With studios and gyms in early every neighborhood that offer CrossFit, yoga, spin, TRX, and barre, it seems there isn’t a fitness market that Vancouver hasn’t tapped into. Yet somehow, Barbie Bent managed to find an exercise outlet that the city was missing: the Lagree method. Hailing from Los Angeles and with over 300 studios worldwide, Lagree is a 40-minute fitness craze adding to exercise’s cool factor.
Favoured by famous faces including Michelle Obama and Sofia Vergara, the Lagree method builds long and lean muscles using a Megaformer: a machine that can be pushed, pulled, and balanced for everything from lunges and squats to donkey kicks and bicep curls. “It’s so hard to explain,” laughs Bent, who, after falling in love with the method, became a licensee, moved from the United Kingdom to Vancouver, and opened Lagree West (the city’s first Lagree studio) on West Hastings in November 2015. “You always go back to, ‘It’s sort of Pilates, but it’s not.’” The workout is easy on the joints without sacrificing intensity, and classes are as intimate as working out with a personal trainer. “It has a unique element where it doesn’t only challenge you physically, but it also has an empowering aspect,” explains Bent. “That’s why I got hooked, and probably why a lot of other people do, too.”
In a time when efficiency is everything, the Lagree method combines strength training and cardio—all in under one hour. “You get a bit of a cult following with Lagree,” Bent admits. “I moved across the world and quit my job to start this, because it does work.”
Walking down the steps into Lagree West can be as mysterious as the workout itself. The narrow studio, lined with 12 Megaformers and designed by Occupy Design, is chic and minimalist with just the right amount of Gastown grit. And after being in business for only nine months, Bent opened Lagree West’s second location at the Lonsdale Quay. Designed by Ply Architecture, the new space adopts the North Shore’s natural and airy essence with the same understated theme and basement entry as the Gastown location. With two outposts up and running, Bent hopes to get the message across that the method can work for all ages. “We have a lot of people that are a little bit older that think the workout is for a younger demographic, but it’s very advantageous for everyone,” Bent says. “You can have an Ironman athlete next to my mom in the same class, getting the same mental benefits, and pushing themselves to the maximum of their own intensity—but both leave feeling like they accomplished something.”
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