much my body now craves the routine.
What I like as much as my workouts (and the results) is the story behind Corefire coming to Montclair. Owners Angela McCaffrey and Caitlin Ruggiero grew up playing on Montclair sports teams and getting ice cream at Applegates. The two stayed friends and after college they moved out to San Diego. Soon after, they learned a friend back home was seriously ill, battling lymphoma.
Some 3000 miles from home and their friend, McCaffrey and Ruggiero wanted to do something to help. They decided to raise money for the Lymphoma & Leukemia Society by running a marathon. Neither had much experience running, but now they were looking at 26.2 miles. When friends told them they need to prepare with some low impact, strength training, they walked into the closest place — one of Lagree’s partner studios located down the street from where they lived.
Long story short, the pair trained and ran the marathon (raising a ton of money for their friend who has since regained her health). The experience — discovering a workout that became their passion — changed their lives and motivated them to want to share their passion with others.
“We brought Corefire and the Megaformer to Montclair because we love the town that raised us and have a burning desire to help those who need a little more motivation and those who want to maintain a high level of intensity,” says DiRuggiero.
Corefire Studio is welcoming and the instructors are knowledgeable and quick to offer modifications so you can get the most out of your workouts, no matter your fitness level. Want to try something different than any other workout you’ve ever done?