Torture contraption — or fabulous exercise tool? I knew I was about to take a perfectly harmless fitness class at Stellar Bodies in Buckhead, but I couldn’t help but ask myself this question.
Stellar offers one type of class: SPX. SPX is a Pilates-based class that is based around something called the Megaformer machine (and with its springs and pulleys, it does look a bit like a torture contraption). I’d heard positive things about the class from a friend and decided to give it a shot — and it didn’t hurt that the first class is free for newbies.
On a recent Saturday around lunch, I headed over to Stellar to take a class with Ellie. If you have sticky socks (which most people use in barre-based classes, because they provide traction with their sticky bottoms), go ahead and bring ‘em, as you don’t wear any shoes.
For the next 50 minutes, we did a full-body workout moving around the Megaformer. Throughout the class, Ellie would change (and a few times we needed to) the spring location on the machine — which would alter the resistance.
The class takes typical exercises like lunges and spices them up with the moving platform on the Megaformer and various cables for the upper body. Like many Pilates classes, there is a lot of repetitive movements and holding positions. You know, the kind of movements that you don’t do much, and when you do, your body feels it — in a good way.
I loved Ellie and the workout, and liked the choice of top 40 music along with a few old school dance tunes mixed in. The only thing that wasn’t a perfect “fit” about this workout is that sometimes I felt a little lost. I could tell that several of the participants had been coming for awhile, because they always knew how to flow into the next exercise gracefully. (Me, not so much.)
Ellie tried to help me out when she had chance, but there were plenty of other people in the class to tend to. I lucked out because one of the women next to me was happy to provide pointers on how to get into the next position — which was much appreciated! I can see how someone new to exercise might get frustrated and feel a little lost.
Regardless, I’d say give it a shot. You might feel a bit like you’re working out on a torture contraption, but the Megaformer is really just a fabulous fitness tool!