The Studio (MDR) offers Pilates-inspired — meaning generally tougher — workouts called the Lagree Method, using a pretty complicated machine called a Megaformer. It is indeed a full-body workout and a strenuous one, but it's low- to no-impact — perfect for people with knee or IT band injuries or other reasons not to jump and run around. The standard class is 50 moves in 50 minutes. I really appreciate those short-duration exercises: No matter how bad it gets, it doesn't last too long.
The Studio (MDR), 330 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey, and 13357 Washington Blvd., Culver City. thestudiomdr.com
Aura: Despite her constant patter to keep everyone inspired, the attentive, helpful teacher, Dana Goodman Sands, made sure I wasn't fumbling to figure out where to put arms and legs or which part of the Megaformer should hold my feet at any moment. It's a welcoming studio that makes sure no one is stumbling to figure out what to do.
Effort: The Megaformer has more gizmos and options for body placement than the traditional Pilates reformer equipment from which it descends. Students with experience could move from one exercise to the next quickly, which makes the workout that much more draining. But even a newbie breaks a good sweat. I took the basic Total Body class, which required plenty of strength and endurance; it was, as the teacher promised, "a lunge-heavy class" that required balance and coordination. There are some upper-level classes that only accept experienced students.
Style: Don't let the sweet pink-and-white decor fool you. This is a no-nonsense place. No chatter among students; everyone was purposeful. At one point the teacher said, "This shouldn't feel good." No kidding.
Cost: $18 for an introductory class, otherwise $35 per class, with various packages available. Wear those grippy toe socks, and bring water and a small towel.
If you have suggestions for classes, please let me know by email or Twitter (@mmacvean).