Studio: Stellar Bodies
Class: SPX Total Body
Class description from website: This workout, created from the roots of Pilates, encompasses cardio elements and strength training all in fifty minutes! This workout is incredibly dynamic, and emphasizes core stability and functional movement.
In these 50 minutes, full body conditioning will be achieved with resistance, counter resistance, and full muscle contractions. This workout focuses on full body composition that forces peak performance without injury.
The SPX workout strengthens the body, tones and elongates the muscles, improves endurance, jumpstarts the metabolism, burns fat, and increases flexibility and posture, alignment, and restores the body’s natural balance.
The machine used is the Megaformer TM, which is an evolutionary design of the traditional reformer. It is designed to utilize both upper and lower body muscles, using springs and pulleys that will set the resistance and counter resistance of the workout. With a certified instructor, it is one of the safest ways to strengthen your muscles with very little stress on your joints.
Location: 3872 Roswell Road, Suite A-1, Atlanta, GA 30342
Phone: (404) 467-1060
Cost: First class is free. $30 per class after that. They also offer packages for mutiple classes.
What to Bring: Water, toe socks, towel. Toe socks are sold at Stellar Bodies for $16. You can also find them at Target and sometimes TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
What to wear: Comfortable workout clothes. Yoga pants, leggings, tank top, t-shirt etc. Shorts are fine, but I would wear bike shorts because you will be in compromising positions and somethings are better kept a secret. Side note: if you forget workout clothes they do sell workout attire at the studio.
Class size: Small. There were 7 people including me. Each class can accommodate up to 10 people.
Props used: The entire class was done on the Megaformer, which is basically a reformer on steroids.
Volume and type of music: Music was at a medium volume and the teacher played top 40. (“Turn Down 4 What” came on at just the right time towards the end of class…I was about to turn down, but Lil Jon helped me to turn up.)
Impact: Low impact, no jumping whatsoever.
Modifications: Since all the movements are performed slowly and methodically and for a significant period of time the teacher was able to walk around to help individual students with proper form and get situated on the machine.
All exercises were done in either 45 second, 60 second, or 90 second intervals. We began class with a warm up focusing on the abs. To warm up, we started on the front platform of the Megaformer on our knees and with our hands on the moving portion and pushed the moving portion out and back in (similar to an ab wheel), then performed the same movement but in a pike. It didn’t take long to warm up and we moved on to lower body exercises. We did several exercises on one leg moving from a four point (all fours) position to standing split squats (stationary lunge) and worked our way through the exercises in reverse order on the other side. Some of the exercises included standing on the floor with one foot on the moving part of the Megaformer and the other foot on the floor while squatting and pushing the leg on the Megaformer back (hip extension, again isolating the glutes on the pushing side but utilizing your entire body since you are also doing a 1 leg squat); and one of their signature exercises dubbed “scrambled eggs.” In this exercise you are on three points (both hands and one knee) on the moving part of the Megaformer, and the foot of the free leg is in a strap connected to a resistance band, and then the leg in the band sweeps forward and kicks back. The standout characteristic of this move is that you are utilizing over 600 muscles in the body.
We ended class performing ab exercises in the same body position as the beginning of class but on the other end of the Megaformer. This meant we were pulling the platform instead of pushing it, making the ab exercises from the beginning of class quite different than at the end.
What to expect:
Expect to get your butt kicked. Within the first five minutes I felt like my abs were going to pop.
Expect a total body workout including muscles you forgot you had.
Expect to feel a burn that will stop you in your tracks. I had to stop quite a few times to shake off the burn before continuing.
Do NOT expect to take a Pilates class. Yes, the Megaformer is reminiscent of a reformer, but this is not a Pilates class.
Expect for 30 seconds to feel like eternity but know that it’s only 30 seconds.
Who should take this class: This is an excellent class for people who are afraid to lift weights believing they will get bulky, because you are getting resistance training through the bands, pulleys, and springs. (Side note: it takes a significant amount of work and calories to get bulky so you shouldn’t be afraid to lift weights.) As a dancer, I would like to say that this is an excellent workout for dancers because you will get the balance and coordination work that’s crucial to dancers, but also a heavy dose of strength training that is not always achievable in a dance class.
People who don’t have a full hour to devote to exercise. It might seem silly, but that 10 minutes makes a world of difference sometimes so here’s a total body workout in 50 minutes.
Professional advice: Use the long intervals to focus on proper form and body alignment. As with trying anything else for the first time, swallow your pride and stop when you need to. As I mentioned, I stopped several times to shake out the “burn” and grab some water. The workout provide a great muscular challenge from the first few minutes, so be aware of your body’s capabilities. Please take breaks as needed. The teacher put no pressure on me to fight through the burn.
Arrive early to your first session. Ellie, my instructor, gave each new person a run down of the Megaformer before class, which was very helpful since you will need to adjust springs, and hold various straps and handles during the workout.
Thank you to my instructor, Ellie, for delivering an incredible workout!