Creators of Toronto | Studio Lagree

By BrainStation September 17, 2015
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Tell us a bit about Studio Lagree?

Studio Lagree specializes in The Lagree Fitness Method. This cutting edge workout (that’s a fav amongst Hollywood celebs) started in L.A. and quickly gained popularity throughout the U.S. We were the first to bring this coveted method and the one of a kind Megaformer machine to Canada. We now have 2 studios in Toronto (788 King Street West and 435 Spadina Road in Forest Hill). Our 3rd studio will open later this fall in Vaughan, and Oakville is next on our list. We also have a Chicago partner and have successfully broken in to the U.S market, with a studio in the prestigious Highland Park suburb and a 2nd in downtown Chicago in Lincoln Park. We have built a fantastic team that have worked diligently to define Studio Lagree as a fitness industry leader; with the highest standards for teacher training, routines, client care and brand communications. No matter which Studio Lagree location you visit you will receive the same incredible experience.

A little background on the workout itself:

This is the method and machine that has transformed Hollywood’s hottest bodies! Effectively combining core, endurance, cardio, balance, strength and flexibility training in every move, The Lagree Fitness Method delivers results, fast. The no impact program features targeted exercises performed at a slow and controlled pace, activating slow twitch muscle fibres to build the long lean physique that has made the workout famous.

The combination of working muscles to failure and eliminating rest periods makes for a workout regimen that burns a maximum number calories in a minimal amount of time, and most efficiently develops muscle tone and strength. Best of all, the effective intensity can always be adapted, preventing clients from ever reaching a training plateau.

With Sebastien Lagree’s ground breaking invention, The Megaformer™, a system of resistance and counter resistance is used to place muscles under constant tension and work them to failure point, a key to the method’s delivery of swift results. The machine features various handles, straps and accessories. The Megaformer™ and The Lagree Fitness Method provide a dynamic platform for our instructors to continuously create new and unique workout experiences, constantly evolving and challenging our clients in new ways.

For more information on The Lagree Fitness Method and The Megaformer™

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How did Studio Lagree come to be?

Studio Lagree was the brainchild of Pino Gagliardi, our CEO, and Carm Perrelli, our President. They were introduced to The Lagree Fitness Method by a mutual friend and immediately identified the need for this type of workout in Toronto. They set to work creating the unique aesthetic that now shapes the brand and studio protocol that ensures an excellent experience at every class. Laurie Campbell joined the team in the company’s infancy stages and brought with her a wealth of experience from her many years in the fitness industry. Together they formed an incredible team. Everyone contributes to make the Studio Lagree experience one of the best this method has to offer. We continue to push the boundaries and offer new and exciting classes to keep evolving the method and cater to a wide range of clientele.

What does the Studio Lagree experience look like?

A heart pumping, shirt drenching 50 minute workout like no other that will take you beyond what your believe your physical limitations to be. Each class consists of a comprehensive full body workout, starting with core work, then moving onto legs, upper body and finishing with more core and abdominal work. By the time you hit the stretching series your muscles should be literally shaking all over. The key to the amazing results of this workout lies not only in the machinery itself (the custom-built Megaformer, designed and produced by the workout’s creator, Sebastien Lagree, specifically made for this method), but in the philosophy behind the method itself. In each exercise the goal is muscle failure, meaning you should get to the point where the engaged muscles exhaust and you can no longer perform the exercise properly… this is when you take a quick break before getting back in to the exercise to go for failure once again. In order to achieve muscle failure, we work through each leg separately, meaning we perform 4+ exercises stacked back-to-back on one leg to ensure we completely exhaust the muscles before moving on to upper body and the other leg.

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If you were to give Studio Lagree 3 personality traits, what would they be and why?

Innovative: We are always working on new programs, new exercises, new ways to enhance and advance our clients’ experiences. Staying the same is boring, we believe that as a fitness industry leader it is necessary to continuously evolve, and inspire in the process.

Energetic: This just goes without saying in our industry… and positive, inspired energy is what fuels our constant chain of innovation.

Powerful: Our workout is not for the faint of heart, strength in mind, body and spirit are a necessity. This is reflected both in our bold branding and the design of our studio spaces.

How are the workouts/classes developed?

