Feature photo by Britney Gill
By Brittany Tiplady
I rarely read fitness or health blogs because I always find them to be so false, sponsored, and unattainable.
But, for the month of November I committed to 30 days of Lagree paired with nutritional advice from Alyssa Bauman of Nourished by Alyssa. I took three to four Lagree classes per week and adjusted my diet according to a meal plan created by Alyssa, and myself.
When given the opportunity to do a 30-day challenge with Lagree West and Nourished by Alyssa, I made a vow to record the month and my journey with complete honesty. I crafted this week by week piece with the ultimate integrity and mission to accurately relay what it was like for me to wedge a new routine into my already insanely packed schedule.
“Lagree, what’s that?”
The Lagree method combines strength training and cardio in a 40-minute workout. “You get a bit of a cult following with Lagree,” says Barbie Bent, Lagree West owner. “It has a unique element where it doesn’t only challenge you physically, but it also has an empowering aspect.”
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.
Paired with a clean diet and dedication the results are quick and motivating. The plank posse is real.
Taking classes at Lagree West is not new to me: I have been sweating on the Megaformer machines for almost six months, but without a goal or much consistency. It had been a while since I had been rigorous and consistent with my exercise routine and the idea of eating clean, and fitting Lagree three to four days a week into my insane schedule was daunting. My first day of the challenge after a month-long Lagree hiatus was challenging to say the least. I felt shaky, and wobbly, and slightly panicked into what I had gotten myself into. The classic core warm up in class, planks to pike, literally felt like hot knives stabbing into my centre.
I filled out the nutrition survey for Alyssa with some internal shame. While to the public, I eat well, and nourish my body with organic food that comes in my weekly Spud bins-I actually have a closet binge eating situation that usually derives from stress (so, all the time). I was hesitant to share my deep dark food secrets/love affair with gluten, so I kept my survey rather bland. In my phone consult with Alyssa, we got into the nitty gritty of my food relationship, and built a strict meal plan that would kick off the first 10 days of the challenge and determine if I had any food allergies or sensitivities.This would create a roadmap for my overall health and meal plan. At the end of our phone conversation I had two very juxtaposing emotions: excitement and motivation with a side of panic. While I knew this initial detox would be the cleanse my body truly needed. Life without carbs is not one that I ever welcomed.
A meal plan example created by Alyssa for my first week:
- Avocado on Millet or Quinoa Bread (sold at Whole foods, Choices)
- Eggs (omelettes or scrambles loaded with veggies
Cut to three days later: I am a hangry, awful person with really sore inner thighs, and a deep, passionate longing for a grilled cheese. Getting past the clean eating hangover was probably the closest thing I’ll ever come to a serious detox. I dreamed about bread, cheese, and poutine. I walked past the pizza place around the corner from my house just to get a whiff. I woke up in a cold sweat with a hankering for fish and chips. I really wish I was joking, but I quite literally, was going through withdrawals.
End of week 1 vibes: By the end of the week my belly bloat had decreased significantly which caused me to do two things all day Sunday: take scantily clad mirror selfies, and book and my next week’s Lagree classes with a sense of excitement.
I took my Monday class with my group of friends from work, and that helped me kick off the week with some motivation and lululemon fun. I had been about 80 per cent gluten free and 90 per cent dairy free (tacos on cheat day) during my first week and while feeling still slightly hangry, I also was feeling lighter. Less jiggly, and more centred.
In my initial conversation with Alyssa she asked me what I wanted to achieve from this month. Was it weight loss? Overall health benefits? Food allergy determinations?
To be honest, what I really wanted in my heart, besides to be able to share this article, was to lose weight. I’ve never quite understood the “I want to be feel strong” sentiment. When people tell me they work out and eat well to feel “stronger,” I’m like get out of my face and talk to me about your weight loss. I am not going around lifting heavy shit, why so I do I need to feel like the hulk? Among the other unkind gifts that 2016 has brought me, exceptional and rapid weight gain has been on the top of my list, and I have been having a really emotional time fitting into pants that don’t have an elastic waist band. My body at the beginning of this challenge resembled something of a gummy bear/mozza ball.
