Finding the Zen at Lagree YYC
By Maxine Fischbein
It may seem counter-intuitive, but Lagree YYC owner and lead fitness instructor Kimberly Rothenberg often finds herself counseling clients to hold back just a little as they attempt to dive headfirst into an exercise regimen.
“It’s common at this time of year for people to want to get into better shape. There is a natural desire to spring forward and become more physically active. But it is important to accomplish that in a mindful and balanced way,” says Rothenberg.
The building blocks for a healthy and organic approach to fitness and well-being are artfully spelled out in colourful block letters on a feature wall at the state-of-the-art Lagree YYC studio in Britannia, one of Calgary’s best lifestyle neighbourhoods:
SLEEP A LOT.
REPEAT FOR LIFE.
When challenged to summarize her fitness philosophy in a single word, it is “balance” that rolls gracefully off Kim Rothenberg’s tongue.
“Armed with a B.Com Degree, Rothenberg began her professional life in the world of finance, but quickly discovered that her love for helping others was most powerfully realized when combined with her lifelong passion for fitness. Certified as a personal trainer in 2004, she has never looked back.
Her firm yet encouraging, common sense approach makes her a very popular local trainer who spread her well-toned wings in February 2015 when she opened the doors to Lagree YYC, immediately attracting a diverse clientele from athletes to the formerly fitness phobic.
As a post-rehabilitation medical exercise specialist and a preand post-natal exercise specialist with four children of her own, Kim discovered the power and potential of Lagree while on a fact-finding mission to New York City where she sought the best, most leading-edge workout. Securing exclusive rights for all of Alberta, she made local fitness history as the first person to introduce the Pilates-inspired Lagree Method to Western Canada.
“I walked into my first Lagree workout confident that I was fit,” recalls Rothenberg of her NYC adventure. “And I was quickly humbled.” “It found muscles in my body I didn’t know existed, hitting me in a way that no other workout or piece of equipment could ever do.”
At the heart of the Lagree experience – the brainchild of LA-based fitness Guru Sebastien Lagree – is the patented Megaformer, a moving platform manipulated through a system of springs, straps and pulleys, employing body weight to provide resistance.
Individuals and groups of up to 12 are guided by certified and knowledgeable trainers though a 45 minute routine that works all muscle groups for a workout that is low impact yet high intensity.
“I was blown away by the power of the Lagree Method to kick my clients’ exercise regimens up a notch. Here was a workout that could benefit a wide spectrum of people from the formerly sedentary to professional athletes,” says Rothenberg.
“Over the years, I have encountered many people who were, for the most part, sidelined because of joint weakness or injury.”
“The gliding motion of the Megaformer’s carriage makes the Lagree workout easy on the joints without sacrificing the intensity of the workout. While even a newbie can master the Lagree workout, it has the power to challenge the fittest of the fit.”
The sight of the Megaformers may, at first, seem intimidating to the uninitiated, prompting the occasional humorous comparison to medieval torture. But with the solid orientation provided to newcomers and the occasional gentle reminder about how to change the spring load or use the various straps and pulleys, it doesn’t take long to get into the rhythm of Lagree. Instructors are enthusiastic about accommodating participants across the fitness spectrum, making Lagree a great choice even for those who are beginning their fitness journey.
To keep the experience fresh and effective for their growing clientele, the Lagree team varies the exercises and changes the order in which muscle groups are tackled from class to class.
Each Lagree YYC instructor has been handpicked by Rothenberg because of specific fitness, health and lifestyle specialties and proven track records as motivating – and often highly entertaining – instructors.
Some are passionate about winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. Others find joy in dance or spin. Still others are accomplished yogis. All have found Lagree to be an ideal complement to a wide range of fitness and lifestyle practices that strengthen and nurture the mind, body and soul.
Lagree comes quite naturally to practitioners of yoga because of its emphasis on slow and controlled movements. “It is all about bringing our muscles to fatigue rather than failure,” says Rothenberg.
“In particular, the Lagree Method stimulates the slow-twitch muscles, helping to create a feeling of well-being and, over time, a long, lean look.”
Though devoted to the Lagree Method, Rothenberg includes yoga, cycling and free weights as well as other equipment and methods in her personal fitness routine and encourages others to do the same.
“In fitness, as in life, variety is the spice. But if you can only do one thing, Lagree is a great choice,” says Rothenberg, lauding its efficiency in combining cardio, strength training, fat burning, endurance, balance and more.
“One of the instructors’ most important roles is to help clients set realistic and achievable goals. They may at first seem small, but even slight lifestyle changes have the power to move you forward in exciting ways.
There is a special place in Kim Rothenberg’s heart for those who are climbing back from injury and medical conditions. One Lagree YYC highlight she vividly recalls was the successful integration into a group class of a client who had recently recovered from hip surgery.
“I was so proud of him,” says Rothenberg, who measures her success in the fitness, confidence and harmony she helps her clients to achieve daily.
Calgary-based freelance writer and editor and Lagree enthusiast.