The method and machine were conceptualized and developed by Sebastien Lagree. Laurie Campbell was mastered trained by Sebastien and now trains our teachers. While Studio Lagree closely follows the ‘traditional method’, because it works, we allow for creativity and exploration from our teachers. Growth and evolution are essential in order to keep the experience interesting and to remain as an industry and Lagree Fitness Method leader. As a staff we meet once a month to discuss ideas, routines and sequences. As a group we decide what is working and what is not. We believe in community and want our teachers to feel supported by one another and not in competition, we hope this shows in all of our classes.

How did you build the Toronto community? Word of mouth? Organic? More systematic or methodical?

Our Toronto community has been largely built organically through word of mouth. Being the first to open studios specializing in The Lagree Fitness Method in Canada meant that we monopolized on the namesake workout’s popularity and the publicity from its American roots. As a result, we garnered a lot of media buzz when we opened our first studio in Forest Hill. Ultimately, the workout really does sell itself – its like no other fitness program, and all first timers find common ground in the feeling that follows completing their first class – ‘WOW!’. We are proud to say that much of our growth is largely a result of glowing referrals, our clients are definitely the champions of our success.

How has technology impacted/improved your business?

Technology is the driving force behind our workout and is instrumental in its success. The Megaformer was specifically designed for the Lagree Fitness Method. It was evolved from a traditional Pilates reformer by creator Sebastien Lagree… Without the Megaformer technology there would be no Lagree. Another technology that has transformed the fitness industry as a whole is online booking systems. We use a system called Mind Body that allows all of our clients to view our live schedule and book/change classes seamlessly from their devices. Finally, the growth of social media has been a great help with the organic promotion of our company. The aforementioned referrals hold so much more weight when accompanied with a picture (for example on Instagram) and published for the world to see.

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How do you set yourself apart from the Toronto fitness scene?

The fitness experience we offer is so unique that we don’t have any direct competitors, that in itself sets us apart from the Toronto fitness scene. Because The Lagree Fitness Method is licensed by area no others companies are able to offer what we do. Aside from exclusivity, we are always developing new exercises and programs in order to offer new and inspiring experiences to our clients and foster inspiration and growth within our teaching team. Another unique quality of our company lies in the diversity of our teaching staff, they come from all different backgrounds; yoga, Pilates, bootcamp, dance, personal training, spinning, boxing… this creates a wonderful range of class experiences for our clients, infused with the flavour of this diverse range of teaching backgrounds.

Where can we find the Studio Lagree team shopping/dining?

We have such a diverse team that this list could be a mile long.. However the common thread lies in the businesses surrounding our studios and our strategic partners; for workout gear, we all shop in the Studio Lagree retail shop. We carry a number of top fitness and loungewear brands, including Michi, ALO, Spiritual Gangster and Good Hyouman to name a few. We’re all also big supporters of Lululemon, they really know their workout gear and have great selection. The Village Juicery is stocked in-house at both of our Toronto studios, all of our staff love the delicious, nutritious juices and snacks this local fav produces. When we’re in the mood for a great coffee we don’t have to go far from our King street studio, Delysees is right next door, and they also have a huge selection of french pastries, for that occasional well-earned postworkout treat. In Forest Hill we are steps away from one of the best deli/bagel shops in the city, What A Bagel. When it comes to life outside the studio, many of our staff shop the seasons top brands and styles at Intermix on Bloor street, the staff are friendly and are great with their style suggestions. Finally, when it comes anything hair, skin or beauty related, Ritual is our go to.. their team is incredible!

How would you recommend new entrepreneurs learn the skills that are required to start/ run their own business?

Firstly, entrepreneurs should look at opportunities that encompass skills that they are extremely good at, in industries that they have experience working in, before venturing out on their own. Second, it’s important that they have passion, creative vision and an inspired work-ethic to ensure they give 100%, leaving no stone unturned, in creating their own success. As an entrepreneur you cannot just endeavour for the paycheque. Perseverance is another quality that is a must. The ability to continue to give 100% in the face of adversity and tough times. In addition to these defining qualities, the ability to build a team and to strategically delegate is what sets the good apart from the great. No one gets to the top of their game independently, so the latter are both intrinsically important if you are to be successful, no matter what you are doing.

What does Studio Lagree look like in 5 years? How do you see this evolving?

Within 5 years Studio Lagree will be looking to add 2 new studios per year in each of our existing territories. It’s exciting to think that within 5 years we will have over 30 Studio Lagree locations between Toronto, Chicago & London. We are also looking for new territories that strategically fit in addition to our existing ones. We are as aggressive about growth as we are about quality control. As we expand we will continue to carefully build a team that will ensure we maintain our standards of teachers, studio experience and being in touch with our communities.