Charlotte’s 5 best fitness concepts for physical transformation
There are lots of great workouts in Charlotte but when you want specific physical results (in addition to a host of non-physical performance- and health-related benefits), this is what I’d do.
What you want: Killer abs and to be smoking hot as a grandma one day (or right now)
What it is: The Lagree MegaFormer is a suped up pilates reformer on steroids with a central spring-loaded sliding platform and additional bands, straps and handles used for resistance. It remains the most challenging workout I’ve ever done.
How it works: MegaFormer workouts center on slow, controlled core-stabilizing movements cued in a sequence designed to achieve muscle failure. (And fail you will. I collapsed a few times.) Your muscles will then build up stronger to accommodate a higher threshold of exertion. The result? Better posture thanks to a stronger core and a chiseled, lean body.
Physical proof: Have you ever seen the Hilliards? Liz, on the right below, is a grandmother. Or their coaches?
What you want: That elusive dancer’s body – lean, strong and graceful even while eating a burrito
What it is: No, it’s not ballet. Barre classes use low weight, high rep movements (with the help of a ballet barre for leverage, balance and resistance) usually targeted in succession at the arms, abs, thighs and glutes.
How it works: You might scoff at the sight of a one-pound weight until the repetitive “pulsing” of it lights your muscles on fire with a slow aching burn. Barre relies on your own bodyweight (or very light weights) to build up a deceptively strong but lean physique. Kind of like a ballet dancer but without any artistic skill required.
Where to find it: Flybarre (2907 Providence Road), Pure Barre (multiple locations), Bar Method (4810 Ashley Park Lane), Xtend Barre (1100 Metropolitan Avenue), Carolina Barre & Core (2901 Selwyn Avenue)
Physical proof: Flybarre.
What you want: A Spiderman level of nimble strength and a svelte physique upon which to don your Spidey spandex
What it is: TRX is a system of suspension training born in the Navy SEALs. It’s essentially a strap with handles that can be utilized in countless ways to challenge strength, flexibility, balance and core stability. The deceptively simple strap system creates a hardcore workout. Trust me.
Why it works: The suspension straps create resistance using the weight of your own body against you, a cruel but effective method that builds strength and increases muscular endurance. Plus, the instability of the strap system forces you to rely on core strength, which leads to rock hard abs.
Physical proof: Allow me to introduce you to Pure Body TRX trainer Tara Bedard.
What you want: For people to say “You have such nice posture” without them realizing that your noble stance is a result of your washboard abs holding you upright
What it is: The Pilates Reformer is the granddaddy of the Megaformer, the original spring-loaded sliding platform with straps, pulleys and handles for resistance. It’s an intricate system that challenges the body with respect to alignment and overall mobility.
Why it works: A reformer workout relies on core stabilization and balance to challenge your body in unfamiliar ways that I find near impossible to achieve without the machine. Whether for vanity (muscle tone, inches lost) or quality of life (posture, balance, functional movement), pilates will change your body.
Physical proof: Look how graceful and strong Lauren is while holding a very challenging core pose at Iron Butterfly.
What you want: Visible muscle gains (and a noteworthy butt)
What it is: CrossFit is a fitness regimen built on functional movements performed at high intensity. It combines aspects of weightlifting, gymnastics, running, rowing and more to achieve an “elite” level of overall athleticism.
Why it works: In short, you throw heavy weights around and get really strong. I think programming centered on personal progression has a lot to do with it. Expect to track your maximum weight, maximum reps, fastest times, etc. and push beyond that base as you get stronger. There’s also a strong focus on competition (be it against yourself, the clock or other participants) and a diehard community to push you through it. As for the noteworthy butt, it comes from all the squats while hoisting heavy weights.
Where to find it: No way am I getting caught in this crossfire (see what I did there?). There are dozens of CrossFit affiliate gyms (referred to as “boxes” by the community) in the greater Charlotte metro. Find your favorite.
Physical proof: Just look at the people who do CrossFit.
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