“Pilates on crack,” is how Amanda Freeman, owner of SLT and co-founder of Vital Juice, describes New York’s newest fitness addiction. SLT, which stands for Strengthen, Lengthen and Tone, has been a popular Los Angeles hybrid workout and has finally made it to the Big Apple. The 50-minute class, which was taught by Amanda herself the day I was there at the NYC studio, was a mix of dripping sweat, bumping beats and total body shaking.
I arrived at the Midtown studio a few minutes early to witness the calm before the sweating storm. The studio consists of 10 Megaformer machines and full-length mirrors, so you can not only feel the quivers, but also see them! The Megaformer, an evolution of the traditional Pilates reformer, is Sebastien Lagree’s total-body tool to create a long, lean physique. The Megaformer uses adjustable springs and a pulley-system underneath its leather padding to create resistance and counter-resistance for many different exercises and multiple positions to hit all muscles of the body.
We began with the arms. Each muscle exercise starts with the full range-of-motion, and once you’re out of breath and feel like you can’t do any more, you continuously pulse. Each exercise lasts about 60 seconds, but those 60 seconds are full of fire and pain (yes, some pain can be good), and then you hear “Three…two…and you’re off to the next exercise,” keeping everyone’s heart rates up. After arms, we moved to legs, hitting them at all possible angles. Personally, legs are my favorite body part to work out, so I was excited—but that quickly turned to loathing. Amanda was on me and my classmates like kids with candy—we couldn’t slack even if we wanted to because she’d be right there correcting our form and pushing us to the end of “Three…two…and you’re off to the next exercise.”
The 50-minute class was quickly over and each muscle in my “young” exhausted body had been hit. I loved the way the Megaformer strengthened and stretched each muscle without impact, making this workout good for men and women who may turn away from exercise due to joint pain. Although class is on the pricier side at $40 per class, you won’t find it anywhere else in the city. The Midtown studio makes this class easily accessible before and after work—or even on your one-hour lunch break.
Would you try this “Pilates on crack” class? —Raquel