New spin on Pilates helps burn calories

LOS ANGELES Jeff Elam suffered an ankle injury 10 years ago and had two surgeries.

"I can't even run. There's just nothing I can do that doesn't kill this ankle ," Elam said.

But six weeks into Sebastien Lagree's Pilates Plus program, Elam is 20 pounds lighter.

"Before this program I felt like a round lump. Now I feel angular. I mean, I still have a ways to go, but from the inside out, I feel so much better," Elam said.

Meredith Philpott said she gained between 5 to 7 pounds since turning 30. She used the Pilates program not only lose a few pounds, but to make profound shape reductions.

"I really shrunk my waist and sort of my thighs got smaller, but I kept my womanly figure," she said.

Philpott and Elam are different gender and body types, yet both found similar results in losing body fat.

"What we do is we work the muscle both in the eccentric and concentric contractions, so your muscles never really have a chance to really rest," Lagree said. "There's actually no time of recovery rest in between so it's very cardiovascular."

Lagree's system and self-designed reformer allows students to maximize their time by using weights, tubing, loaded springs against their own body weight without stopping. The results are a slow, steady, uninterrupted workout.

"Slow is very important because doing a slow continuous effort is really going to trigger your slow twitch fibers, which is really your fat twitch fibers," Lagree said.

This translates to lean muscles rather than hulky ones.

Elam and Philpott also watched portions, stayed hydrated and passed on nighttime noshing.

"The whole key is you come here, you really blast it, you work your muscle to failure, and you go home and you have a good clean diet," Lagree said. "Rest for a couple of days, then do it again harder, that's it."

Other Pilates Plus programs:

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