Sebastien Lagree, a former bodybuilder, has trained a long list of A-List stars, including Meghan Markle, Michelle Obama, and Kim Kardashian.
He’s also the inventor of the Megaformer, a machine workout similar to pilates but with cardio elements. When its first version launched in the early 2000s, “people didn’t know if it would be a [passing] fad or a trend,” Lagree told Insider. “You never know what’s going to stick or not stick.”
But it stuck. According to data from ClassPass, a company that provides access to a variety of gyms and fitness classes, the Megaformer was the fastest-growing exercise of the year. ClassPass users attended over a million Megaformer sessions in 2019, a 38.6% increase from 2018.
Most hyped-up exercise and wellness gadgets have less staying power. In Lagree’s view, it’s because most of them lack original concepts and don’t add anything to the current market.
And some workout gear, he added, is downright ridiculous — the Shake Weight, a 2010s trend involving a modified dumbbell, is a particular target of his derision. “Sure, it works your brachialis,” or the arm muscle underneath the biceps, Lagree said. “But so does masturbating.”
Still, there’s one new device Lagree expects to stick around in 2020 and beyond.
Mirror, an in-home workout streaming device, is the one thing Lagree actually likes
Despite his disdain for most new concepts in home fitness, Lagree said he’s intrigued by Mirror, a device that streams live and on-demand workouts and personal training into your home. Celebrities including Kate Hudson, Ellen Degeneres, and Reese Witherspoon have praised the equipment too.
Lagree said Mirror is an innovative way of making a wider variety of workouts more accessible to people, even if they don’t want to go to the gym. Particularly in the winter, it can be beneficial for people who still want to work up a sweat without venturing out in the cold, he added.
Business Insider retail reporter Mary Hanbury reviewed the product last year and also had plenty of praise. Its “mirroring format,” which allows users to see both themselves and the instructor, helps users learn new skills, and the device can customize workouts based on fitness level and injuries.
Plus, since it looks like a regular mirror, it doesn’t take up space like most gym equipment, although you’ll need some room around you to exercise while you’re using it.
The catch is that it’s not cheap, at about $1,500, not including accessories like a heart-rate monitor, which is an extra $50.
Still, Hanbury wrote, “for those who don’t have the time or can’t make it to a group class, this is about as good as it gets.”
But some of the best exercises don’t even require equipment
Still, the best ways to work out continue to be old-school body weight moves, Lagree said. It’s hard to beat the classics like pushups, squats, and lunges, and tricep dips. “You don’t need the fancy equipment,” he said.
His personal favorite — the plank, and variations thereof, which he said is the best overall exercise. The plank is easy to modify to make it easier or harder, depending on your fitness level and how much of a challenge you’re looking for.
Lagree recommended picking five or so body-weight exercises and do them one after another for about a minute each. Move as slowly as possible, he said, to get the most muscle tension out of each move. Then repeat as desired.
The most important thing for exercise, he said, is to be consistent, and don’t buy into false promises about a quick fix to strength or weight loss.
“My beef with fad fitness is the way people market products … if they were honest, they wouldn’t sell it,” he said. “What I’m telling you, it’s not sexy, it doesn’t sell. But the slow and steady approach is best.”