When I described myself in full self-deprecating detail to Alyssa, between chuckles she retorted: “So you want to feel lighter?” Lighter sounded amazing.
To my surprise and slight embarrassment, by the end of week two guess what I felt? Stronger. A lot stronger. Not only in my planks and carriage kicks, but in my mental capacity to fathom a steady workout schedule AND my ability to say no to office treats being passed around. I’ve never said no to free treats in my 25 years of life.
My belly bloat thanks to green smoothies, hot lemon water in the morning, and a major gluten break, is a distant memory/nightmare and yes, I felt lighter, tighter, more aware of my body’s muscles and curves.
End of week 2 vibes: Now, in the spirit of writing this Lagree and food detox journey with complete transparency, this second week was peppered with some cheat days. It was my anniversary weekend, and naturally we indulged. I leaned more into the realm of 70/30, but I still dragged my hungover ass to Lagree on Sunday to gave it (almost) my all. Christi Lin did a double side of kneeling inner thighs and I have never thought such horrible thoughts about a very nice person.
Nearing the end of the week I weighed myself (in deep, unbinding fear), using my work gym’s scale. Down 9 pounds. Holy shit, bring on week 3.
I’ve hit a wall. Donkey kicks feel harder than ever. Standing or kneeling inner thighs have become the ultimate torture. Getting myself to class takes a serious pep talk and maybe some tears in the car. The only things that motivated me to get to class: my fiancé dragging me, my business partner forcing me out the door of our office where I am warm, comfortable, and eating a bowl of Poke (not sure if this was in my meal plan but I am going to give myself a pass on that one), and catching a glimpse of my noticeably lifted and firm Kim K bum in the mirror.
At the end of week 2, I was able to comfortably button up a pair of jeans that I said goodbye to 6 months ago. This moment was huge for me. Nothing ladies, feels better than being able to put on a stiff pair of jeans with ease.
Week three however, felt like a marathon along the seawall that would never end. I weighed myself again: down 11 pounds. My thighs no longer create friction when I am walking around my apartment in a towel. Get to class, Britt.
I am still having trouble with my core exercises in class; some movements like pike to plank are beginning to strain my lower back, and hip flexers. I chatted with Master Lagree teacher at Lagree West, Ariel Swan, and owner Barbie Bent about my set-backs. They advised me to add extra spring tension to my core exercises to alleviate the tension to my hip-flexers and activate my core muscles. These ladies seriously know what they are doing, because that small trick changed my workout game.
I met with Alyssa in-person to chat about my progress. While my meal plan had improved my gut health tremendously, I was still feeling hungry and tired. The exhaustion, no doubt, was due to my nutty schedule and lifestyle, but the hunger was really starting to get to me. Some background on my food habits: I am a big eater. Carbs on carbs all day for this girl. I need fuel, and have since I was a baby. Alyssa advised me to ramp up on the potatoes to get that sustenance and fill my afternoon snack cravings with protein smoothies.
End of week 3 vibes: I am feeling proud of my dedication, and ultimately, I feel sexy. Having much healthier gut, paired with a less jiggle does wonders for self-confidence and self-love. While still battling the consistent hunger, I feel confident, glowing, and basically like Beyonce.
The end is near, and I now feel the need to ask all of my friends/acquaintances/perfect strangers to feel how firm my butt is. I have arm muscles, and flex at any chance. I feel much more confident in sleeveless tops, and my new found tenacity pulls in all the compliments.
Post-challenge, I will be eating completely gluten-free as I was able to identify some serious sensitivities, and continue with my consistent routine.
The reality is, Lagree is a hard workout that never gets easier. You can always push yourself further and hold that lunge longer. But what is bigger than that, is the self-love this challenge has built for myself personally. The journey became less and less about writing this article and more about feeling good about my reflection.
Want to get on my level? Lagree West x Nourished by Alyssa is hosting a 30 day challenge to kick off your New Year’s resolutions.