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Chicago Sun-Times
Jackie Pilossoph. For Sun-Times Media | @helpsquadjp

Michelle Obama's doing it. So are Sophia Vergara, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Stiller, Nicole Kidman and Kim Kardashian.

The hottest workout right now is the Lagree Method, and it just arrived on the North Shore. The Studio Powered by Lagree in downtown Highland Park opened its doors this month, and according to studio President Jacob Zablotny, it's a workout guaranteed to produce results.

"I have been lifting weights all my life and I tried one class, walked out shaking, and saw results within two weeks," said Zablotny, an entrepreneur and investor who was approached for the venture by his two Canadian business partners, Pino Gagliardi and Carm Perrelli, who are the owners of two studios in Toronto.

With 50-minute classes where each student uses a Megaformer machine, the Lagree Method is an extremely intense, low impact class that provides strength, flexibility and a lot of core work.

George Chaker is a Toronto-based Lagree instructor who came to Highland Park for three months to train the studio instructors.

"This was the first workout I did in over 15 years that made me excited, and I knew right away it was extremely challenging and safe for my 40-year-old body," said Chaker, who also is a certified personal trainer, a spin instructor and a group fitness instructor. "This is an intense personal workout."

The Lagree Method was founded in Los Angeles 12 years ago by engineer and fitness instructor Sebastian Lagree.

There are 130 studios worldwide that offer The Lagree Method, with the Highland Park studio the first on the North Shore.

"We've taken the base of Pilates and evolved it into a comprehensive full-body workout which satisfies the needs for both men and women, and athletes and nonathletes," Chaker said. "There are resistance weights on the machines of up to 250 pounds, and everything is done very slowly and precisely."

Chaker also explained that core is involved in every exercise.

"You continue to get that long, lean look that Pilates gives you, but add on the strength and intensity and you have Lagree."

The Studio Powered by Lagree offers 40 classes per week that include traditional classes, more advanced classes and 40-minute express classes.

Private and semi-private training sessions are also available.

Chris Keller, of Lake Bluff, recently tried a class at the studio and said she has been there every day since it opened.

"I'm addicted," said Keller, who runs five miles a day and takes Pilates, Barre and dance classes. "I never get sore and within one lesson, I was sore and really felt like I did something."

The Studio Powered by Lagree offers packages or clients can pay by the class.

"It's always about results, isn't it?" said Zablotny. "It's effective, efficient, and you're getting your full body workout in 50 minutes. This really is the next big thing."

"I love how you move from one movement to the next very quickly," Keller said. "There's a cardio component but you're making your muscles long and lean because you're using resistance going both ways. This was described to me as Pilates on crack and it really is."


Fact Box: The Studio Powered by Lagree Where: 593 Elm Place, Highland Park Contact: 847-433-8658;


The Lagree Method is an intense, low-impact class at The Studio Powered by Lagree in Highland Park. | Photos by Jackie Pilossoph/For Sun-Times Media Instructor David Fox (from left), studio President Jacob Zablotny and Lagree trainer George Chaker are helping the Highland Park business get off its feet.


March 6, 2014




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