By Christina Najjar | February 25, 2019 | Lifestyle
Sebastien Lagree is the founder and creator of Lagree Fitness Method and inventor of the Megaformer machine. He licenses his name and the Lagree workout and his Megaformer out to more 300 studios all over the world. Lagree and his wife, Dede, own and operate Lagree Fitness Studio in LA. There are two locations, one in West Hollywood, one in Westwood Village, and one set to open in Santa Monica. We sat down with the super fit couple to discuss how they built their amazing brand.
How did you decide to go into business together?
SEBASTIEN LAGREE: My wife is the one who wanted to open a studio; she saw how excited our licensees were and how fast the method is growing. The Lagree Fitness Method has more than 300 licensee studios in 23 countries and she thought it would be a good idea to open our own studios to feature Lagree's latest and greatest equipment.
DEDE LAGREE: Sebastien has done a terrific job of licensing out his name brand method, the Lagree Fitness Method and his 2nd generation of equipment, the Megaformer® machine, but with so many different licensees (which means they have different studio names, can offer a variety of equipment in addition to the Megaformer, and have different messaging about the method, etc.), I wanted to make a home base for Lagree; a headquarters so to speak where people could come check out what’s new on the Lagree Fitness market, straight from the inventor himself.
We know you can find Lagree in about any major city, but what is so special/unique about Lagree Fitness Studio?
SL: Well, our Lagree Fitness Studios feature "what's next in the Lagree Universe." For example, our studios feature the 3rd generation of equipment called the Supra. We use our locations to test the equipment and method before it is licensed and sold to others. We wanted to be close to our product so we could be close to our clients in a more controlled environment. Over the past three years, we’ve continued to collect client feedback and improve upon the Supra’s design, the workout programs, and more. Our studios are like a working lab; we will test out some prototypes and also do all our research, For example, we just completed a 2 years study on Bone Density and we are currently conducting a Brain Study that will help shape future workouts.
DL: Our studios are the ONLY studios to feature Lagree’s first ever 25 minute workout. It’s a patented workout method that Sebastien had to develop that would work on his newest machine, the Supra which we feature exclusively at our studios. The Supra is Lagree’s first digitally controlled (via the instructor’s iPad) resistance based platform using a system of springs and pulleys — and your own body weight with a movable carriage that inclines like a treadmill (up to 2 ft. in the air) and tilts from the left to the right (12 degrees each way) like a space simulator. It’s the first machine in the world to have both incline and tilt functions! You can’t get that on any cardio or strength training equipment! The Lagree workout done on the Supra consists of squats, lunges, crunches, pull ups etc. all performed on this inclining, tilting machine, which is moving up and down and tilting left to right so you’re working in all planes of motion, fighting gravity, resistance and using your core 100% of the time; hence why it’s only 25 mins, and burns 400 cals/session. Also, Lagree Fitness Studios are the only studios where you can take class with the founder of Lagree, Sebastien himself!
What are each of your roles at the studio?
SL: My role is the equipment and method. I make sure that the equipment is working and fixing any technological bugs with the software and/or the machines, and I’m always looking for ways to improve the equipment’s design and method’s efficiency. For example, our 3rd location, opening in Santa Monica in Spring 2019, will feature the new and improved Supra which is called the Supra 2.0. I also help train future instructors and I create the manuals for the teacher training.
DL: I’m the owner and director of training at Lagree Fitness Studio and also manage the day-to-day operations. I manage the employees, personally train all of the new instructors we hire, which varies per person. It could take weeks or up to three months, depending on their previous training. I work a lot with the trainers 1:1 to perfect their style and personality for the studio. I’m also always scouting new talent that we can bring into the studio. The trainers make our classes! I also offer private training sessions to clients and VIPs during the studio’s off hours.
We all know that being in business with your spouse can be tough! Do you have any tips for making it work?
SL: Yes, it is tough. It's hard not to talk about business at home especially with all the stuff that is going on. We are launching new machines, new programs, a new studio featuring a different workout; etc... Luckily, we see eye to eye on pretty much everything; and we also trust each other. In addition, certain areas are "sacred" and we really don't interfere with each other; for example, Dede doesn't tell me how to build the equipment and I don't tell Danielle how to run a studio which eliminates 90% of all arguments.
DL: I’d say my biggest tip for making it work, is for each person to focus on their strengths and choose a sector of the business to focus on. That way you’re honing in on your area of specialty and your talents, and trying not to step on each other’s toes. Secondly, understand you’re not going to agree on everything. And thirdly, and maybe most importantly: Know when to keep your mouth shut!! But, seriously, knowing when to pick your battles will save you a lot of stress and unnecessary disagreements.
Celebrating your third successful year with LFS, how do you stay on top of fitness trends and what your clients want?
SL: That's easy, you just listen to what people want. We conduct in house surveys; and we are not afraid to try new things. Dede and I are very similar in the sense that we like to progress and improve, so that part comes pretty naturally. We'll try different things and if it doesn't work out; no big deal. on to the next. The 25 minutes workout was an easy trend to spot though; the number one excuse for not exercising is "I don't have time."
DL: I think we can attribute a lot of the success of Lagree Fitness to having an owner on-site at the studio every single day. I’m very ingrained in what goes on at the studio. Being there daily, I get to hear people’s feedback firsthand. People are not afraid to voice their opinions – positive or negative – face-to-face, so I get to hear about the classes they like, what they wish there was more of, their thoughts on the instructors, what they like about the machine, what they wish was different, etc. This is how I developed my trademarked Booty Burn™ and Core Sculpt™ classes, and we’ve introduced other specialty classes, like Arms & Abs, A$$ & Arms, etc. Being there daily has made a huge impact on the business and I’m able to relay that information directly to Sebastien, the trainers, and implement changes in the schedule and class programs.
What’s next for the Lagrees?
SL: Our Lagree Fitness Studio Santa Monica location will open Spring 2019 at the corner of 4th and Broadway. I am very excited about that location because it will feature the new and improved Supra 2.0 with some serious new tech. I can't wait to share that tech with all our clients and show all the licensees the future of Lagree. I have spent the last 6 years perfecting biometrics and biofeedback tech and the Supra 2.0 will finally start showing some of that tech. Most importantly, the Supra 2.0 will be hardwired for a lot of new apps that will surface over the next 2 years. I’m also working on launching some at-home Lagree workout equipment and compact products so people can take the Lagree Fitness® Method workouts on the go wherever they are. I am very excited about Toned which is another 25-minute workout coming, but I will let my wife talk more about that since it is her idea!
DL: Coming this summer, I’m opening up L.A.’s very first 25-min curved treadmill studio named “ Toned “ which will give a HITT-and-Run workout. The curve absorbs the shock impact from running and makes it safer on your joints and knees. Consistent with the Lagree Method’s core values of providing high-intensity, lower-impact, technologically advanced workouts for shorter, more efficient sessions, this technology-enhanced treadmill uses your own momentum so however fast your legs are moving is how fast the tread burns and helps you to burn 30% more calories as running on a regular treadmill.
Photography Courtesy of Lagree Fitness Method