This is an unpaid review of the MegaFormer Essentials class at The Body Lab pilates+ in Leawood, Kansas.
I’ve been grappling with this review. As a strong supporter of Kansas City entrepreneurship I honestly struggle with writing anything negative about small businesses. I understand how hard small business owners work to sustain a successful business. The review below is my experience and impression.
Do you have a fitness class bucket list? I do. When I decided to start writing down my experiences I asked my friend Ashleigh to send me her fitness bucket list. We both shared a curiosity for Pilates Reformer classes. I’ve always wanted to take a class and try it out but Reformer classes are usually too pricey for my tastes with single sessions starting at $35. It’s been on our radar so when I found a free introductory class at The Body Lab pilates+ I immediately booked my spot.
There’s only three Body Lab locations: Leawood, KS, Scottsdale, AZ and Phoenix, AZ. The Body Lab is a blend of Pilates, cardio and strength training on a crazy contraption called the MegaFormer (not to be confused with a Transformer). Classes are limited to ten students and are 50 minutes long. Before taking any other classes, you must begin with the MegaFormer Essentials class, an introductory class on the MegaFormer.
According to their website:
In this class you will learn the fundamentals of the Megaformer and how to modify and or progress in future MegaFormer Pilates+ sessions and advanced classes such as Core&More and CardioBlast. Be prepared to sweat and shake in this introductory yet challenging pulse-pounding class!
I assembled the Sweat Squad and we eagerly set sail for our first Pilates Reformer class.
THE LOW DOWN
The Squad and I arrived early so we could fill out any necessary paperwork unfortunately we had to join the six other women standing outside in the cold while the previous class finished up. I don’t know why we weren’t allowed inside since they have a nice lobby area with a couch. After a few minutes the instructor unlocked the door and let the newbies inside for waivers.
Even though we arrived early, we received a rushed tutorial of the MegaFormer machine. The explanation included jargon I had never heard before and the instructor sounded frustrated when she had to explain what a “carriage” was when I asked. Safety first, yo.
The actual workout is hard to describe. We were laying down, lunging, sitting, standing, perching while a body part was pushing or pulling on a moving bed called the carriage. Most of the moves I would classify as difficult and should be done slowly and with caution.
I love a challenge however, I’m going to be real honest here. I felt thrown into the workout. A good comparison would be taking a beginner’s Yoga class and start off with headstands. I’m standing on this moving machine that I’ve never used before with limited support and supervision and I’m constantly struggling. I completely expected the introductory class to show us each move slowly and then gradually build up to a faster pace once we had our footing. That didn’t happen. I really wanted the instructor to hit the pause button on her instructions but she never did. She just stayed on script and stuck with her format no matter how much we were struggling.
We were instructed to move quickly and were not provided any modifications. At one point, my friend adjusted a move to fit her personal fitness level and the instructor scolded her and physically moved her body back into the position that was straining her. After class I double-checked the description to make sure we were taking an intro class (we were).
As someone who has been obese for her whole life minus the last five years, I’ve taken my fair share of workout classes and experienced a multitude of different instructor personalities. I’m a firm believer that an instructor can make or break a class. In this case, I have to say that Gena, our instructor was a deal breaker for me. She had a cheerleader coach vibe about her in that she believes in tough, sarcastic love-that’s-not-love. Gena could use more warmth and empathy in her teaching in the form of modifications and friendliness.
I loved the space. It’s very trendy and luxe/expensive feeling. They had a selection of cute branded clothes for purchase and even had a mini fridge filled with cold-pressed juice. I was definitely feeling the aesthetic of The Body Lab. I am absolutely about that lifestyle.
I need to try a different Pilates Reformer class at a different studio that is not The Body Lab. I never once felt welcome and my friends and I weren’t offered further information in case we wanted to join (we don’t). I really hate that this was my first impression but there’s nothing I can do to change that. The workout was intense but the instructor really spoiled the experience for me. Two thumbs down.
Where should I take my next Pilates Reformer class in Kansas City?